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Kevin Thomas Discusses Life On Tour, Gig Booking Tips, & The Future of Annelida

5 mins read
Kevin Thomas Discusses Life On Tour, Gig Booking Tips, and The Future of Annelida

The Las Vegas-based Math-Core heavyweights, Annelida, have just returned home from their final tour dates for 2023. The band, Led by vocalist and guitarist Kevin Thomas, has been touring relentlessly across the U.S. for the last two years in support of their powerful debut EP entitled “Lord Leech.” This recent run of dates was co-headlined by the almighty melodic metal-core giants @The Red Charade and covered the Pacific Northwest U.S. region. We sat down with Kevin to get the inside scoop. The debut EP “Lord Leech” is out now and available everywhere.

Can you provide some insight into the creative process behind the Lord Leech EP? What inspired the music?

Lord Leech EP started as an idea with multiple situations coming together. We were right in the heart of the Pandemic, I had just moved to a brand new city and knew nobody in town, I also tried and failed multiple times to start a band with strangers in town. So I said to myself, “I need to create something that I can do most of the work,” so I went up to my studio and just wrote a song where I could play guitar and sing at the same time. That song would end up being Lord Leech. After I realized I could do this, I went ahead and put together more songs in my studio. I also did not go into it with any type of music in my head. I just decided to sound like myself, and I think I did that.

What message do you hope listeners take away from Lord Leech, and how do you envision it fitting into Annelida’s broader discography and musical journey?

I hope people go into listening to our early work and understand that we are not trying to fit in or be part of any “scene”. I simply just go into my studio and write what comes to mind. All of the Lord Leech EP started with a riff to a click track. Some of the vocal tracks (Nothing Yet, Lord Leech, Crumbs for Rats) were done in one full take from beginning to end. I didn’t want any glitter, no overproduced studio tricks. I kept it pretty simple to represent what you would get live. I also wanted to make as much sound with as few people as possible. I currently have a full-length on deck to release soon which is a huge step forward for us musically in my opinion. Since the release of Lord Leech and touring for the last two years, We realize that we sound different and do some strange shit and I kind of leaned into that for the next record.

Tours can be brutal with the long hours, truck stop food, and constant movement. How do you guys maintain your physical and mental well-being while on the road?

So, personally, I try to maintain my somewhat healthy eating habits on the road. It can be difficult or impossible at times, but I do try. Other than that, as a band, we always stretch together before the show. We also do stay in hotels pretty often, and we have our ways to get some good deals on rooms. There are only three of us on tour, so we have plenty of room to stretch out and sleep while on the road.

We’re curious about the backstage dynamic. How do you keep the camaraderie alive during a long tour, and do you have any memorable on-the-road stories that highlight this camaraderie?

The three of us are closer than ever at this point. We all love to laugh, and we love listening to standup comedy podcasts together (kill Tony, the Bonfire, Are You Garbage); because of this, the three of us have become incredibly good at riffing with each other and making each other laugh uncontrollably. As far as a tour story, one that comes to mind is when we played Chicago. Chicago is a place I consider home, and we were lucky enough to play the venue I worked at for a while when I lived there. We played a great show and sold an unreal amount of merch (got paid the most I have ever been paid for a show). It is such a great memory for me personally because before showing up to that show, I had told the boys that Chicago has the best music scene in America. After the show, the boys saw that. While we were at our merch table, multiple people were coming up to my bandmates telling them how awesome Annelida is and how special it was for us to be there. These are people who have watched my career, from my old band in Chicago to what I’m currently doing. So that really was something special for me. We were really on a high that tour. I can’t wait to get back there next year.

Annelida has built a solid & dedicated fan base. Can you share a story about a fan encounter or interaction that left a lasting impression on you?

Once in Arizona, a woman approached me after our set at the merch table to tell me she loves what we do. Then she went into great detail on why she loves the song Crumbs for Rats and the song Shootica as well, How she was glad that we performed those. I was more in shock that anyone really gave a shit about my music, let alone be able to relate to the music. It’s happened a few more times since, but that first time very early into touring was probably the most memorable.

What gig booking advice would you give aspiring musicians and bands based on your own experiences in the industry? What has helped, and what to avoid?

What works for us might not work for others, but one thing I’ve been doing with Annelida is always taking the door; a lot of guarantees for bands our size equal about 10 to 15 paid at the door. If you are touring to 15 paid at the door, then you need to rethink some things. So from day one, we have always taken the door, got paid by the success of the show, and gambled on ourselves. I also tell bands to create a relationship with bands in the markets they want to tour and try to find their own local support. That way, you can get part of their scene and not just be thrown into a mix of bands from a town. Also, for anyone looking to set up their own DIY tours, of course, there is get-gigs.com. This is a great tool for anyone looking to do show trades or find markets they don’t know anyone in. I use get-gigs for every single tour we have booked ourselves. I use it for finding the shows themselves or finding locals for shows in markets we are known at.

As seasoned road warriors, what are some tour survival tips or must-haves that help make life easier while out on tour?

We like to bring our own food and have a cooler in the van. Most bars and venues have their own ice machine. Re-fill it for free after every show you play. Also, if you plan on getting a hotel after the show, a nice thing we love to do is check-in before you go to the venue. Everyone can get changed, cleaned up, and ready to be presentable and not need to take a baby-wipe shower in a venue bathroom.

Lastly, what’s next for the band? Anything else you would like to share?

We wrote and recorded a full-length record that is finished. Multiple music videos are also finished. So we plan to release all of that pretty soon (we have not announced this publicly until now), but we currently don’t have a release date yet. We also plan to hit a bunch of new markets next year as well. So, a lot of new stuff will be coming out soon. I am very excited about this new music; it is very different than our Lord Leech EP, and everyone we have shown it to says the same thing: “This is weird,” haha.


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