Thursday, April 20, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
You almost need a magnifying glass to read the dates on Melbourne band Kingswood’s latest tour poster, such is the enormity of the tour. Cramming 100 gigs into a seven month window, the band are celebrating the release of ‘Home’, an album packed with sultry country music-tinged riffs, with their Hometowns tour. Sam caught up with Kingswood’s guitarist Alex Laska ahead of their show in Mackay this weekend.
I see you’ve been working your way up the coast over the past month or so, how have the shows been?
Incredible. All the shows have been incredibly positive as far as engaging with regional and remote communities goes, which was the impetus that fuelled this whole thing, for us to reengage in all the regions that started and built this band in the last 10 years. Obviously we’ve been starved of travelling to all those regions and the regions have been starved of bands travelling to them. The mission was to hit as many as we could possibly undertake within a six month period and I think everyone’s responding really positive to it because they’re super appreciative of the fact that we’re doing it.
Do you notice any particular differences between a regional crowd and a metro crowd?
The difference has lessened. Metro crowds were a lot less susceptible to our charms because they’re used to seeing bands come through whereas regional crowds and communities are genuinely appreciative of an event or someone making an effort, not to say that metro crowds aren’t appreciative. They just used to be a little less inclined to give it their all. I suppose because of the break from social interaction and exposure, honestly everyone’s been pretty much the same, it’s been amazing.
What’s it like personally to be on such a busy tour?
It’s pretty vast and varied. You’ve got to try and maintain health and diet and all that sort of stuff and be patient and considerate because you’re living in such close quarters with people. But the benefits are incredible. We get to see this amazing country and we get to engage with all of the communities we haven’t before. Seeing that exchange, that interaction, and being a part of it and developing our musicality, pushing this album, it’s incredibly positive. People are really responding positively to the new album, it’s been at the top of the ARIA Australia charts for six of the last seven weeks which is amazing.
Speaking of the album, Kingswood have been around for 15 years, you’ve half a dozen albums and each feels like you introduce something fresh and new, how did you keep things fresh while writing Home?
Honestly, I just satisfied my own creative urge. We’d just finished up with our record label on the last three albums and COVID had happened and no one knew what was going on or what was going to happen so I went into this escapist, surrealist world living on a ranch in Queensland. I leant into the more country-tinged music that I love and just wrote the album without any album of anything, I just wrote it for the sake of writing it. I had no idea of when, where, how, why we were going to release it. Did we know we were going to tour it? Same thing.
In saying that, there are obviously common Kingswood sounds, themes and moods throughout all of your albums, who or what inspires the Kingswood sound?
That is incredibly difficult question. It’s probably an amalgamation of the entirety of my life, what I’ve been exposed to musically, and there’s definitely a formula or recipe that’s engrained itself in my head based on everything I’ve been exposed to musically. Because of that, there’s an inherant identity that, no matter what genre we undertake, links back to the Kingswood sound and I think that will be present because it’s part of my identity in all stuff.
It's not your first time in Mackay this weekend, do you have any memories of the place?
We like north Queensland. We’ve always had really good relationships with venues and the people so I always think of north Queensland as fun.
And what can Mackay expect at the Metropolitan on the weekend?
The best show they’ve ever seen, hands down.
WHEN: Saturday, April 22 from 8:00pm
WHERE: The Metropolitan Hotel Mackay
Kingswood are about halfway through a mammoth 100-date tour of Australia