Interview mit Thomas Jefferson Cowgill von King Dude

Deutsche Version lesen

With „Death“, KING DUDE has officially released the last album of his equally titled project. In a final interview, we talk to Thomas Jefferson Cowgill about why he buried KING DUDE, how that influenced the making of „Death“ and what to expect musically from him in the future.



With the new album KING DUDE are history. How would you describe the last ten years, what will you always remember?
I’d say they’ve been wilder than I could’ve imagined. I definitely didn’t expect to be here living on the other side of the planet from where I was born with a wife and child! The last ten years have gone by so fast really. And I’ve changed so much in the past decade. I feel like I’ve grown into the person I will be for the rest of my life… Which almost certainly isn’t true but at least I finally feel like I have my life in focus and my priorities straight. It’s a great feeling. One thing that I will always remember about the last ten years are the fans that I’ve met and all the people that have become my friends. They are the absolute best part of King Dude and always will be. The smartest, kindest and best looking people are King Dude fans! All joking aside, I will always remember how great those people are and how lucky I am to have met so many of them.

In the press text you are quoted as follows: „Shortly after my first success of my two EPs I knew that King Dude had the potential to become a problem for me. I worried the meager success I was experiencing could end up luring me into the trap of making King Dude records for the rest of my life.“ – what would have been bad about it for you?
Making King Dude albums forever wouldn’t be the worst fate I could imagine but it’s definitely not something I wanted to do then or now for that matter. I often wonder why would a band would want to go on making new albums forever? Other than money or fame or the obvious reasons… Why wouldn’t they want to stop or just do something else?

KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen
KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen

The album is described as the fourth part of the series „Love“, „Fear“, „Sex“ and just „Death“. What connects these albums, in contrast to your other releases?
There was or still is, depending on who you ask, a group that was born out of Scientology and was stranger than any organization that ever existed before or after. They were called the Process Church of The Final Judgement. They are really too amazing for me to explain everything about them here, but they sold magazines in the 60s to fund their organization and four of those magazines shared those titles. To me I chose them as titles for my albums in homage to the great work of Timothy Wyllie, whom I was lucky enough to meet twice at the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle Washington. That book conference was organized by William Kiesel, who has a great bookstore in Seattle called Mortlake & Company and who also publishes books under the name Ouroboros Press. Make sure to check out their shop online or if you’re ever in Seattle stop by their shop but don’t forget to make an appointment first.

To write a last album with announcement is not everyday. Did it feel „special“ for you to work on these songs?
I think so. I remember being really picky at first about what songs would be on this one… Man that really it feels like so long ago but it’s really only been two years. Crazy… It was a difficult album to make. There was the pandemic which made it difficult to travel to record it and then there were various issues I had with the recordings themselves… All the while I was trying to get a travel exemption so I could move to Australia. My life was literally turning upside down in the middle of making Death. Finally I got my exemption to travel to Australia to be with my love Ashleigh-Rose but still when I arrived I had to do two weeks of mandatory quarantine in a hotel in Sydney. This was still during the height of Covid and no one was allowed into or out of Australia. One of the last nights of my hotel quarantine was New Year’s Eve 2021 so I was looking out the window at the fireworks and it just so happened to be a full Moon and when I saw the Moon, it seemed like something was wrong about it. It looked upside down from the way I was I was used to seeing it! I thought I was going crazy from being in the same room for two weeks straight. But no, I’ve come to learn that from the Southern Hemisphere the Moon appears as though it is upside down to people from the Northern Hemisphere. I am obsessed with the Moon.

KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen
KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen

Was there more pressure because of that, did you have higher demands on yourself concerning the „last material“ that will be released by KING DUDE?
No, not really… Believe it or not I highly scrutinize every King Dude recording before it is released. This is almost to a fault I’m sure. This is why its always better for me to work on the recordings alone. The more people involved means the more I have to scrutinize before I can release it.

