Most Gold Coasters would be aware of Karl S Williams as a rootsy, blues singer for the ages. However, confining him to a genre is a challenge that makes him all the more interesting. We chatted to the soulful troubadour ahead of his upcoming appearance at the Roots Music Festival, presented by HOTA.
We haven’t spoken to Karl for some time, so asking about the artist’s 2019 was a must. He talks about how he’s been “laying low” and working on new material that he’s looking to release.
“It’s been good. It’s been kind of quiet. I finished an album at the end of last year and now I’ve spent most of this year trying to figure out how I can put that out,” he tells us.
New music certainly sounds enticing, however, we’re also eager for Karl’s live performance at HOTA’s Roots Music Festival. Excited to play at a new venue, and with a lineup he has grown familiar with over the years, Karl tells us he’s been “watching with interest” the work that HOTA has been doing lately. He shares with us his enthusiasm for HOTA’s involvement with music and hopes it will grow with time.
This isn’t the first time Karl will be jamming with the artists on the Roots Music Festival lineup, having previously performed alongside Bobby Alu during Tasmanian show, Festival of Voices, and having a close friendship with Ashleigh Mannix and Justin Carter from Little Georgia. He expresses his admiration for his fellow artists.
“I knew Ash from when she was going to play around the Gold Coast a bit earlier on, just solo. I’m really a huge fan of her songs and her singing, and then when she teamed up with Justin, who’s from Victoria, their duo thing is just a whole other fun, amazing combination of two really wonderful people who just happen to also write really wonderful music, it’s exciting.”
We ask Karl about his favourite part of performing live.
“To me it’s the sensual, final step in the whole song writing process, it’s presenting that material to people and receiving that kind of bounce back, the echo of what the effect of that piece of work has on them. I love to perform live, I feel like I kind of need it for my own mental wellbeing in some weird way, and then I love the fact that people come to shows for the very same reason, you get a lot of satisfaction.
“I think it’s really nice to make people feel something because I think that is a really powerful motivator,” he continues. “It gives you some kind of notion of something greater and I’m not necessarily talking in a religious sense but in a spiritual sense, this feeling of transcendence and the connection with each other I think music kind of does that better than anything. So, if I can give my little bit in that regard, it’s a privilege.”
Karl believes the Roots Music Festival is going to be an eye-opening experience for punters and artists alike.
“I know it’s going to be a really excellence experience as a performer because I know that they do a really great job with production and everything up there at HOTA, and that always just makes you feel so much more comfortable and allows you to perform at a really wonderful level.
“I really feel, on both sides as far as audience and performers go, it’s going to open some people’s eyes to the possibilities for live music here on the Gold Coast. I think it’s going to be a really wonderful experience for everyone to see this venue and experience a show like that, done at a really high level.”
You can experience the Roots Music Festival when it hits the stage at HOTA on 1 December. Tickets via hota.com.au.