Kingswood took their tracks over to Nashville in Tennessee earlier this year to record their debut album at Blackbird studios. The studio has housed renowned artists such as Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and Australia’s own Dan Sultan. Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, non-classical for his work with The Raconteurs, Vance Powell came on board as the producer. Fergus Linacre, lead singer of Kingswood had a chat with Kyle Butcher about recording their debut LP Microscopic Wars at this legendary studio.
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“It was amazing. I’m a big believer that you don’t have to go to America and get the best producer to record a great album. You can record a great album in your bedroom, but I can tell you we would never have made an album anything like what we made if we didn’t go over there. He brought out the best of us.”
When Dan Sultan spoke to Blank about recording his album at Blackbird studios he also spoke of how he really loved recording there, so much so he named his album after it. Dan mentioned the endless amounts of hardware they have to use at the studios. Fergus was equally astounded by the range of equipment.
“It was pretty out of this world. It was bigger than the studios in Australia, people say it’s one of the best studios in the world. The only downside is that there is so much to choose from, so many different varieties of microphones and amps and different rooms to get different sounds. Vance made it very clear to us that we had to eventually make a decision and move on and just deal with it, otherwise you spend your whole time just trying to work things out and change things. Eventually even with the structure of the song when we f**k with it and try something weird like recording piano we go ‘right, that’s it!’ and we record it and we can’t change it after that. Once you work something out you just go and do it.”
Kingswood’s Microscopic Wars is host to loads of new tracks and features a few singles already released like She’s My Baby and Ohio. Fergus didn’t want to change the songs, but he did want them to sound different on the album.
“We didn’t do anything too drastic, the major changes we made were how we recorded it. We didn’t want it to sound like the original and just do a recreate. We wanted it to sound badass.”
Kingswood recently flew over to Afghanistan to entertain the troops, and Fergus seems awestruck by the gig.
“It was a pretty wild experience, it was really unique. The reception we got was great. They didn’t really dance because they’re standing there with machine guns around their waist and I don’t you can have a mosh with a gun over your shoulder (laughs). It was a really good thing to do and it was really special. They had a full production, full stage and everything. It was great.”
Microscopic Wars is unique in many ways and features new aspects of Kingswood, with guitarist Alex Laska fronting the band for two tracks with his low, crooning voice. There is another interesting track on the album called Hours, which goes for just over thirty seconds and sounds like a blues throwback to the 60s.
“It was a little part of a song that Alex wrote that never got finished. We sung all these four-part harmonies for it. It’s the middle bridge of the song and when we were in the studio we were mucking around with it and we thought it was a good halfway break for the record. It’s right in the middle and when you hear that, you turn the record over.”
The band created a short film for their single Ohio featuring sleek cars, Seth Sentry, Thelma Plum and a host of other musicians. They titled the film Some Motherf*cker’s Gotta Pay and it boasts Japanese dubbing along with an epic Australian musician shootout.
“We’re not very good actors that’s for sure, you should see the bloopers reel,” he laughed. “We were driving back from Sydney and we had to come up with a video clip idea. The best thing about the music industry and about any arts industry is that there are no rules, so you can do whatever you want. We asked some friends to cameo in it and we had a lot of fun doing that. There’s similar one coming out later on in the year that is bigger and better and far more graphic. I wouldn’t call it a sequel but it’s going to be along the same vein. It’s going to have motorbikes in it.”
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Kingswood’s debut album Microscopic Wars was released in August. And you can catch them live in the middle of Bigsound madness Ric’s Big Backyard, 12 September.