King Dice offer a new adventurous and novel addition to the local stage. Featuring George Lacatus (keyboards, vocals) and Zach Vernon (drums, vocals) the duo has a penchant for art and punk rock as well as video games and they fuse their novel influences into their debut EP being released this weekend.
“I first started playing locally around 2013 in a band called Lexical Gap that didn’t really take off but offered some experience under my belt,” recalls Lacatus. “We played a few times at places like Homegrown Hamilton and Baltimore House. I took piano lessons since I was six years old and did that for 14 years until I stopped. The skills never really went away so now here I am with this project. We met through a mutual friend at a party but it took a couple of years before we started in our other bands but we were always aware of each other’s work. We didn’t decide to do a project together until 2018. Zach and I have been into the underground scene of bands like the Silver Apples, Death From Above 1979, Suicide and we wanted to do something that could be the natural evolution from those artists.
Suicide offers a touchstone as a band — that in the midst of punk’s birth in the late seventies in New York — pushed the envelope further with not only the instruments they chose but in the way they presented their music.
“This music is definitely meant to be more adventurous — It’s an attempt to prove that keyboards could be as heavy if not more so than guitars,” says Lacatus. “We’ve played a good handful of shows so far since August 2018 throughout the Hamilton and Guelph area. The reception to what we’ve been doing has been breathtaking to be honest. It’s really exceeded my expectations. I thought we might get some polite applause but no, people seem to really connect to it. I think it’s because we really bring a lot of energy and dynamics — we really fill out the stage in spite of the fact that we’re just two people. It’s something really different and it seems people appreciate that novelty.”
The band name is taken from David Bowie’s 1977 song “Songs of the Silent Age” betraying the art rock influences of King Dice — they infuse that with perhaps a punk aesthetic and their lifelong obsession with video games.
“Having taken piano for as long as I did, I was exposed to a lot of classical music and a lot of video game music composers come from a similar background with rock and jazz as well,” says Lacatus. “It’s a natural affiliation. Zach and I are both nerds and students of all kinds of music. We’re always showing each other rock, indie, pop, jazz, rap — there are no limits to the musical relationship between us.
“When we decided to record, Zach suggested rather than have one album we release two EPs that are sequential so the follow up EP Blue will be recorded and released sometime next year,” adds Lacatus. “Fans of the Pokemon series will know the first generation of games had red and blue so it’s kind of an homage to that because we both love video games and video game music — it’s definitely a substantial influence on our sound.”
This weekend, King Dice offer up a release party for their new recordings at the place where they made them. They’ve gathered up some like minded friends and hope to celebrate with a show that could be both welcoming and challenging — but that's the point.
“We’d done some demos in January 2018 but we wanted more of a professional touch to give the songs some beef and do them justice,” says Lacatus. “The Mule Spinner was suggested and we went there and recorded, mixed, mastered this over the last six months or so with Glen Marshall. We’re really excited with how this came out and we can’t wait for people to hear it.
“We like to play loud — the volume offers a tactile sensation like video game music cranked up to eleven and shaking the whole room,” adds Lacatus. “It will be a warm and intimate evening but also energetic and an action packed show with lots of lights and noise. The bands we’ve invited to play for this show are good friends of us. They all have their own spin on music. With the nature of the sound of King Dice — because we’re a little bit of electronica, straight up art rock and punk rock — we can likely fit on any bill and likely any band can fit on a bill with us. We fit in everywhere and nowhere.”
King Dice plays this Saturday November 23 at the Mule Spinner with Proof of Ghosts as well as White Queen Falling. Doors open at 8:30 pm and $15 gets you in. Click on facebook.com/kingdiceband