With their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin and have smiled upon music lovers and graced us with some succinct and beautifully crafted music that meanders in and out of soothing vibrations to cure any emotional ailments. In-case you didn’t know we’re fans over here at Give It Back, as is our writer Toby, who tapped into their sounds of compassion and allowed Jesus to buy him a beer when he caught them last week at Patterns. Meanwhile we caught up with the band after the show to hear their thoughts on Brighton, London and pick their brains over their musical prowess.
Without listing the many genres you guys dip into and remould beautifully within your own music, do you ever experience a sort of creative ‘stand-off’ with one another where-by a clash of ideas inhibits the creative process or do these amalgamations of sounds form into these beautiful arrangements naturally?
I think most of it is pretty natural and straightforward. We’ve become set in the way that we build songs, which allows each member to put in their own spin at their given moment. We give ourselves certain limitations and parameters to work within, and I think it generally prevents those sort of “stand-offs”. That being said, we’ve obviously butted heads creatively; it would be silly not to. If we’ve disagreed during the recording process, we’ve simply recorded two versions and battled it out after we’d heard it with fresh ears. Thankfully, there are three of us, so there’s always a deciding vote.
Did you feel any pressure as a band to deliver considering you weren’t doing a compilation for Late Night Tales but rather releasing an album of fully original material?
Not really, if anything, we were relieved to be given free reign to do what we do best. Some labels might want us to change what we do to fit their roster or sound or whatever, but LNT has let us be us and explore. I think we just wanted to make our first full album, which is a feat in itself.
Between your experiences in both London and Brighton which stands more as a place and why?
We’re not sure it would be fair to compare the two, because we’ve only played Brighton once–and it was right after we drove from playing a gig in London. So we only experienced Brighton from about midnight until 2am. It was an absolutely amazing show though.
We know they are totally different places with very different vibes. London tends to be “go go go!” and it moves pretty fast, and it’s busy. Our limited experience of Brighton is that it’s way more laid back and it’s a city that knows how to properly take its time. There’s something to learn and to gain from both places and they both have their own personality.
Father John Misty is really making waves now, how were the Roundhouse shows? Did you learn anything new from playing these successions of shows in such an intense musical city?
We always learn from playing live, and playing with a performer like FJM was a big inspiration. Watching him from the audience on a regular basis was like a big kick in the bum as far as what’s possible from the stage. I think before the tour, we were much more reserved on stage, but after being on the road with FJM we were able to step out a bit more, ‘go for it!’ a bit more and let the energy flow.
And the Roundhouse is an incredible venue, a real honour to play there. Playing the succession of them just enabled us to get better each show. Each soundcheck went more smoothly, and by the third show, our sound was really ‘dialed in’.
What did you give the crowd at Patterns in Brighton?
We always try to play to the room as much as we can, so it was the same in Patterns. For the first few songs its important for us to get a feel for what the audience is reacting to, and then we try to go on that tip. If the crowd is rowdy and loud, we’ll go that way, if they’re a real “listening” audience, we’ll play a bit more to that. Regardless, we’ll throw in a bit of chill, a bit of funk, and hope everyone enjoys it.
What three albums will you play until you lose your hearing?
Marvin Gaye – Here My Dear
Mahmoud Ahmed – Soul of Addis
Parliament – Funkentelechy vs the Placebo Syndrome
Marvin Gaye – I Want You
Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg
Radiohead – OK Computer
Sade – Promise
D’Angelo – Voodoo
Andrae Crouch – Soufully
Thanks for your time guys, catch you again soon.
Interview with Robbie Cully