I’ve recently interviewed Steve Colca, the frontman for up-and-coming doom metallers, Destroyer Of Light. Hailing from Austin, TX, the outfit released their well-received debut EP last year, and now they’re just about to hit the road for their most extensive tour to date.
Could you tell me how your musical path started? What inspired you to play music in the first place?
When I was younger, my sister’s ex boyfriend left his CDs, and I took them because he never came back. In that pile was Alice in Chains – Dirt. At this time, I hadn’t heard anything so melodic, dark, and heavy; it blew my mind. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar work inspired me to head into a heavy music direction. So, my sister’s now husband gave me his first ever guitar, and I started to write my own songs until I finally found my voice.
I know that you’d played in the stoner metal project before you formed Destroyer Of Light which is a traditional doom metal affair. What inspired you to change your style?
Poor Bastards Revolt! was old high school friends that had great chemistry and enjoyed playing with each other. We wrote some cool songs and we had a lot of fun. In fact, PBR was the first band that I started doing vocals in, before that I was just a rhythm guitar player. So, I was just learning how to play guitar and sing, and the screaming/throaty singing stuff was easier for me to break into. It did take a while to get comfortable, but once I did, it got better.
With Destroyer of Light, I wanted to expand my horizons and focus more on clean singing and coming up with melodies. Writing riffs is one of my favorite pass times to do, and with Destroyer of Light, I wanted to make it more moody, dark, and atmospheric on top of heavy guitar riffs, rather than just straight up stoner metal. The key is to always progress as a musician and songwriter with everything that you do. And I feel like I am doing it.
What are your main musical influences? Which artists do you particularly look up to?
Jerry Cantrell, Layne Staley, Messiah Marcoin , King Diamond, The Melvins, Dio, Tony Iommi, Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillian. Those are a few artists that influence the kind of music that I like to write. As well as, newer bands like Witchcraft, Electric Wizard, Orchid, Ghost, and many others.
You’re about to put out your new EP at the end of the year. How does it compare to your self-titled release?
We hope to release this new EP by the end of the year. We have been hearing some rough mixes of it, and I am excited to unleash these 5 tracks. I feel like it is a progression from our first EP, hitting different territories and more psychedelic elements. Also, we aren’t rushed to get this album done, we still have time to get the mixes to sound the way we want them to sound. It’ll be more on point to what we want to sound like. Also, I am getting more comfortable in my clean vocals, and it features more songs written by Keegan (lead guitars) and Mark (bass). There’s some Neurosis and Iron Maiden elements more so than Black Sabbath, but you know, I’ll leave it to the listener to be the judge. Don’t worry, there is also a 10 minute doom song!
It’s not easy to come out with a credible doom metal album. What does your creative process look like?
If it is what you enjoy to play and listen to, it isn’t as hard. However, it is hard to make your own style and not just be another rip-off band! Finding your own voice amongst your influences is definitely the key, and harder to do. The way we function is we have similar taste, but I think the different taste and our different influences come out in the songwriting process. If I write a song, it is going to be slow/doomy…if Keegan writes a song, it is going to be more mid-paced and sludgy. If Mark writes a song, it is going to be more psychedelic. And then every individual adds their own take to the song to make it unique. No one dictates how their song is going to go, we just let it flow and see what happens until we are happy with the sound.
Your lyrics tend to be inspired by horror movies. Which ones do you find the most inspirational and why?
Yeah, ever since I was a child, I grew up watching horror movies, having horrific nightmares, thinking I saw ghosts, and the whole thing fascinates me. I like how King Diamond writes horror concept albums, and as a fan of that, I wanted to write little short horror stories about all the different creatures, monsters, and all that shit. The most inspirational song we have recorded is called “Before You Die…” It is a personal song with a fictional story line about rape, but that song is pretty powerful, and I really let my soul shine on that one.
Touring is an integral part of being in any band these days. Do you have any specific touring plans for the future?
Yes, we do. We are actually leaving on June 2nd to tour for three weeks. Between 18-21 shows we will play through the Midwest, East Coast, and South of the United States. This will be our longest run as a band, but like you said, touring is integral. We love to travel, meet new people, and play music. We want to do this and we are going out on our own to make it happen. In October, we will hit the West Coast of the US with our pals, Widower from Austin, TX. And hopefully, next year, Europe. We want to spend most of our days touring and playing music. So, that is what we will try to do.
You’re both a singer and a guitar player. Do you find it difficult to balance these two parts while performing on stage? Or is it only a question of practice?
It is a question of practice. When I first started doing both in PBR, I was so nervous being a frontman that I would get whiskey drunk to numb the jitters, but then, I would get too drunk to remember words and riffs. Hahaha. However, after a few months of practice, it got much easier. What can be difficult sometimes is writing a different rhythm for guitar and vocals and try doing them at the same time. Sometimes that can be harder, but you just practice, and then it will come to you.
Which songs of yours are you particularly happy about? Which ones do you find the most representative and fun to play live?
I love all of our songs. I wish that we could have a better version of some of the songs on our first record, but I love to play “Coffin Hunter,” “The Swamp,” and “Asteroid.” Then, songs that will be off the new album, “Obliterated By Cosmic Fire” and “Forbidden Zombi Ritual.” Usually, during these songs I am able to get crazy, move around and freak out. I love a good freak-out on stage!
What’s your opinion about women in metal? Which female artists are you fond of?
With massive abundance of females in metal, I think it is wonderful. Women are just as amazing as us men, some of them have more balls than some men. It is unfortunate that all of these female artists are all popping at once, and so everyone thinks it is a fad. But screw that. These women are sexy, captivating, and talented. To name a few I am fond of: Uta Plotkin of Witch Mountain, Jex Thoth, Chelsea Wolfe, Allia O’ Brian of Blood Ceremony, Rosalie Cunningham of Purson, and Sharie Neyland of The Wounded Kings. I wanted to get a female vocalist originally, but I am happy with the way that we have turned out.
What’s the best way to distribute music these days in your opinion? Are you fond of vinyls or do you think they’re just a fad? What about such services as bandcamp and spotify?
I think people still want a physical copy and I think putting out a vinyl is actually vital. I don’t think it is a fad, if you are going to buy a physical copy, it is something that you can enjoy at home while hanging out, cooking, and etc. Plus, the artwork, the lyrics, and the packaging are pretty cool too. While when you are on the road, you have your mp3s and all that stuff. Myself, I just started collecting records because my roommate has a record player and a bunch of records. They just sound so much better, cleaner, and especially with old records, it is the only way to enjoy them at home. I still come from the days of going to record stores. So, I can’t let that go, and I hope younger generations will see that supporting local businesses and buying a physical product that took someone’s imaginations, ideas, and money is appreciated!
Services like spotify and bandcamp are great as well. It gives underground and newer bands a chance to reach people that they normally couldn’t reach. It is easy, quick, and usually fares well for the band when fans use it!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans and to the fans of metal in general?
Thanks for giving us the time, Greg. I hope everyone enjoys the music, comes to see us when we come to your town, and keep us alive and well! Never give up on metal and rock n’ roll, it is in our blood for life!
The band’s first self-titled EP is available on bandcamp: