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King Capisce: New Album From Local Instrumentalists

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It's been a couple of years since the release of The future cannot be born yet, it is waiting for the past to die, but murmurs of a new album immediately brought back memories of the joy of hearing new King Capisce tracks for the first time.

Momento Mori will be the band's third studio album, and this time they have written, recorded and produced the whole project almost entirely by themselves. With more cross-genre influences than ever before, this beautiful record promises to entertain and inspire not only long-standing instrumental music enthusiasts, but all music lovers across the alternative realm.

Whilst they finalised the details surrounding their new release, we caught up with Rosh and Tim to talk about their influences, the album and Capisce's ongoing progression towards orchestral intelligence.

Three albums in, has your approach to writing music developed?

[Rosh, bass] When we first started, if you had an idea, you'd put it in a song. It was the maximal approach. I think if you listen to our first album you can hear four musicians in a room, writing and hashing out ideas. I'd like to think we have matured. It's not about how many ideas, but which ideas make sense. That takes a while as a musician - to learn what not to play.

[Tim, guitar] Now we're dealing with babies, people having work commitments, there's a whole other pressure on the band. It's been a blessing in some ways, but difficult in others. It's meant that we haven't all been able to attack at the same time. It's allowed us to reflect on an idea and refine it, and that has allowed us to make a much more detailed set of tracks. There are a couple of tracks on the new album that we haven't touched before in terms of complexity. We had earlier versions of the songs where we just jammed them out, and previously we would have just committed that to record and said, "That's how it is" - a bit punky in that sense. With these constraints and with us maturing, it's enabled us to reflect.

[Rosh] In the past, a song had to 'do something', but now we have songs where the entire song is a composition, rather than just building to a part that you're waiting for.

So it isn't about reaching a climax?

[Tim] That's exactly it. We have suffered in the past where we've thought we need to give closure to a song. And by that we'd have to ramp it up, big drop - make sure it's finished. Now the mood can be captured without a big finale.

[Rosh] There's a song on the album called 'Stateless' which really encapsulates where we've come to in terms of our writing. It's just about the melody. The mood is sombre. It's really quite minimal, and I think that's a reflection of where we can go.

I understand there was a lot of DIY involved in the new album. Tell us about the recording process.

[Tim] We've always taken a keen interest in recording and that's just blossomed into us taking this by the reins. We went to the best studio that we could find, a real Hall of Fame of equipment and space. It's in Pontefract, called Chairworks.

[Rosh] They've got Gary Barlow's old mixing desk. That was the clincher. Oh, and the Kaiser Chiefs couldn't finish their new album because we were recording there. If anything good comes from this album, it's that we delayed the new Kaiser Chiefs album.

[Tim] Everything else was done in our home studio. It's been fun. That's part of the drive. When it's your own music you are afforded the extra time to do what you want to do, so why waste that opportunity?

We delayed the new Kaiser Chiefs album

Your music draws from a huge array of genres. Do you all listen to the same kind of bands or does that come from having eclectic taste?

[Tim] Although we have different tastes in music and background, we're unified by a love of instrumental music. We are entertained by the extra capacity to be more free with instrumental music. Somehow working with vocals can be limiting. Sometimes we can have an idea and it doesn't repeat itself. I find it liberating. There are a lot of great instrumental bands that aren't necessarily widely known in the popular charts but are doing amazing things. It's limitlessly inspiring.

[Rosh] When we first started I didn't think the fact that we're an instrumental band was something worth mentioning, but as we have gone on, I've realised the power of instrumental music. Often in vocal music the lyrics dictate the emotional content of the song. Instrumental music can shift through so many moods. It gives it more potency and power.

About seven or eight years ago, I started listening exclusively to instrumental music, mostly modern jazz. It came to a point in my life. I heard it and I became obsessed. Jazz was always this stuffy elitist thing, but to find that there was a part that really moved me was exciting, like learning another language. I can't help but think that fed into what we were doing.

Momento Mori sounds more guitar-heavy and lighter on the jazz than some of your previous work. Would you say your sound is intentionally changing direction or is it just a natural progression?

[Tim] A lot of the time, me, Tom [drums] and Rosh play together with no sax. It's difficult to do the jazz thing without any soloists, so things lean to the rock end of the spectrum.

[Rosh] There are two tracks where there isn't any saxophone, which is a big first for us. Whenever we write a song we're like, "Ok, so where do the saxophones fit into this?" I guess people who know us think we're synonymous with the saxophone. It's quite freeing to think that it's not the be all and end all of what our sound is.

When you play live, will Rich and Alex have to pick up another instrument?

[Tim] Exactly, yeah. They play either keyboard or percussion. The way the album has grown, we're now a six-piece outfit with additional guitar and effects. It's no longer just about using layers of sound for texture. It's a fundamental aspect of the song. So to perform the songs without additional instruments would be another version of the song.

[Rosh] We have always said that the sax players aren't the vocals. Now we're thinking about the compositions in terms of saxophones as an instrumental part. It's using instruments in a more orchestral way.

Do you have plans for gigs this year, now that the album is finished?

[Tim] Should certain deals come off, there's the prospect of a US tour, so we're happy to be a bit more patient in making solid plans. We'll definitely be doing some gigs around May to preview our single, which we have released a video for made by Kira. We're really keen on just getting back out there, playing shows and sharing our music. I think we have written our best album, so it would be nice to share that as widely as possible.

Tasha Franek

Momento Mori and first single 'Our We Were Wild' are out soon via Lamplight Social Records. Stay tuned to for gig announcements.

Download a free track from the new album, 'Taming Panda'

by Tasha Franek (she/her)

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