Letter Kills
By: Lauren Napier

LetterKills is a frantic rock/punk band composed of Matt Shelton (vocals), Dustin Lovelis (guitar), Kyle Duckworth (bass), Tim Cordova (lead guitar), and Paul Remund (drums). Listening to their debut CD, The Bridge, does not do their sound justice - one must attend a live show. After their scintillating and energetic set, Matt usually lies on the ground in the aftermath of a Letterkills performance. Dustin and Tim were kind enough to sit down and talk with me about their band, music, and aspirations.

Smash Magazine: How did the band form?
Tim: I met Matt about six months prior to when we started LetterKills. We needed Matt, so we decided to call Matt up from Texas and ask if he would move to California to play bass for us. And by the time he got to California we had lost out singer, so we needed a singer as well. So that left Paul on Drums, me on guitar. Matt playing bass. About a month later, we met Dustin and Kyle and they started playing with us also. And about five weeks later we did our first show with the five of us as LetterKills and we’ve been going ever since.

SM: What is the basis for the band’s name?
Dustin: It’s from the Second Corinthians from the Bible. It doesn't have any reference; it just looked kind of cool on paper, so we decided to use that as the name of our band. It was kind of odd words put together.

SM: Who/what are your major influences?
Dustin: They vary from person to person. We all really like the Beatles. I really like The Who. Seventies’ rock, stuff like that.
Tim: I like those bands, also. I also like heavy music like Black Sabbath, AC/DC. And all the seventies era music where heavy music began.

SM: Is there a background to the title of your debut CD, The Bridge?
Dustin: Sort of. I think we kind of don’t care about that name anymore. It’s just been so long. Our manager was telling us about the band and how we’re bridging the gap between new and old music. It was kind of a sentimental moment so we decided to that for a name. But it’s kind of been watered down.

SM: What is your favorite song and why?
Dustin: “Brand New Man.”
Tim: “Time Marches On” because I like the structure of it.

SM: What has music meant to you in your life?
Dustin: For me it’s been an ongoing ambition to play and write every since I was little. I always wanted to be on tour. It’s kind of been the driving force in my life - my ambition.
Tim: I always wanted to be in a band and I always loved playing music and listening to music. When I started playing the guitar it turned into wanting to make music as well.

SM: What is your biggest regret?
Dustin: The Bridge ...
Tim: I don’t know if I have any that I can think of right now. I’m sure I do, but...
Dustin: They’re all learning experiences.

SM: What is your favorite aspect of touring?
Tim: Mine would be playing every night. Meeting new people and hanging out with people.

SM: What is your least favorite aspect of touring?
Tim: Traveling. I like all of it, but I kind of like playing in one place for a while. I don’t like being in a different city everyday. As much as I like all the cities, it’s the lifestyle of it. It never lets you down.
Dustin: I think it’d be lack of sleep for me. I don’t mind touring, but you start losing sleep and you never catch up until you get home. So you’re like tired all the time. That’s kind of a drag, but if you stay on a schedule you’re all right. But I never do so....

SM: What music are you listening to currently?
Tim: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Motorhead.
Dustin: I just got all my CDs stolen. So I don’t have CDs and I’ve been watching this Who DVD I have, and listening to the Beatles. I have a record player at home - Rolling Stones, Beatles - that stuff. But I can only listen to that sitting in my room, so I have to set an hour a day aside to listen to music. That’s kind of a bummer.

SM: Could you describe your song writing process?
Dustin: It’s different with every song. We have songs that are almost completely written when they come, we have songs that are made up on the spot. Matt usually writes the lyrics and melody, but other than that we all write songs every day - either together or separately.
Tim: We have songs that we don’t even remember how we wrote them.

SM: Where do you find your inspiration?
Tim: I don’t know. I honestly like to listen to music and subconsciously it affects what I play. But I never try to make a song like one I like.
Dustin: Music in general.
Tim: Playing our instrument I think.

M: What do you see as your greatest musical achievement?
Dustin: Probably the new songs we’ve been writing.
Tim: I would say so, too.
Dustin: They’re a lot different - a bit more aggressive.

SM: How do you spend your time besides with music?
Tim: Online and reading.

SM: Have you read any books that have perhaps altered your perspective on society?
Tim: Oh yeah, I’ve read a lot of C.S. Lewis this year. That kind of opened up a whole new world of imagination.

SM: Are there any political issues that concern you?
Tim: Yes, but I’m not really into politics. I just know the basics of what they’re talking about.
Dustin: I think you never know what’s true. So you have to make your decisions based on other people’s lies. You can’t really make a decision; it kind of bugs me. I wish you knew facts.

SM: What is your favorite venue to play?
Dustin: In Virginia. We did the headlining tour and they had like a hot tub in the dressing room and a basketball court. It’s in Norfolk.
Tim: The Metro in Chicago, too. That was a good one.

SM: What projects are in the future for the band?
Tim: We’re going to finish our record up this year maybe early next year. That’s what we’re doing right now.

SM: Is that why you’re not playing Warped Tour this year?
Dustin: Yeah. I think Warped Tour is something we’re going to go off from. We don’t think we really belong there.
Tim: We just don’t fit in.
Dustin: Especially with the new music. It’s more Rock than the pop stuff at Warped.
Tim: I mean we haven’t really been surrounded by any kind of music; we just go with what we want to play.


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