The Rocks Off 100: Kahna, Brutal Nation's Metal Booking Queen
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Our lady Kahna is the woman behind Brutal Nation Promotions, a booking and management outfit operated out of Houston since 2008. She mainly specializes in dark metal and industrial acts like Mike Terror, The Razorblade Dolls, Opulent, and ERASETHEVIRUS.
Kahna grew up with a DJ mom and a record-collector dad, and though she's never learned an instrument herself, she found a lifelong attraction to music. That passion led to spreading news of bands she liked through word of mouth, then with written reviews for other booking outfits, and then finally striking out on her own in the business.
Kahna scouts talent and sets up appropriate matches for shows. Her current work is booking festivals, annual shows, benefits/fundraisers and helping other venues, booking agents and bands as they need it. Her operation is old school, and she makes sure that promotion involves getting feet and flyers on the ground in addition to her online presence.
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And if you want to be involved, you'd better be heavy.
"Relentless and victorious, you can take metal and mold it into whatever you want," says Kahna via email. "A pentagram, a baphomet, a skull or a crown of thorns. It really doesn't matter how you put it, metal will never die. And that is what I love about it."
Home Base: "I really don't have a favorite venue, because of each one being so unique," she says. "For instance, a lot of people will scoff, but I love Super Happy Fun Land and White Swan; two of the most underground venues in Houston."
I love them for that reason. They are nonjudgmental and relaxed. Probably not the best atmosphere for a really successful show, but if you're asking my personal favorites, that would be my answer. As for my favorite venue to book a significant Brutal Nation event, my answer would be Scout Bar and Warehouse Live.
Although I am not currently booking at Scout Bar, they have incredible sound, [a] chilled environment and professional staff. They treat the bands and promoters like gold and they promote and pack the house. The lighting is great and the bar is stocked. Good times have been had there.
Warehouse Live is probably my favorite venue in all of Houston. Perfect location, great staff, great atmosphere, amazing sound and lights and they get some really good shows that go through there. It's pretty difficult picking one single venue that I love the most.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "I could never imagine leaving a local band behind and not being here for them when they're ready to take off," Kahna vows. "I choose to stay in Houston and continue booking so that when tours and other shows come through, I can be here ready to book them at their chosen venue. As for the local bands in our area, I see some of them go out of Houston and rise to fame and then others come back home as comfortably as ever, never leaving again.
"I can't say I don't have hopes and dreams to rise up and get out of Houston, but not without taking the bands with me," she admits. "My long-term goals include taking a few bands on a complete U.S. tour and making really good money so these bands can continue to do the damn thing."
Good War Story: "It's like it was made for me. Of course, it's no secret Brutal Nation has had her fair share of unsuccessful shows, and because of it, we have leveled up."
Nothing good ever comes easy, and nothing easy is ever good. Brutal has had events where the sound guy didn't bother showing up even though he said he was, Brutal has had its fair share of low-turnout shows, overly-political bands that get their set cut off in the middle of it, and plenty of shows where the sound and lighting was not up to par and you couldn't even see the bands playing.
Let's not get into too much detail or else we'll be here for a while.
Music Scene Peeve: Kahna's biggest annoyance is when you can't get people to work together because they think they all have to compete with each other. She misses the Houston Band Coalition.
Five Desert Island Discs:
Abigail Williams, Becoming
Mike Terror, Mike Terror and the Postmortem Spacemen
Pantera, Cowboys From Hell
The Razorblade Dolls, The Razorblade Dolls
Best Show Ever: "Dimefest 2012. We had it at Numbers in Houston, TX and it ended up being packed as hell, dime beer and dime entry. We raised a shit ton of money for Little Kids Rock and had the best time doing it. Every band played at least one Pantera cover and they rocked it. We're doing it again this year, BFE Rock Club, Saturday August 17th, Dimefest 7"
See Kahna's work this weekend at BrutalFest.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
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