-Interview- Could've Been Kings (6/22/14)

Could've Been Kings
From: Philadelphia, PA
Sounds like: Pop Punk


1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Could've Been Kings” and is there any meaning behind it?

Each one of us have been playing music for a long time and have different musical backgrounds, but when Larry, John and myself got together to jam, I already had a few songs written and had a general idea of where I wanted to take the music. I've always been into a punk/alternative sound whereas Larry and Blake enjoy more of a classic tone (Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Rolling Stones) and John is a big indie advocate. Once we started playing together, everything fell into place and as time goes on and we keep progressing, the sound keeps getting stronger. For the first two months, we bounced around with some ideas regarding a name, but we couldn't pick one. When we first met Blake, he was in the midst of starting his own band, but the plans fell through and he suggested "Could've Been Kings". At first I personally wasn't crazy about it, but we had a few shows coming up and we needed something to call ourselves. Since then we Could've Been Kings and everyone seems to like our name.

2. What do you want listeners to take away from your upcoming single? Any release date for the new album?

We want people to understand that "Waste of Time" is a song about hope. No matter how bad a situation may be, there will always be someone who will be there for you and care about you. Whether you find strength deep down inside, or from within that person, just never give up, because life is precious and completely worth it. Our EP Through the Darkness will be released on Friday, July 11.

3. How would you describe your music to the average listener?

I would describe our music as a pop-rock/alternative sound. It's difficult for me to put an exact title on what we're doing because I'm so involved with this music that someone who has never heard us before has a fresh ear and may have a different perspective of the band. It's catchy, infectious, melodic-driven music that hopefully will appeal to fans of all different genres.

4. What can people expect from your live show? What are your favorite original songs/covers to play live?

The sky's the limit with our shows. We will do just about anything to keep you entertained! Whether I'm playing guitar while bouncing on a trampoline or Larry's diving off of his kit, we enjoy being crazy, but also playing hard and tight. Right now my favorite cover to play is Float On by Modest Mouse. It's really fun to play! I also really enjoy our rendition of Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) by Billy Joel! As you can see just from our covers, we try to reach out to older fans and younger fans alike. Our absolute favorite original songs are Waste of Time, Summer Scene, Believer and White Rose (all of which will be featured on Through the Darkness).

5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Foo Fighters, Cage The Elephant, and Twenty One Pilots are some of our favorite popular artists right now, but smaller bands we would love to tour with are Don't Call it a Comeback, For Our Lifetime, or The Vains. Amazing local artists who are even cooler people.

6. Any crazy show stories?

It was Father's Day last year and we had a matinee show at the Voltage Lounge in Center City Philly. There was one band before us who had a drummer that had agreed to provide a drum kit for the rest of the bands on the bill weeks prior to the event taking place. After his band's set was over, they decided to leave with their drum kit and we were left with the bare minimum that Larry had brought: his snare snare, hi-hat, and one cymbal. So already we weren't too thrilled for this set and on top of that, there was barely anyone in the room besides the crowd that we brought, but we got up there and started the show anyway. A few moments later I walk up to sing the first line of the opening song and I get electrocuted pretty badly by the microphone. Now I'm really pissed. I go up again and the same thing happens. Once I switched mics I was able to sing without painful shocks piercing my lip. I have no idea how we made it through that show, but we persevered and actually ended up playing a pretty decent set considering the circumstances.

7. What’s your take on the current state of pop punk?

Modern Day Pop-Punk is a strange thing to us. It has shifted from bands we love and idolize like Green Day, Blink 182, Yellowcard, and Fall Out Boy, just to name a few off the top of our heads, to bands like Brand New, A Day to Remember etc. That's not to say that bands like Brand New are at all bad, in fact they're insanely awesome, but the genre seems to have taken a turn in a different direction, and we tend to try and emulate the older sound, the sound that we grew up listening to.

8. What’s the current music scene like there in Pennsylvania both locally and state wide?

Philadelphia is a city brimming with amazing talent from all different sorts of people playing all different types of music. We've haven't even been around for 2 years yet, but we have played with some amazing bands from Philly and a lot of surrounding areas. The saddest thing about the music scene here in Pennsylvania is that it's basically impossible to make it as a musician based solely out of this state. For some reason, although the talent here is phenomenal and rivals that of the major music hubs such as LA, New York, or Nashville, the support for local artists is nowhere near as high as it should be and it forces artists to leave and pursue their passion in a different location if they want to have a fair chance in making it.

9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

It's a shame that Napster, Limewire, and all these other sites exist. They rob the artist of what's rightfully theirs. Although it has the capability to expose music to certain people who may not be able to afford it, we live in a day and age where social media such a Facebook, Youtube, and Pandora and Spotify (although Pandora and Spotify take complete advantage of artists) allow people to listen to and download music in a legal way. There will always be people trying to beat the system and get things for free, and sadly since the age of the internet, the music industry seems to have suffered the most from illegal file sharing so it's brought us to an interesting crossroad at this point and time. People still love to listen to a recorded song, that's how we all fall in love with an artist or an album, but since there's very little money in actual sales of these albums currently, it has put a much larger focus on the live show aspect of an artist. This can be great for big bands that already have a large established following and has the capability to charge their fans a large amount of money to come see their shows, but for smaller local artists who are trying to establish that fan base, it pretty much leaves us in a lose-lose situation as far as money goes. Playing music isn't about making money, it's a labor of love, but ultimately it is a business and the almighty dollar determines so much. Although we're all guilty of illegally downloading an album here and there, now that I'm in a band, I understand how difficult it is to sell your material and be compensated fairly for all the hard work that goes into making a product, so we try to help other bands that are in the same boat as us as much as we can!

10. What’s next for Could've Been Kings?

Besides releasing Through the Darkness on July 11th (fingers crossed), we've got some shows coming up including The Dockside Bar at Dave & Busters on Saturday 6/28 at 7PM, Chickie's and Pete's on the Boulevard - Sunday, July 13 at 6PM, The Voltage Lounge (yes, the venue that had no drums and I got electrocuted) Wednesday, July 16 at 7PM, and Curran's Irish Inn (Tacony location) - Saturday, July 19 at 9PM!

11. Any shoutouts?

We'd like to give a shout out to my father, Rob. He's been with us since day one, guiding us and making sure we're taken care of.