King King’s new album “Exile & Grace” is released by Manhaton Records on 6th October 2017. Their UK tour kicks off at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Wednesday 17th January 2018.
We recently had the pleasure of reviewing this fine album, so it made sense to chat with King King front man and six string god Alan Nimmo about this epic recording.
- We recently reviewed the new album and immediately it strikes you as a diversion from the previous King King releases, with a more Classic Rock infused vibe. Was this a conscious decision on the approach to writing the new album or something that happened more organically on the way?
I don’t feel that we’ve purposely shifted our style from one to another. It’s more like a natural progression once again from the last album! When I write songs these days I never restrict myself or think about the style, they just come out the way they do I guess that all of my early influences like bad co, Free, Whitesnake etc. Just seem to come out in the writing the more I become comfortable with it!
- Was there a particular track or riff that you laid down that influenced the flavor of the album to follow?
The honest answer to that is I don’t know! I just try to put a little more quality and depth in to new songs every time I start writing that’s something that the whole band is aware of too when we collaborate.
- Does the current direction of Exile & Grace signify a shift for King King moving towards a more mainstream Blues / Rock sound?
I don’t feel that we’ve purposely shifted our style from one to another. It’s more like a natural progression once again from the last album! When I write songs these days I never restrict myself or think about the style. They just come out the way they do I guess that all of my early influences like bad co, Free, Whitesnake etc. Just seem to come out in the writing the more I become comfortable with it!
4 .Do you feel the new album is a natural progression of the bands growth?
Absolutely! Each time we write and produce new material it’s a natural progression! Like I said previously we never try and move in any particular direction. It’s just the way it is!
5 .I am a big fan of the King King sound and song writing – what would you attribute your undeniable KK sound too? The sum of its parts or your musical influences growing up?
I’d say it was a mixture of both of those things! What’s great about us is that no matter how people view the songs old to new or wether they think that they are different to the previous album or albums. The one factor that remains is that no matter what… it still sounds like King King!
- How does the songwriting process work within the band? – Do you write the proportion of the songs and then bring them to the guys to fine tune etc?
That’s exactly how it goes! It works and that’s what matters!
7 .Do you guys set aside time to write new material or is it something that you just do organically as you go along?
With the amount of work we have on our plate and the often grueling touring schedule we have. It’s very difficult to get any real down time to concentrate on just writing so I have to do it on the move! And there’s also the added headache that sometimes when you need to write a song inspiration and creativity suits itself and doesn’t follow the rules!! It cones when it comes for me and I have to pounce on it when it appears!
- When did the writing for the new album take place, do you feel that an album can be a snapshot of a moment in time and a reflection of current influences? Or do you approach your songwriting from a more methodical perspective?
Well I’d say that the previous answer explains that but yes, definitely. It’s a snapshot in time and it serves as a reason to talk about and write about the events, struggles, good and bad times going on I. Your life at the time!
- It must be a real pleasure as a musician / artist to bounce off other players like Bob Fridzema & Wayne Proctor – it must open up a world of possibilities when you come together with ideas?
It’s always great to bounce ideas off one and other, it opens doors to the imagination and can help with your own growth as a writer but it’s just a case of me coming up with ideas and when I get bogged down or stuck inside it. That’s when someone like Wayne comes in and points out a few different ideas on how to move through the sections and together we create the finished article.
- I spoke with Wayne Proctor after your show in Belfast last year, at that point he had hinted at a few Classic Rock licks en route, and also that it was possibly time to reach out to a big name engineer to help put the final pieces of the jigsaw in place when the album was ready. Is that again part of the master plan for world domination? Is it a necessary progression for a band at your level to break through to a larger audience and break new territory and to do so you must up your game across all areas – postproduction included?
Of course it is! World domination is probably a bit strong but using people like Chris Sheldon who mixed the album is a must when you reach a certain level because you’re right. We do always have to keep improving not only in song writing but in quality of sound, tone and if an album sounds right sonically it will make a difference to your career!
- With everything said and done and the album release just around the corner you guys must be chomping at the bit to get it out there and into the hands of the music buying public?
Oh yes… we love being in the stage and out on the road! It’s who we are! Hanging out with the guys on tour and walking on to the stage with them night after night is like home for us! It’s probably the most comfortable place for all of us!
- I may be wrong, but I feel you have held back a little on the solo work on the album to allow the songwriting to speak for itself, is that the case?
Once again it wasn’t on purpose. I just felt that with some of these songs the lyrics and the melody did all the talking that was needed. I didn’t feel the need to put in a ten minute guitar solo to add anything else. That’s not to say of course that it won’t happen live… occasionally!
- With your most recent live gigs have you guys already been playing songs off the new album to test the water, and if so how has the response been?
We have given a little taster of what’s to come and luckily we’ve had a great a d positive response from our fans, so fingers crossed that will continue when they hear the rest of it!
- What would be your measuring stick for the success of the new album beyond media reviews and social media likes, would album sales be preferential or feet on the ground at your gigs?
We all know that the music industry has changed dramatically over the years since the introduction of social media and free downloading or “piracy” if you will so bands now have to rely heavily on touring to keep the wolf from the door and we’re no different. However, it’s honestly my preference to fill a room with fans who want to have a great night out listening to and watching live music chart positions and album sales of course are great but I love to see all those smiling faces I. The audience who have made the effort to come out and keep the whole scene alive and we truly appreciate that they have spent their money on a ticket to see us and for that we will always and forever give it our all every single time we walk on to stage!
- So Alan, It must have been an incredibly difficult last 12 months with the vocal issues initially and then the recurring just as you guys were hitting your stride once again – You have taken an extended break – is further surgery required or purely rest and recuperation?
Yes, it has been a very traumatic and difficult time for me personally and indeed for the guys in the band too! There’s no more surgery needed at this point. I simply had to play on the side of caution this time and take a little bit of time out to really concentrate on a full recovery and rehabilitation plan for getting the strength and stamina back to my vocal chords so that’s what I’m doing at this time along with a health and fitness regime and some writing for the next album too! So we’ll be back with a bang!
- All being well after your break beyond the rescheduled gigs in January, do you guys have any major plans for 2018 that we should be putting in our diaries?
There’s plenty happening next year and we’re gonna be very busy but you won’t have to wait long to see us in the UK! We start our Exile & Grace tour at Shepherds Bush Empire in January so just check our website for all the details a d we’ll be keeping g you up to date via social media too. http://www.kingking.co.uk
Big thank you to Alan for taking the time to talk with us and we wish him and all the guys the best for the new album and months ahead.
KING KING – “EXILE & GRACE” JANUARY 2018 UK TOUR
BOOK TICKETS: 0844 478 0898, www.thegigcartel.comLondon Shepherd’s Bush Empire Wednesday 17 January
Birmingham, Town Hall
Edinburgh Queen’s Hall