The Man in the Demon Suit: An Interview with Calling Kings

CJ Hockenbury has been around classic rock and rockabilly music his entire life. The influences started with Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran before slipping into modern influences like Muse, Rise Against, Royal Blood and Ghost. His mashup of influences, along with his bandmates, became the unique sound of Calling Kings.

Hockenbury went from playing and writing classic 50s music to more aggressive, modernized songs before joining forces with Rick Sepulveda and Mythias Del. Once the three of them got together, the emotion and power of the songs really came into fruition.

When asked to describe the sound of Calling Kings, Hockenbury said, “[It] depends on what song you’re listening to. It's loud and aggressive, technical and cinematic, all with an upright bass. This is the band I wanted to be in when I was still a high schooler, and I feel like some of that teen angst I locked up a long time ago came out. Whenever we hit the stage people immediately think we are going to start playing your grandpa's music, or country. The band either scares people away or we hook them for life in the first song. We are just not normal and don't care if we fit in.”

They’re a band that isn’t interested in record labels or various powers of management, and they prove that with their latest single, “Demon Suit”. It’s a song that discusses a side of the entertainment industry that can be viewed as a taboo topic, but fits in to their mentality of speaking their minds. As they created the song, it was one that they kept going back to and adding more layers. By the time it was finished, it was a no-brainer that this would be their next single.

“Every time we played it something seemed to change,” Hockenbury said. “Originally I wrote this song as a ballad, really slow, but if you've listened to it I don't know what to call it anymore. The song really came together in the studio though. I wanted this to be the biggest sounding song on our first album. This is where I went a little crazy in production. Almost 100 to 200 tracks later, adding an organ and a choir, it was done.”

It’s a song about the amount of hardships artists have to endure, especially when they become taken advantage of. It was only a matter of time before someone addressed the topic in the form of a song, Hockenbury said, and they wanted to be part of that conversation.

Without that fear of saying the wrong thing or being what is deemed as normal, Calling Kings brings a message to their music that better resonates with their audience. As they continue to take their show on the road, they strive to be as true as the sounds of their greatest influences.