It all seemed to easy. A debut EP and a gig at a local festival, and The Kooks already had a deal with Virgin Records. And then, when the label released Inside In/Inside Out, the album sat on UK's Top 20 charts like a stubborn duck. Luck, fate or nothing but those sugary melodies - something got The Kooks from the Brighton Insititute of Music to, well, everywhere.
But that was in 2006. Now, the band is coming off a release date for sophomore full-length, Konk, and touring until the snow starts to fall. Luke Pritchard, singer for The Kooks, chats with AbsolutePunk.net about Konk, touring the U.S., and that hopeful search for perfection.Many thanks goes out to everyone at Cornerstone Promotion.
First of all, can you introduce yourself and tell us what you play in The Kooks.
Luke Pritchard: I'm the singer of The Kooks.
Wonderful. Well, let's start from the beginning. How did you first get into music?
Luke: Wow, haha. Well, I started from a very, very young age. My dad's a musician, and I always had guitars and what whatever hanging around my house. I've always new music to choose - Jagger and all that. My parents just kind of embraced it. I started listening to records very very early, like Eddie Cochran and proper old 50's through the 60's. That's what started it all for me. All these really sweet pop songs, you know?
Absolutely. How do you think where you grew up influenced the music that you would make down the road?
Luke: Well, everything, really. I grew up in London, but I didn't really have the spark until I went to Brighton [Institute of Modern Music] when I was 17 and everything just sort of clicked. It was an interesting place, because half the people there are under 25, the students and I, and things got very creative. That was my biggest influence.
I'd like to talk about your deal with Virgin, because I've heard you guys say that when you signed, it all happened really quick and you were still very young. How do you think that you've matured and grasped the business of music since then?
Luke: We never really grasped the business side of music, haha. But we have a really great managers, and they've kind of steered up through. We just tried to have a clear mold when we started out, and even though people think it's a deal with a major, it's about people. We didn't take the most money over the people. I think we ended up doing well because we chose people rather than the money thing. It's very important. You've got to remember that the people you find yourself with are the people that can make or break you.
That's very true. And it seems to be working. I mean, you guys are multi-platinum selling artists.
Luke: Well, yes, haha. It's just fucking amazing. [Virgin] - It's a great label. They're soulful, and they love music. They're still trying to make money, but they're doing things for the right reasons.
Is there anything that you'd still like to accomplish with your career? I mean, you guys are already really successful, but is there anything else?
Luke: I just think success is something different. Like, writing a song that is just perfection. But you know that perfection never exists, but you hope that somehow.... You search and long for that perfection. When you're writing, you're trying to capture that kind of perfection. But nobody will every really accomplish that, haha. But we have millions of things we'd like to do. We'd like to branch out as a band. Writing and producing and getting our own studio. We're still young, but it's definitely on our mind. But I can't really speak for the rest of the band, and all that.
Do you think Konk measures up to this level of perfection?
Luke: I think it's great, but we definitely haven't made our masterpiece yet.
Let's get more into the new album [Konk]. How was the recording process different for you compared to Inside In/Inside Out?
Luke: That's kind of a hard one because we were having issues within the band. But a lot of it was really fun, a lot good times. But there was also a lot of friction in the band. I think a lot of records have that. But the recording process was quite long as well. We did like eight weeks. We had never done six weeks, which we were gonna do, but it was worth it to go back in. It was a good experience. It was good being in the studio and being back. It kind of felt we were doing second album, but we were reminiscing because we were back in the same studio again. It was kind of like a reunion in the beginning and then it got dark towards the end, hah.
Were you afraid of the sophomore slump?
Luke: Hahaha. I tried not to think about it, but you can't when everyone's telling you should be thinking about it. In my opinion, you just go in there and make a record and don't think about then. You friends and everyone are going on and on, and then you worry, haha. I wasn't worried until you said something!
We get to play, and so everything else is just a bonus. If it all get taken away, I'd be upset, but it's all just, you know, bonus stuff.
Well then, on that note, what's you favorite part about playing in a band?
Luke: You know, lemme tell you about being in a band. You're always see something different. You're always in different countries. It's like a cycle. You'll be touring for ages, and then back for a few, touring for ages, back for a few. So it's a really nice cycle of touring and being really hectic and then going back for a few months and being there really intensely in one place.
When you're on the road, have their been any places you visit that have been really special to you, or your favorites?
Luke: I dunno. Well, there are great places that I wouldn't have seen. Like Nashville! I thought it was going to be horrible, but it was a great place. It's an amazing place. Japan ... Tokyo! Tokyo was amazing! I thought it would be really weird but I really loved being there.
Tell me more about touring in the US. How are the fans different here?
Luke: We were selling out shows! I was kind of a sensation. We didn't expect to have so many fans. And people coming and making banners for us. And singing the words. I didn't realize. It's kinda weird. It's kind like when we started out in England.
Do you think there is extra pressure for you to "make it big" in the U.S.?
Luke: You like those quote-on-quote's don't you?
Haha, yes. You can tell I do.
Luke: Haha. You know people ask me if we're worried about Konk in the US. To be honest, I try to think of it in a much more romantic way. I really feel my roots. A lot of the music I love comes from America.
Well I suppose that's all I have. Thank you very much, Luke. Do you have any last words for AbsolutePunk.net?
Luke: I guess I've have to say: Love, love, love and we'll see you when we are over there.
cheers on the interview. well done, top notch. Great to see an interview on these guys, actual musicians capable of writing true melodies. American bands, take some fucking notes eh? Ill be at the palladium when they come to town. These guys are going to have a long, long, long career and thank goodness.