Interview with Daniel Dean Kingswell
Daniel Dean Kingswell is a guitarist for 3 death metal bands; Gastroschisis, Carnivorous Horde and Repugnance. He is also known for his Youtube channel Daniel Dean Kingswell. After receiving a BA Hons in Creative Media, he went on to work as a content creator on local TV programme Gadgets.
- Give me a few characteristics that truly describe you.
I guess one is being selectively impatient. If something doesn’t interest me I have no patience whatsoever. I’m also fidgety. I’m not a quiet person, so even if I’m simply talking to someone I’m playing with whatever I find on the table. However, at the same time, I’m not an anxious person. I am just energetic. Otherwise, I am able to take things calmly and with a pinch of salt.
- What dreams do you have, artistic or otherwise?
I’d like to be doing something that affects people positively in the future. I’m not aiming to do something that leaves an impact on the world. I don’t want to do something routine. I would much rather be doing something that actually affects people like what I do with film, film editing and media, something people can have a discussion about.
Musically, I don’t expect to ever be internationally known. I’d like to just be in a band in which everyone is enjoying themselves and which receives as much appreciation as it can. I would try to get the best possible out of it but I don’t want to have any unrealistic expectations.
- Was music the first art form you had indulged in?
I started with playing piano, which I did for 7 years, from around the age of 9. That time I picked up the guitar, as my brother bought one, and eventually taught myself to play it. As time passed, I gravitated towards the guitar because I felt like I was enjoying the guitar more, because not only was I able to teach myself, but also my piano teacher made me lose interest. After reaching Grade 6 in piano, I abandoned it to focus on the guitar. Later on, however, I began to slowly return to piano after buying a new keyboard.
The film and editing side of me grew from Garry’s Mod. It is great because you can edit characters into positions, create frames and build them into a comic. It’s essentially an editing programme. From there I went into Sony Vegas and then I learnt about green screen.
My passion for film really grew after Form 5 because my mother drew my attention to the possibility of studying it. After a year of studying networking at MCAST Paola, I took on a Creative Media course at MCAST.
- You are currently playing in 3 death metal bands. What do you find so fascinating about death metal?
I think it’s the niche aspect of it. When you enjoy something that other people don’t it has that certain appeal to it. It’s human nature after all. I enjoy it because it’s different. I was introduced to it by my sister, while growing up. What fascinates me about it is its heavy, aggressive sound. It gives me an energy that other genres don’t.
If someone dislikes the sound of death metal I honestly don’t blame them. After all, it’s an acquired taste. Usually, the reaction I get after introducing people to death metal is one of confusion and dislike. And I’m completely fine with it, because I really don’t expect them to understand it. But, then again, I hate reggae music. To me it just repeats itself with the same sound and beat. But at the same time I agree that more people prefer reggae to death metal. At the end of the day, one’s taste in music is personal. You either like the music or not. I just happen to be attracted to death metal.
- What prompted the comeback of Carnivorous Horde?
Well, we were never meant to stop as a band. When I was 15 years old, I started this project with a friend who became the vocalist. Then we brought in a bassist and drummer, and that was the conception of Carnivorous Horde. Later on, with the new vocalist we ditched all the old songs and came up with new ones. And then we played a bunch of gigs but eventually our drummer Kristian had to leave for a job in the UK. With his departure we went on hiatus, and everyone split up to go into different bands. It was at that time that I got to join Repugnance and started work on another band Gastroschisis with a friend. Eventually, Kristian returned and we slowly began to work on new material. We made sure that what we produced would have more planning put into it before execution. After growing up and collecting our different experiences from the different bands we were in, we could now do things properly. We spent a good 2 to 3 years refining our sound and finally the time has come to show it off.
- How do you feel about this comeback and what can people expect?
I am very excited for this. This is a band I created when I was 15 and the fact that we haven’t broken up is incredible to me. The feeling I get when playing with Carnivorous Horde cannot be matched. What started in my own house became what it is now, and so it has a sentimental value to it. Not objectively better, but still different.
They can expect more mature songs. Back then our songs weren’t very structured, it was mostly putting a bunch of riffs together. They were good and people liked it, but now we feel that it was amateurish. So we spent more time refining our style. We have also grown our patience, since we used to be more rushed to get more songs out there so that we could play gigs. Now we make sure we really have good music before setting out to play gigs. So, with all this in mind, I can say that people can expect a much better experience than what we could offer before.
- Which recurring metal event would recommend to someone who wants to explore the local metal scene, and why?
I wouldn’t recommend a recurring event, such as Shellshock or Extreme Metal Assault. In my opinion, festivals aren’t the best way to enjoy bands. I would say it is better to explore the scene by attending the small gigs of individual bands. They tend to go on for long hours and so you would get tired, which makes for a less enjoyable experience. If you attend the smaller gigs that occur, you will appreciate them more as the event would be shorter and so you can have more energy to enjoy listening to them. At least this is my opinion. If someone wants to get into the scene, I would suggest looking out for small gigs. It’s good to attend the festivals but in my opinion you would appreciate the smaller gigs more.
- What is it that you enjoy about playing covers with The Dodos?
It all felt like a breath of fresh air. I was used to playing metal gigs in which we were performing refined songs for 45 minutes, and it would feel like one big adrenaline rush. On the other hand with The Dodos I would be playing cover songs for 2 hours, and they are songs you can sing to and so the crowd sings along with us and everyone knows how the songs go. So it’s a more relaxed experience.
