Dave Khan is the lead guitarist and vocalist for the mythical Canadian metal band Scythia. The group recently released a hysterical music video for the song “Bear Claw Tavern” which has been racking up hits via YouTube.com. Media Mikes spoke with Dave recently about the formation of the band, their upcoming album titled “Into the Storm” and how the idea for their successful video came about.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how the band started?
Dave Kahn: The band began in 2008 with me and a guy I went to college with. It really all started out as a joke. We quickly found out after doing some shows that we had some catchy material that people liked. We decided to keep some of the fantasy elements we were using but also to become a bit more serious about doing the band. We have a good selection of rowdy tavern music and progressive metal songs because we suffer from a bit of an identity crisis at times. (Laughs) We try and unite those two things with a common denominator be it a melody or something that ties the song to the band.
AL: How did you go about finding members who were interested in doing a band like this?
DK: The funny thing about that is it never happened through the usual channels like musician postings or things like that. When we did put out postings we never found anyone who was on the same page with what we wanted to do. It was more just us getting out there and doing are thing. Initially it was people from college which was a bit chaotic at times as we all came from different backgrounds. Everyone was throwing in different styles which caused a lot of pull. When someone left the group I tried to replace them with someone I knew. I would try and find people who were from outside of our group and familiar with the band. I was looking for people who didn’t look like typical metal heads.
AL: What was it that interested in the fantasy concept?
DK: I have grown up with a great love for fantasy books, movies and games. It has always been a secret side life of mine. I felt the band was the best medium for giving that side of me some attention. I wanted to get up there and creatively show off these ideas I had in my head. Within the last few years in popular culture it has become ok to be a nerd. People are now embracing fantasy stuff and making it socially acceptable and cool.
AL: Can you give us some background on the bands upcoming album?
DK: People wanting to check out the new album can stream a couple of the songs via our band camp page and on CD Baby. We don’t’ want everyone to hear the entire album just yet as we want to make sure that info about the album is out there and we want to have a solid release date. We are almost set to start taking pre-orders and currently have two singles out. “Bear Claw Tavern” and “Into the Storm” are available now.
AL: How does the creative process work for you guys/girl?
DK: I and Terry are the primary story/song writers. This album has had more collaboration than our previous ones as in the past we would write on our own and then bring things together and add in the instrumentation. This time Terry camped out at my house and we both sat in front of my pro tools rig and we did everything together. This was far more collaborative. The other two band members provided input as well but they didn’t do as much of the creative work.
AL: Tell us how the idea for the “Bear Claw Tavern” video came together?
DK: On our last release we had sort of a drinking song on there called “For the Bear”. That song got people excited especially when we were doing shows in North America. People really got in to it and I knew we needed to do something big. At the time we were shooting a video that I think we paid $250 for and after that we said that for the next video we wanted to shoot one at a tavern. The more we thought about it we realized that people who watch videos want to watch ones that are good. We knew we didn’t want to do another video like the one we had just done. I went and talked to Director Richard Olak because I knew he had an idea about fantasy. Now when I started this I never realized how much things could cost. Richard brought me up to speed on things and I explained to him that this was something we had to do. He brought up the idea of crowd sourcing and ultimately that is what we did. We raised about $2500 through Indiegogo.com. That money allowed us to get a start on things so we gave it to Richard and told him to just run with it. Just before we were set to start shooting Richard came to me and told me that the only time the tavern could give was from 12am to 12pm on a holiday. He told me that he had to basically ditch his entire story line due to the tavern only being available at that one time. That was something that I didn’t want to hear. (Laughs) Richard told me he had all the actors and crew coming and that they would figure something out on the fly. I was a bit hesitant that this was going to happen without any issues. I ended up being completely wrong as things went great! We got there and Richard told us to just rock our asses of. That’s what we did and they were able to get our stuff done in about 3 takes. We saw some of the characters on set beforehand but didn’t really have an idea what they were going to be doing. After taking a break we came back to set and everything in the place had changed. There was a little person running around with a hot dog trying to give it to a wizard! (Laughs) I knew then that the video was going to be really cool. We sat and watched the rest of the shoot which was really great. Everyone who worked on this video was really awesome.
AL: Besides the release of “Into the Storm” what other plans does the band have going in to 2014?
DK: We are in the process of booking a tour which will take us through Canada and the United States. Unfortunately it is going to keep us more towards the western half of those countries for now. We are also working on some festival in the east which will hopefully give way to some shows in Philadelphia and New York. After the release of the “Bear Claw Tavern” video we have been getting requests to go all over. We would love to make all those requests happen but in order to drive to some of these places is not always feasible as it’s quite of an investment. We are also looking to tour Europe this year as well.
For more info on Dave and his band Scythia you can check out their official website at www.scythia.ca