Mark, Christopher, & Morgan

Kill the Reflection at the HiLo Club, OKC

The Interview

The Interview

Kill the Reflection front­man Morgan Routt took time out after the band’s recent shows at the HiLo Club, Blue Note Lounge and the city of Guthrie’s Zombie Bolt 5K to answer some ques­tions. [Sidenote: Thanks to the Morgan Routt for putting me on the guest list and clear­ing photo per­mis­sions with the other per­form­ers at the HiLo show.] Here are his answers, plus pic­tures from KTR’s mid-October show at the HiLo, where they head­lined fol­low­ing Psychic Milk and Kali Ra.

KTR’s lat­est release Together … Apart … is avail­able at Amazon and iTunes.

Mercury Photo BureauWhat was your 1st instru­ment, and why did you start play­ing it?

Morgan RouttThe first instru­ment I ever played was the keyboard/​piano, mainly just fool­ing around with the record­ing fea­ture. I got my first gui­tar when I was 15, and it has been a labor of love ever since […]. She never talks back and she is always there for me.

MPBWhat’s your ear­li­est mem­ory of music?

MorganMy ear­li­est mem­ory of music [was] when I used to roll around with my mom in her Nova as a kid [and] she would sing to me. Anything from Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox and espe­cially the Beatles. My first con­cert ever was The Monkees and Weird Al Yankovic. First tapes I ever got for Christmas were The Monkees, Elvis and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall (I loved that damn tape).

Morgan (I)
Morgan (I) — Kill the Reflection, HiLo Club, Oklahoma City

MPBHow did you meet [drum­mer] Christopher Stevens and [bassist] Mark Martinez? What are their musi­cal back­grounds, pre-KTR?

MorganI met Chris when I was young, around 17, through some mutual friends [who] I was couch-sit­ting for. He seemed out­ra­geous enough for me to hold on to, and I am glad I did; he is an amaz­ing soul and 1 of the best drum­mers I have ever known. We could tell you some crazy stories!

I met Mark though Chris and his friends, early 2011, and we seemed to have […] the same sit­u­a­tions [affect] us at the same times, and had that link imme­di­ately, so he under­stood the music at that point very well, and wanted to be a part of it. He picked up the bass and all 3 of us were prac­tic­ing upwards of 4 – 5 times a week for the bet­ter part of the year, and decided to take it to the stage.

Chris had been in sev­eral bands before; he was the lead singer for Hookworm back in the day (and they were sick!). He was also the drum­mer for Stellar Chromatic before claim­ing his throne in KTR.

Mark was a band man­ager and road dog for the band Otis and was more part of the book­ing and busi­ness aspect of that band; we are glad to have him on this side of the fence now because we are writ­ing some new fan­tas­tic things as a 3-piece.

MPBIs this your 1st band?

MorganI was in a garage band as a kid called Anavrin (I’ll let you fig­ure that one out). [Sidenote: Try spelling it back­ward.] I was a […] one-man [Trent] Reznor [in] the early days, learn­ing to mix and use sam­ples, real DIY. I came up with the con­cept of KTR in 1999, and it was more electronic/​industrial that later adapted trip-hop, and has become the 3-man machine that it is now. Dirty-yet-lov­ing “Post-Punk”?

MPBTell me about the doc­u­men­tary being shot by Patrick George. Any bits you hope wind up on the cut­ting room floor?

MorganThe doc­u­men­tary […] is very much in its sperm stage; we are still wait­ing on the Barry White to chime in before we say much more. Although our main focus will be behind-the-scenes with KTR, our encoun­ters with nice and evil people.

I want it to be like a vir­tual tour, try­ing to make it in the OKC scene, with all its beau­ti­ful ameni­ties and prob­lems. It will tell our story as a video biog­ra­phy but it will also tell the story of how the 3 of us are matur­ing together as artists. What to watch out for and how oth­ers have reached out their hands to help, etc. … We will have lots of live per­for­mances at our favorite spots on the DVD.

MPBWhen can we expect to see the music video [that you shot with Jonathan Shahan] — or are you still work­ing on that?

MorganThe music video […] is still a go, but as of now we have no date on that. We will be work­ing with many new glo­ri­ous video peo­ple and should have a few videos for you in 2013.

Christopher (I)
Christopher (I) — Kill the Reflection, HiLo Club, Oklahoma City

MPBWhat’s the ori­gin of the band name?