How long did you work on the album? Was it faster or slower than other albums?
This took insanely long for me. I think I first started planning the album in June or July 2019. Then I was demoing songs by the end of the year after I finished up a massive US tour. This was so slow record to make from start to finish. The recordings were done and mastered I think by this time last year, it just took so long with the record pressing plant to get made because of their schedule. But the album came out beautifully. Ván Records did the best job with the vinyl and CD too. They really just blew everyone away with the quality.

The cover is white, the lettering is a rainbow – all in all a rather untypical artwork for an album with the title „Death“. What does the image and the general design of the album express for you?
I wanted it to be lighter on the outside of the packaging, so that’s why it’s a white outer sleeve. The rainbow lettering is there to offset the dark theme of Death. I wanted it to be a celebration, not a funeral. Bunny, the artist who did all the paintings, did such an incredible job. She was really patient with all my notes about the direction of the cover. We shared a vision for the artwork so there was little she could do wrong in my eyes. The making of the artwork may have been the easiest part of this record for me.

One song is called „Pray For Nuclear War“, and when you look at Putin having nuclear power plants shelled, you feel closer to this situation than you ever thought possible. Is it time for humanity as a whole to step down?
No way, humanity should never voluntarily step down! That’s the whole point of the song. “Be careful what you wish for” is the message I wanted to convey. I see so many nihilistic posts online from people who are having some sort of Post-Modern existential crisis and they are wishing for the world to end. They are praying for nuclear war or an asteroid to wipe us all out or a plague! Just because they are neurotic and unhappy. It’s pathetic.

Would you call yourself a misathrope – or do you still see hope for our species in times of wars, crises and man-made climate change?
I’m not a misanthrope but I can definitely relate at times. I believe in chaos and fate, if that makes sense. I’m sort of a chaotic fatalist. I also believe that we humans possess the power to change our world through our own mystic wills. So with all that in mind I believe we are meant to suffer many more wars in a world of turmoil as long as the source of energy is controlled, created and distributed by the few in order to achieve maximum profits from the masses.

After you now dedicated an album to the dead: What is your personal attitude towards death? Do you expect more from it than extinction?
To be honest I think I’m still terrified of it. The way most people in the world probably are these days. I think I have far to many attachments here that I would be afraid to lose… But I don’t plan on feeling like that forever. I’m sure by the time I’m dying I will be ready for it. I just hope that what comes after is not too terrifying or stressful. I don’t want to reincarnate as something shitty on accident, you know what I mean?

KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen
KING DUDE 2022; © Ashleigh-Rose Jeppesen

For now, fortunately, only your project is dead. How did its end affect you and your life concretely – did you literally hang up the guitar, is your pseudonym history?
I’m making new music almost everyday. Recording for new projects among other exciting things. I’m working on a score for a film in production by Michael William West. I’m also making a two more editions of Songs of the 1940s and those are all getting vinyl releases from Raubbau out of Germany next year. I’ve been throwing myself into new projects for the past year or so, but I don’t broadcast everything I do online. When it’s time to share something new I will let everyone know on King Dude’s social media pages so follow me there.

So, „Death“ is not the last album we will hear from you, just the last one under the name KING DUDE?
I don’t plan on doing any new albums under the name King Dude. I’d like to do some King Dude touring in the next couple years so let’s hope the world doesn’t end before I can get back out to it! And there is already new music from me, its just not under the name “King Dude”. I love the fact that its underground, you have to go searching for it. I don’t need to promote the hell out of it. It brings me so much joy already and that’s good enough. I also have other projects I’m working on that I can’t tell anyone about. It would ruin the surprise and real magicians never reveal their secrets!

Thank you very much for the interview. Just in case this interview is indeed the last one we do, I also thank you for your music and wish you a good life!
Thank you very much! I’ve always enjoyed our interviews and I’m sure that we will speak again someday. Until then I hope you are well! Cheers!


Mit dem Laden des Videos akzeptieren Sie die Datenschutzerklärung von YouTube.
Mehr erfahren

Video laden

Publiziert am von

Dieses Interview wurde per E-Mail geführt.
Zur besseren Lesbarkeit wurden Smilies ersetzt.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert