This first Q & A of 2015 is with Chris King, an Americana influenced singer-songwriter from south Wales. When he was 22, Chris moved to Nashville for a year to learn song-writing, and it must have been a great influence, with the wonderfully melodic tunes and heartfelt lyrics he writes proving a testament to his abilities. He released his album Light Nights in November, and has previously appeared on Alternative Friday in New Tunes #23 and #27, as well as to win a recent 2014 award! So read on to find out more about him, which include the circumstances upon which he would perform That’s Alright Mamma by Elvis!
~ What made you want to be a musician, and when did you first learn to play an instrument?
I remember seeing this band called the Space Cakes, and the way the guitars sounded blew my mind. From then on I was hooked. Two days later I bought a guitar, I think I slept with it for the first few years. Everything I’ve given to it I’ve got back in spades. Sometime its the only thing that keeps you sane.
~ What was the highlight of your year in Nashville, and what did you most gain from your time there?
It’s eleven years ago but seems like a lifetime away. I met a guy called Gerry Vandiver who had wrote the Lion’s share of Tim Mcgaws hits. He had been in Nashville for nine years pitching, writing, and working a night job for nine years before he got any success. Nine years is a long time but he was a believer. The way he spoke about song writing and ambition was like the way an old man talked about his wife. It was inspirational.
~ Who are Hotel Radio?
Hotel Radio are any musicians that are involved with the making of the record. They all have other commitments but are happy to be involved because they’re all mates and we have a great time.
~ What did you find most challenging about making the album Light Nights?
It’s always the resources that are an issue, and other than that the experience was a good one. I can’t get enough of the studio and I love working with different musicians. I don’t like to sit still and I like the feeling that the engine is running.
~ If you could collaborate with a famous musician or band, who would it be?
One of my song writing heroes has always been Ryan Adams and I’d love to have the opportunity to work with him one day.
~ What song of yours are you most proud of and why?
It always changes but at the moment its Light Nights. The songs are like your babies but some babies are prettier than others. Its the title track of the album and I’m very proud of what we achieved.
~ In 2013 your track True was in New Tunes #23, where we said the “smokey vocals and a wonderful melody add up to quite a superb track”. Given how strong the song is, why isn’t it on the album?
It’s a song I’m very proud of but it just didn’t fit with the rest of the album. The support you’ve given it is amazing. I’d like to hope that people can still check it out.
~ If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’d like to take away the toxic talent shows and push creativity. It’s out there, it’s just the interest isn’t strong with the background noise.
~ What are your plans for 2015?
Another album and hopefully an American tour. I don’t like to sit still for long.
~ Are there any other new Welsh artists you recommend we check out?
Everyone seems to be talking about Pretty Vicious at the moment, but I’d also check out The Moonbirds and Delyth Mclean. Both bands are from my hometown and are well worth a listen.
~ If you could invent anything, what would it be?
I’m not sure to be honest. A hangover cure would be useful for the way I feel at the moment.
~ What song would you sing at a karaoke if no one you knew was watching?
That’s Alright Mamma by Elvis.
~ What’s the least rock thing you’ve done in the last few months?
I’ve recently become a father so I could probably give you a list if things that are not rock ‘n’ roll, but I’m loving every minute of it.
~ Johnny Cash, Neil Young, or Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan every time.