Kings

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KINGS

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Few bands can have a strong head for business and a charming, witty manner to go along with it – Kings are the exception. Talking with brothers Elliott and Josh Burnett offers a delightfully grounded account of their experiences with the music industry, married with humorous over talk and a real, profound voice of gratitude. As I thank them for the late night call, Josh candidly relays that it’s their pleasure. “Let’s be honest; we weren’t doing anything else, were we? I’m kidding, of course!”

A band flying as high as Kings; naturally, I want to test their waters and see how good they are being kept on their toes – I throw them a curveball – what do they want to talk about? “Oh wow! That’s a very bold move!” Surprise takes Elliott, “I like your confidence because we could totally throw curveballs back at you!”

Bring it on, boys.

The Burnett’s are steady on their feet, an open and willing fountain of information ready to spill. “Personal stuff, organisation, tours, what do you want to know?” “Yeah I’m on board,” laughs Josh, “Keep it cash, keep it real and we’ll see how we feel!”

That unabashed realness isn’t a gradual aspect of the Burnett’s, it’s what you get from all of Kings at face value. With their new album about to drop when we speak, Kings naturally have a lot going on. Comprised of members from a menagerie of Brisbane bands of days gone by, Kings have worked tirelessly for eighteen months to produce an album that would make a significant dent in the heavy scene. Never Alone covers common themes over overcoming hardship, and self-belief, all evident in some well-thought out lyrics and raised up with some soul-searing melodies. The band released two singles before the album’s completion, ‘Lionheart’ and ‘Stand Up’, ultimately amounting to this debut release. It’s an album worth waiting for and one that Kings have had a business projection for a long time. Hearing about their promo prep, touring plans and playing history, the Burnett’s meet me on a candid level. “We only launched last year,” explains Josh, “So before we even launched as a band we had half the album recorded.

“We grew up playing in a lot of bands. You get it in your genes super early and just ‘cause you’re jacked up on your own stuff, ready to take on the world with your four originals and two covers and you know, you’re gonna get a major support, quit your day job and you’re gonna have a lovely time… The reality of all that, you learn otherwise quickly.

“You do kind of mature in the music industry, and you do kind of learn from other bands. We wanted to present the strongest front we could for the best chance of success, I guess – whatever success is. We wanted to present, ‘Hey, this is us; we’re organised, we’re ready to go – single, film clip, single, film clip, album, let’s do some shows’. Like, well thought out shows, as well. That was really the reason why we took so long to go, ‘Yeah, sick! Hey, world, we’re here!’ and actually back it up with some substance.”

In the grand scheme of things, Kings really are chicks fresh from the egg, but they have a solid understanding of who they are, where they’ve come from. “All of us have come from different backgrounds. Like Elliott and I, we’re brothers, right? So we’ve been doing bands and playing music all our lives. Both our parents are insanely talented and classically trained musicians, so we’ve taken that and formed something in the belly of the beast and waited for that to come out to show people, I guess.”

Kings have an interesting perspective on what success means to them. On the pre-release side of the album drop – and with the work gone into the release having taken an extraordinary length of time – one can’t help but wonder, what would be a measure of success for Kings by their standards? “It’s a hard question,” says Josh. Elliott, thinking for a time then answers, “It’s a good question!”

Elliott begins, “Success is so…”

“Contextual,” offers his brother.

“Yeah, contextual to you as a human. Something people might call success, like…”

“Releasing an album.”

“Yeah, releasing an album! And yeah they’re good, they’re ready to go. That’s like a massive achievement for us, I guess it’s like a journey. Progression. I’m convinced even in life, broadly, there’s no such thing as ‘you’ve made it.’”

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I offer the brothers an observation. Perhaps the measure of success will depend on what milestones Kings reach in their career? “It depends on what comes after too, what comes of it,” concedes Josh. Elliott agrees, “That’s right. Like success is in the journey. If we’re growing up, success might look like getting married and having kids, as well as just being a music career to whatever degree that you’re allowed to with your capacity for work and finances kind of thing.

“Success is in the progression. Like, cool, we’re moving forward, we’re playing bigger venues, more ticket sales, more travelling – I think some bands might do fairly well with minimal travelling, but they need a strategy (something to back that up) and that’s what success looks like to them. For us, the milestones are in the little things. At the moment we’re filling out what we’re doing, even the backend business structure of what this is going to look like. Success for us right now is landing an organisational plan of like, okay, even establishing those goals – establishing what success is – so that we can formulate a calculated plan and work towards that. We’re not just sort of hacking at shows or the sake of it, we come prepared.”

“We have had our little whims along the way, though,” Josh interjects, keeping his little brother grounded. “Like releasing “Lionheart”, the video getting 150,000 views, a mention in Alternative Press magazine (which is awesome to be a part of), so we just keep working to better things to see what happens.”

For the sake of argument, the three of us imagine we have a little crystal ball in front of us, an idea that tickles the Burnett brothers. As they say, it’s a journey, all about planning and all comes step-by-step. Hypothetically speaking, where do the band see themselves in three months time? “We already know what the next year looks like,” Elliott shares firmly. “With writing, recording, videos, promoting, tours – the whole deal. It’s almost like in our minds, this album is done, and we’re already working on the next thing. We’re just going through the motions of this whole thing. But for us, it’s been out a long time, does that make sense?”

For Kings, it’s almost as if they have to be promoting and touring off the back of Never Alone out of obligation and because it ties in with their business projection, even though the second album is in full conception. “We have definitely started writing – even formulating – a plan,” Josh notes. “Are we gonna do a writing camp, record it ourselves? [We’re] looking forward. In reality, the next few months for us look like we’re supporting the album, do some national touring and follow up and capitalise on any opportunity that comes our way.”

It’s a resounding and unified “no” as to whether Kings are the kind of band who will say ‘yes’ to every opportunity. That entrepreneurial spin they have in creating their music means Kings will only take up an opportunity if they feel it will work to the best intentions of the band, and, of course, stay within the frames of their business structure. Reading between the lines, it’s only positivity for this band. “We try to be tactical in what we do,” Elliott says. “We don’t want to be that band that’s playing every single weekend because it loses its excitement… the ‘buzz’ of what’s going on. So we want to give the band its best shot and not be burning out, so to speak.

“If you’re playing the same venue twice a month, and getting the same crew out there, kind of what’s the point? But we’re trying to speak for more of the long term. We love what we do, we love our band and the music we make, we just, want to be smart about it all.”

So far, the strategy seems to be working for Kings. And so long as they can keep up the slapstick back and forth conversation that comes with being brothers as close as they are, Kings should have every reason to keep their hopes high. “Let’s do a quick shameless plug,” Eliott suggests.

“Our album is out! You can get it on iTunes…”

“Spotify.”

“Yeah, Spotify. Videos for our singles are on YouTube – the whole kit and caboodle!”

“We’re playing some shows.”

“Yeah! It’s gonna be unreal; a really cool time!”

“Check out our social media, we’re gonna be hitting the road late in the year.”

Yew!

Written by Anna Rose

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