The Kooks

Interview: Alexis Nuñez from The Kooks

The Kooks are a band that defined the late noughties indie scene and they are back with their fifth album Let’s Go Sunshine. We caught up with their drummer Alexis Nuñez about the new album, Tame Impala and how to open up your ears to new music…

1. The Kooks’ fifth album Let’s Go Sunshine was released last Friday, what’s it been like so far?

It’s gone down really well. We’ve been doing a few shows and we’ve just recently started playing new songs and from what I can tell, people are really responding to it really well. A lot of people are singing along to the new tunes which is very encouraging. We are just really enjoying playing the new tunes, it’s nice for us to play new music and it feels like we’re still kinda working them out in a sense when we’re playing them live. It feels fresh and exciting.

2. So, the album title has a fun, uplifting feel to it. However, some of the songs like Chicken Bone and Four Leaf Clover have quite mature meanings such as struggling relationships, bullying etc. Obviously, that juxtaposes the album title slightly – Was there a reason why you chose this title?

Yeah, I think so. The overall feeling of the album is quite optimistic sounding. I know that Luke has written a few tunes like the ones you mentioned there that are a little bit of a contrast to the scene of the album which is kinda true to life. Luke kinda writes a lot of autobiographical stuff. It’s quite good to have a contrast because it makes you appreciate each side of it and it kind of balances everything out a little bit. I think it’s varied in terms of genre, there is different types of genres on there, but the actual subject matter and lyrical content can be quite juxtaposed which is good, it keeps it varied.

3. What is your favourite song on the new album? 

My favourite song on the album is Weight of the World I absolutely love that song its hands down my favourite. Then there are other tunes on the album, like Picture Frame I really like. No Pressure is nice. I like Initials of Gainsbourg. But my favourite is definitely Weight of the World; it has been since we recorded it, it’s a beautiful song, a really beautiful song.

4. This album has been four years in the making, what was the recording process like for the album, was it very different from your last album “Listen”?

The good thing about this one and what I liked about it was that we did a lot of recording as a whole band, so all of us trekking at the same time. This incarnation of the band have been together for six years now and we’ve done a lot of touring, a lot of gigs, you know a lot of rehearsing and we just did a gig last night (5/08) in London which went really really well and it was nice to be able to capture that on an album, on a song, on a collection of songs where you get to capture what we sound like as a band in terms of the chemistry, how we play music together. I think that’s really important and that was one of the things that we did when we recorded the album last year, it was getting that sort of sound on the record us actually playing together. Whereas, on “Listen”, it was a bit more fragmented. One of us would go in and record just the drum part and then Pete would come in and record the bass on top. It was just a little bit more individual rather than all of us getting together in a room.

5. Many people are comparing this album to The Kook’s debut, obviously, you joined the band in 2012, but do you think there are similarities to the first album in this record?

Yeah, I think so. There’s a certain sort of sound that was around about that time, sort of 2006. It was a very healthy time in British music, there was a lot of bands around that time, you know, a lot more than what there seemed to be at the moment. I think it was exciting at that time and there are few songs on this album that have got a very ‘Kooksy’/ early Kooks sort of style to them and it’s fun and it’s nice to have that identity but also, there’s a mixture of genres and styles on this album. There is more type of ballad type ones, more song-based ones, punky ones. There are definitely some similarities to the first which is not necessarily a bad thing, we’re not sort of copying the first album. You know just keeping ourselves happy and the crowds happy.

6. Are there any plans to tour around the UK with this album? I know you were touring The Best Of album last year, so I bet it kind of feels like you’ve been on the road forever!

Yeah I know, feels like it [laughs]. But definitely, when a new album comes out there is a lot of touring in the works. But it’s going to get really busy which is great because that’s the whole point really. The point is to play the new songs and invite everyone along to come and check it out. So we are doing The States, Europe and Australia, then the UK again. I think we will probably end up doing this for another year and a half, just touring the world and playing the new songs which is what we’ve also done and what we love to do and we all feel really excited and confident about that and it’s a good place to be in.

7. As a student magazine, we are always looking out for new bands and artists to listen to, have you got any recommendations?

I am a massive fan of The Lemon Twigs. They’re incredible. They’ve just released their second album, they are a couple of brothers from Long Island in The States and I’ve seen them live a couple of times and they are absolutely insane. I love their style, they look great you know very 70s with their sound and the way they dress. They’re really young and they just love to rock out, just pure rock and roll and great songs, they are very theatrical and just fantastic. I am still waiting for the next Tame Impala album, eagerly awaiting to see what Kevin Parker does next. Since the latest album, “Currents” it’s like “Come on man, we want another album!”. I absolutely love that guy and love all the Tame Impala records. There’s a band of members that used to be in Tame Impala called Pond that are really cool. I’m really into that psychedelic, sonic productions. I am listening to a lot of hip-hop as well at the moment, the new Childish Gambino stuff is fantastic. I am a big fan of Kendrick Lamar, everything he does is just incredible. There is always new stuff, I am always keeping my ears open and I think it’s good to do that. The Kooks is quite a rock/guitar song-based band but I am always just trying to find new bands and just keep my ears open. There is so much good stuff out there and we take from all different types of genres – it’s healthy.

8. For any people who are at uni and are thinking of starting a band, do you have any tips for them?

I would say, we are living in a time now where we can basically get music out there to the masses quite easily. You don’t necessarily need a record contract or to get signed. You just need to basically work at it, love what you do have a passion for what you do and enjoy it and keep your ears open. If you’ve got a band or if you’re writing songs, maybe get a little set up at home or if you know someone, start doing it for yourself really. You can actually do it and there is a lot of people doing it, doing the artwork and stuff, taking control for what it is they do and then maybe get to a point where you’ve got enough songs for an album or an EP and just getting it out there. From there, you never know, you could start gaining a lot of popularity and people will start coming to see you instead of you trying to find them. Getting as much of it done yourself and really envisioning what it is you want to do and getting it out there, it’s a different environment now than what it used to be. Its empowering is what I’m trying to say – that’s my advice!

You can listen to Let’s Go Sunshine on Spotify.

By Becky Lumbard

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