Immediately as I began to peruse the works of KP and the Boom Boom, I was lifted from my reality and taken on a “musical odyssey of love and magic”. The band’s first full-length album, The Brave, is an eclectic collection of emotion, excitement, and erotic enticement. Redefining the barriers of genre classification, this Austin based– band provides listeners with an innovative fusion of sound. It was my honor to chat with the band’s lead singer, Kate Priestley, and gain some insight on this dynamic group.
You were born in the U.K., but your band is based out of Austin. How’d you end up in Texas?
I was backpacking around Guatemala, and I signed up for an open mic night, this was in 2009, and there were two Americans that were in the audience and they were like “we have to start a band with you”. So I stayed with them for about a month and made music and hung out. Then we went our separate ways, I went back to England. Then the following year they invited me to Austin to make music while they had some time away from work, and that’s where I actually met the band that I’m with now, through those guys. It was just a real serendipitous meeting.
So the band that you’re with now, did they play together before you met them, or did people sort of join in sporadically?
They came sporadically, except for three of them. Those three played in a band together beforehand but they were playing very different music than we play now, I think it was kind of like Indie Rock, and they played with different people. It wasn’t too serious of a project, so when they joined in with KP and the Boom Boom that became of the main focus for them.
Looking at videos and pictures that I’ve seen of the band, it looks like there are eight of you altogether. Is that correct?
Yeah, so at the core there are five of us. Then outside of that, the smallest we’ll play is either five or six of us, and then when we play a bigger show it gets up to seven of us.
Do you feel that the bigger size of your band has allowed for more experimentation with sound?
Yeah it definitely has done that. I think the difficult thing with a bigger band in this day and age with music is making an income. I’ve noticed now with where the music business is going that it is much better financially to have less members in a band. When we went on tour, there were six of us, so it’s been great having additional members and the different sounds that brings. But it’s also difficult when everyone has a different view, and trying to work out those differences together. I think we’ve done a really good job though, finding a happy medium, and coming together for the album.
Where did you go on tour?
This August we went up the east coast and back. From here we hit Dallas, New Orleans, Lafayette, Atlanta, then we went all the way up to Brooklyn, and hit certain towns and cities on the way back as well. It was a wonderful experience. I think our favorite show actually was in Brooklyn.
Do you think that was the show that the crowd reacted the best to your performance?
For sure. We actually opened for a really great band that night, Madame West, and it was interesting, she said to us, “Wow you guys, they really like you, and they don’t have to do that here. If they’re not into it they’ll let you know.” So it was just very surprising and wonderful that we had that experience.
Have you ever played a show where you’ve had a difficult time getting the crowd into your music?
Occasionally, I mean there have been the odd times where we’ve been booked out of context, and if you put us in a small town in Texas people just don’t understand at all. They’re used to their country music, and we’re this neo-soul band, so they just really don’t know how to take us. We know now not to take those gigs; those happened more when we first started. Sometimes I feel like people can still be a little confused by us, but that’s because you can’t “box” us. We’re not just a soul band; we’re not just a funk band. But I’ve noticed with eclectic sound, people take certain elements that they really like, and by the middle of the set they’re starting to get really into it.
You just began to touch upon the point of your music being a multi-genre fusion; do you feel that the music industry tends to categorize bands too strictly, when maybe everyone should address their accumulative influences?
Only if you want that, I think if you’re set on only being a funk band or a soul band, than that’s what you should do if that’s your kind of music. But I have found recently that many bands are coming out with this kind of fusion of sound, and I love that. To me that is something exciting to hear as a musician, people taking all these influences from all these different genres and elements of music, and creating that one sound with it. I would rather be on the cusp of creating a new kind of sound than just repeating the sound of someone else.
I would like to talk a bit about your album The Brave. On your website it is described as “an epic next-generation neo-soul album of universal sound seduction”. Which is an incredible description by the way. And after listening to it myself I couldn’t agree more. Do you feel that including this sort of “energetic sensuality” helps to engage listeners?
For sure yeah, we’ve found that our audience really loves that type of energy. I think people definitely want to kind of be swept away and almost “high” when they listen to our music. We do have a serious side to the album too though.
How long have you and the band been working on this album?
We’ve been working on this album for two years. You always think the process is going to take less time. I think though if we had loads of money and the ability to all only make music and focus on this full time, then we could probably do that. But at this point some of us are still teaching music, or working other day jobs, so that just isn’t possible yet.
Do you have an official release date set?
Yes, it’s going to be released on November 18th. We actually finished the album in February, but then we started working with a publicist so we really wanted to wait those months and really ramp up publicity instead of just releasing it ourselves this time.
Do you have plans to go on tour again after the release of the album?
We’ve not discussed doing that yet, but I don’t think that would happen by the end of this year. But I think next year we’ll start talking about it again. We had such a great time in August, and I know people have been asking if we’re coming back to the places we played on that tour.
One final question I have to ask, what was it like opening for Snoop Dogg?
Oh man, it was amazing, you know that was a very surreal experience. It was the biggest opportunity we had been given at that point as a band, so it was amazing to be a part of that, and be back stage, and to sing on a stage that size in front of so many people (The Moody Theatre in Austin). I got to meet Snoop Dogg very briefly at the end when he was walking out. We tried to have an official meeting with him but security was not feeling it. I think there were a lot of people back stage that night, so I think security was unsure of who was supposed to be there and who wasn’t. But I kind of bust past them at the end and introduced myself. I just wanted to say who I was and thank him, and he was a super nice guy, he was really chill and gave me a hug, I got good vibes from him.