Kore Rozzik discusses his love of concept albums, how the current band line up came together, the band’s music videos, and what’s next
Interview by Emily May
New York theatrical rock band Kore Rozzik, comprised of Kore (vocals), Alex (guitar), Andrei (guitar) and Louie (drums), has been garnering plenty of attention since the release of their debut album Vengence Overdrive via Cleopatra Records. Vengeance Overdrive is a concept record dressed in a fantasy/horror setting that showcases Kore as “The Bastard Child of NYC”- A notorious underdog artist who becomes blacklisted from the NYC music scene only to return mysteriously to silence the doubters and take his place at the top of the music food chain. Inspired by John Carpenter, Alice Cooper and Disturbed, this eclectic record comes at the perfect time with the popularity of theatrical rock/metal hitting the states with bands such as Ghost and Avatar. The band has been touring and making festival appearances since 2016. With an anti-establishment and DIY ethos, the band has made their own way in the industry and have collected a core and loyal fanbase of “Kore Locos” along the way. Riding high off their last successful tour with Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper), the band also embarked last October on a National Headlining Tour entitled “The Vengeance Across America Halloween Tour”, which included a stop at the world famous Whisky A Gogo supporting Lizzy Borden on Halloween. With a new album in the works, Kore Rozzik is definitely a band to keep on your radar! You can follow Kore Rozzik and stay up-to-date with all upcoming news, as well as stream and purchase their music, via the following links:
You guys signed with Cleopatra Records in 2018 and released your debut full-length album ‘Vengeance Overdrive’. You have mentioned that you started writing the album with Andrei two years prior. Was the album essentially finished when you signed with your label?
Yes, it was in the can. It could of been released sooner, but I wanted to see who would be down to put it out. We wrote it in parts over the course of 2 years 2015-2017.
Having gone through a few line up changes over the years, the current line up seems pretty solid! How did Alex and Louie come to join the band?
So we got our first break with getting on the Rocklahoma 2016 bill. So we were looking for players to do the run. I had been talking to Alex for a while about playing with us. He was in LA at the time and he told Louie to give us a call. It was funny cause when he called I thought he was Alex. Funny thing is me and Louie knew each other from when I first got into the scene and he was in a different band. We used to play the same shows. Him and Alex had a band together called Cracked Alice that had just disbanded. So Louie came on board first and then eventually Alex joined around the summertime.
What led you to do the record in pieces, so to speak, going from a 3 song sampler EP, to a 5 song EP and ultimately deciding on a full-length album?
I always wanted to do a full concept record. I think the Kore name has been around for many years in NYC. I felt it was time to go official and big. So once we had 5 songs I said lets just do the idea I wanted from jump street. The songs naturally connected.
You have said that you had always wanted to do a concept album and that the idea for ‘Vengeance Overdrive’ was based on your personal experience in the NY music scene. Did you have the full idea for the album’s concept from the beginning or did certain songs and ideas inspire others? What do you love about concept albums that made you want to do one yourself?
At first probably not, but the songs have connections and then I just found ways to connect it. And then put a beginning (“Vengeance Overdrive”) and an end to it (“Guilty as Charged”). In the newest form of the Kore, I wanted the song to be stories and theatrical so it was just natural to do it like this. I love concept records because it tells a story throughout the whole record. It helps develop characters and personas within your band. I think it brings some importance to the record as a whole too. Instead of just having some random songs put together. You can still treat the songs as singles/individually, but together it makes a cohesive package. Concept record or not- I love listening to some classic records of yesteryear when you could listen to the album from front to back. And again they may not have been concept records per se but they still have a vibe/flow that kept your interest and attention through the whole thing. Many modern records/bands you find yourself liking the bands sound/vibe but you tend to pick a few and skip the rest.
You guys still operate in a very DIY way in many respects. What are some of the main differences for the band in operating with the backing of a label versus being unsigned?
At this point not too much. You have some financial assistance and help with producing the product and
distribution. But we still very much have our creative control at this point.
The band has been described as playing to a 21st century digital world while keeping one foot firmly planted in an era when music had more of a direct connection with fans. How do you reconcile the two, existing in a digital world while keeping those connections with your fans?
