By Jon Milton
This weekend sees yet another exciting new band from Bristol release their debut single, the band in question being KickBoy and the song 'Portland from Streetview'.
'Portland from Streetview' fuses the rock/funk sensibilities of Red Hot Chilli Peppers with Parquet Courts indie rock with a vocal line that's in places, oddly reminiscent of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
I caught up with lead singer Jamie earlier this week, to find out more about the band and the single...
Tell us about KickBoy…
In the band is me (Jamie) playing bass and I sing, Chris plays guitar. We met when we were 18, both really sucked at guitar and we tried a few jams and basically all of them sucked, but then we formed a band and decided that we were actually less shit than we were a couple of years ago! So, we decided to find a drummer, and that was Owen who we found in a smoking area in Thekla (Bristol). Owen’s insanely talented and one of the best drummers I’ve ever met (not that I’m biased). We got the name Kickboy because we were jamming a lot, but we didn’t have a name and were entering this battle of the bands and kept going back and forth over names and just decided to name the band after a Pokemon that I’ve got on my Gameboy! We’ve been going for two years now.
How would you describe the band to a stranger?
Well, we’ve coined this expression ‘cross-punk’ which is what we call a lot of our tracks, as they all fall under the umbrella of punk somewhere, all quite shouty and lo-fi. They also dip into other genres, so a cross between punk and generally something else. We’ve got a strange, Reggaeton inspired punk track, a lot more indie rock sounding ones, a lot of post punk, garage rock vibes. So cross-punk is what we’re calling our music.
So key influences would be who?
Big question…for me Idles, Parquet Courts – Idles as a Bristol band, everyone from there loves them, and Parquet Courts I love the sound of his voice and I love the way he says words! I also grew up listening to a lot of garage rock and pop punk. Owen’s got quite broad taste – he grew up playing jazz drums and got into his punk when he was a bit older. I never quite understand Chris’s music taste – he’s into his classic rock, chill-wave, blues, its all over the place. We’ve got a lot of different influences and we bring a lot to the table at every jam session.
Tell us about ‘Portland from Streetview’ – on the press release you talk about mental health, recovery from addiction, isolation from society, can you tell us more?
The isolation from society and recovering from addiction comes from when I was starting my first job after leaving school and struggling with some addiction problems, and not being able to talk about it. It’s not the sort of thing you chat about in the workplace and try to deal with that in my free time and hold up a job. The idea was to make the lyrics completely off the wall and have a fun song instead of depressing and droning, we just like fun tracks. It came while I was watching the Damon Albarn ‘Reject False Icons’ documentary. I think he paints such a beautiful world with his lyrics whereas most of the songs have deep and upsetting meanings, and so we took that and ran with it to give some contrast where the lyrics are all over the place, fun sounding and cheeky but with hard topics to talk about.
Where does the title come from?
Its one of the lyrics in the song. A lot of my job at the time involved spending time on Google Streetview, looking online at roads and how they lay out, and the idea for this song came while I was looking at Portland.
How did the link up with Conor from Home Counties come about?
I met Conor after a gig. Home Counties were supporting Sports Team at Rough Trade in Bristol, and we were chatting at the end of the gig, and we met up in the studio.
Tell us about the video?
We just wanted to have something fun to go along with the track. It was 100% DIY, shot by our mate, and Chris, Owen and I came up with the idea for the shoot. There are a lot of references to food in the track, so we had the idea of Chris and Owen trying to enjoy a picnic with me coming along and being a lout, trying to mess up their day. There’s not a whole lot of meaning behind it to be honest, we just wanted to have some fun!
What’s next for the band?
We have two other releases planned for this year, both singles and we wanted to pick the songs that were at the most distant points of our genre spectrum. Portland from Streetview is very post punk, the other track is the reggaeton inspired one and then one which is quite skate punk, quite fast. We wanted to establish ourselves as a band that doesn’t stick to a single sound. We want to get as much variation as we can in our first couple of releases. We’re looking for one to come out in November and one in December.
We’re also getting some nice gigs lined up. We’ve landed a night with New Waves in Portsmouth, we’re playing with our mates Captain Gas and there’s some other stuff planned. Once we’ve got this song out, we’ll be getting a lot more hopefully.
Finally, tell us a little known fact about the band?
We’ve all got hidden tattoos of ‘KickBoy’…