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Text by: Thomas Theodore

Issue name: The Philos Aphilos Issue


"I'm not eighteen anymore!" Roger Robinson reminds me. Maybe it's my own fault, I've opened our interview in Berghain's austere second dressing room by questioning whether or not three individuals from quite different musical backgrounds consider themselves a band. They do, is Roger's swift answer, his Trinidadian accent exuding a wise air. I adjust my question quickly, I shouldn't ask closed questions, and I know they've noticed my slight of hand.

He tells me that despite their ranging experiences prior to King Midas Sound, whose bass heavy sound and 2009 release 'Waiting For You' were met with both dancefloor and critical acclaim, they actually have remarkably similar tastes, "We're all very vigorous and inquisitive when it comes to new music... we write a blog as much for one another as for followers."

Roger then mentions that he's recently moved to Northampton. I ask him if he'd fallen out of love with London or was finding the city creatively stifling. "I really like London" he exclaims defensively. "But I need to think about about my future. I'm not a kid, I'm married now, maybe I'll have babies, and I have to decide between a crackhouse in Lewisham and a 4 bedroom period house in Northampton; it's not really a decision. Plus, it's only a forty-five minute commute." Hearing a musician refer to a 'commute' is foreign to my ears. Musicians often exist in a state of arrested development; avoiding the idea of growing up - this concept just seems natural to Roger Robinson.

Vocal Kiki Hitomi seems more ambivalent to London. She moved there in 1999 from Japan. "I've recently started to wonder whether it's too intense. It was great when I moved there, there was a lot I wanted to be inspired by," Kiki's much quieter, often opting to offer a nod in approval of Roger's statement or to interrupt to disagree, as she's just done. "a lot of my Japanese friends have gone to Tokyo or Osaka" she quickly inspects the sparse room, as though looking for eavesdroppers "maybe I'll move to Berlin" she says.

I want to hear about their influences. They mention their Hyperdub label-mates, who are gradually all arriving in the neighbouring room. Tom Waits is suggested before Kiki mentions Swans. "Swans! Have you seen them live?" they both cry in unison, making eye contact with me. "They've been a really large influence recently, the bass, you feel it, their music is so physical" Roger adds that they like playing "anywhere with bass space". "We aim to make music without the strong demarcations of any genre" which allows them to pull influences from anywhere. "I spend a lot of time on Youtube" he continues enthusiastically. "I've been watching Michael Jackson videos from the years before he died; they're unbelievable! Prince- aged 20, man was killing it!"

Discussion moves onto Robert Wilson, the American stage director who's worked alongside Philip Glass, Alan Ginsberg and David Byrne. He says that Wilson's set design has proved inspirational for their stage show. Kiki and Roger agree that their live sets should capture the moment, and be reflection on their mood in it. "I'm definitely not in the same place as when we wrote the album; it seems unnatural to try and recreate that"

Thus far they have expressed that artistically they each bring something different to the group" "everyone in the band is an artist, and i you have artists around you, it's not nice to be put in a box; we want out live show to present the most recent version of us." Roger turns to Kiki to hear her sentiments, "We've toured this album for 12 months and we've played the same show twice". Their lineup is completed by Kevin Martin, who is the main force from a production standpoint. The fact that King Midas Sound are three, highly individual creatives operating together but with quite clearly defined roles gives them propensity to evolve onstage: as the mood changes so should their sights and sounds. "I'm excited about tonight" concludes Roger.

We finish up and the band head off to prepare for their slot. King Midas Sound enthuse you with their fervency and their receptive nature towards external influences. Having respective careers before King Midas Sound makes them aptypical of a conventional band. "We all have resposiblities" echoes Roger repeatedly; reminding me that they are beyond the age at which bands normally make debut releases.  Their collective finger is still very much upon the pulse; I think we can expect further exciting output from King Midas Sound.