MorganWhen I was 19, I came up with the name Kill the Reflection; I was young and very upset with the world at this time […]. I guess I kinda blamed myself for every­thing, and it seemed to me I was becom­ing just as much of a f*ck-up as my father had been for me. I did not want to be a reflec­tion of his mis­takes; I wanted to come full cir­cle and cor­rect the past […] by cre­at­ing a bet­ter future. […] Every time I [looked] in a mir­ror I [saw] him look­ing back, and it made me very angry. Despite all that I was inside, I am not that man, and I just wanted to kill the reflection.

It is also a term used in pho­tog­ra­phy, to paint some­thing dark to cut out the reflec­tion (to dull it down). I also read some­where that Countess Elizabeth Báthory [de Ecsed] had all of her mir­rors removed from her cas­tle because she was tired of see­ing her own aging reflection.

I liked all these ideas, and wanted to keep the name a bit cryp­tic [like] the metaphors I use in song writ­ing, so that any­one can apply their own sit­u­a­tions and make them fit. That is where the term music for bro­ken peo­ple comes from. It is all med­i­cine and anger man­age­ment. It is what­ever you want it to be.

MPBYour press mate­r­ial describes you as alter­na­tive/­post-punk/rock, all pretty broad cat­e­gories. Who are your influences?

[Answer includes a lengthy list; click below to see — ed.]

MPBHow has your music changed since the band’s formation?

MorganThe music has changed a lot since ’99 and has changed a bit more since the 3-piece con­ver­sion. This is […] expected; we all have dif­fer­ent styles and projects in mind. I can write and record an elec­tronic song just as well as I can a rock song. We mul­ti­task. The more we [grow] together, the more influ­ence each of us [has] on the sound. The new EP is gonna reflect this, and we could not be happier.

MPBDoes each band mem­ber offer songs for con­sid­er­a­tion, or is that pri­mar­ily 1 member’s job? Who writes the lyrics? Are the songs mostly fin­ished before pre­sen­ta­tion to the band, or are they sig­nif­i­cantly refined in rehearsals?

MorganWe share every­thing, down to our last beer. The first album con­tained some older revamped songs that I had writ­ten when I was 19 – 20, so they were upwards of 12 years old. We just made them new again; they were too good to let go of.

When we write new songs together, most of it is […] on the fly. One of us will just get into a mood, in between songs at prac­tice, and start [a] chord, and we all just come in blindly […]; we get either turds or dia­monds […]. Other times, Mark may have a bass-line idea that he has been work­ing on, or Chris a drum pat­tern, or I a gui­tar riff, and we build on it from there.

I write most of the lyrics, but Chris is a won­der-poet in his own right, and has con­tributed greatly to the lyrics, as well. [In] the newer music you may hear me sing an entire song of Chris’s lyrics, and Mark might be singing on there as well. You never know.

The pur­pose of the 3-piece is to not be one sided with KTR, as it had been in the past. We all have a voice and work together in KTR; we are a fam­ily.

Mark (I)
Mark (I) — Kill the Reflection, HiLo Club, Oklahoma City

MPBIf you couldn’t make music, what would you do instead?

MorganIf Chris didn’t do music, he would […] be a pro­fes­sional skate­boarder-wine taster-poet. Mark might be a busi­ness mogul [or] in pub­lic rela­tions (he is good with peo­ple). I would be the owner of […] var­i­ous restau­rants and spe­cialty shops that cater to the bizarre; that is, if I couldn’t be a movie direc­tor-wine connoisseur.

MPBTime for “Redeem a Song.” Name a song, pos­si­bly a suc­cess­ful 1, that doesn’t com­mand respect — that you might hes­i­tate to admit lik­ing — and tell me why you think it’s a good song.

MorganHello, It’s Me by Todd Rundgren. I chose this song because I always play it at the juke­box when I’m “in the zone,” and it takes me to a place that feels very com­fort­able. It is a beau­ti­ful song and I feel I [must have] played it on repeat in a past life; maybe it’s an 8-track sui­cide song from my past.

I am never afraid to admit I like songs; hell, I had the maxi-sin­gle to Jordy [Lemoine]’s It’s Tough to Be a Baby when I was a kid.

MPBThanks for tak­ing time to answer my questions!

MorganThank you, Chris, for every­thing you do! We appre­ci­ate every inch of your being and fiber!


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About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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