King Tuff Talks the Studio Magic and "Backwards Messages" of 'Black Moon Spell'

King Tuff Talks the Studio Magic and 'Backwards Messages' of 'Black Moon Spell'
Vermont's greatest living (and one time dead) rocker King Tuff (a.k.a. Kyle Thomas) is now streaming his brand new album, Black Moon Spell, on, and a listen reveals an eclectic piece of work. Ask King Tuff about it, and he'll admit that what came out of him for his third record was hard to control.

"I couldn't write the same record again if I tried," he tells Exclaim! "It just doesn't happen for me. With every record you may think you know what you're doing but you don't until it's over, and then you have something you didn't set out to make. I just really have no control over it. The songs really have a life of their own. You have the idea, but they usually grow into something you didn't imagine from the beginning. Quite a few of them changed from when they started. Like 'Eyes of the Muse,' for instance, was basically a different song that morphed over time. It was a caterpillar and it morphed into a bat."

For Black Moon Spell, Thomas says he had all of the time he needed in the studio, which wasn't the case for 2012's self-titled album. Not only did the extra time result in less stress, but also helped the band achieve the more "rock" sound he had previously been searching for.

"I actually wanted to make that one more like this album. More straight-up rock, but we pushed it more into a pop direction. So this one we said, 'Let's do the rock," he explains. "The last album we didn't really have a chance to make it. We did it in two weeks and it was all planned out, so we didn't have a chance to experiment or anything. This one was quite the opposite of that. I enjoyed making this one more because it was a longer, more interesting experience."

Thomas says the key to finding happiness for him was to avoid using demos. His goal was to go in without any songs, and write them while they were in the studio. This way, he and producer Bobby Harlow (the Go, Ex Hex) could get all of the initial magic on tape.

"The last one was made in a rush, and it was all demoed out, so there weren't any surprises," Thomas says. "When you do that you're just trying to redo what you did on the demo, which is impossible. It's like, you can never recapture what you did on the demo. We call that a case of the demos. I have that a little bit with that self-titled album.'"

As for how to best listen to an album that will be issued on vinyl, CD, cassette and digitally, Thomas says the vinyl holds an extra special bonus: backmasking. Yes, like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Slayer before him, the new King Tuff album features possible hidden messages that may or may not be Satanic.

"We found some that we hadn't put in there on purpose," he admits. "We just heard it afterwards and thought, 'Oh shit!' We fucking said, 'I wonder if there are any backwards messages on this' and there was. It's a mind-fuck."

Black Moon Spell hits stores on September 23 courtesy of Sub Pop. Stream the entire album here.

Read more from our recent interview with Thomas here.

Tour dates: 

09/25 San Diego, CA - Irenic
09/26 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
09/27 Tucson, AZ - 191 Toole
09/29 Dallas, TX - Club Dada
09/30 Oxford, MS - Proud Larry's
10/01 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
10/02 Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
10/03 Raleigh, NC - Kings Barricade
10/04 Washington, DC - Black Cat
10/07 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
10/08 Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right
10/09 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
10/10 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
10/11 Easthampton, MA - Flywheel
10/12 Montreal, QC - Il Motore
10/14 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
10/15 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Lounge
10/16 Chicago, IL - Subterranean
10/17 Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
10/18 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
10/20 Missoula, MT - Stage 112
10/22 Seattle, WA - Neumo's
10/23 Vancouver, BC - Fortune Sound Club
10/25 Portland, OR - Lola's
10/28 Sacramento, CA - Witch Room
10/29 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11/06 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
11/08 Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest