Kingswood’s Alex Laska on an ‘unconventional’ sophomore record ahead of their Australian tour

With their new single “Creepin” released only a fortnight ago, the wheels have begun to turn again for the Melbourne’s Kingswood as they prepare to re-emerge on the Australian tour circuit with a new live show ready to offer fans, not to mention some more tastes of what’s to come on their new album.

Guitarist and songwriter Alex Laska is chomping at the bit to see what this new chapter holds for the band. The music they’ve made to follow on from their ARIA nominated debut album Micro Wars is a step away from the heavier traditional guitar sounds fans may be expecting but, as he mentions, it’s not a hindrance.

“I can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve been tucked away preparing.” he says. “We’ve been progressing and investigating. We’re in a mode of, not quite starting again, but it’s definitely a new chapter. I mean, you’d hear this stuff all the time which is I guess sounds a little contrived, but it really is [a new phase] for us because we’ve had this complete reset, as far as the band and music went. That, for me, is incredibly exciting.”

“”Creepin” is probably the heaviest point on the album,” he adds. “It’s going to be really challenging for some people but hopefully really refreshing for a lot of people who are open minded to a vast majority of music, which I think the vast majority of the audiences are. If you look at our first single compared to “Micro Wars” or “I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me”, even through that progression, we’re a drastically different band. Every once in a while you’ll get the hard rock guy going, ‘They’ve lost it!’; it’s not so much that we’ve lost it, we threw it away.”

Laska is back in New York when we speak, the city has become a second home to him and one that fuelled much of the writing of Kingswood’s sophomore release. Leaving Australia not long after the Micro Wars cycle wound down, the band set their sights on the U.S. (as many do), but this wasn’t a sharp stab out into another market with the expectation of breaking it immediately.

“I’m living here a little bit now,” he explains. “I don’t think it was so much a ‘requirement’ to be getting out of Australia, it just happened through circumstance. As a result, it meant that the perspective on writing wasn’t clouded by anything. Not that it usually is, but you can just go away into a little world where all you have is your mind and the instruments around you to try and create something that moves people. With that as the chief concept, all you then do is strive to make something of quality or of worth – first and foremost for you – and then that translates to the people listening to it.”

When Kingswood return home next month to preview the new album, they’ll have a new bass player in Braiden Michetti as well as a fifth member on board to help further flesh out the sounds they’ve laid down on record. It’s been quite the process getting it all together, but the guitarist has clearly been relishing the opportunity to chop and change things up within the band’s dynamic and creative approach over this last year.

“There is no doubt about how meticulous we are,” Laska says, laughing. “That translates from the recording process through to the live performance. The new live performance and the stuff that we have created in order to replicate it live is highly involved, so we’re making stuff to make it all possible. I’m hacking pedals up so they can do different things and modifying them, we’re getting this whole new system together. We’re making sure the new five harmonies, the tuning…everything and everyone is spot on. We’ll sit there and do a vocal exercise 40 times in a row until it’s second nature and then once you don’t even have to think about what you’re doing, then you go in and refine it even more. It becomes about tailoring it to be suited for consumption, rather than, ‘I’m just trying to get through it’.”

If you’re a fan and you’ve been reading this feature, furrowing a brow at the idea of a new Kingswood album lacking in that classic guitar sound that may have won you over back in 2014, Laska is here to reassure you.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he’s quick to point out. “There’s plenty of guitar on the album, but it’s unique and new. I can’t pinpoint the sound of the album, but I like that I can’t. It’s definitely not a conventional [Kingswood] album. The people with our label and around Kingswood, when they heard it they were speechless; we had points of just going, ‘Alright…’ and they’d just sit there and look at each other. When we first played it to the label our Head, Paul, was just like, ‘Okay – I’m going to need a couple of wines and then we’re going to do this all again’. We listened to it again and it was really great; I really liked that experience.”

This week, the band embarks on a Canadian tour with July Talk – a run of shows that will take Kingswood right up until November 1st, just three days before their Australian run takes off. Flying from Quebec direct to Brisbane for their show on November 4th keeps things tight but at this point, Laska is excited to be coming home even though it’s clear a decent part of him is well and truly loved up with the U.S. The last year of writing, recording and experiencing how music is absorbed by different audiences in different environments so far detached from the Australian scene they’ve been used to has reinvigorated Kingswood and from what we’ve heard, album Number Two is certainly going to be reflective of it all.

“You know us,” Laska says. “You know that we like to push boundaries, first and foremost creatively. We want to be inspired and challenge ourselves and come up with a progression and emotion in the music.”

“We always talk about this concept of being ‘dangerous’ and it could have two connotations: it could be positively dangerous or it could be negatively dangerous. Positively dangerous being where you can take chances on things that might excite and scare people but ultimately, reward. Then, the negatively dangerous is where it’s becoming mundane and predictable, habitual. Doing things because they’re easy or because they’re expected. We’re like, ‘Nope – Group A the whole way’.”

Kingswood tour Australia through November – check the dates out below:

November 4th | Chinchilla ‘Fusions on the Field’ with Alex Dyson, QUEENSLAND
November 5th | The Spotted Cow, TOOWOOMBA
November 11th | Jive, ADELAIDE
November 12th | Blues at Bridgetown, BRIDGETOWN
November 13th | 96FM ‘Kick Start Summer of Music’, PERTH
November 17th | Imperial Hotel, SYDNEY
November 18th | SSA, ALBURY
November 19th | Howler, MELBOURNE
November 24th | Woolly Mammoth, BRISBANE
November 26th | Base Magnetic Island, TOWNSVILLE

Tickets are on sale for the tour now – hit up Kingswood’s website HERE.

Header image by Kane Hibberd.

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