Text: Alec Coiro
The first track I was presented with off Will Kraus’s album End Tomorrow is entitled “Three.” It sounds both fresh (in both senses) and classic at the same time, by which I mean it’s exciting in a way that feels like it has some history behind it. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what that history is, though. It’s not quite hardcore or metal, and all the influences Will runs down for me definitely make sense, but it’s not those either.
The reason the sound is so unique probably has to do with how it sounds one way, but was made another. It sounds like band that’s centered around a really strong drummer with some heavily distorted guitar work swirling around him. But it’s actually old drum tracks of Will’s matched with heavily engineered samples from ambient music and “new age-y stuff,” which is a pretty awesome source considering how hard and not new age the album wound up being. Will describes the whole album as “one layer of samples, one layer of drums, one layer of vocals,” and adds that “There’s not a single guitar on the whole album.” From the way he drums, I also assumed he was using double bass pedals, but it turns out he’s just got a really fast right foot.
The reason the album seemingly defies genre probably has something to do with Will learning to play outside of band and scene culture. “I made beats for a while, and then I wanted to be an engineer for a long time. About a year about I got really into drumming. I played in a metal band with my little brother called, Guest House. That was my only experience playing in a band and we only played one show.” So End Tomorrow is really the first time anyone will be hearing his music. It took about 4-5 months to create the album; he mined the drums tracks from “various songs and projects that I’d recorded throughout my life…Three was the first song when I thought this could work as a concept for a record, so it’s the seed song for the album. The rest of them are extrapolations on the concept I solidified on ‘three.’ I was listening to it and when I started headbanging, I was like oh cool this is really awesome.”
After the album was done, Will sat on it for a minute before deciding to try to put it out there. “I DMed the first person I could think of, Chris Ott [@shallowrewards]. He’d showed me a lot of great music, and some of his criticism and some of the bands he hipped me to inspired parts of this album, and he’s really outspoken, and I knew if he thinks this sucks he’ll probably tell me. He responded saying he liked and put it up on his Twitter and then Brian [Justie] from Terrible (Records) happened to see it.”
End Tomorrow wound up being the second release on Terrible Records new imprint, Flexible Records, which prints its records on pieces of plastic, a technique that was originally used for things like 80’s magazine inserts; they fit about as many songs as a 7-inch and can be played on any turntable.
The flexible vinyl is dropping September 9th,and Will is already working on the follow-up, this time getting some bass guitar into the mix. However, it should be clear that Will Kraus intends to stay unique.