Interview: Komakino

Thing is, Komakino shouldn’t really be here. They should be on yachts in the south of France, drinking Chablis out of virgin shaped goblets, having just sold the billionth copy of their debut.

As of June last year it was going so well, the limited release of Say Something (yours for the bargain price of 40 on eBay) had sold out, and the world was beginning to tremble before “Brit-rocks best new band”. But then, silence.

So what happened? We caught up with the band before the Insomniacs Ball to find out…

“We’re about due some fucking good luck.”
– Ryan Needham

Say Something came out about about twelve months ago, everyone went while and then there’s this big gap…
Stuart: The Wilderness years as we started to call them.
Ryan: We all grew beards and recorded an album in a sand pit.
Martin: We went through some business stuff, boring crap, behind the scenes and it meant we had to take a bit of time out just to regroup. But fingers crossed we’re getting going again.

It’s sorted now?
Martin: Well, 99%.
Ryan: We’re about due some fucking good luck, so hopefully we’ll be alright.
Stuart: Yeah. We want to do it, they want to do it, so it’s just a question of doing it now.
Ryan: We were like, a day away from signing a really bad deal with a major label and we finally came to our senses about twelve hours before, and just wentthis isn’t right.

But things are back on track now. And you’ve just come off the recent fan-club only Bloc Party tour. How did that go?
Ryan: Really well, a lot better than we expected. You know, we weren’t sure, they really like Bloc Party, and we’re not a million miles away in some songs, so we thought they could go “they’re a shit version of Bloc Party” or they could go “they’re something else and we like it”.
Martin: Norwich [the last date] was crazy. Because it had gone so well we were really confident, so we went on and it was going down really well and just really enjoying it. Norwich is the new Leeds. No, no, Sheffield is the new Leeds so Norwich is the new Sheffield.
Ryan: It was Russell’s birthday as well, so he got on stage with us to do the last single (Say Something) and then we surprised him with a cake with candles and we played Happy Birthday to him. I don’t think he enjoyed it that much.

So the album should be taking shape in the next few weeks, but there’s a tour going on first?
Ryan: Yeah in May with a Canadian band called Metric.
Martin: I think they sound a bit like us with a female singer. That’s why we like them…
Stuart: The singer is better looking than our singer.
Ryan: Fuck off! So we’re doing that tour, which ends at a festival in Brighton [The Great Escape] which should be quite fun and then straight into the studio.

“Norwich is the new Leeds. No, no, Sheffield is the new Leeds so Norwich is the new Sheffield.”
– Martin Samuels

So are you playing any more festivals?
Ryan: Probably not. We’ve lost a lot of momentum, we haven’t have had anything out in a while and this single is download only, it’s sort of a low-key reintroduction to actually doing something with our lives.
Martin: We might do some of the smaller ones. We might do Reading or Leeds or something, but it’s not something we’re pushing hard for.
Ryan: Thing is, the record won’t be out this year it’ll be out next year, January or February, it’s better to wait and do it next year, because if we do it this year we’ll be low down, it’s probably not worth doing. But I’m sure we’ll be visiting a few of them.

Is the album is it going to be the songs you’ve been playing for a while, or all new stuff?
Ryan: Probably half-and-half.
Martin: I think what will do is go and demo the ones that are contenders for it, and just see which ones work the best together. We’re not adverse to like, putting earlier stuff on it if it sounds right, but if it sticks out like a sore thumb then we’ll put new stuff on.
Stuart: I feel like we’re such a schizophrenic band, some of it sounds like really dark and miserable, and some of it like Say Something, is like a real pop song and some of the new stuff we’ve written is really heavy, and some of it sounds like post-rock, and we just do a bit of everything. I’m sick of hearing albums that everything sounds the same, like twelve versions of the same song, but we need to get some sort of coherence between tracks.
Ryan: I think that last thing the fucking world needs now is another post-punk album, so like, we’re not going to make that at all.

Is Say Something going to be on there?
Ryan: Yeah, I would of thought so. It’s possible anyway,
Martin: We said we’re going to stick a two minute prog rock jam in the middle, stop it being the horrible pop monster that it is! See, we’ve got all these ideas for the album, but whether or not they’ll come off, I don’t know.

Could be a double album then?
Martin: Well we could do…
Stuart: I always think we’re kind of past this first album, we wrote the first bunch of songs and were looking to get started, and then we decided it wasn’t right for us, and we wrote loads more, so it’s kinda like we’re onto a second album already.
Ryan: I think we won’t make an album which sounds like the live set. We want to do a bit of a production thing on it. Which will probably infuriate a few of our fans.
Stuart: They can get the demos which are all over the place which sound like our live set.
Ryan: I like the idea of having a track on the album with like strings on it, and then when you play it live you just fucking hammer it, strip it down like a straight rock song.
Stuart: One of the worst things of going to see a band live, is if you like the record and you go and watch it, and it’s just like the record. You might as well be watching a video.
Martin: That was the day I stopped liking the Stereophonics. Manchester Evening News arena, just after Performance and Cocktails, the second record, and I went and watched and thought you might as well not even be stood there, might as well be cardboard cut outs. And lets not joke about it, that first album is shit hot…
Ryan: No, no, no that first album’s great!
Mark: They’re shit…
Martin: They’re not! The new stuff is a lot better, it’s just that middle period where it all went wrong.
Ryan: You’re just not allowed to like them are you?
Stuart: We like loads of shit bands…

Not Embrace?
Martin: I think Embrace have done something really weird, they’ve gained loads of new fans who’ve never even heard of the old stuff… I think they’re not great, he’s not a great singer, but I respect ’em for being able to sell records.
Stuart: I think it’s just a really bad start when the singer can’t sing…
Ryan: It’s done alright for us. No actually, it hasn’t, has it?!
Martin: No, look at ’em! Look at ’em struggle, the bastards! And we’re here, slating them. I love Embrace.
Stuart: We were doing an interview with a magazine where I think Dennis said, making a joke about Razorlight, and I think Dennis said “They’ll never get anywhere won’t Razorlight“, just joking, and that was the big quote: “Nice blokes, but they’ll never get anywhere”…
Dennis: And this was like when they were really massive.
Stuart: It just looked like we had no idea what was going on in the world.
Dennis: It was just a poorly extrapolated joke.
Ryan: Good word. That’s got to be in there.

“It was just a poorly extrapolated joke.”
– Dennis Caswell on the danger of misquotes

So when is the single (a double A-side of Kommunicate and Are You Listening) out?
Everyone: June 5th.
Ryan: It’s download only. Where’s it available?
Dennis: It’s available at all good online retailers.

Well that fits, as you guys were one of the first bands whose MySpace page I used to download songs. Has the Internet been helpful?
Ryan: Yeah it has. We cottoned on to it late. It was at the point when we sort of didn’t want to do it ’cause everyone else was doing it!
Martin: Pretty much everything we’ve ever recorded up to any level is available on the Internet somewhere or other and it doesn’t seem to have done us any harm.
Dennis: I think it makes the difference of, like the Bloc Party tour we just did, it’s responsible for the people singing along to the songs we haven’t released.
Mark: Just now when we release the album no one will buy it…
Stuart: Yeah, they’ve got all the superior demo versions.
Ryan: But if people are coming along and singing to shit demos, then hopefully, if we don’t make a massive prog epic out of it, we should be alright.

Is that on the cards?
Ryan: Possibly. We’ve been listening to a lot of Mansun!

With copies of Say Something going for about 40 on eBay, are you thinking of releasing the next record straight to eBay?
Martin: That’s an idea!
Dennis: Komakino eBay shop. We could become Power Sellers with three gold stars.
Ryan: The problem with that is if you put 500 copies on eBay it’d just take ages to list.
Dennis: You couldn’t be chart eligible either, because you’re always waiting for cheques to clear.
Stuart: We should call the album Straight To eBay. We just found out that one of our friends has just bought Komakino.com and Komakino.co.uk. We haven’t heard from him yet, but I’m sure that he’ll say you can have them for some cash. The same bloke bought 25 copies of the single.
Ryan: He’s basically a Komakino Power Seller.
Dennis: He’s even done the “about me” bit when you sign on.

“The last thing the world needs now is another post-punk album” – Ryan Needham

So who are you looking forward to seeing tonight [at the Insomniacs Ball]?
Martin: I want to see White Rose Movement, because they all seem like really nice guys, and I though I didn’t like the album and I did.
Ryan: I want to see British Sea Power as well. Never seen them. And I really like bits of each album.
Martin: And they genuinely are a bit weird, not just putting it on. The guy who produced Say Something produced one of their singles, and he said in between takes they were off bird watching. I thought it was just for the NME but they genuinely do do that.
Ryan: We’ve got crown green bowling.
Stuart: I think we’re the only band in the world where some of the members used to play crown green bowls.
Mark: Well, the season starts in about two weeks, so I’m thinking of starting up again.

Did you play to a high level?
Mark: I play in the top division in my county and I play for my county as well…
Martin: Mark has a secret life that we don’t know anything about.
Ryan: It’s always got to be the drummer that does weird stuff doesn’t it?

And on that rock’n’roll truth, we leave Brit-rocks best, and possibly most unlucky, new band. If they can steer clear of black cats, ladders, and try not to break any more mirrors, this time the single will just be the beginning.

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