With electrifying energy on stage and flowing locks of hair, Kings Peak are some seriously accomplished metal musicians that know how to entertain. Coming from someone who doesn’t normally listen to heavy metal music on her own… this band was great! I remember thinking when I saw Kings Peak perform for the first time….”They have the total package.”
King’s Peak is comprised of Gerrick Dastrup on vocals and guitar, Drew Beacco on vocals and guitar, and Brady Dastrup on drums.
One thing I love about going to both the Undiscovered Artists series and Battle of the Bands at MadLife Stage and Studios is the exposure I get to a vast variety of music styles that I might not normally listen to or even give a chance. Such was the case once again with the new-to-the-Atlanta-music-scene Kings Peak. I’m not alone — they won first place performing performing in Madlife’s Battle of the Bands back in July.
I particularly like hearing the harmonies in their acoustic version of “Morrigan”…
Their latest single, “Paradigm“, was released in April of this year. According to the band, the basic premise of the song is that not everyone wins their battles, that sometimes we give up the fight. Though delivered with powerhouse lyrics and riffs, it’s definitely not a “and they lived happily ever after” song.
Originally from Utah, this band recently relocated to Atlanta and when I asked the band why they chose the music scene in Atlanta, this is what drummer Brady Dastrup had to say.
“In a nut shell, it’s what felt right. It’s geographically in a good spot as it’s close to other major cities like Nashville, Orlando, Memphis, etc. We had originally thought about cities out west like Los Angeles or Seattle. But the cost of living was too high and we just didn’t see that working out. Someone mentioned Atlanta and it just felt good. “Peaceful” would be the word I’d use. So we packed up, said our goodbyes, and we’re eastbound and down.
Gerrick and Drew were out here 6 months before I could come out. I had to sell the house and my wife and I had our first kid before we could move. Kind of a long story, but an interesting one! Every great band has had to move and sacrifice the comforts of home and family for their dream to come true. Following in their footsteps just made sense.”
Libro Musica is excited to introduce you to these talented musicians and we hope that you will make a point to find them playing locally in the near future.
My interview with Brady Dastrup, Drummer for Kings Peak
At what age did you begin playing music? Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
We all started pretty young. Drew was taking guitar lessons and taught Gerrick a few chords and he ran with it. I taught myself to play the drums. It helped that I had a few friends that all had drum kits to bash on growing up.
What instruments do you know how to play?
Gerrick can play guitar, bass, a smattering of banjo and a few other stringed instruments, also the Tuba (it was his first instrument). Drew also is a guitarist and also knows bass. Singing was his first love, though. I know how to play drums, cymbals, the clarinet, the recorder (my first instrument), and a little bit of guitar and bass.
When did you write your first song? What was it called and what was it about?
If I remember right, it was a song called “Sea King.” It was about a guy dueling with Poseidon/Neptune. We still play that one live every once in a while.
What were you like in high school and would you go back and redo it if you could?
High School was an interesting time for us as it is with everyone. And we’re glad to be out of there. The thought of going back to high school sounds awful. I kept to himself for the most part, listening to Rush albums and reading Lord of The Rings. Gerrick was pretty big into art classes and still draws and paints today. Drew was a quiet guy. He sang in Madrigals and choir. We’ve known each other since middle school, though.
Who are your musical influences?
Oh boy… This is a very long list. But the major influences are: Metallica, Rush, Pantera, Down, Black Label Society, Mastodon, Dream Theater, ZZ Top, old Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ozzy, Black Sabbath. Those were all the big ones when we first started playing together when we were 14-15.
When people hear your music, who do you hope it reminds them of?
I’m not sure. It’s something we’ve never really thought about. People tell us that Metallica is a pretty obvious influence. So, we’ve always taken that as a compliment. But I would hope that it would remind people of the music that they love to hear.
What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
The first album I remember buying was Vapor Trails by Rush. Changed my life forever. Drew’s was Weathered by Creed and Gerrick’s was Master of Puppets by Metallica.
What was your most recent addition to your personal music library?
Most recently I’ve bought the new Ghost album called Prequelle, and the newest Between the Buried and Me albums. Gerrick has been digging Post Malone’s Beerbongs and Bentley’s. Also Chris Stapleton’s A Room, Vol. 1. Drew’s latest purchases include Ghost’s Meliora, Hardwired to Self Destruct by Metallica and Emperor of Sand by Mastodon.
What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
My first rock concert was Black Label Society at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, Gerrick’s was Metallica at the Usana Amphitheater in Salt Lake City and Drew’s was Chris LeDuex at The Sun Bowl in St. George, Utah. Which was Chris LeDuex’s last show ever.
If you could cover one album in your music library which would it be?
This is probably the most difficult question for us. There are simply too many good albums that mean so much to us. But a few honorable mentions would be: Crack the Skye by Mastodon, Vapor Trails by Rush, or any Metallica or Pantera album. Gerrick also mentioned No More Shall We Part by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
What artist(s) do you wish more people had in their music library?
