(((O))) So, tell us a bit about yourself. Do you have a background in music? How did Kubalove come about?
My eardrums never fully recovered from my first band at age 15 and the rehearsals in the drummer’s tiny, sweaty bedroom. I’ve been in a succession of bands ever since, playing bass, some synth and singing, playing at festivals across the country, helping me get to know the London gig circuit intimately – grubby as hell but I love it. I set up my own acoustic music night for a couple of years, which was tough work but it meant I got to put on kids like Ed Sheeran before he got big (though he looks exactly the same now as he did then). Writing music electronically is a newer thing for me but feels very natural. My solo project as Kubalove is what best gets across this thing inside me itching to get out. I find I can produce music really fast these days, which is why I’ve moved into composition for other people recently too.
(((O))) What would you say are your musical influences for Kubalove, and more generally, which artists do you most admire / enjoy listening too / seeing live?
Moloko’s Roisin Murphy was always a massive role model for me. She’s got such a fuck-you attitude, such style - her live performance at Glastonbury years ago left me slack-jawed. And Moloko’s sound unites just what I love, compelling beats with sinister, sensual undertones and dark humour. There are so many strong female artists and front women out there to admire – P J Harvey, Alison Goldfrapp, Karen O – they’re all so awesome. I also appreciate anything that’s sexy, atmospheric and has a damn fine beat – CSS rule, MEN delight me constantly and Siriusmo is magnificent. Also, Thom Yorke is the one true god.
(((O))) Talk us through your creative process. How do you write songs? What's the recording process like?
Sometimes I sit down deliberately to write something, but my best work comes when my subconscious just flows out. It’s like the Elves and the Shoemaker – where in the morning his shoes are magically made somehow… I’ll start by laying down a basic beat, and a big bassline (I’m always going to be a bass player at heart) and then I just let my fingers do the work, and somehow the tune just seems to write itself. I’m lucky like that – often I’m amazed at what I end up with – I think, “where the hell did that come from?” This was very true with ‘Dangerous’. I came home from a heavy drinking session in a dark mood and just sat up and wrote until about 5am. I can’t remember what went on, but all I know is that when I listened back hungover the next day I thought “holy shit, that’s not bad”.
(((O))) What's the story behind the video for Dangerous? How did you decide on the footage to use? It's very well synced to the track, was it edited to fit?
I’ve always been obsessed by bizarre, unsettling dance performances – at the dancers’ ability to move their bodies in completely inhuman ways, to transform themselves into disturbing creatures. Whilst I was putting the final touches on ‘Dangerous’ I was thinking about how I’d move to it if I was totally uninhibited. It’s a song filled with darkness, anger and self-hatred, a desire to be rid of the skin you live in, but also a strange sensuality and passionate desperation. I spent a while searching online for some dance inspiration and came across this incredible Chunky Moves video. I instantly felt it expressed in dance what I was expressing in music – this constant fight against yourself, this desperate inner struggle, these forces battling beneath the skin. The video was edited somewhat to fit, but it didn’t need a lot – somehow the music and video just slotted together like they were meant to be.
(((O))) And how about the video for ‘All I Want’? How did that come to be made?
I’m so happy with how this video for ‘All I Want’ came out. The track is a lot more romantic and euphoric than ‘Dangerous’, but it still has a desperate yearning to it. I think the video captures this atmosphere in a stunningly beautiful, sexy way. It certainly seems to be getting people a bit hot under the collar, which can only be a good thing I think…
The up-and-coming director Susie Francis approached me to make it through the Radar Music Videos site, which was really flattering. It seems she just loved the song and had a great vision for how the video should look. Susie’s based in L.A. and has some amazing connections, and the video ended up starring the very hot fashion model Kasimira Miller and her Hollywood actor boyfriend Tarquin P. Wilding – who also happens to be Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson. You can really see the chemistry between them on screen I think.
(((O))) Tell us a bit about your upcoming EP? When can we expect to get our hands on it? What will it sound like?
The EP will be out at around the start of April. It will be quite a varied mix of sounds, with songs representing all different moods – from the dark aggression and sensuality of ‘Dangerous’, to more feisty, flirty and tongue-in cheek tracks like ‘Criminal’ and ‘Lovesick’, which are more beat-orientated. There’s cohesion throughout though, in their attitude. They’re all about tugs of war – whether it be a dark personal struggle or a more stimulating battle of love, sex and hatred with a partner.
(((O))) What are your plans for 2014? Musically, personally, creatively, professionally?
I’d like to complete my first album as Kubalove – it’s in the works. I’d also like to tour the EP, I’m in the midst of rehearsals now and dates will be announced soon. I’d also like to have my music reach as many people as possible through as many ways as possible. I’m glad to be providing music for the online entertainment show The Fox Problem (hosted by Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney), and to be working with big brands like Hewlett-Packard in my composition work. I’d like to work with more and more TV shows and brands – as it’s a great way to get your music heard by all kinds of people.
(((O))) Reach for the sky time: What one thing, musically, would you most like to happen to Kubalove?
I want to get a song on the Girls soundtrack at some point, because there’s nothing cooler in the world than that right now. I also want the music to feature in a film with Ryan Gosling taking his shirt off to it. The Drive soundtrack is just about my favourite soundtrack ever, and Ryan Gosling’s face makes it sound even better. My music needs his six-pack to reach its full potential.