On a seemingly unstoppable quest for greatness, ARIA Nominees, Kingswood were never going to be content staying home for summer. Wrapping up 2014, the four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band announced a nation-wide tour that will take them to the Chelsea Heights Hotel on Friday February 6.
Fergus Linacre is the man behind the rumbling and engrossing vocals so signature to the band’s indisputable brand of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. PEARL chat to the singer ahead of the tour, which will see Kingswood showcase their debut album, Microscopic Wars, recorded in Nashville’s legendary Blackbird Studio with Vance Powell. With heavyweights like Jack White and the Arctic Monkeys under the producer’s belt, we were keen to know how the pairing came about.
“I’m not too sure how, but he heard our EP, really liked it and said he’d be interested in working with us. Considering you usually have to book him years in advance, we were lucky to take his interest. Actually, it was pretty funny because the first EP we sent to him was a song that just Al and I were working on in our little house in Kew. Al played drums (he’s the guitarist) and I played base and keyboards and we just swapped all of the instruments around for the different parts. It sounded pretty shit; I mean, Alex is a talented musician but he’s not a great drummer. So Vance got this first recording and was like ‘what have I got myself into – this band is terrible!’ I guess eventually he found out that it was a very rough demo. So we probably shouldn’t have sent a demo with the singer and guitarist doing all the instrumentals to this Grammy-winning producer, but it worked out really well and we ended up having a ball in Nashville.”
The album is certainly a testament to the band’s ability to diversify their sound and still resound with audiences. Having individually been a part of punk, jazz and several other musical outfits as teens, it’s not surprising that the boys are capable of picking up unfamiliar instruments and having a tinker. It is however surprising to see the band move boldly away from the ‘Queens of the Stone Age-sound’ so successfully propagated in previous EPs. The album covers a span of rock, from rootsy Americana, to grungy power chords and even lighter pop-oriented material. While Linacre maintains that diversity was always within the musical realms of Kingswood, he credits Powell and Nashville for the confidence to explore those avenues in Microscopic Wars.
“Powell made us feel like there were absolutely no boundaries. He made us feel really confident and free to do whatever we wanted. I think it was good to get out of Australia and the leave the whole mindset of ‘will this fly on a certain radio station?’ behind us. It’s not something anyone wants to admit to thinking when writing a song, but it’s a hang-up for many Australian musicians. A good way to escape all that was to get out of the country and be in Nashville where so many incredible musicians and people surrounded us. We just wanted to make music we’d love and the musicians around us would respect.”
Microscopic Wars stormed into the ARIA charts top ten. Despite the band’s lack of emphasizing appeal to the major broadcaster, several singles from the album have invaded tripe j’s airwaves on high-rotation.
While Microscopic Wars has taken the band to a new level, Kingswood had the unique experience of touring almost every major Australian festival prior to releasing their first album, in addition to supporting the likes of Aerosmith, Grinspoon and The Living End on their national tours.
“I think we kind of didn’t feel like we deserved it. I always felt that you weren’t a ‘real’ band until you had an album, until you could hold that album in your hand and say this is our first album. It’s the gun, you know?”
Smoking gun now in hand, the boys will turn their sights to international shores next year, hoping to expand their touring opportunities in America and Europe. For now, you can catch Kingswood at Chelsea Heights Hotel on February 6.
Tickets and more info at www.ticketmaster.com.au
by MATILDA HEGGIE