I think I can speak for everyone and say that everyone needs to hear the genius that is Tom Waits. But any artist that has had an impact on us we would be more than happy to share with people.
What’s the origin of your band’s name? Have you changed the band’s name before?
The name of our band is Kings Peak. We named it after the tallest mountain peak in Utah, which is
We had a hard time coming up with a name for a bit and decided to name it after a cool mountain or something there. Kings Peak stuck.
What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
I’d classify our music as metal/hard rock I guess. Our influences include: Metallica, Mastodon, Rush, Pantera, Black Sabbath and Ozzy are the big ones.
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
We’ve known each other for years. Gerrick and I are brothers and Drew has been our friend for close to 15 or 20 years. We’ve been playing in various projects since we started playing our respective instruments.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
We started playing as Kings Peak in November of 2011. Metallica is the band that made us want to play music together. Eye of The Beholder was the song that made Gerrick suggest it. We were just sitting in a friend’s room listening to “…And Justice for All” and that song came on. Gerrick looked up and said, “We should start a band.” I think we were around 14 at the time.
What can you tell me about your instruments? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?
I think our choices in the brands of instruments we play was based off of the musicians and bands we looked up to growing up. For me, Lars Ulrich played Tama drums and Zildjian cymbals. Neil Peart did for many years as well. They sounded amazing and that was enough for me. Gerrick was drawn to Gibson and ESP and Marshall because of James Hetfield and Zakk Wylde. Drew has been a Fender and Mesa Boogie guy for a while but his main bass is a Cort that sounds amazing. Sound is most important to us, so that’s what we look for first. Build quality is also very important. You don’t want stuff coming out of tune or a cymbal stand to fall over while playing. We feel like we’ve found our instruments and are loyal to them even though we aren’t sponsored or anything by them.
Where have you performed? What are the local venues that we might find you playing the most often?
You can catch us at the Masquerade in Atlanta, The Earl and the 529 are a couple other places in Atlanta. We also play in Athens at the Caledonia Lounge. But we’ll play anywhere and with anyone. We aren’t picky.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?
We play original songs for the most part in our shows. Every once in a blue moon we’ll play a cover tune from one of our influences. We’ve covered Bark at the Moon by Ozzy, As I Sat Sadly by Her Side by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, also Thirsty Dog by the same to name a few.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
The songs are a collective effort of all the members of the band. Lyrics are usually the work of one individual, but the music is collective. We write about things that around us. Or maybe questions we have about the universe or the state of the world. Sometimes it’ll be more of a story-based lyric, but it’s still has a thread of a question or circumstance that has been weighing on our minds.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
It all starts with a riff. And we’ll jam this or that riff and marry two or three together and see if they work. Once we get the bones and basic arrangement we start nit picking the details. Lengthening or shortening sections. Maybe cutting something out completely or writing new parts till it feels good. Then we marry some lyrics to it that fit the mood of the music and there you have it.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Our rehearsals usually consist of preparation for a gig or writing new music. We get together at least twice a week for a few hours. And outside of that, we try and practice our respective instruments as often as possible.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
I think that with every band when you first start writing the songs are kind of chaotic and sporadic. You don’t really care because you’re just excited to play. We’ve always tried to be aware and conscious of a melody to string everything together. Since we’ve worked that out of our systems (hopefully at least) we’ve been even more conscious of trying to write great songs. We’ve just taken what we like to hear in music and streamlined it and try and make the songs flow better between sections.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Our biggest challenge as a band? I’m not sure, actually. Maybe finding the right line up and getting our music out in front of people. Finding committed people who all want the same thing and are dedicated to that goal isn’t always easy to find. But we believe that the guys that are in the band are the guys that all share that vision. We moved out here from Utah…that has also been a challenge for us. Back there, we felt that we had gone as far as we could. Like we had “out grown the pond” so to speak. Moving out here has had its rewards but also its setbacks. We dropped in with no real fan base and not knowing anyone or the area. So, getting our feet wet out here has been a big step, but we’re getting our name out there.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band?
The most important thing to us is to write good music and to have that music for posterity. That being said, we’d love it if we could have the fame and fortune that goes with the dream of “rockstar.” We love to play music and to play it for people. And the feeling of hearing a crowd of people yell and cheer and dig your music is pure elation. Seriously, the best kind of high you can have.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
I would advise them to stick to their plans and believe in what they’re doing. If you don’t believe in it why would anyone else? Practice hard and LISTEN to music. Learn all kinds of music, stray away from your favorite genre and find the good music that is in all genres.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for their support?
There is a very long list of people that have supported and continue to support us. Their belief in us is a huge factor in keeping this train rolling. Our wives and families are the best support we have, and we can’t thank them enough for their support, patience and sacrifice on our behalf so we can play our music.
Any last words? What do you want people to know about you?
What do we want people to know about us? That we appreciate their support and interest in music — and our music in particular. It means the world to us.
Artist: Kings Peak
Venue: Madlife Stage & Studios
Locale: Woodstock, Georgia
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Event: Battle of the Bands
Photography: Carey Hood of Just A Fan Photography, for Libro Musica