Welcome Little King! You have a new single on the way “Keyboard Soldier”. Why was this the clear winner for the first single?
Good morning…always a pleasure to speak with you, and thanks for your continued support.
It WASN’T the clear winner, actually! We vacillated between “Keyboard Soldier” and the first song on the upcoming record, “Bombs Away.” We love the videos for both, but they are very different in look and feel both musically and visually, so it was really a question of deciding what statement to make first.
Initially, I felt that “Bombs” should be up first. The new album (Amuse De Q) is something of a concept album, and that song is the intro to the entire concept, which is essentially my journey through the hell of 2020. But “Bombs Away” is longer, more intricate, has a long instrumental passage in the middle, and it just felt right to hold it back until August 6, which is when we will release the song and video.
“Keyboard Soldier” brings some heat, kind of like “Hate Counter” did in 2019 from Occam’s Foil. It has a punk feel to it, which is fun and angry and a bit dangerous. It also has that Little King Thing with the main riff alternating time signatures between 5, 7, and even 3 at the end…also a bit of good old 4/4 as well. I think it’s accessible while still being complex, and that’s what a good LK song should be, I think
Of course, the main thing is that the lyrical content is extremely relevant. There are references to John Lewis (“Good Trouble” is one of my favorite things to get into), the Black Lives Matter movement, the quicksand of social media, and a few well-paced jabs at Tangerine 45. “Hit the streets, rip their sheets, delete the tweets/Keyboard Don Juan…soon you will be gone!” One can only hope…
I got a sneak peak of the song Keyboard Soldier and it rocks! It feels like you went heavier on the guitar with this song – was that intentional?
I don’t know that it was intentional as far as mixing or tracking was concerned, but I wrote it on a clunky old classical guitar, which is funny. I mean, it’s the least elegant song on this album by far. But I think the tone and crunch of the guitar matches with the intensity of the message. We are a power trio, as a rule, with guest musicians strewn about our history (including on the new record.) I think “Keyboard Soldier” is about as stripped-down as we get, and since the guitar is the lead melodic instrument in Little King, I guess it just comes to the fore.
What is the meaning behind the new single? Was it a quick write for you? Tell us more about the writing process of this song.
As I alluded to before, “Keyboard Soldier” is my commentary on misuse of Social Media, the social unrest that we’ve been embroiled in stateside since 2016 (and even well before that), and how sometimes there is a time and place for less-than-peaceful protest. As I watched the events of 2020 unfold, particularly when George Floyd was murdered, it became apparent that this country was unraveling. So much death and ignorance and raw anger was bubbling up, and it was hard to make heads or tails of it.
A “Keyboard Soldier” is really defined as a tough guy behind his computer talking shit from the safety of their phone or computer. That doesn’t play well with me, especially with my crew in El Paso. No one would EVER say that stuff to their faces, I promise you that. And what better example of a fake tough guy Keyboard Soldier than the former guy?
You also have an album on the way soon. Congratulations. Some may not know you are a veteran in the business – how does this album derive from past releases?
Tough to say, really. We are certainly more comfortable as a lineup this time around, as Manny (Tejeda, bass), Eddy (Garcia, drums and engineer), are back together for the 2nd time as the core lineup of LK. We also brought back David Hamilton (cello) and Christina Hernandez (violin) for a few songs, including the title track, “Amuse De Q,” which I must say may be my favorite thing I have ever written.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that we mixed with a different human for the first time since 2004. His name is Daniel Salcido, and he’s worked with some groups way more famous than us like Plain White T’s, Disturbed, Sevendust, and Anthrax. He and I worked together in LA a bit, but he really just took the reins once Eddy sent him the raw tracks and ran with it. Daniel is a PRO…and I’m grateful to no end for his guidance and creativity. This album SOUNDS different; polished and confident but with very dark undertones. He took that ethos and spiked it in the end zone for sure.
Do you have any plans to tour the new album?
Absolutely, if the demand is there! I mean, I think it will be…let’s see how it goes.
Manny and his wife just had a baby earlier this year, so he’s on house arrest for a while. Eddy has 2 kids and looks after his elderly parents in El Paso, I am a single dad of a teenager and 24-year-old and I’m also a small business owner, and we all have legit adult responsibilities that extend beyond Little King. Touring is the culmination of hard work and desire, and both of those are clearly there. Now…can we make it work financially? The last 3 albums have NOT been toured properly, and the 3 of us are all born entertainers. It will be a show. So…any booking agents out there reading this…let’s talk (I am NOT doing it myself again!)
What do you hope fans feel or take away after listening to the new music?
I want them to have a 30-minute window into my experience during the pandemic and have a visceral reaction to each song individually and the album as a collective statement. There are SO MANY moods and styles and sounds on this record, and I don’t know if someone can get the whole thing through one listen. So, by all means…listen again. And again!
There are always little nuggets that give me goosebumps on each album. This record, I have to say, has more of those than any previous Little King record. Each song has its unique flavor, and I am incredibly proud of the team that we assembled to complete the project. From hand drums on a Sunday morning to mastering in May, we paid attention to detail. If THIS record doesn’t move you, we are probably not your new favorite band…and that’s okay.
Share with us where to keep you with you on social media and when the new album drops.
We will be releasing the full single and video for ‘Keyboard Soldier” on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. on July 6, and “Bombs Away” on August 6. Album hits 9/3/21.
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