Colours of the blues: exploring King Colobus with vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson

kc_RingMasterReview

2017 has started with a bang, certainly in regard to introductions to and debut releases from fresh and truly striking bands. One of those making the biggest impressive impact is UK rockers King Colobus. Recently their self-titled first EP was rebooted into national attention, a release to steal one of the lines in our own review providing a “four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock [which] trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions.”

With thanks to Garry at SaN PR we leapt on the chance to learn more about the EP and its creators with King Colobus vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson also touching on their beginnings and other aspects of being in a band…

Hi, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Your bio says the band officially began in 2015 but I believe its origins and seeds began long before then. Tell us about its beginnings and lead up to stepping out as King Colobus.

The first ideas started in a 3 piece band called BIBLE JOHN AND THE REPTILES, which included me (Stewart), GRIFTER bassist Phil Harris and former BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE drummer Rich Robinson. We spent months rehearsing and just before taking things live, Rich started to have back problems. The whole thing capitulated until James Bailes moved back to the South West. He and I had jammed out demos and worked together on various projects when we both lived in London. We got together and started to share ideas that we thought really deserved a life…and so KING COLOBUS was born.

The re-location to Devon of yourself and James from London seems to have been one of the sparks to the birth of King Colobus. Was that just coincidence or there was something you found down there, apart from meeting Gavin and Simon, which instigated the band?

The main thing that changed for both James and I was fatherhood. We both wanted our kids to grow up in a better environment and having both come from the South West, I guess this felt like the best option. There is also a great opportunity down here to create an alternative music scene. It has been blighted for far too long with tribute bands and folk music and venues like THE JUNCTION are starting to put alternative music firmly on the map again. There’s a lot of talent down here, but it just needs to get its fair share of the opportunities.

kc2_RingMasterReviewIs there a specific meaning or inspiration to the band’s name?

A King Colobus is a monkey that changes colour when coming out of childhood. I found this intriguing.

It is fair to say that your sound is a tapestry woven from a variety of musical textures and styles. How would you describe it to newcomers?

I would say that it is very much rooted to blues, with a heavy dose of trucker rock and grunge. There are so many pleasant, yet sometimes surprising comments we get from people regarding what they can hear in us, we encourage you to listen and draw your own conclusions!

Is there any particular inspiration you would say has helped shape your music as a band and individually?

I think if you heard 3 or 4 of our tracks, you would hear elements of Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Interpol, and Johnny Cash…but to name a few. The likes of Bowie, Radiohead, and Morrissey have always provided a lot of lyrical inspiration, as they tend to tell stories that interest and make you dig a bit deeper into what is being said.

You recently re-released your self-titled EP to swift acclaim it has to be said. How did you approach its uncaging this time around compared to its first outing?

When it was first released, we did it just so that people could have something to take home at gigs if they liked us. After a while, it started to get a great response and people started getting in touch to order it online. It was at this point where we thought that it should be given broader exposure.

Can you personally put your finger on why it has caught the imagination of press and fans alike with great force?king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

I think PR has a lot to do with it! You can have the best EP in the world, but it needs PR to get heard…then it needs to sound good for people to talk about it!

As broad as its songs in many ways are in sound there is an intimacy at the heart of the EP which suggests certainly lyrically personal experiences provides their seeds. Where do you draw inspiration most often for your tracks?

Everything I sing about is personal, or it is based upon something I know about. Sometimes looking at personal experiences of those who are closest to me provides for a better story. There’s no point in talking about California if you get me.

How does the songwriting predominantly work within the band?

Most songs are written acoustically at first. I perform solo acoustic gigs around the South West and ‘test’ things out before approaching the band with the idea. It’s a great way to test out the dynamics of a song, without the frills. I think it also helps us all to look at each track from a different perspective, without some massive riff dominating the landscape.

Can you give us some background to the tracks within the EP and their themes? king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReview

GET UP was actually written around the time of the 2012 Olympics. I lived in Hackney Wick at the time, so it was right on my doorstep. The track was based on the idea of it being used for Olympic Games footage. Needless to say, it didn’t, but it still made for a good track!

The self-titled KING COLOBUS track is based on my teenage years in Plymouth, so it’s a very personal outlook on my experiences throughout the nineties.

TITS AND TEETH is generally about how disposable the music industry has become and how we find ourselves absorbed by TV judging panels, who apparently know what they are doing.

WAIT is borne from a political platform. We keep on telling ourselves that if we vote a different way, things are going to change for the better. We need to believe this to keep going, but it’s far from the truth.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of with Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, Crazy Arm, and one of our favourites De Staat and that alone shows the diverse appeal of your sound. What is it you think about the band in sound and live which tempts such an array of artists and their fans into the world of King Colobus?

I think good music will always be just that and hopefully we have gained some new fans through doing our best to put on a good show when we play live. All of these bands are genuine, as are we.

