Interview: Detain's Will K. on "Capital Punishment," Being the Hardest Band, and the "Fine Line of Cheesiness"

(Photo credit: Errick Easterday)
I got to speak with Will K. (above), guitarist of Michigan’s finest tough guy band, Detain. Read on to learn about the band’s normie jobs, what it’s like to be in the hardest band ever, Midwest Blood Fest, and more.
Who played the first Detain show? What influence did playing that show have on you?
“The first Detain show ended up being super last minute. Our drummer Justin booked Weekend Nachos in Grand Rapids in 2012 and the opening band dropped the day of. I had just started hanging out with the Detain guys and I was young, a senior in high school. Justin shot everyone a text and asked if we wanted to play, we only had 3 songs written and had barely practiced, but we ended up doing it. We opened up with Murdario Stomp by One Life Crew and I had never seen a room explode like it did that night. From the first opening note I was immediately hooked and knew that hardcore was going to be a huge part of my life forever.”
When you guys aren’t touring or making music, what are you usually doing?
“When we aren't writing or playing shows, we all work full time. We've got everything from an industrial painter to a claims adjuster for an insurance company, so we cover a broad spectrum of jobs. I'm about to graduate, and I do graphic design/social media for a radio station. A lot of people probably aren't aware of our backgrounds because we play some stupid ass music, but I like it that way.”

What are your favorite places to play shows?
“I'll give you my top three venues I've ever played:
1. The Sanctuary in Detroit, MI (RIP)
2. Borg Ward in Milwaukee, WI (RIP)
3. The D in Gary, IN
4. 1919 in DFW, TX (RIP)
5. Charm City Artspace in Baltimore, MD (RIP)
A lot of these places are closed now, and I'm grateful to have played these legendary spots.”
How do you feel about all of the hype around you guys being one of the “hardest/toughest” bands out there?
“I love it. My vision with Detain has always been to write the literal hardest songs I possibly can create while walking that fine line of cheesiness. There needs to be a little bit of cheese, but too much and you've got bullshit. Before we wrote Capital Punishment, we had an entire EP's worth of songs that we just threw out because they weren't good enough, and we knew it. We're meticulous with our releases and I think that helps us stand out from the pack of hundreds of heavy hardcore bands.”

What is your favorite Detain song, and why?
“My favorite Detain song is Capital Punishment. It started out as just a riff idea I demo'd out for everyone to hear, and I was skeptical about it. I sent it to everyone (it was that first opening riff) and I remember our bass player Corey saying, "Will... We literally have to use this in a song." That song is also special to me because nearly everybody played a part in its creation, and without everyone's input, it wouldn’t have ended up as strong as it is. That first riff is just a punch to the mouth. I love that.”
Trevor’s vocal style has changed a lot in this new release, which has consequently resulted in a lot of jokes (someone asked if you guys switched vocalists on Twitter and you replied “he became a man”). Has he changed influences or the way he does vocals at all?
“Hahaha, well, it all started on our tour after we released Feel the Blade. He had never done that many shows in a row, so he forced himself to learn a different way of doing vocals that wouldn't strain him out or cause him to lose his voice. Overall, it's turned out awesome. In my opinion, he has a unique blend of, like, Roger Miret from Agnostic Front, and hints of Rick ta Life (in a good way), and it just sounds hard. I also love Corey's backup vocals - That motherfucker can do anything with his voice, and he added some hard shit in the newest EP.”
Speaking of inspiration, what do you guys consider to be your strongest musical influences?
“Ever since I really started writing for Detain (before the release of SOE), it's been older East Coast bands. Everything from Troycore bands, like Dying Breed and War Time Manner, to bands like Merauder, Irate, Terror Ave., Built Upon Frustration, E Town Concrete, all the way to Dying Fetus and Suffocation. I've always loved the heavier side of hardcore (and obviously death metal) and those bands just resonate with me. Blending hard, groovier riffs with death metal ideas is what I love to do. Now that we're writing for future releases, I've lately been on a big One Second Thought, Denied and Bulldoze kick, and the songs we've been writing reflect that.”

Detain is going to be playing Midwest Blood Fest 5 early next year, and you guys also happened to play many previous years. How is that experience for you?
“This will now be our 4th year in a row playing MWBF, and it's become a yearly tradition. Alex and Ryan don't even need to ask me if Detain is playing, it's always an automatic yes. Our sets keep getting crazier and crazier, and I don't know when the peak of our outlandishness will occur - hopefully never. I expect nothing less than utter chaos during our set, and I hope everyone is excited to watch us again.”
What are some of your favorite bands right now?
“Current bands that I'm big into are Freedom, Invoke, Breaking Wheel, Dead Heat, Creeping Death, Code Orange, God's Hate, and nearly every band from South Florida. I'm especially into Freedom right now- those guys have become some of my best friends, and their new 7", Never Had a Choice, will go down as a modern hardcore classic. Amazing band with unreal live energy.”

Do you guys have any big plans coming up (aside from MWB), like tours, fests, recording, etc.?
We're writing right now for a release that I'm going to keep under wraps for the time being because it's early in the development stage. We've got the Freedom record release in Detroit on 12/29 and FYA on 1/6/18, then MWBF in February.
Detain is gonna keep on doing what we do best; hardcore.


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