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KING KING BACK ON THE ROAD WITH A LIVE ALBUM
Those hard touring boys in King King hit the road again shortly including visiting our region on November 10th at Norwich Waterfront. Their first ever live album is released soon, a plush package consisting of two CDs recorded in May this year at Glasgow O2 plus a 90 minute DVD of the sold out Holmfirth Picturedrome show in April.
I caught up with band leader Alan Nimmo to find out more…
Hi Alan, how are you?
Hi Steve, I’m fine thanks. I’m at home with a little bit of downtime so catching up on things. And I’m doing vocals on some new tracks for the next studio album.
Can we talk a bit about the new live album? I think it’s true to say the live stuff is your true environment.
Obviously we know that. We pride ourselves on our live show. We all feed off the audience, you definitely get a better performance from me when everyone is up having a good time. The recording we got was just right, we are so proud of it y’know.
You’ve worked so hard as a band touring and touring and reached a point playing bigger and better venues. It must be so satisfying knowing the hard work is paying off, almost doing it the old fashioned way, building an audience from the ground up.
Absolutely, like you say, just to see the hard work pay off. We’ve been grafting and to see it going in the right direction is amazing. I think we’re outdoing our own expectations at the moment, it seems to be going from strength to strength. It’s difficult for us because we’re immersed in it, we just get our heads down so it’s only once in awhile you stop and stick your head up and see how far you’ve come. It’s very satisfying, but so long as we’re moving forwards that’s the main thing.
It’s a big ask for everybody because of how hard you tour and work.
That’s right and we’re all aware of that. We don’t hide from it like it’s an elephant in the room. We all make sacrifices and spend so much time away from home and families but we’re all committed to that. We all help and support each other though that. The work never stops even on our down time, I’m working on my vocals and theirs all the PR work going on to promote the live album. To be honest this time off to aid my recovery from the op has been a blessing in disguise because without it I don’t think we could have been prepared enough for the next tour and album. The first few days after the operation I just did nothing, I couldn’t talk I just chilled out, after that of course you think there’s things to do and you just get back to it. I guess a lot of people don’t realise that, they see a band turn up and play at a venue and think it happens by magic.
I think the live album coming out now, following the last two studio albums is perfect, it underlines the progress you’ve made.
Yeah, I think it was the right time. We’ve been asked several times if we’re going to do a live album but we never felt like it was right yet. We wanted to get Reaching For The Light out first and then look at the live possibility. We never expected the live album to be received how it has, it’s marvellous but it’s just been ridiculous.
That’s because of your reputation as a live band.
I suppose so, and that’s great but honestly we said let’s release a live album but not go wild on the PR because we’re about to embark on the next studio album so lets save it for that, but everyone’s ears just pricked up when they heard about it!
People coming to the shows this time, what can they expect? Will it be much like the live album?
We’re still really pushing the last album so there will be that but we will talk about it and change things. There’s a couple of songs we haven’t done live yet from Reaching For The Light, maybe something from the back catalogue. Also I’m pretty sure we will do at least one or two brand new songs from the next new album to give them a bit of an airing.
So the new album is pretty advanced?
Well we have got our heads down, don’t get me wrong, we’re still probably behind schedule to where we’d want to be, but judging from the past we’re way more prepared. We have been in the studio working on demos and I had written a lot of songs that just needed band work on them. We’re getting the final arrangements now and the guys are working on the individual parts from the live demos. I’m using my time at home now in relative peace and quiet to write lyrics and I have the facility to record my vocals. It’s great having that technology now, it helps me to work on all the harmony parts and be more prepared for the studio.
The songs take on a different life live onstage too.
Definitely. That happens all the time for us, the songs evolve. They take on a new meaning live and that’s a good thing. You adapt songs for a live environment, you make them as exciting as you can for the audience.
Do you have any idea of when the new album might be ready for release?
We’ve got a Spring tour arranged for next year so to coincide with that. I wouldn’t give you a date right now but around April time.
Not too far away at all then.
No not too far away. We’re looking at it being completed by mid-December. It would be ready sooner if it wasn’t for the tour but we’ll go straight back in after and finish it off. We’re at a pretty good stage now.
At least you guys are self contained, with Wayne doing the production and everyone having their own inputs you aren’t so reliant on outsiders.
Yes, that’s not to say we might not use an outside producer one day but at the moment I feel we’ve enough to say for ourselves that we don’t need that extra dynamic just yet. We’re doing well at the moment and until it’s apparent that we aren’t we’ll work to our strengths.
Well every album to date seems to be a progression.
Yes, I think that. We have made a move forward on each album. If that wasn’t the case I’d be saying , right my songwriting skills need some help, but at the moment we’re all happy to keep going as we are. And at the end of the day everytime you do this you learn something new so until that changes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
You mentioned your voice and the op. You sound in good voice, are you happy with where you’re at now?
Yeah, the last year or so, perhaps even longer when I think back on it, I was just getting worse and worse, I’d start losing my voice and after a couple of days off it would come back to normal. So I went on like that but eventually it got worse,it took longer and longer to come back and everytime I spoke I was hoarse. Then I noticed sometimes when I was singing I couldn’t land on a note. It wasn’t high notes just general mid range notes, and I knew where I needed to go, they were songs I’d been singing a long time so I knew naturally how to hit those notes. It just wasn’t happening, I had no control over it anymore,and it wasn’t just a little bit off, it was way off. I remember one song it happened night after night and I could do nothing about it. Apparently when you have polyps on your vocal chords you’re not shutting them properly so the air is getting in, so this note was coming out and just going in a completely different direction from where I wanted it to land. That’s when I decided I needed to get something done about this. I feel so much better now I’ve had this done.
Was it down to simply how much you were using your voice over a long period?
I think a mixture of that and just over exercising the muscle. And probably latterly using extreme techniques to cope that were bad techniques to try and get through the night. I was doing whatever it took to get through and doing that for a year probably wasn’t the best idea. That made it worse but you do whatever it takes physically and psychologically to get through the gigs. I think now I’ve learned a lot more about vocal techniques, the last shows I did before the op I was doing very intense warm ups, going into a room by myself for 45 minutes to really get it to work before going onstage. I had to do that otherwise I would have burnt out after two gigs. So I was doing really rigorous warm ups but still using bad technique to cope.
You sound in good voice today. I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to seeing and hearing you back out on the road.
I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to be back out on the road and just playing again. It’s nice to be home with friends and family but we need to be back out where we belong.