With grit and a dauntless attitude, King Falcon is making a name for themselves in the emerging rock n’ roll landscape. And with their brand new self-titled debut album, that attitude is on full display.
Their songs are as catchy as their name, filled with driving indie rock n’ roll riffs and killer guitar solos that grab your attention, with lyrics that entice with their boldness. The NYC-based group is reminiscent of the early days of bands like The Hives or Cage the Elephant, able to evoke emotion with the rawness of lead singer Michael Rubin’s voice.
The group’s new album is full of self-discovery and comradery, as the band finds their way through an eleven-track journey of verve. With singles like “Ready Set Go,” an indie-rock banger full of personality and “Everybody’s Down,” a sprinting beginning to King Falcon, the album is a lesson in how to debut a rock band.
The band’s roots could be traced back to Rubin’s love of Guitar Hero as a kid. He instantly got hooked, and it led him to pick up a real six-string. He would then enroll at a School of Rock at ten-years-old and would never look back. Bassist James Terranova played alongside Rubin in a band called The Inoculated Canaries when they were just fifteen and twelve-years-old. When forging ahead with King Falcon, the two added Tom Diognardi to drums and it was off to the races.
We had the opportunity to chat with Rubin about their debut album, tour life, what’s next, and much more.
So what’s the origin story of King Falcon in a nutshell, and how did you land on the name?
Before King Falcon, James and I were in another band that had a bird themed name. That band was “The Inoculated Canaries” and we started it when we were kids. Now that we’re older, we thought that we should change it to a much cooler bird.
I have no special attachment to birds at all, it just seemed to make the most sense to us.
How does it feel to have just released your debut album? Any nerves, or is it all just excitement and perhaps relief?
It feels fantastic to finally be able to put this out. I was a bit nervous the night before the actual release, but since then we’ve been met with really positive reception and it’s definitely all excitement now!
I see you have a pretty extensive guitar collection. Which guitars can we hear most prevalently on the new album?
Pretty much every song has my 1955 Les Paul standard on it. The P90s in that guitar just absolutely sing. My favorite tones from that guitar are probably the leads on “On Your Soul.” My ‘57 Strat also makes a number of appearances on the record, most notably for the solo on “Everybody’s Down.” The 1969 Telecaster that I got when I was 16 can be heard on the solo section of “Touch.”
“Everybody’s Down” is such a great single for the album. What was the selection process like for the singles for this album?
Mascot was definitely involved in picking the singles, however I think all of us knew from the start that “Everybody’s Down” would be THE single.
Even while making the demo we felt the energy from that song. I had the idea for the drum part in the car on the way over and I sang it to Tom. The rest just kind of came naturally, and we knew we were cooking up something good.
What tracks on the album do you think best represent you guys as a band?
“Everybody’s Down” is definitely the one that most represents us as a band and also as individuals. It’s about believing in something even if other people don’t. In our case, that thing is music. Even if that makes you weird, someday you’ll find your stride and it’ll all be okay.
Another one that I feel represents us is “Set Me Free,” particularly the chorus: “I’m on the ride of a lifetime, getting by on a lifeline.”
That’s really how it feels when you’re on the road touring. There’s so much excitement from playing shows and seeing all of the new sights, but also the reality sets in that in this lifestyle there are no guarantees and everything you do is very much at the seat of your pants. It’s not a corporate job with a retirement and a dental plan, it’s rock and roll.
The production on the album is strong. Were there any influences going into the studio that helped shape your sound and direction?
Thanks! The production is definitely influenced by 2000s pop rock (Ok Go, Maroon 5, The Killers) but we put a focus on guitars and real drums. Making sure everything sounded cohesive was really important to us. Some songs on the record have heavy production (“Touch”) and some are there to showcase the raw nature of our sound (“Everybody’s Down” and “Ride”).
It was also very important to make sure no production got in the way of playing these songs live, if it was just the three of us playing it still sounds like the record.
What has been your favorite/the most rewarding part of making this album?
Collaborating with other producers and songwriters for a few of the tracks was super fun since it influences the creativity of the band. You end up making something that neither party could have made on their own. Picking guitar/drum tones and refining parts also both come with their own unique set of challenges and victories.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding parts of this album’s process was receiving the final mixes. We’ve been working on writing and recording this album for about two years, and it has gone through countless changes during that time. So when we received the completed product (mixed by the incredibly seasoned Mark Needham), it was really a moment where we reflected on all of the work we’ve put in and could finally enjoy the thing we made!
Are there any plans to tour once the album comes out?
Funny enough, we are on tour now! I am writing this from a hotel in Chicago. We just finished up two dates in Michigan, and next we head to Cincinnati and Nashville.
What does a dream gig look like for King Falcon?
That would have to be a sold out Madison Square Garden, with the most passionate fans right up front. We’ve all grown up going to that venue so to be able to rep New York on such a large scale and share the same stage as our heroes would definitely be a dream come true!
What advice would you give to the ten-year-old Guitar Hero fanatics of today wanting to start a band?
Funny enough, two of our band members got into rock music through Guitar Hero. As for advice, don’t wait for anyone else and keep learning. If you spend a lot of time (I really mean a lot of time!) on your instrument and figure out how to make videos that showcase your talents, it will go a long way and will help you find the right band members. You may go through many different lineup changes in your band, but stick with the people you have the most fun with and can create well with!