KINGS

Melbourne’s KINGS take on the West Coast with their new single

Melbourne’s underground electro-pop music scene is already champing at the bit, looking to get a taste of the latest release single from local music group KINGS, titled, (U) West Coast.

The band features producer and vocalist Hayden Jefferey, guitarist Sam Buirski, bass and keyboardist Caleb Williams, and drums and audio sampler Tim Cox.

Coming off of the back of their previous release, Whispers, which has garnered over 110,000 plays across YouTube, Soundcloud and radio and continues to grow, (u) West Coast is a vibrant new track looking to arc back to fond memories of the band’s past, and the nostalgia of sunshine and summertime. The single is sure to be a hit across the board from intimate gatherings up onto to summer festivals with its laid back, optimistic attitude.

The song has already garnered attention from multiple Australian music and media circles including Triple J’s Unearthed.

What will likely impress listeners the most with this latest track is the quality of its production and mastering, as the song throws you head first into a deep pulsing rhythm, punctuated by glassy highs and sharp percussion.

As the song progresses, the sharp, repetitive phrase of the hi-hat contrasting against the smooth melodic lines of the keyboards creates an almost “double layered” effect, keeping the ears focussed on two elements at once in a sort of trance like state.

The effect doesn’t stop here, as the lead verse casts out the multiple competing elements and leaves us with a relaxing mix of ambient guitar and clean vocals layered on top of thick, reverberating bass accents and airy synths.

It would come as a surprise if anyone can go through this song without thinking of summer, sunshine, beaches and the vast expanse of the ocean. For an even greater challenge, try not to think about those things while watching the official lyric video on YouTube, with its complementing backdrops of some of the nicest coastal scenery on offer bombarding your senses and compelling you to kick back and revel in the satisfaction of the simple things.

On top of all this, what may come as a surprise to those new to the bands work is the fact that the entirety of KINGS’ music is produced, recorded and mastered from the one location, in vocalist Hayden Jefferey’s home studio in the heart of Melbourne. As a testament to their work, the production value of their music stands up strongly against even professionally mastered pieces.

I sat down with the bands producer and vocalist Hayden Jeffery and discussed KING’s unique approach to music production in an ever growing and diversifying indie landscape.

K: “I take it that you have known each other for some time before KINGS was formed, how did you come to pursue music together?”

H: “We all knew each other (before). Tim Cox [drums, audio sampling] and I knew each other and have been playing music since we were about 15 through high school, and we knew the other members from other schools. So eventually when we all got out and went to uni, our paths found their way toward each other and we ended up starting KINGS together.”

K: “Is there a particular genre or style of music which you take inspiration from? What do you hope to achieve as a band?”

H: “Where we take inspiration from is not entirely different from what we’re doing, but of course we’re not trying to replicate what we’re inspired by. We basically take our inspiration from various types of electronic music, we’re quite into a lot of melodic stuff like R&B from over in the U.S. What we’re trying to achieve musically is a sort of smooth, electronic style with a rock influence.”

K: “Has music always been a pursuit for you? When did you turn onto music?”

H: “I think music was something I was interested in since I was about 12 years old, and I knew that music was going to be my full time pursuit from the moment I started High School. I just wanted to make music all the time, and I had those visions of a young High School kid where music would be enough to make a living through. We’re centring everything we’re doing on making a career in music.”

K: “Do you feel that the constant diversification of the independent music scene is beneficial or is it cornering your audiences?”

H: “It’s very interesting to see the different trends that come through. It’s a big thing to be (making music) completely solo, and have no backing band on stage at all. Something that KINGS really try to do is treat our approach to music traditionally with the four of us as a band. We still call it rock music and we still perform with our instruments on stage and give people a live experience. That’s what we’re really all about.”

K: “Let’s talk about your home studio production, what are the benefits of recording in your own space?”

H: “It’s where we rehearse as well as where we record. It’s a space that we don’t have to pay for, with no time pressures. We’re not wasting anyone’s time or creating pressure or stress it’s about having (people) in the room and being able to get things done by ourselves, and we can just pick up from where we left off. We record everything ourselves and I product it as best as I can. We then bounce the sample off of a mixing engineer that I really trust, we talk over the phone and we get things the way we want them.”

K: “Has your home studio approach garnered attention from any prominent people? How so?”

H: “West Coast did actually just gather some attention from a videographer called Jarrad Seng, who called us up and has used the song in the upcoming Oktoberfest festival’s promotion. That was a big step which we weren’t expecting and are very excited about. So all the hours critiquing and getting West Coast exactly how we wanted it to be really did pay off. It’s kind of something everyone picks up along the way through self-teaching and sharing different things you discover with your mates.”

K: “Where are you planning to go with this next single? Is this going to become part of a greater project?”

H: “We are working towards a track list for an EP, and now it’s just working out which tracks will stick with us and which previous tracks will be on the EP. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll be leaving the other tracks behind us, we’ll be pushing them as well and continuing to perform them live. We’re still unsure if the EP will be entirely new songs or if we’ll stick with some of the songs we’ve already released and push them further.”

K: “How did you settle on the overall style and layout of the music video?”

H: “With the song being titled “West Coast” the verses are completely based around summer and coastal scenes. Something that has been a massive part of my life is going down to the beach every weekend possible and getting into the waves, having a surf. My girlfriend and I would go and explore the coast and cliffs, and so it’s a big part of my life. We thought it would fit really well to have images of that (kind of) scenery. I called up a friend who is quite decent at editing video, and we gathered a massive library of footage from our friends which we put together. We basically filmed it in one night and stuck the lyrics over the top.”

KINGS

(u) West Coast is available for purchase on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1124506888?ls=1&app=itunes)

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Written by Kieran Balmaceda

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