In a way the smaller crowd size makes me feel more intimate to my audience throughout the gig. A small crowd at a metal gig would be terrible because let’s face it, 3 people at a metal gig is nothing. You would only enjoy it because you love the music you’re playing but you would still feel disappointed. But with The Dodos, we would be playing in a quiet restaurant and you get those few couples who clap silently after each song.
- There was an instance in which a woman joined you on stage during her farewell party. Can you expand further on what happened and what was going through your mind at the moment?
That was a fond memory. And it truly shows the beauty of playing cover songs. I can play a song, and anyone who knows the song can join in. She happened to know how to sing the song we had ready, which was Let Her Go, and without any practice we managed to pull it off. It’s so easy and that’s why people love it. At the same time it was very satisfying for me because I was chatting and playing with someone I never met before and that feeling is very special and unique. The fact that anyone can join in and have fun is the beauty of being in a cover band.
- Is there ever a clash between all these different bands?
The only reason I manage to play in so many bands is because I truly want to. I wouldn’t be in any band if it wasted my time. The level of priority I give to each band depends on how close I am to the actual gig. I would balance the scales between each band so that I can give priority to where I am needed more while still showing enough dedication to the other bands. As long as you still show commitment, other priorities shouldn’t be an issue for the other band members. Because of my schedule I have many days in which I am driving from one rehearsal to another even after my work shift, which leaves me with little time for myself. So I segment my time correctly to make sure that my schedule allows me time for all my priorities, especially leisure.
I’ve been doing this for so long and I’ve never felt like quitting. I learnt that if it does make you happy you will definitely manage.
You have to be persistent and strict with the times in which you work and the times in which you relax. You need a dedicated time to do whatever you want liberally. This time gives you a breather so that you can later on deal with everything throughout the week. If you’re going to do so many things, just make sure you relax at some point in the week.
- Beyond music, you create content for your Youtube channel. How did it start?
It all started with Youtube parodies when I was quite young. My brother had a channel called “Shaunkings” and that was for Garry’s Mod videos. I uploaded one video, it got out of hand, and it ended up as my channel. My first personal channel came later with Richael Mosen. I got into parodies made of Michael Rosen, and I thought that after my experience with Garry’s Mod, I could use my skills on Sony Vegas to come up with my own parodies. The channel then became more popular which gave me satisfaction in making content that people were enjoying.
Then, with my more known personal channel, Daniel Dean Kingswell, I was making parodies of Maltese videos. There was an advert a friend of mine was in and I parodied it, thus creating my first video for that channel. Then when I reached 300,000 subscribers I checked to see who the latest subscriber was, just out of curiosity. And he had this one video of Dun Benit riding his bike and then juxtaposed with someone crashing on a bike. I looked up the rest of the Dun Benit video on Youtube and I thought that a priest swearing like a sailor would make a funny voiceover. And so I did that and woke up the next day thinking of how stupid it was. But when I showed it to my friends and they were dying with laughter. When I uploaded the video to Youtube, it surprisingly got a large number of views and shares.
It went from 10,000 to a 100,000 views. The subscriber count spiked. At the time, the creator of Dun Benit contacted me and warned me that he will take legal action if I don’t remove the video. Given that I wasn’t familiar with copyright laws and that I was also abroad at the time I decided to delete it. But the videos were saved nonetheless since many people downloaded them and then re-uploaded them.
- What is it that you enjoy in making Youtube parodies?
Essentially, I enjoyed the controversy of it all, and all the commotion it caused. So many people showed resent to videos containing foul language, especially to those showing a priest swearing. They even began sharing my videos and trying to make me feel guilty about what I do. It was fun and enticing to see my work cause all this commotion and discussion about something that was originally intended to make people laugh.
- Around 2 years ago you released a video following a complaint on the use of swear words in a parody video that wasn’t yours. What are your views on censorship?
That was essentially me talking about parents letting their children roam Youtube freely and without supervision, only to later on complain that they are seeing Maltese videos with swear words in them.
Everything can be joked about. If you do it with bad taste you will get negative feedback, but if done with good taste, the laughter will succeed over the negative comments. If you’re worried about the stuff you see on TV, whatever. Monitoring your children is your responsibility as a parent. You shouldn’t let a child on the internet on their own anyway, and filters should be used. People shouldn’t have to censor themselves just to avoid angering parents.
In my opinion, censorship makes no sense. If you want to create something that is very controversial, you should be allowed to do it. The consequences are what come after. But you have to allow all ideas to be expressed equally.
Apart from some censorship on television, which is a national platform and so should have some filtering to prevent young children coming across obscene content, I believe people should be allowed to express themselves however they feel on other platforms. So yes, you should be allowed to speak your mind liberally, so long as you can handle any consequences that come with your opinion.
- What message would you like to leave for the readers?
Never take life too seriously. What you’re doing is going to be forgotten. Everything you do will not matter in the long run. Don’t try to achieve something and think you’re going to change the world. For ages people have achieved great feats and even they have eventually become forgotten. At the end of the day we’re only here for a short time, and we shouldn’t spend our time trying to achieve the extraordinary. In a nutshell, whatever you do in your life, just make sure you’re happy doing it and don’t waste time doing otherwise.
Timothy Borg is a 19 year old University student who is studying dentistry. He has also taken up a passion for creative writing and music. His current instrument is the electric bass
© 2019 TIMOTHY BORG ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Background photo portrait of Daniel Dean Kingswell