“You’ve got to know where the music is coming from to present something” – An Interview with Kris from New Kingston

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After supporting The Skints on their Nice Time tour, New Kingston’s drummer Kris was nice enough to hang out with me afterwards so I could quiz him on their beginnings, their experience in New York, and fill him in afterwards on our Portsmouth rivalry.

So you guys are a family, it’s crazy to me that you’re all so close and all so talented, does it get difficult touring as a family?
We say every relationship is a relationship, family, girlfriend, whatever. We all have a common goal which is keeping the family tight, that’s our father’s main goal, making us stay close. There are a lot of families out there who find it hard to keep close – I give all the love and blessings to my pops, he kept us together, made sure we took the music seriously, and now we’re here in… Portsmouth?

Yes.
Fiyah!

How long have you all been performing together for?
I mean music was there when we were all born, my pops he was always playing good music all the time: funk, old R&B, of course, reggae which is the foundation of our music. And then in school, we played some instruments, we were in the school band, flute was my first instrument, then my pops, he brought lots of instruments into the house, I saw the drums, my brother started playing the keyboard, and we just went from there.

I did think to have such tight harmonies you must be related, and to all look so similarly beautiful!
It’s really funny that, we have those conversations all the time about even if somebody else was supposed to sing with us, just the harmonising we’re like “You’ve got to learn a lot of stuff!” When we first started out we used to play in a bunch of clubs so we’d sing a lot of cover songs with a lot of harmony, so that was the practice. And honestly before we got to go on to the stage we’d be working on the piano with our pops just doing our scales and then harmonising over the top, all three of us had to do the root, the third or the fifth and then we harmonised that scale.

That’s a lot of practice but also a lot of technical knowledge as well.
Yeah, it really is.

Your sound, you sounded like very classic reggae but with some nineties R&B vibes and funk, especially with your sampling – it was a nice mix, and you don’t really get a lot of “classic” core reggae anymore. You get punk reggae, rock reggae, but you guys are it.
Well, we’re based in New York, that’s where we were born, so the three of us, the sons, we listen to everything. We have New York influences from rock to R&B to funk to all the latest hip-hop that’s out right now, we listen to everything. So all that is in our music, the traditional, the foundation, the backbone of our music is traditional reggae like you were saying, that’s our pops, that’s really what he infused in us first. He’s the foundation, he really made sure he gave us music from the eighties, music from the seventies, and it’s up to us to go back further. You’ve got to know where the music is coming from to present something, you can’t just live in the time right now because there was a lot of great stuff back then too.

There’s so many cultures on top of cultures in Brooklyn, the area where I lived in was mostly Caribbean people so I like that music got me to travel and to experience different cultures around the world because in Brooklyn it was just Caribbean for me. We listen to everything to make sure we’re getting everything!

And to be here now, I was talking to Josh from The Skints earlier and he said “This guitar brought me all the blessings I have now”. I get to travel, just by me playing the drums up here? I’ll never not appreciate that, and that’s why I treat the drums like the way I treat them, if you come see us live you’ll understand.

You were the most enthusiastic drummer I have ever seen, ever!

 

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Third year PAIR student and live editor. Also the Wessex Scene's Head of Events. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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