Talking of Sea Sick Steve, the last time we saw him highlighted the trend it seems of people going to shows not so much to watch the artist but to socialise, certainly at higher profile events and venues. The sound of chatting often intruded on the music. If you have come across this, how as a band do you mentally deal with it on stage?

I think it’s our job to try and capture the audience’s attention. If we don’t, we need to do something about that! Sea Sick Steve was a really nice guy to talk to and he gave us so much great advice; I wish I brought a notepad! At the end of the day, you are in a bubble when you are in a band, so audience chatter really doesn’t bother me if it happens…but it rarely does!

What is next for King Colobus live and release wise?

We are just starting to branch out of the South West, as we are really keen to get involved in other musical pockets around the country. We’ve been busy scheduling this, as well as festival dates. As we deal with this ourselves, it is quite challenging. We also go into the studio again this Summer to record another 4 track EP, so this will be out way before the end of the year.

Big thanks again for talking with us. Anything you would like to add?

If there are any towns/cities which would like to see King Colobus, let us know!

Check out our review of the debut King Colobus EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/king-colobus-self-titled-ep/

http://www.kingcolobus.com/    https://www.facebook.com/kingcolobus/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

King Colobus – Self Titled EP

king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

There are times when something just clicks with ears and imagination, instincts instantly seizing the day and directing responses with almost lustful energy. That is what happened to The RR when facing the self-titled debut EP from UK rockers King Colobus. From virtually its first breath on the opening listen, the four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions. It is pure drama, creative adventure as bold and ballsy as it is imaginatively intricate and sinisterly persuasive.

With its seeds sown in 2013, King Colobus officially stepped forward two years later. Vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson and bassist James Bailes had already collaborated on ideas and songs for a future project when independently they both relocated to Devon. There they linked up with Plymouth based guitarist Gavin Huck and drummer Simon Marsh, uniting as King Colobus.

There is no escaping inspirations found in the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, Johnny Cash, and Interpol in the band’s sound but equally they have a personality and character to their music and songwriting which is sure to intrigue fans of others like Japanese Fighting Fish, Damn Vandals, and Inca Babies. There is uniqueness to their sound though which is most vocal and suggests why the quartet has already earned a potent live reputation whilst taking in shows supporting artists such as Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, De Staat, and Crazy Arm.

king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewRe-released this past week, the first King Colobus EP is a majestic introduction to the band and needs mere seconds to grip attention and appetite through opener Get Up. From its initial dark minatory melody, its texture wiry and tone ominous yet pure enticement, the track bounds in with swinging rhythms and a growling bassline supported by just as primal riffs. MacPherson instantly engages and recruits already persuaded ears, the song itself bluesy in air but pure virulent rock ‘n’ roll with an underlying punk snarl. It is a controlled web though, teasing and taunting rather than assaulting and only increasing its grip as a shimmer of guitar around alluring vocals breaks the tenacious trespass before breaking into an even bolder compelling incitement.

It is a stunning start swiftly reinforced by the song King Colobus, it too opening with a juicy lure before uncaging its heavy blues rock saunter. Bass and vocals stand individual in tone but equal in temptation as beats jab with relish at the senses, the song’s flames waiting to erupt in a sizzling blaze before settling down again until further incendiary expulsions throughout its compelling body. Showing an array of flavours making up their sound, at times the track reminds thoughts of Josh Homme and co and indeed The Doors but again the result is individual to the foursome.

Tits and Teeth steals its fine share of the passions next, its dark vaudevillian devilry carrying an air of sadly demised circus punks The Shanklin Freak Show, further evidence of the host of spices in the King Colobus invention. The song as good as stalks its victim but relishing its creative invasion of ears and imagination with energy eager to consume its prey whilst, with virulent catchiness, recruiting their participation.

Final track Wait immediately reminds of nineties band Skyscraper, having their instinctive rock ‘n’ roll infectiousness and tenacity to command attention; invention and imagination blossoming in its success. Grooves and hooks tangle the senses as rhythms ground out an easily given submission to their insistent prowess, vocals leading it all with their own rousing presence.

It is a glorious end to a must hear release not only bringing King Colobus to wider attention for the first time but suggesting there is really something major brewing down on the south coast.

The King Colobus EP is out now through all stores.

http://www.kingcolobus.com/    https://www.facebook.com/kingcolobus/

Pete RingMaster 07/02/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Big Boy Bloater and The Limits – Luxury Hobo

BBB_RingMaster Review

Fancy a rich dose of spice to your rock ‘n’ roll then the new album from Big Boy Bloater & The Limits is a must. Luxury Hobo offers nine rich blues tinged slices of contagious rock ’n’ roll which relentlessly infests body and emotions like a sonic viral complaint to which no cure is available or wanted.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and radio presenter, Big Boy Bloater is an artist to which hungry ears and acclaim seem to flock to. His career and unique style in songwriting, playing, and sound has seen him the feast of the blues and roots scenes, playing numerous major festivals across the US and Europe, and tour across Europe, the Middle-East, the USA, and Canada. Equally he has played behind and with the likes of Imelda May, Paloma Faith, and Wanda Jackson and been invited by Sir Paul McCartney to record with him at Abbey Road. He is a wanted man and easy to see why from Luxury Hobo alone.

