King Complex is a duo, formed in Tallahassee, by musicians Bracher Brown and Cody Doss. Their mix of electronic-infused rock is highlighted on their self-titled EP. I got the chance to sit down with the two along with their manager, Sean Bucheck, before they perform at Swamp Records Showcase on April 19th.
Where does the name King Complex come from?
Doss: As a person that came in after he [Brown] had come up with the name... I think that the first EP and the music that’s out there is very dark, and it seems like it’s coming from someone who maybe is hungry for power, or for more in their life, whatever it is. The name makes sense to me thematically for what the lyrics mean.
Brown: I think a lot of it seems very intentional. People that zoom into it seem to be able to find a lot in it. I always feel bad because it’s just kind of like a happy accident. But, I think it also helps to not sit there and really, and this might be hypocritical because [Cody] might disagree, be like “It has to mean this thing.” When you’re open to making something and then letting yourself figure out what it means after the fact, that’ll open a lot more possibilities
Your trademark, along with the suits, is that masks that you wear on stage. How did that happen?
Doss: We still don’t remember the actual moment that we were like “ah, that’s a great fucking idea”. But, I think Bracher mentioned wearing suits, so we started that. The Beatles came up in the conversation at the time. The mask thing, as weird as it is, naturally evolved in our conversation, and here we are.
Do they represent something?
Brown: I don’t know how intentional any meaning was upon the conception. I think what I hear the most is generally people will tend to interpret it as an attempt to take away from the individuals on stage and try to make it more of an experience or about the show, about music.
Doss: I hope that it eliminates the ego in the art.
So, anyone that’s seen you perform doesn’t know what your face looks like?
Brown: The first moment that at least I realized that we probably have to keep doing it was when one of us was walking out around outside a show and overheard somebody ask if the guys in the masks were coming, which I thought was really cool because it was one of us. I guess you forget that you’re wearing a mask and that it’s going to have that effect. I was in Tallahassee walking into a Jersey Mike’s and this girl is walking out in one of our T-shirts. I’ve never had that happen, and in my head, I felt like the coolest dude in Tallahassee for a least these five minutes. So, I walked up to her and said “Hey, nice shirt,” and she looks at me, and I don’t know what I could have been that would have been more disgusting to her, but she just goes “Thanks,” and kept walking. I was dumbfounded, and then I realized she probably had no idea what my face looks like.
Do you like the mystery behind it, or do you think it would be cool if people recognized you on the streets?
Doss: Artistically, I love it Just a sense of I think it’s doing something good for music and for the world that we’re trying to create, but also as a person doing it it’s fucking great. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve definitely made a habit of going around shows right after we get off and pack up, and if I happen to hear people talking about the show I’ll kind of nudge in and try to get a realistic, non-biased view on what they think happened.
Your last release, your self-titled EP, was unique in that it had a mix of electronic and blues-rock. Is that the sound that you are going to stick with going forward?
Brown: With our next release, it’s going to be somewhat of a departure, but I think the essence of what that recording was. l think that energy and the basic format of it are still there. Speaking for the genre, I think it definitely goes into a different world.
Doss: So far it seems like the thing that’s remained consistent is that is has been electronic and it has had sort of like a rock edge and grittiness. But, I think that within the electronic and the basic rock attitude, we will be exploring different genres.
Do you have any plans as of now for future releases?
Doss: Yeah, we’ve recorded our second album and it’s currently being mastered. All of the nitty-gritty stuff is done and it’s finally in the last stage. Hopefully, pretty soon, we’re going to release the second phase of King Complex.
What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
Doss: To me music as an entity does two main things. I think it brings people together, which is great, social interaction is diminishing. And I also think that it brings people into the light. The reason that I love music so much, and that everyone loves music, is because we hear it and it really catches your attention. It can capture your attention so much that it brings you to another space in your head, and that I think is extremely powerful. My only hope through music is just to bring people into a more thoughtful mindset.
Brown: I would definitely agree with that. You just kind of hope that the general feel of what you’re promoting is some form of acceptance, and individuality, and is thoughtful. Growing up, and still, you hear music and it does this crazy shit to you as a person… I listen to music and I feel inspired, and I think if you can have that effect on somebody else that would be fucking sweet.
Do you have any pre-show rituals that you might use before Showcase?
Doss: I do, I don’t think he does. I usually start boxing a little bit –
Brown: Yeah, he’ll start slapping the shit out of me.
Doss: I smack him around a little bit. I usually do runners. I just try to get physically warmed up. We have a song that plays to give us the amount of time to put the suits on, so as soon as the suits are on, I basically just try to fuck around as much as possible.
Brown: Every show we get ready … and then Sean will, without fail, open the door of whatever room we’re in, he’ll poke his head in, and he will say…
Bucheck: Don’t fuck this up for me.
Brown: Every single show.
Does it work?
Brown: So far, we have not fucked it up.
Recently, there’s been a pretty big debate on whether pineapples belong on pizza or not. Where do you stand on that?
Doss: That’s a great question.
Brown: I just don’t understand how some stupid trivial shit becomes such a crazy Internet thing –
Doss: It’s not trivial, that’s like the only fruit that is put on pizza.
Brown: It’s a trivial issue, though.
Doss: Pineapple belongs on pizza.
Brown: I don’t know, fuck it. If that’s what you like, I don’t give a shit. You do you. Who am I to stop you?
Doss: Man, it complements the flavor of the pizza.
Brown: I’ve never had it, but I feel like it wouldn’t be that bad. I don’t want to take a deviled stance –
Doss: You’ve never had pineapple on pizza?
Brown: I just support whatever you want to, I don’t want to make heat waves for pizza –
Doss: Here’s my big thing. You’ve got the chili flakes, and you pour that on your pizza, and then you have this nice spicy-sweet thing going on.
Brown: Is that what people do when they put pineapples on?
Doss: That’s what I do. I give mine a pretty good amount. It’s not my favorite.
Bucheck: Pineapples belong on pizza.
Brown: Also meats and some veggies are cool. Onions are cool. Some mushrooms are cool.
Doss: Also, if you put Szechuan sauce on the pizza –
Bucheck: Get the fuck out!
Doss: That’s what it’s all about.