Interview with Jay Harrison (Bass, backing vocals) of Kingdom Keys and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
JH: We are Kingdom Keys, a six-piece alt-rock band from West Norfolk. We have an eclectic mix of influence which help to create a genre-spanning sound centred around the emotional vocals of Sam Jason Cook.
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
JH: We formed in 2015 releasing our debut EP in 2016. The band is hand picked from other projects that singer/songwriter Sam has been involved with to transpose the ideas floating in his head. After a successful run of shows in support of that EP, including a spot on Festival Too, one of Europe’s largest un-ticketed music events, as support to The Fratellis, the band fell into an unspoken hiatus until work on debut album ‘Violence & Virtue’. After 5 long years away the band are back and chomping at the bit to hit the stage again and play this record.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JH: My personal musical influences are mainly seeded in classic rock bands like Rush and Thin Lizzy. As a band, we each have a range of influences which adds to the melting pot we cook up our songs in.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
JH: Right now it’s just to play these songs live. That may seem silly for a dream but that’s what it feels like given the events of the last 18 months.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JH: Vocalist Sam Jason Cook leads the charge on the writing front. He often arrives at rehearsals with fully formed songs in his head and it’s our job to transpose those thoughts into parts. It’s a collaborative effort still but working from that idea. The tracks themselves are pretty reflective of our experiences at the time, especially for Sam. The album tackles the usual broken relationships, Sam’s discontent at social media, religion, morality and mortality.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
JH: We are living in a time where social media is key. The trick is rising to the top or grabbing the attention of the mindless scrollers. It’s like a science but with absolutely no formula, rhyme or reason! A lot of the pre-sales for the album were done through picking up the phone to friends and letting them know our vision. They were only too happy to support us in our unofficial crowd funding campaign.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
JH: It’s a tough one. If there’s one thing I hate it’s artists getting screwed, whether that’s from streaming services, illegal downloads or the routing of tickets. As a fan, I think it’s fair for an artist to set a price based on their valuation of their art, but as an artist, I fully appreciate the need for Spotify etc to make music more accessible to the everyday listener. Downloading itself isn’t the issue here. The percentages that find their way to the rightful person is the real crime.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JH: Our songs are by no means two and a half minute pop songs. The stories we want to tell are a little more complex and for that reason I would love to push the envelope even further and write some sort of 30-minute epic so the answer would have to be something like Rush’s 2112 overture or something like that. Little Mix aren’t bad though…
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
JH: The de-tuning of drums on a kit share! That and the general attitude of the government to the arts throughout this pandemic. The advice to “retrain” is a kick in the teeth to every creative I know worth their salt. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it!
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
JH: Honestly, after the long road to this album, it feels like an absolutely monumental achievement for a small band from Norfolk. I’m proud of these songs and I’m overwhelmed by the response. I’ve been involved in a lot of bands and put out a lot of music over the years but this is hands down head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever done. It’s a pinch myself moment when I listen and it takes me a while to really acknowledge that I’m playing on it! That will only solidify itself with some live shows under our belt.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
JH: Booking shows is a top priority right now. We’re talking about the next video in the coming months and we also have a bunch of songs that didn’t quite make ‘Violence & Virtue’ and we want them to see the light of day with some alternative versions from the record. After 5 years between releases let’s maybe not get ahead of ourselves on that one.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
JH: You can pick up a physical copy of the album by heading to any of our social media profiles and dropping us a message. Alternatively ‘Violence & Virtue’ is available from all the usual streaming services.
Kingdom Keys links:
Band/Artist location – Norfolk England
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Check our page for Kingdom Keys