It isn't hard to miss Alex King when he's out and about at industrial or fetish events, probably because he rocks a foot-high multicolored Mohawk and a pair of goggles strapped to his melon. According to the 35-year-old musician and DJ, both help provide him with awesome powers when he's gigging with sociopolitical industrial/EBM band BlakOPz or spinning up dark electro at local clubs.
King, who performs as KILLtheALEX, was inspired to don the groovy safety specs from his love of the old 1980s cartoon M.A.S.K., which was one of the topics under discussion when Up on the Sun spoke with him recently. We also chatted about BlakOPz's newest albums, how the band has nothing nothing to do with the blockbuster shoot-'em-up video game of the same name, and the perils of having such a gigantic hairstyle.
Name: DJ KILLtheALEX
A.K.A: Alex King
Preferred genres: I typically spin industrial-edged hard dance, harsh EBM, dark electro, and a little terror EBM. I have also been found spinning electro, trip-hop and downtempo occasionally for fun. Just depends on my mood. I am far more comfortable with the industrial scene music.
Upcoming gigs: Resurrection at Palazzo on Friday, March 1. BlakOPz will be performing at the Resistanz Festival in Sheffield England on March 29-31. We are really excited to make it out of the states for that.
How did you get into the DJ game? I started to learn DJing from my bandmate in BlakOPz who started as a hard dance rave DJ. He used to go by the name Mindbender. He and I use a turntable to mix our songs live for the band, so he wanted to teach me how to jump up there and spin during our sets. At the time, we were doing more dance tracks than singing tracks. Once I jumped on I started to really enjoy crafting a set and figured this might be fun to do while I am not doing the band thing.
Explanation behind your DJ nickname: It's also my stage name in our band. The whole meaning behind came up years ago when MySpace was dominating the social networks. It's sort of a joke against the world. It means everyone is out to get me. Somehow it just sort of stuck and never really left me even after the rise of Facebook.
How did your first gig as a DJ go? My first real try was live on Mindbender's set a few times. I said to him, "Are you crazy?" He gave me the headphones and pointed out what I needed to do and I tried to match the beat and when I got it he said, "Congrats, you are a DJ." Which there was much more to learn.What's BlakOPz?
The band I am currently doing in the industrial scene. It's basically a mix of industrial, hard dance, dark electro and harsh EBM all mixed together. My bandmate Mindbender and I produce all of the music and I also sing. We like to talk about a lot of political issues in the United States and the world. We try to be current and address some of our feelings towards the issues going on in today's world.
How are things going with the band? We are signed to Deathwatch Asia out of Japan and also licensed here in North America by Vendetta Music. We just released our debut album Blood, Sweat and Fear on both of those labels. We are also currently working on our second release right now. It will [drop] this year hopefully around spring.
Ever play either of the Call of Duty: Black Ops games? I have and I play part two quite frequently. And, no, we have nothing to do with that game. We came up with the name months before we even knew it was coming out.
Where have you performed as a DJ? At a lot of venues new/old here in Phoenix. My first gig was at the old Black & Tan, which I played three or four times. I have played at Palazzo for TekNOIR, Sanctum for Fallout Shelter, Tranzylvania and various other events there. A few times at Anderson's Fifth Estate, Dani Danger's birthday party at Goat Head Saloon, and various other events around the Valley.
Do you have any DJ residencies? I have been asked to do a few residencies but due to my band being so demanding, it has been rather tough to do that. I generally just like to support the scene out here because I love the music, the people and want it to grow/thrive. I have a few DJ events coming up in the coming months that I cannot speak about just yet.
What's your preferred poison while DJing? Seems like for a while there, I was drinking a big glass of absinthe and then usually a few vodka Red Bulls after that. Absinthe wakes me up and makes me really into what I am doing. Other than that, some Jack Daniel's does me just right.
What's the biggest gig you've played with either BlakOPz or as a DJ? Well, as far as the band is concerned, we have played with some pretty big names, but I would have to say the gig we opened up for Suicide Commando in Denver. Suicide Commando had never played in the states and when we opened up the crowd was singing along with us and driven to a frenzy during our set. It was a great show and we were honored to be apart of it.
What's the craziest shit you've seen at a gig? The industrial scene can be rather tame and wild at the same time. As far as with the band, we were performing at a gig here locally for Devious Minds Productions for a fetish event. On stage we performed with a BDSM master who shared the stage with us. He was tying up two females to various fetish equipment -- one was a Saint Andrew's Cross -- and lashing them with a whip. Which came rather close to me while we all were on stage. It was definitely a BlakOPz first, as I had mentioned live. We had a great time and the sound at the Monarch Theater was impressive.
What's your mantra when it comes to DJing? If you are not pushing yourself into the uncomfortable zone live with DJ'ing you are not doing it right. It's all about taking risks and being creative. That's the funnest part. Mixing ain't always easy at first but it's definitely something that makes the whole thing worth while. Think outside the box and try new things. Make a themed Intro for your live sets to set your self a part from the sea of other DJ's. Most importantly, get into your set while you are spinning. People enjoy seeing someone who is into what they are doing.
Do you create your own mixes? I do have a few, but I spend days sometimes putting those together. I often have to figure out what the hell I am doing live. Which is fun and scary at the same time. I try to theme things around the event though sometimes, but it just depends.
What's your favorite track at the moment? I love the track "Get Rid of This Life" by Sleetgrout. I looked up the amount of plays for each song and that was the one I listened to the most in my player.
What other artists have been working their way into your set lately? Detroit Diesel, C-Lekktor, Nitronoise, Noisuf-X/X-fusion, and Die Sektor.
How big is your Mohawk? I have had it at different heights for about six years now. It's been up to 12-13 inches tall down to three inches. I have a love/hate relationship with my Mohawk. I love having it, but I hate putting it up. The taller the hawk, the harder it is to get out the door early.
What's with your goggles? I knew that was coming. The goggles are where I get all my powers of awesome. They enable me to be KILLtheALEX and finesse beats.
Were you inspired by Trent Reznor in the video for "Closer" bychance? You know, to actually [state] a specific reason why is hard. I have always loved goggles when I was younger. I was a bit too shy to actually wear them when I was younger. I can't actually think of a specific icon. Maybe it was because of some cartoon I forgot about, like M.A.S.K.
The one with the 1980s with transforming vehicles and whatnot? Yeah, I used to love that show. It was because it was like G.I. Joe with Transformers thrown in. Cool cars which every kid loves. It had a sort of James Bond feel too.
Would BlakOpz ever do an industrial cover of the theme? I don't know if we could make that work, but I know a band by the name of The Gothsicles, who would probably jump on that idea. They are a scene band that talks heavily about video games and cool older Iconic things like M.A.S.K..
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KILLtheALEX is scheduled to DJ during Resurrection on Friday, March 1, at Palazzo. More details are available on the event's Facebook page.