Forming latest band Big Boy Bloater & The Limits in 2011, Big Boy Bloater defies the description of being a bluesman as predominantly tagged by a great many. As proven by Luxury Hobo, he creates fusions of flavours which no-one else seems to have the notion of casting. For the new album R&B is at times entangled with swamp and delta blues, seventies rock ‘n’ roll merged with old school rockabilly and fifties garage rock, and…

Reality is that the fusions are rich and plenty resulting in songs which play like old friends yet are like few other companions you may have come across, certainly outside of the man’s own creative psyche. Luxury Hobo is Big Boy Bloater’s darkest collection of songs too; its themes bred from a bout of depression in 2013. Talking of the time and release, Big Boy Bloater openly said “I had a breakdown, the album centres around that we’ve got all these great things but are still pissed off and medicate ourselves to be normal,” further adding that “The basic idea of the title is we are all luxury hobos these days, we get to go here, there and everywhere but no one has it the hard way now do they? We all have our luxuries, it’s that juxtaposition; I think the whole album is about the modern day life and society.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewAs evidenced in the album’s opener alone it does not mean there is an absence of the flirtatious hooks and unpredictable twists, as well as the energy driven virulence fans have become so enamoured by in his music. Devils Not Angels is an irresistible start to the adventure; a flirtatious romp from its first guitar flame quickly breaking into a feisty swagger with a seriously catchy attitude and incitement of sound. From the smiling keys of Dan Edwards to the rousing rhythms of bassist Steven Oats and drummer Matt Cowley, the song has body and soul pumped with raw pleasure taken further care of by the gravelly voice and fiery guitar craft of Big Boy Bloater.

It is a superb start which still gets eclipsed straight away by the following and quite brilliant It Came Out Of The Swamp. It too bounces along with a contagious air to get swiftly involved with but its climate and textures are far more dark, sinister, and invasive. The bass borders on a carnal predation whilst the grooves are dirt encrusted flirtation as swamp blues get tainted with psych rock mischief and rockabilly devilry. Sea Sick Steve meets Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers is the best clue we have to describe the glorious infestation of the senses and imagination on offer, with hooks and melodies courtesy of a warped mix of B52’s and The Dirt Daubers.

I Love You (But I Can’t Stand Your Friends) rolls in with its pop ‘n’ rock charms next, tasty melodies cupping ears as vocals offer an opening romance with a sting in the tail. Both traits continue to entice and arouse ears as well as passions as the song strolls along with a grin on its face and rock flirtation in its heart. As its predecessors, the listener’s physical involvement is a quick success and equally drawn by the blues twang soaked seduction of The Devil’s Tail. Hips are soon swaying to its swerving body of grooves and alluring harmonies, ears there before them in submission to its sultry tempting before I Got The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me has the imagination engulfed in dark rock ‘n’ roll intrigue and salacious seduction. The outstanding song crawls over the senses, smooching with ears as the grainy tone of Big Boy Bloater’s vocals lays the seeds to dark deeds from unrelenting prying eyes whether in the noir lit streets of shadow thick towns, the bright romance of Parisian walkways, or more intimate surroundings.

From one immense highlight to another as the sexy swing of Luxury Hobo Blues takes centre stage with one wonderful nag of a tasty hook through a net of catchy rock ‘n’ roll. Potent harmonies and a web of sultry grooves only add to the riveting trap of a song before Robot Girlfriend offers futuristic love in a magnetic rockabilly/garage/blues rock shuffle. As all songs before it, even the dark crawls of It Came Out Of The Swamp and I Got The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me, it has a swing and vibrant energy which has the body tapping or indeed rocking in full allegiance, something All Things Considered decides to go against, though it too only see a sway take the body. Its soulful croon is wrapped in the smoulder of keys, that alone a simmering heat of temptation enhanced by the emotive cry of Big Boy Bloater and the spirals of melancholic yet invigorating guitar.

The album returns to tearing up the dance-floor with closer Not Cool Man, rhythms and riffs colluding to lay a canvas of energetic incitement whilst the bass flirts and grooves flare up above it. Rock ‘n’ roll to get close and personal with, the track perfectly concludes an album which has ears blissful and the body exhausted. Luxury Hobo is pure manna for the soul and if a better example of diversity loaded rock ‘n’ roll arrives this year, it will go down in history as a major classic, much as we suspect this treat from Big Boy Bloater & The Limits.

Luxury Hobo is released 11th March via Provogue/ Mascot Label Group through most online stores and @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/big-boy-bloater-luxury-hobo-cd.html

http://www.bigboybloater.com   http://www.facebook.com/thebigboybloaterpage

Pete RingMaster 25/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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