INTERVIEW: Little King

Hello! Excited to chat with you! Lets jump right in. What is your opinion on social media help or hurt the music industry?

Good afternoon…and great to be with you.  Thanks for caring 🙂
As you know, my career in Little King started in about 1996. Our first record, Transmountain, was released in 1997. At that point, right as I was finishing college, dial-up internet was all we had.  There was no Napster, no digital music sharing at all…never mind iTunes, YouTube, and Spotify. 

It was a BIG deal to have a CD out back then.  It was expensive to book studio time, and no one was recording at home unless you had a really rare setup.  My first engineer (and still a good friend), Billy Townes, had a Roland VS-880, which was like the first decent digital hard disc recording device. We were BLOWN AWAY! 

But when you had a record and wanted to promote it, the options were minimal. Press Kits, lots of trips to the mailbox, flyers on cars at clubs, calling radio stations and newspapers to get them to maybe pay attention, etc. There was no real network of clubs and talent buyers for booking…you had to get your hands on a Musician’s Atlas or the like and just GRIND.

So, social media and the web of connections have certainly made music networking easy. Now having said that, because there are so many more releases out there that sound pretty good, separating the wheat from the chafe might more difficult.  But finding a place to play, someone to write about it, someone to listen to your song or you come see you live? It’s a whole new and better world.

Do I think social media is abused?

Of course, it is…so is alcohol, peanut butter cookies, spray-paint, and melatonin!  But as a tool for leveling the playing field and seeing your hard work pay off, social media is an indispensable tool.  I just happen to loathe it!

You have a new album you are working on,  do you have any material that won’t make the album? What do you do with unreleased music

The album’s title is Amuse de Q, and I can safely say that there is NO unreleased material. Really. I swear.Honestly, if something isn’t working for me in the writing process, I scrap it or re-work it into something that makes more sense musically or lyrically.  There are no unreleased Little King songs…they all either die an anonymous death or have an identity crisis/change.This album does have one quasi-leftover, though.  The title song, “Amuse de Q,” was almost entirely written musically for the last album, Occam’s Foil (2019).  In fact, I actually started to record it with Eddy (Garcia, drums and engineer) last year, but as we started jamming it, the vibe wasn’t there. It didn’t FIT, and the tempos were off.  I wasn’t feeling it, and the nice thing about Eddy is that he is one of the few people who can shut me down.  I trust him IMPLICITLY. 

But I am happy to say that the tune is on this record, it is “fixed,” and honestly, I love it.  The early mixes are incredible and it is very progressive and moody. Truly evocative of the entire tenor of the new album, really.  It just swings, and we have some surprise arrangements that will make the listener sit up and take notice.  It’s the title track, for crying out loud – you can’t fudge that!

What makes you most proud about where you come from?

I guess I first have to decide what you mean by when you ask “where (I) come from…”  Do you mean musically, or where I grew up?  Or like, my mom’s womb?  Because that would be weird 🙂

The place that sort of combines those two possible answers is El Paso, TX.  All 7 Little King albums have been recorded there, regardless of where I was living at the time.  In fact, I have been living there, Seattle, Delaware, and even California at different points in the last 23 years, but I always come “home” to record. The last 5 have been with Eddy, and that’s a level of comfort that’s hard to fade.I grew up in Seattle, and the musical history of that city is well-documented. Before the Grunge explosion, (which incidentally missed me by about 6 months, as I moved from Seattle to Arizona for school in August of 1990), the local heroes were Jimi Hendrix, Heart, Queensryche, and maybe Quincy Jones.  All supported, I might add, by KISW, the local radio station that I grew up with.  But when Grunge hit, those bands changed the city forever.  I don’t love all of it, but I certainly consider Alice In Chains and Soundgarden as primary influences.El Paso is different.  Other than Marty Robbins’ song of the same name, Bobby Fuller, and later on At The Drive In/Mars Volta/Sparta, there haven’t been a ton of nationally successful acts from the Sun City.  Certainly, have to give props to Khalid as well…but that was after I lived there.  Super-talented kid, for sure.The point of all this is that in all of my travels and musical experiences, I have NEVER played with or seen better talent than we have in El Paso.  The list goes on and on…Pissing Razors, Ruben Gutierrez, Cesar Soto from Ministry, and so many more. You can go out any night in EP, and even if you hear a cover band, they are dope.  I am proud to be a product of that scene, and even though it’s really my adopted hometown, I prop it up with all my heart.

Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Sheesh…honestly? Myself. I can’t really spend any time at this stage hearing other people. Gotta stay true to my head and my vision. Listening to too much outside stuff messes me up. Not gonna lie…I have no clue what else is out there right now.  I heard some of the Deftones new record, Ohms.  I also liked the Tame Impala record.  Pissing Razors are awesome, as that is Eddy’s “home” band and they are heavy and brutal.  Short of that, though…I am a hermit right now.

What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

“Showing up is half the battle.”

How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Like everyone, it’s been a shizzitshow!  I moved across the country, revamped my entire business from in-person to virtual team building, wrote a new record, embraced sobriety as a ward of the state of Delaware, lost 30 pounds, became a full-time single dad, moved in with my mom for a bit, and had nose surgery to remove a little almost-melanoma.  Other than that…pretty standard stuff, really!Bring It On…I am indestructible.  Ha!  Famous last words, right?  Just so glad to be healthy, back with my fam on the west coast, and in the middle of creating the best Little King album ever…by far.  Can’t wait to Amuse you with it.

When is the new album out and how can we get our hands on it?

I think we are shooting for February 2021.  We want to tour, and I wanna time that so that the momentum from Amuse de Q coincides with the return of live music.  Who knows when that will be?  But that’s the goal…we have to hit the road.  I have so many songs from the last 3 LK albums that I haven’t performed live with this band.  When you include the 7 new songs that we will release in 2021, that’s toooooo much.  Live is where the great divider lives…if you can pull it off live, you are a real band. If not? Back to the studio you go.Please always check out www.littlekingtunes.com FIRST.  It has links to social media including www.facebook.com/littlekingtunes and www.instagram.com/littlekingtunes as well as the old music, new photos, a ton of interview and merch and a bio that chronicles my crazy journey.  We respond to ALL social media messages, so long as they aren’t asking to have my baby. I’m done with that.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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