Genre(s): Death Metal/Hardcore
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Location: Philadelphia, PA
PSAB: Where did the band name “Kill The Stigmatic" come from exactly?
Ken: Back in 2007, I was the vocalist for a death metal band called Quartered. Before that, I played in a few bands but I had always played an instrument (Bass for Left to Vanish, Guitar for The Murder Capital, etc.) There was a difference in guitar writing styles between myself and Quartered, and I would write a lot of guitar riffs and song structures in my spare time that weren’t getting used and they were just kinda stuck in limbo, so when my brother (Andrew Karpinski, drummer, ex- Left to Vanish, ex- The Murder Capital) found himself without a band, we both jumped at the opportunity to play together again.
We wrote a handful of songs together without a bass player or singer, saw the potential to form a full band, and started looking for more members, but figured a name was probably a necessary next step. We wanted a name that wasn't simply a noun like The Somethings, or a generic paring of words like Tomorrow Dies Another Day, or something stupid. We wanted a name that made people say, "What's that name again?" because most people we've found don't use the word Stigmatic in everyday use. (A stigmatic is someone that experiences the wounds that Christ experienced on the cross in a spontaneous and paranormal like fashion like in the movie Stigmata.)
Ultimately, the name of the band comes from an episode of The X-Files, Revelations in season 3, where a stigmatic boy was being hunted by demons who's mission on earth was to KILL THE STIGMATIC. My favorite part about the band's name is that narrow minded assholes have taken one look at the band name and instantly wrote us off as satanic without even knowing us, and it literally happened the other day…had to put a bitch in check.
PSAB: Why did you choose the type of metal that you play?
Ken: We take an artistic approach as opposed to a direction that’s for a specific genre or style. Metal overall but we go for feeling more than anything really. Years ago, I coined a term locally to describe my old band, Left to Vanish, as “deathcore”. This was before the term deathcore became a blanket statement.
At the time, “metalcore” bands were on the rise and we were playing a lot of shows with those bands but the label “metalcore” never really worked for us, we had too many blast beats and lows, and heavier/darker overtones that seemed to surpass the “metal” and “death” made more sense. But when bands started coming out and saying that they were “deathcore” bands, I said “Hey if these bands are ‘deathcore’, I need a new name to describe my style” because it wasn’t the same.
Fast forward to present day, Andrew (aka The Ders) on drums and myself on guitar write the majority of the riffs, and Frank on Bass, who writes all of his bass lines, also writes a lot of song structures but the overall direction we go for is for feeling. We’ve described ourselves in the past as Blackened Death Grind Hardcore Metal Thrash…doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but it’s a great description. (We’ve also said we sound like a more hardcore Skinless, or a more death metal Between the Buried and Me.)
PSAB: You're currently unsigned, if you could be signed to any record label, which label would that be and why?
Ken: We very much locally grounded old heads (by age, not behavior). We all have fulltime jobs, half of us have kids, and KILL THE STIGMATIC, to us, is really a musical/artist outlet. Our vocalist, Ben (ex- The Blessed), like myself and The Ders, in the past played in bands that had high-hopes of success (label deals, tours, etc.) but today, I don’t see the need for a label.
Maybe help with distribution/marketing instead. All of our music is online and FREE (btw), and we don’t plan to tour extensively. We’ll play some out-of-state shows a handful of times a year but at the level were on, I don’t see the necessity. Although I love Relapse and Metal Blade, and how they work with their artists but for us, for now, we’re good. We’d just rather come to your town, blast your eardrums out and beat your ass in the pit.
PSAB: What is the local metal scene like in Philadelphia, PA?
Ken: Philly’s a weird town. It’s very pro-sports heavy, and doesn’t cater to local bands very well. Pay to play/ticket sales is rampant at the major venues but the people involved in the scene are great, and it keeps getting better. There’s a lot of underground metal, hardcore, and death metal; lot’s of great bands and the promoters for clubs in Philly and surrounding burbs are usually guys that play in bands so they try to keep it real. Not many all-ages shows though, which is a shame, and this is basically because all the all-ages venues from back in the day are gone or shutdown.
All ages shows are usually the major touring acts at the major venues, and a local band or two gets opens…and winds up paying out of pocket for the balance of the tickets they couldn’t sell. I once heard of a venue asking a local band to sell 100 tickets to open the show for Obituary and tour bill at $35 a pop, ridiculous. We even got stiffed by a venue for over $300 of money we hustled and earned by selling tickets and we never even got to play. That place shutdown recently, no chance of a refund in sight.
But what’s cool about local shows in Philly, especially now, is that the crew/gang mentality has seemed to pass. Everyone gets along, you can have mixed genre shows and no one gets shot, and everyone usually stays to see every band. When KILL THE STIGMATIC plays a show, regardless of given slot, we not only stick around for the show but we get the pit going, especially Ben and myself. I rate a show based on the pit. If no one moved, I’d say it was a lame show.
PSAB: Which bands play the most influence on your music?
Ken: I think overall we’re an odd mix of styles but we make it work. My favorite style of music is old school death metal like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Suffocation, etc. but I’m really into hardcore as well. When I’m on the train listening to tunes, I can easily switch from Carcass to Sworn Enemy, and from Cephalic Carnage to Cro-mags or Misfits.
Everyone in the band has this ability as well, and brings their own unique blend of personal taste. Guitar wise, for me, my major influences are Immortal, Dying fetus, God Dethroned, old Hatebreed, old Sworn Enemy, old BTBAM, Skinless, Carcass, and while holding onto my old school roots, Pantera, Slayer, old Sepultura, CC, and Deicide. But again we go for feeling, we write for ears and hearts…not heads and wallets.
PSAB: Do you have any shout outs to give to the readers out there?
KTS: Hells yeah!! Philly’s full of nothing but friends and our scene keeps it tight. What’s up too all our families, Scruffo, Armen, Ken, and Chris from Corpse Hoarder, Jordan, Mike, and crew from Assayer, Ian, Elisha, Chris, and John from Dark Waters End, and all our friends in Splitwig, Prosper or Perish, Supremia, I Am The Trireme, Dead in the Face, Cognitive, all the bands/crew at Surreal Studios, John Boyce, Dave Black, Keith Nolan, Frank Adams, John Blind Man, Jay Stringer, Ray Frank, Walt, anyone I forgot, beer, and cheesesteaks.
Questions answered by Ken, the guitarist of Kill The Stigmatic.