Great to catch up with you Little King! You guys have been in the studio cooking up a new album. What has that been like through Covid?
Hey there…the pleasure is all mine, and thanks for your support of Little King throughout the years.
It’s been a whirlwind. I’m SO extra! I decided to quit drinking (the state of Delaware encouraged this), lose 30 pounds, homeschool my son, sell my house, change my business from in-person to all-virtual, and move from the east coast to Arizona. Oh…and make a new record. Pretty Standard Stuff, really (cue the Dr. Evil voice in 3, 2, 1…)
Upheaval is good. I keep telling myself that, anyway. I have been looking to get back to my family in the desert, and this seemed like a great time to make it happen. Since I am about 5 hours from Eddy (Garcia, drummer and studio engineer), I combined the move from East to West with a stop in El Paso to track. Manny (Tejeda, bass player and backing vocalist) did the driving, as I lost my license for being an idiot. More on that later.
So, I sold my house on August 3, packed all of my remaining possessions (mostly guitars and amps) and my son into a 6×14 trailer (he rode in the car, actually) and headed from Delaware to Texas. 2 weeks, 2112 miles, and minor nervous breakdown later, we have finished bass, drums, and about 90% of the guitars. And I am THRILLED! Not just with the music, but to back with my mom, near my daughter, and back in my element.
The new album is titled “Amuse De Q” expand on the meaning behind the title and how you landed on it.
If you call yourself an artist on any repute and DID NOT find inspiration in the last 6 months to create art, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Seriously, is there not enough fodder for the Muse to hit? Speaking of “the muse,” the title…it’s a play-on words. The Q is for “quarantine,” and also a nod to KLAQ, a radio station in El Paso who has supported us for over 23 years. Also a little joke reference to Q Anon and their insane conspiracy theories. They’re adorable, right?
Like most everyone, I locked down hard in March. My business went kaput, although we have been able to survive and now thrive by taking our events to 100% virtual. But in March, I had a lot of time on my hands and couldn’t leave the house. We had grandiose plans to play a ton of festivals and club dates in support of the last album, Occam’s Foil. Manny and I were so rehearsed that I felt like we were gonna crush it. But when Coachella cancelled, it seemed like the dominos fell quickly. The best laid plans, right?
I have a lot of beautiful guitars, a bunch of albums hanging on the wall, and a stated goal of recording 10 solid albums in my career. Those guitars were staring at me every day. Hell, I was having FULL ON CONVERSATIONS with them! So, sitting on my bed with a classical guitar watching the world implode on TV, it became apparent that new music would have to replace the plans for touring. For what it’s worth, composing on a classical for the first time has changed the nature of the compositions without a doubt.
Amuse De Q…inspired by and amused by and in the Quarantine. The songs will address the desperation of isolation and mental health, sobriety, domestic abuse, the desire to reconnect with family and the past, the BLM movement, and more. Also, the artwork will feature Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy (and music.) That’s also the title of a little instrumental. She struck me hard.
You are a phenomenal guitar player! Do you play other instruments?
I appreciate the compliment, but I am self-taught and there are a lot of people who know a lot more than I do! I think I’ve become good at composition and expressing my feelings through the guitar, but there is always more theory, weirder chords, and more complexity that I could embrace. I think Amuse will take the listener down that road, and I couldn’t be more pleased so far with the results. There will be surprises!
The old joke is, “How do you get a guitar player to shut up? Put sheet music in front of them!” I am that cliche. And it goes further…I can play bass a little, but I am the world’s worst drummer, a hack pianist, and a singer that is always searching for my next breath. My old bassist, Shannon Brady, always tells me, “You’re SUCH a guitar player!” I think he means that to playfully disparage me (he’s also my best friend), but I will take that as a compliment and run with it.
Will the new album be in the same wheelhouse of your last release or will we hear a new sound emerge?
One of the coolest parts of Amuse De Q is that, for the first time in my entire career, the lineup from one album to the next will be the same. Ed on drums, Manny on bass, Monica Gutierrez on backing vox, and David Hamilton and Christina Hernandez (cello and violin, respectively) adding their 2 cents. Quite literally “getting the band back together,” right?
That cohesiveness has lent itself to a greater confidence and a better connection. Also allowed me to make the arrangements a little more complex, and probably even a little more diverse than Occam’s Foil. I think Occam did a great job of keeping it interesting in 5 songs, and Amuse follows that train and has 7 songs, so it will be an even wilder ride, hopefully. But it still SOUNDS like Little King, which is what I strive for every single time.
I don’t wanna give the game away, but the first song on the album has elements of Metal, Blues, Funk, Samba, and they all flow together really nicely. It’s my current favorite, and I am also very excited about the vocal arrangement. Manny knows my brain map now -we have basically recorded two albums in less than a year – so he has more freedom I think to step out front. He’s such a melodic and rhythmic player, and his Dominican background lends a different vibe. That’s emphasized throughout the new record. Manny did a great job…and he will be the first one to tell you! (Inside joke…)
When can we expect the album to be released?
I made a rookie mistake last time in that I released Occam at the very end of 2019. That sounds fine, but when someone picked it up in January of 2020, if they didn’t read the bio they wouldn’t know it was only a month plus old. Might as well be a year old to them, and that effects the general reception of a record. It’s not old, but it LOOKS old. Kinda like meatloaf.
With that said, Amuse will be born when she is ready! I am planning an early 2021 release, provided we survive 2020. Pandemics, riots, election, meteors, aliens, girlfriends. It’s not a given, right? But we NEED TO TOUR, so I want to make sure the album is out in a timeframe that would support a summer tour. I have so many damn albums that need to see the stage that haven’t been given proper live treatment. Life has really intruded over the last 4 releases, and many of those songs have never been performed live. It’s gonna be a helluva thing to try and put a 50-minute setlist together. Names in a hat, maybe? Probably will go with the ones that are most fun to play, easiest to sing and play, and where the message still resonates with me.
Other than yours – what has been your favorite song of the year?
Did anyone actually release any music this year? Kidding…sort of. I really liked Tame Impala’s release, The Slow Rush. I think “Borderline” was the song, maybe “Posthumous Forgiveness.” He has this ethereal quality to his compositions and mixing that makes for a very pleasing listening experience. It is nothing like the music we create in Little King, but my tastes are quite eclectic, to be sure. I heard the new Deftones song “Ohms” the other day, and I enjoyed that very much as well.
Tell readers where they can find your music and connect with you on social media!
Absolutely…and thanks for asking. We are always updating our site at www.littlekingtunes.com and that is the place to find all of our music streaming from Youtube as well as links to Spotify, Apple Music, our Merchandise and CD Store, updated news, a Press Archive, and more. I built and maintain that site myself, and I am OCD as hell, so believe that it is comprehensive.
We are also on FB and IG and Twitter @littlekingtunes.com and those are regularly updated as well. We are giving away some merch soon, and of course I will post some sound clips when I am ready. THANK YOU FOR CARING!
End of Interview