(photo taken at Shacklewell Arms, September 12th - more snaps of the gig are in Show Pictures #8 on the right)
It's a real pleasure to bring an interview with King Tuff, we cover his recent European tour, ice-cream and his new self title record (out now on Sub Pop).
King Tuff! Let’s start with how your recent European Tour went - any particularly memorable shows/people/places?
It was good. But I really wish I had gotten to go to Spain. My favorite thing was the ice cream in Belgium. Otherworldly.
I read there’s a guy called Magic Jake in the line up – is it true? Is he really magic?!
He's magic in his own special way. He doesn't know any spells tho. Not that kind of magic. More like a perverted magic.
What’s your definition of magic?
Life. Love. Music. Nature. All that good hippy shit.
What kind of songs did you all listening to in the van while on the road?
Lots of tapes from burger records, Rihanna, and coast to coast in the late night hours.
Who else was on the road with you?
The band has been changing all year. Right now I got Magic Jake on bass, Garett Goddard on drums, and Craig Brown on guitar.
Do you prefer playing shows or recording?
Both are exciting and both can be a drag. I love both. I'm missing recording right now cuz I've been on the road so much. I love writing and creating so if I had to choose I'd probably go with that.
It says in the liner notes of your new album that you and Luke Thomas (brother?) made the artwork. I love the individual sketches of the songs. I was wondering if drawing influences your songwriting and visa versa – does one springboard the other?
Sometimes but it's more like all my notebooks are full of lyrics and drawings dancing together. Sometimes I write lyrics as if it's a painting. When I flip thru my notebook I like it to look good.
Do you have anyone you look up to for drawing and painting?
Definitely my brother. He's my favorite artist.
What are some of your favourite record covers?
Anything simple, bold, and powerful. I also like a lot of those really shitty old reggae record covers. The printing is so bad but it makes it look so good. Things look and sound too perfect nowadays because of computers. We're missing out on the imperfections.
I read that you recorded 'Was Dead' solo, and for the new record you had more people involved - do you enjoy the technical aspect of making a record, recording, mixing, mastering etc...?
I love acting as my own producer. But I also like working with different people to see what comes out. And I get really pissed off when I get tangled up in all the wires and machines u hafta use.
Writing music vs lyrics - which do you find trickier?
It depends which comes first. If the music comes first it's really hard to write lyrics to the music unless something I've already written just fits. I tend to write lyrics first.
My favourite song on the new album is “Baby Just Break”, is there a track you're most attached to on that album?
I like swamp of love because I've never had a song like that before and I like the arc of the arrangement.
“Alone and Stoned” video just started to air, want to ask what’s weirdest thing you saw in those bedrooms?!
Everyone cleaned their rooms before we shot them which is exactly what I DIDN'T want them to do. Who knows what they hid!
With a sound rooted in rock ‘n’ roll I was wondering what was the first rock 'n' roll record that made an impression on you?
I'd have to say anything by the Beatles. I can't ever remember hearing any of those songs for the first time. It's like u already know them before u hear them. That's the kinda songs I aim to write. Like you've heard it before but at the same time u can't think of anything it sounds like.
When did you have that 'I can do that moment' and start writing your own songs?
The second I picked up a guitar. I never learned covers. I just always wrote my own songs.
I also read about Ollie the Bactrian camel – for real?! Is there a camel in Vermont on Route 7– have you seen him7?! http://www.pikaworks.com/designs/view.cgi/D904
I believe I have seen that camel! Vermont has all kindsa humps in it.
Where do you want to take your work in King Tuff from here?
I'm just going to keep writing songs and try to connect with people. I wanna write American rock n roll anthems. Stadium shit. But the stadium is full of people with missing teeth, unibrows, big noses, bald spots, dirty jeans, long fingernails, etc.
“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were sliced in half what would be inside?
Rainbow Italian ice, cute girls, a demons finger, and a wad of big league chew.
King Tuff has a brand new website here, you find him on Facebook and Twitter too.