Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: May 2013
Hailing from the rainy Pacific Northwest, heavy psychedelic rock band Kinski has been an underground favorite since their inception in 1998. Comprised of Chris Martin (guitar), Matthew Reid-Schwartz (guitar, keyboard, flute), Lucy Atkinson (bass), and Barrett Wilke (drums), this four-piece is currently on tour to promote their newest record, Cosy Moments,released by their current label, Kill Rock Stars. Chris Martin spoke with Synthesis about their upcoming show at Café Coda on May 25th with Tropical Popsicle and West By Swan.
You’re currently on tour to promote your new album, Cosy Moments. What was the process of recording like as compared to other albums?
It’s been five or six years between albums, so we knew the material really well. It was almost like our first record in a way. We’d been playing the songs for so long that when we got into the studio, it didn’t take long at all.
Is this your favorite album so far?
It’s a little different than our other work, so we were all feeling a little apprehensive about how people would react. I like it, but it has to be out for a year or so before I could say whether it’s one of my favorites. We actually have about two thirds of another record finished, so we’ve been playing those songs on this tour. The new stuff is a combination of the poppy-sounding new songs with our older-sounding, spacey-type stuff, and we’re really excited about the next project.
Will you be playing the brand-new material in Chico?
We just toured on the East Coast, and I think we were doing about four or five off the new one, and three or four old ones, then a few brand-brand-new ones.
You’ve toured with quite a range of musicians, including Acid Mothers Temple and Tool. What’s been your favorite band to tour with?
Ever? Well, that’s been one of the really great things about doing this band; we’ve gotten to meet and travel with some really amazing bands. It’s hard to pick just one. I’d say Acid Mothers Temple, Mission of Burma, and Oneida were the best.
You used to be signed with label Sub Pop, and now you’re with Kill Rock Stars. How does the experience differ?
Well, Kill Rock Stars is way smaller. Sub Pop probably has about 20 people working there, whereas KRS only has about four. Sub Pop hires out for press and stuff like that, whereas KRS does it in house; it’s more of a DIY vibe. Sub Pop was really great to us, they were very hands-off as far as material, direction of the music and recording; they don’t like to get in the way of the artist. They (Sub Pop & KRS) are totally different, but so far they’ve both been great to work with.
Twenty years ago, if you were in a band that went on tour or put out a record, it meant that you were serious about music. Now, with technology where it is, and recording being so accessible to anyone and everyone, bands don’t necessarily have to be that serious about music in order to record or even tour.
Do you think the market being completely saturated with music has hurt the industry or helped it?
It’s so easy for people to make CDs or put something up on Bandcamp. I think having labels is both good and bad. It’s good to have a sort of gatekeeper in a sense; people that you can trust in, [based on] what they’ve released in the past. I do really love that bands are starting to put out vinyl again, because if you do that it means you must be pretty serious about it. You have to go through so many steps, and it’s expensive.
What bands are out there right now that you’re excited about?
I like a lot of bands that are from just a couple years ago, like Emeralds and Mark McGuire,but they broke up… let me think about that for a minute.
What music do you listen to in the van when you’re touring?
Well that’s totally different. (Laughs). I’m on this big kick of Mississippi Records stuff, like Turkish music from the 30s. [Mississippi Records is a reissue label that makes old music available on vinyl, with each pressing limited to one thousand.] There are so many collections of 78s that are just incredible.
Anything else you want to add?
It’s been so long since we’ve played in Chico, but we always have a great time there. I remember a show we played there once where the stage was basically on the bar, that was pretty awesome.
Come let Kinski rock your socks off at Café Coda on Saturday, May 25th with Tropical Popsicle and West By Swan. 8PM. $8. All ages.