I have been speaking with…
James from Kimono Loco about the band’s new E.P., Hello, How Are You? He talks about the inspirations behind the E.P. and whether he has a standout from the collection; how Kimono Loco started life and whether there are any gigs coming up.
The lead vocalist/guitarist tells me what sort of music he grew up around and which one album means the most to him; if he gets time to unwind away from music; which rising act we should get behind – he ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, James. How are you? How has your week been?
James: Really good, thanks. Our week’s been pretty crazy with the E.P. release but it’s been a lot of fun!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re Kimono Loco, a London-based Indie-Pop band. We’ve been described as ‘An eclectic mix of styles from indie rock to dance, disco and electronic music; all engaged in constant conversation with their deeply-rooted pop sensibilities’ if that makes it easier.
Hello, How Are You? is your new E.P. What kind of things inspired the songs we hear?
We wanted to be a lot more fun on this E.P. Our older stuff maybe took itself a bit more seriously and we kind of threw that out the window on this one. We wanted a bunch of songs that people could really dance to at gigs and it’s worked; our shows are better than ever.
Do you have a favourite song from the E.P. at all?
I think we all love Big Boy cause of how ridiculous it is - although, Fright Night is a lot of fun to play live so it changes really.
How did the band start life? When did you change your name from ‘Regions’ to ‘Kimono Loco’?
The band sort of all formed at this one pub in Fulham called the Durell Arms. My best mate (Alex Sonnenberg - drums) and I were quite drunk one night and decided to ask the band who were playing if we could do a few songs. They reluctantly accepted and we did a terrible rendition of Thrift Shop by Macklemore weirdly enough. I had been writing loads of songs at the time and we basically agreed that we should start playing again (we had been in an atrocious Metal band in our early teens). We put an ad out that week and got a response from our now-bass player, Luke Hamlin.
We met at that same pub and he later introduced us to his best mate Chris Godfrey (guitar). It was basically two best mates coming together, as romantic as that sounds. We started under the name ‘Regions’ back when we didn’t really have an identity. We weren’t too sure how we should sound and I think that was quite clear as we constantly changed, stylistically, with each release. With a shared hatred for the name, we took the leap and went for the change to ‘Kimono Loco’ a few months back and we’re very glad we did.
If I was to travel back to your childhood; what sort of music would I find in your collection?
You’d find a lot of Emo music in my collection - that stuff is my guilty pleasure. To be honest, it’s kind of what made me want to be in a band in the first place, especially in regards wanting to play the guitar. I think the first album I ever really got into was The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. Haha.
How important is London and its variety in regards the way you write and create music?
I’m not really sure how much London as a city inspires us, musically. It’s, of course, where we all live but nowadays the world’s so globalised that you have access to anything you want to listen to at the touch of a button. I’d say it’s more down to what we’re all listening to at the time of writing then where we geographically are. There is a big Indie scene in London although I don’t think we’ve ever felt truly part of it.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
2018 is coming to an end rather quickly so I think you’ll see a lot of exciting things happening in 2019 for us. However, I’d expect there to be a lot more gigs; some of which we’ll be playing some new material at.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Our most-recent gig (our E.P. launch) kind of blew our minds. We had a packed-out room dancing and singing along to all the words; it was incredible – by far the best gig we’ve ever played.
Which one album means the most to you would you say (and why)?
Sticky Fingers - Land of Pleasure
It is definitely one of my favourite albums. I randomly bought it on vinyl when I was in Australia and I’ve been listening to it ever since I love it.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
We’ve been compared to The 1975 quite a lot so I think they’d be amazing to support.
As for our dream rider, I mean you’d have to go waayy over the top wouldn’t you? I’d say we’d want the entire cast of the 2003 masterpiece The Room and a bunch of fresh fruit because fresh fruit is delicious.
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
Our only current date is at Roadtrip & The Workshop on 5th of October but you can check out Facebook page for any future gigs.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Try and figure out what you’re about as soon as you can. It took us a while to find a proper identity and we’re arguably still in the process but, as soon as a direction becomes clear, everything starts to flow quite nicely.
IN THIS PHOTO: KOPPS/PHOTO CREDIT: Harry Eelman
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’ve been getting into this band called KOPPS. They’ve got a really cool ’90s sound which has been coming back recently. I’d definitely recommend checking them out.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We all do different stuff to be honest. Going for drinks is a big one - we’re all suckers for a night out. But, to be honest, playing as a band is loads of fun anyway so you need to unwind far less then you’d think.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
KOPPS - Thermometer
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