Interview: Kings of the City
Published on March 4th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Rocksucker loves “Please Tell Me”, the brand new single from London troupe Kings of the City, so much so in fact that we described it in a recent singles round-up in the following terms…
A lilting swing, a lovely walking bass line, a slight Western feel, harmonies, rap sections, an ace growly lead vocal: there’s so much good stuff crammed into this and it all sounds so seamlessly integrated together, unlike so many attempts at ‘crossover’. This just sounds like disparate influences coming together naturally as opposed to being forced, which is rarer than it ought to be in these days of “yeah, just stick a beat on that”.
Danny Wilder, provider of both the aforementioned “ace growly lead vocal” and the group’s main songwriting thrust, was kind enough to answer a bunch of questions we threw at him – first, though, have yourself a simultaneous earful of and butcher’s at the video for “Please Tell Me”, then get yourself ready for the Spring arrival of new five-track EP No Guts No Glory…
Congratulations on an ace new single. Is it about anything in particular, or do you not set out to write that way?
Thanks, I suppose it’s about a man going mad trying to discover something his other half is hiding from him. Originally it was to be left open to interpretation but when writing the opening verse I came up with some lines that suggested it was about a relationship so we went with that. Half the time I write pretty abstract stuff though and when it comes to the rappers having to add their verses I have to make up some concrete explanation of what it means so they can write cohesively with me. That’s the usual process but I guess it’s different every time.
Will we ever see a full album from you guys? If so, will material from the EPs feature on it?
We’re writing and recording all the time so there is constantly new material. An album will eventually come but whether it will be entirely new stuff or a mix of new songs and songs from the EPs hasn’t been decided yet.
Do you have any other projects or collaborations lined up?
Kayo Ken from the group is doing his own solo stuff as a side project at the moment, a series of songs called The Realest Shit I Ever Wrote which he’s been releasing track by track. Also Eight Bit is working on his electronic group Designated at the moment. They’re releasing remixes and original songs all the time.
What was it like going on tour with Maverick Sabre? Do you know yet if you’ll be playing any festivals this summer?
Touring with Maverick Sabre was good fun, he’s a really good guy. We learned a lot, made a lot of new fans, played some amazing venues and sold a lot of music. We are booking for festivals this summer now.
Who does your artwork?
Our most recent artwork for the No Guts No Glory EP was by Reuben Dangoor [Rocksucker says: Reuben, incidentally, is co-creator of the “Being a Dickhead’s Cool” song/video!]. He’s a good friend of ours and an extremely talented artist, designer and he directs music videos too. He did the last Diplo video and has done some for Etta Bond and Raf Riley too.
Which is your favourite Kinks album and/or song? I ask because you mention you’re fans in this interview you did with The Independent…
Tough question this one, I would have loved to have written Waterloo Sunset myself. It’s a perfect song in my opinion. The band are big fans. “Holloway Jail” is a great one, “Autumn Almanac” too. If I had to pick one though, I’d say “Lola” as it’s the first one I ever heard from The Kinks and it reminds me of summer as a junior school lad. It’s an obvious choice but the lyrics are exceptional. A song like that gets played so much on the radio that people forget how much of great song it is.
Which were your favourite albums of 2012, and/or which are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Everyone in the band would say different things but I think Tame Impala‘s Lonerism is a band favourite this year. We’re looking forward to the new Black Sabbath record – they’ve always been a big inspiration on the bands music.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life with the entire works of just five different artists, whose would you choose?
Again everyone in the band would say a million different things but I think The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground,The Doors and The Rolling Stones would do it for me.
Danny Wilder, thank you.
“Please Tell Me” by Kings of the City will be released 1st April, with the No Guts No Glory EP to follow sometime in the Spring. For more information, please visit www.kingsofthecity.co.uk