I think the internet allows us to keep in touch closely with our current small loyal fanbase. However I think that unless you know how to crack the code or have lots of marketing dollars its easy to still not get discovered by the other portion of the population. We are still working on how to crack the spotify code among other things. We just do our best to make an in person impression by performing solid every night and hanging with our fans.
You have said that, with regards to digital world and social media culture, that a lot of quality music can get lost in the shuffle due to the oversaturation of music online. How have you guys gone about overcoming this challenge to get your name and music out there?
We haven’t LOL. We hope to have a hands on publicist and radio promo guy for the next record. We just encourage our fans to tell their friends and so on.
You have released 2 official music videos for “Mistress” and ”Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, as well as some lyric videos. What can you tell me about the ideas behind the videos? How do you go about deciding which songs to do a video for?
I think it just comes down to what songs are popular and the most possible to deliver the vision with your resources.
I think overall “Mistress” is probably the best song the record. It has a great story and even then only so much of it was portrayed in the video. But I still like what we did with it. Some people thought it was violence against woman but the video is pretty tame and suggestive. That’s not our intention at all. We just wanted to tell the story and do it in a classic horror setting. “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” was my personal favorite and felt it was the most cross over track of the record. There was a lot of different ideas and the reality was there was no budget for the project. I shot it all in one day with my friends and it was what it was. However it’s honest. It’s not us pretending to be some million dollar band. So many bands try real hard to do that. There’s nothing wrong with looking larger than life and releasing something of quality. I think what some people like about the video is that its genuine. It shows a more fun and silly side of me and who cares. This allows us to do pretty much anything moving forward. The video does have a slight nod to mental health. I don’t think its making fun of anyone but just kinda saying have fun and embrace your crazy sometimes. We’re all bozos- ya know??
Having seen several posts of you guys at the gym, how do you stay healthy on the road, both mentally and physically? Do you keep healthy snacks with you on the road?
We got beef jerky and fig bars. I ‘m always drinking my Topo Chico (Mexican Mineral Water). We try our best to get sleep at hotels when possible. Do warm ups and stretch before the shows. I somewhat shut off whatever’s going on back home. I kind of disconnect and in many ways I enjoy that. It’s a vacation from that. I’m in this world now and I have to do what I need to do to survive and maintained focused and healthy.
You wrestled when you were younger and brought a wrestling component to your live stage show at your first KOREFEST with a pro wrestler friend of yours. You also incorporate a very theatrical component to your current live show with costumes and stage props! What are your goals for the future for your live shows? What do you ultimately want your live show experience to be like for your fans?
If possible I really would love to incorporate more props and different designs for the stage. Bigger TV’s, lights, smoke and podiums. I’d love to start having local actors and cosplay kids do guest spots at shows. Have local talent come up and play characters up there with us.
What can you tell me about KOREFEST and the kinds of bands you get to perform? How did the idea come about?
About 10 years ago I joined the NYC music scene. It was magical! It was a new chapter in my life. However it was kinda like High School all over again. I wasn’t being put on the big shows so I just started doing my own shows to showcase myself and book bands I liked. We’ve done 7 main Korefests, 2 Halloween specials and 4 Give Thanks or Die shows. That’s our end of the year holiday show we do in Queens, NY. Those shows are always my favorite of the year.
You have talked about plans to make a second album that will also be a concept album, but one that is more of a social album with a different kind of internal power struggle of either corrupting the youth or informing the youth. How did the idea for the second album come about and what can fans expect?
I don’t want to disclose too much because its all in the works now. But I just thought as its been going on 2 years since vengeance was released, we need that next step. Kore destroyed his enemies in NYC and did what he needed to do to get his place in rock. So it’s now time for him to leave NY and see the rest of the country. So he’s going to see things good and bad and have something to say about that. He’s going to leave NY and reflect on things-good and bad. Some of the songs I was writing have a more modern at times digital/trendy theme. So it’s just all coming together. I think it will be a very modern/social and personal hard rock record.
What’s next for the band?
Well I think everything is a little unsure with this pandemic of the Coronavirus. But the original plan was to do some weekend runs to markets for direct support slots and headlining events in return markets, while writing and recording the next record. Hopefully putting out a new song/video in the fall with a big tour and then release the new record by 2021. But lets keep our fingers crossed. We cant wait to get back to our Locos!