Although ultra-doomy rockers King Woman are still in the early stages of their career, they’ve already achieved some of their most significant and specific goals. I ask frontperson Kristina Esfandiari in a recent chat what she considers to be the highlights of the band so far and quickly fires back with, “Getting to play Roadburn [Festival]. I asked the boys a year ago what their ultimate goal was and they said to play Roadburn and now we’re going to Europe with Chelsea Wolfe and playing Roadburn.” The Netherlands-based festival will have the band sharing a bill with the likes of Bongzilla, Deafheaven, Subrosa, Baroness, Big Business, My Dying Bride, Youth Code, and Emma Ruth Rundle.
Last month King Woman released their full-length debut, Created in the Image of Suffering, courtesy of Relapse Records. The album, largely inspired by Esfandiari’s profound disenchantment with the religious practices with which she was brought up, has been receiving a bevy of rave reviews. Pitchfork, who gave the album 8.2/10, stated of the songstress, “she seems to be finding her own path to redemption in doom—and, in doing so, created one of the young year’s most powerful rock records to date.” However, when I ask if she’s had a favorite response to the music, she tells me she was most moved by someone who couldn’t come up with something to say: “Someone was trying to write about it and just said she was in tears, and she got in touch just to say she had no words.”
I ask Esfandiari what kind of music the band were listening to while making CITIOS and she gives me some pretty diverse sounds, but also says that the four of them tend to each do their own things when it comes to what’s influencing them: “… Sabbath, I was listening to a lot of Sabotage and old Iranian music, but we’re all different, like Joey, our drummer, refrained from listening to music at all while recording.” But she also tells me, of the writing and recording process, the band are now officially a quartet, whose members each contribute to the band’s output: “We collaborate. I used to do everything on my own, but we all collaborate, we love each other a lot, so it’s cool watching everyone develop their gifts.”
This Wednesday, March 15th, King Woman will kick off a batch of dates as direct support for Oathbreaker at The Black Box at our very own Underground Arts. Kristina tells me that she’s a big fan of Philadelphia, or Philthy, currently residing in NYC and making frequent trips to the 215. She mentions Fishtown and One Shot Café, but also tells me that she’s curious about recommendations from locals, so feel free to rep your favorite hangouts to her after her set. She also tells me that although Oathbreaker and King Woman are thus far unfamiliar (at least in a “friendly” sense), she has heard plenty to lead her to be excited to share the stage and the road with them: “I don’t know them. I’ve just heard super great things from our friends.” And of what to expect of King Woman’s set next Wednesday, Kristina remains charmingly ambiguous: “A lot of emotion. It should be fun. I guess you’ll have to wait and see.”
King Woman will be on the road, across much of America and Europe, through the end of April, but Esfandiari tells me that there is certainly new music in the near future. In fact, she implies that there’s quite a bit of new music she has in mind: “We’re gonna record a record; we recorded some covers, they’ll be rolling out as the year goes on, and then we’re going to do an album. I mean, I have so many album ideas already.”