Sunday, 30 November 2008
Interview : King Blues
Where did you get your name from?
There are some large rizzla's called King Blues, haha striking preferences
You are a self made group that gained your initial success from self promotion, how does it feel to finally be recognised?
It's cool, I mean for us it has built up very organically, we haven't kind of suddenly become famous; we have done everything in baby steps. We have done it the old school way of just going out and playing all the time and getting people to see us like that! Even when there were only two of us and we were just going round playing squats we wanted to be the biggest band in the world, and we wanted to change the world. I think we show if you genuinely believe you will get there. Every band needs to be two things, you need to be a good band live and a good band on a record, one without the other will definitely hold you back.
What do you think of the current punk scene; do you believe punk culture is still alive?
Yeah without s shadow of a doubt, I mean we grew up in the punk scene long after it was supposedly dead! I mean every city we go to we are just so amazed at how big it still is. I mean we were lucky growing up under the radar of punk as it is so underground, that it went we had time to develop rather than being snapped up straight away by a team of people, we had time to grow and poke our heads out when we were finally ready! Yeah the punk spirit is definitely still alive and kicking, I think British punk has finally found its own voice after mimicking the American scene for so long. Yeah it never went away it may have gone underground for a while but it definitely never went away.
What message do you hope to convey through your music? What are your primary concerns with society?
It's not like one message or anything that can be summed up in a kind of sound bite. We are tapping into the mentality of truths that have lasted since the start of time, eternal truths like love, peace, hope and soul. In a sense it's about unity.
Do you not think that your message of peace and anti-racism is very different from old punk's message of anarchy and against all authority?
Oh no I think the two go very much hand in hand, I mean anarchy is all about equality! I mean breaking down any barriers and against hierarchy in every sense, against all forms of oppression, and believing that we are all equal and that no-one is worth any more than anyone else. At the moment we are in a country, which I believe is being run more like a business. I mean profit comes first over people! For us it is not one issue, I mean yeah we are anti-racist and yeah we are anti-fascist but we are real people and express every single feeling and emotion that we have through our music. We are not a one trick pony there is a lot of give to us!
Do you feel like music has lost much of its message from the days when hip hop and punk were a form of resistance?
I mean mainstream yeah but underground there are still great artists like in hip-hop Immortal Technique yeah that whole UK hip-hop thing has fortunately been very conscious from day one and that is fantastic. I mean at the moment the whole music industry is f****d and no one is buying any records everyone is just downloading songs. I mean so there is kind of no money to be made in it. I mean now no one wants to take any risks on a band that has anything controversial to say as it may not sell.
Do you think that the music industry resembles the film industry where Hollywood dominates and European Cinema has no chance to compete?
Yeah kind of but then again at the same time a band like us that has no right to be in the mainstream whatever we have no place being on radio one, but we are purely because we hustled. That makes us feeling like we are utterly blessed to be in the position that we are in, but if we had first started out to be in the charts we would never have formed this kind of band! We never thought if we added in a hip- hop beat then these kids will like it and if we add in a ska beat these kids will like it, we are those kids you see. We just played what we wanted to hear! So from doing that and being a political band I think it has set us apart from other bands, it has worked to our favour.
Do you believe people today are too un-political?
No, not at all I believe that is a common misconception that young people don't care about politics. Well we have the largest anti-war policies of all time, I think it shows that people do care; it's just its not being represented by the mainstream media. People do care what's going on and I think our band somehow proves that!
Your music is not just straight punk it crosses between hip hop, reggae, ska, rock. In some ways you remind me of Sublime. Are they an influence on you and what are your main influences?
Yes without a shadow of a doubt, I mean musically Sublime are a massive influence. But at the same thing as there are so many of us and we are all into very different things musically, but I mean spiritually the influence of bands such as Rage Against the Machine, The Clash, Asian Dub Foundation, Immortal Technique these kinds of groups really speak to us. People who have just innovated and tried to be themselves rather than trying to be a part of something.
What are your plans for the future?
Well we finished this tour today. We have been on the road for three weeks, and this was our second headline tour and the obviously today opening for Rancid it has been amazing. We have a few shows dotted around London coming up and then we have a short 3 day tour. Then after that just gonna start writing again, we don't want it to be like 2 years again before we release another record!
Interview by Lizze Goodman