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KING TUFF INTERVIEW

King Tuff

King Tuff

The laconic voice of Kyle Thomas hides a character whose mind is precise, and whose talent is immense, and arguably underrated. Enriched with the fuzzy rock & roll sound of the Sub Pop label, and complimented with classic pop melodies, King Tuff has over the space of two critically acclaimed albums created a huge buzz amongst indie fans throughout the world. Paul Berrington spoke to him ahead of his shows in New Zealand this month.

“I would describe it as music”, Thomas answers when asked how to describe his own sound, then laughs, and says, “I mean what’s the point really”. Clearly he’s been asked that question a lot, and divulges that, “I would usually call it rock & roll, but that’s about it”.

Thomas is excited by his first tour to New Zealand, and is also looking forward to sampling our culinary delights, and asks, “Have you got any interesting food I should try while I’m over there?”, to which I suggest he tries our seafood, “Oh yeah, I’m into the seafood”.

So what can fans expect from his live show, besides the raw sound of King Tuff, well for Thomas the ideal outcome would be, “um, hopefully a lot of smelly armpits”.

When listening to King Tuff, the blending of traditional and experimental rock & roll shows signs of several varied influences, “Um, pretty much everything”, says Thomas, “I love pretty much everything, and I think it was just the power of music itself that is my main influence”.

Thomas has played in several other bands before focusing on King Tuff, and says the decision to launch his own project came down to a simple desire to take the wheel of his own musical vehicle, “I started King Tuff mainly because I didn’t have to deal with other people”, and laughs a little when he says, “Most musicians are a pain in the ass, especially the most talented ones”.

After spending many years as a session musician, Thomas says that there are many benefits from collaborating with others, “I mean I’ve just been doing different kinds of stuff, pretty much been playing since 2001, with different people and stuff, so I love doing that as much as I love working by myself, I just wanna do whatever I can, and the more people you play with the more stuff you learn”.

Thomas has also played with legendary guitarist J. Mascis, and is signed to Sub Pop Records, in many ways he is living the dreams of many young indie fans, “It feels great, I mean this is what I’ve been working to do my whole life, so it’s nice that it’s paying off, I’ve been focusing my energy on it for years and years”.

When you spend so much time on tour, you’re bound to have a weird experience occasionally, and Thomas says he’s had his fair share, “We slept in a house with a dead guy”, pretty weird indeed, “and it was an old house, kind of like a commune type place. There was an older guy that had lived there for years and I think that he had passed away while we were there, I’m pretty sure he’d been dead for a few days”.

Given the busy schedule of a touring musician, you’d be forgiven for thinking Thomas has little time for any other outlets besides King Tuff, yet that isn’t the case, “I’m also a visual artist, so oil painting, design and stuff like that, you know, collecting records and books and stuff like that, I’m into nature, and I wanna know more about trees and stuff like that”, at which point he laughs, “Yeah that’s what I wanna see”.

Thomas is also trying to find the time to record another King Tuff album, but confesses it still might be a while off, “That’s a good question, I been asking myself the same thing”, clearly it is something he has thought about often, “Realistically, last time I recorded an album it took a year for it to come out, so I’m gonna say probably another year from now”.

Given the hectic lifestyle of most musicians, it is surprising to hear what gets Thomas motivated at the start of a typical day, “I usually get woken up a cute little dog that lives at my house named Zucchini”, and in response to his own method of songwriting, Thomas shares more of his offbeat sense of humour, “Lots of staring at the wall, and drinking black juice for inspiration”.

His upcoming shows in New Zealand should be a real treat for local indie fans, and we hope Thomas get the same reception as some of his recent gigs, “We recently played in Amsterdam and kids were jumping off the second floor and climbing back up and going crazy”, and if you’re feeling brave enough show the man some affection, he might just like it, “Also someone kissed me while i was playing and it was very sweet”.

King Tuff

“I would describe it as music”, Thomas answers when asked how to describe his own sound, then laughs, and says, “I mean what’s the point really”. Clearly he’s been asked that question a lot, and divulges that, “I would usually call it rock & roll, but that’s about it”.

Thomas is excited by his first tour to New Zealand, and is also looking forward to sampling our culinary delights, and asks, “Have you got any interesting food I should try while I’m over there?”, to which I suggest he tries our seafood, “Oh yeah, I’m into the seafood”.

So what can fans expect from his live show, besides the raw sound of King Tuff, well for Thomas the ideal outcome would be, “um, hopefully a lot of smelly armpits”.

When listening to King Tuff, the blending of traditional and experimental rock & roll shows signs of several varied influences, “Um, pretty much everything”, says Thomas, “I love pretty much everything, and I think it was just the power of music itself that is my main influence”.

Thomas has played in several other bands before focusing on King Tuff, and says the decision to launch his own project came down to a simple desire to take the wheel of his own musical vehicle, “I started King Tuff mainly because I didn’t have to deal with other people”, and laughs a little when he says, “Most musicians are a pain in the ass, especially the most talented ones”.

After spending many years as a session musician, Thomas says that there are many benefits from collaborating with others, “I mean I’ve just been doing different kinds of stuff, pretty much been playing since 2001, with different people and stuff, so I love doing that as much as I love working by myself, I just wanna do whatever I can, and the more people you play with the more stuff you learn”.

Thomas has also played with legendary guitarist J. Mascis, and is signed to Sub Pop Records, in many ways he is living the dreams of many young indie fans, “It feels great, I mean this is what I’ve been working to do my whole life, so it’s nice that it’s paying off, I’ve been focusing my energy on it for years and years”.

When you spend so much time on tour, you’re bound to have a weird experience occasionally, and Thomas says he’s had his fair share, “We slept in a house with a dead guy”, pretty weird indeed, “and it was an old house, kind of like a commune type place. There was an older guy that had lived there for years and I think that he had passed away while we were there, I’m pretty sure he’d been dead for a few days”.

Given the busy schedule of a touring musician, you’d be forgiven for thinking Thomas has little time for any other outlets besides King Tuff, yet that isn’t the case, “I’m also a visual artist, so oil painting, design and stuff like that, you know, collecting records and books and stuff like that, I’m into nature, and I wanna know more about trees and stuff like that”, at which point he laughs, “Yeah that’s what I wanna see”.

Thomas is also trying to find the time to record another King Tuff album, but confesses it still might be a while off, “That’s a good question, I been asking myself the same thing”, clearly it is something he has thought about often, “Realistically, last time I recorded an album it took a year for it to come out, so I’m gonna say probably another year from now”.

Given the hectic lifestyle of most musicians, it is surprising to hear what gets Thomas motivated at the start of a typical day, “I usually get woken up a cute little dog that lives at my house named Zucchini”, and in response to his own method of songwriting, Thomas shares more of his offbeat sense of humour, “Lots of staring at the wall, and drinking black juice for inspiration”.

His upcoming shows in New Zealand should be a real treat for local indie fans, and we hope Thomas get the same reception as some of his recent gigs, “We recently played in Amsterdam and kids were jumping off the second floor and climbing back up and going crazy”, and if you’re feeling brave enough show the man some affection, he might just like it, “Also someone kissed me while i was playing and it was very sweet”.

King Tuff

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