INTERVIEWS KRIS SEARLE
HONESTLYThere is something about KRIS SEARLE that brings me back to the music of my youth - namely, the British pop music of the 1980's. Much like a lot of the new wave/new romance sounds that filled the airwaves at that time, with the likes of DURAN DURAN, late-PRETENDERS, or even SPANDAU BALLET (the one song I remember), singer songwriter KRIS SEARLE is a pop prince with pretty eyes, gorgeous hair, and a heart on his sleeve. His debut CD 'SLOWLY DIABOLICAL' is everything that a great pop album should be, from the pop psychological heartache of the title track, to an anthem on picking up the proverbial pieces ('MOVING ON') and the earnest relationship gone-bad-song ('YOUR DIVIDE') - and it's all done with the most adorable British accent this side of DAVY JONES of THE MONKEES. KRIS has a voice that sounds pitch-perfect for musicals. However, it is easy to hear that he gives it his all in this very memorable first outing as a pop rock performer. In case there was a question of any sort of AMERICAN IDOL (or in his case POP IDOL) puppetry here, SEARLE has written all of the tracks himself.
UK POP SINGER KRIS SEARLE
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
HIS DEBUT CD 'SLOWLY DIABOLICAL'
GETTING THE NAME OUT THERE
AND BRIEFLY PONDERS THE POSSIBILITY OF AN OASIS BOY BAND
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
"There are two ways " says SEARLE in regards to getting a song written. "One, is I dream the song. I've heard that there is a word for this, but I dream the song and wake up singing a line or two and I run out of bed and I record it. The other way I write is when I pick up the guitar after I've had an awful day or after I've had a relationship problem and I just play a chord and I sing along to it. I've hardly ever written the lyrics of a song and later added the music. It all comes out as one and it's normally quite quick."
ROCKWIRED spoke to KRIS months ago when his CD 'SLOWLY DIABOLICAL' was only only available in the form of an E.P. I caught him when he was returning from the post office and in the midst of planning the CD release party for the KEY CLUB in Hollywood. Here is how it went.
How long have you been stateside?
I've been stateside for two and a half years, on and off. I've been flying back and forth from England trying to get my music off the ground. But within the last year, I've gotten my sponsors and my visa approved, so for the past year I've been here more or less, all of the time. It's been quite a fight to get it done, but now, the fight is over.
Why Los Angeles?
Because I had a couple of friends out here. When I was signed to a record label, I lost a lot of money because I had put all of my personal money into it which I had made out of a publishing deal. After that, I had just had enough. I just wanted to be different. I wanted the accent to be different and music to be different. So, I had two friends in L.A. and I flew out here to stay with them and it just progressed from there.
So you were a signed artist in the past?
I was signed to ROCKET MUSIC in England.
Isn't that ELTON JOHN's label?
No, it's a subsidiary of WARNER BROTHERS', but it used to be. It went into liquidation and they sent me a letter two months after being signed saying that my shares have all been lost and I was like "Oh my God!". After that, I just moved away.
In what capacity were you signed? Were you part of a band?
I was completely solo. I had just finished writing all of my songs and I didn't have a band at all so they signed me as a solo artist. The label was going to get me a band and all, but it didn't get that far I'm afraid.
Well right now, you've got a great little E.P. on you. What different this time around?
Everything. I had never dreamed that I would be working with these people. When I signed the production contract with DINO MADDALONE STUDIOS in L.A. I had no idea that he was going to bring in my session band like GREG WRIGHT on guitars, or BOZ SKAGGS' keyboardist, and AMERICAN IDOL string players, and CELINE DION string players. I was working with these people and thinking, 'Oh my God! How did I do this?', but I just fell into the right place at the right time. These people I worked with want to play on the full album, so when I launch my album, they'll be playing at the launch. With sponsor money and investors, I'll be able to do a full tour with the whole band. It'll be very, very expensive, but I think they're going to do it.
And this is all being done independently.
Yes, it's all my label and the sponsors are in the process of making it incorporated and we've got an offering from a big investor to buy my whole song catalogue as non-exclusive rights so they can sell stock and shares in the company and if they want to sell a song for a movie, it'll be non-exclusive. Basically they can whore me around a bit.
What drew you to music specifically? What made you decide that this what you were going to do and that was it?
It was my dad actually. When he was alive he used to take me to singing lessons everyday after he finished work. He used to get in the car and drive me to my lesson and he would sleep in the teacher's house as i was having my lessons. After a few months of that, I fell in love with it. So, it was all because of my dad really.
Was there a particular artist that spoke to you growing up?
This is going to sound really lame, but when I first started to listen to music, my mom bought me MARIAH CAREY's album 'MUSIC BOX', and I was sitting in my bedroom and listened to the words, I thought 'Oh my God!' When my dad got me a guitar, my style had begun, because of the way she (MARAIH CAREY) told her story in song. The songs were quite melancholy and at the time I was pretty melancholy myself. I was getting bullied at school and lots of crap was happening. So that lasted for a few months and then I was listening to GEORGE MICHAEL, because he was huge in England. I get stuck on this question because I don't know exactly who I'm influenced by because I grew up listening to absolutely everything from THE BEATLE to OASIS. OASIS was quite a heavy influence on me because I was in a band and we did covers of their music like 'WONDERWALL' and 'CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA'.
I could see you in an OASIS cover band. You're a little more clean shaven but I could definitely see it.
An OASIS boy band maybe. That would be a funny thing wouldn't it. It would make millions.
Yeah but NOEL and LIAM GALLAGHER would hunt you down.
They wouldn't give anyone the rights to their stuff. No way! No one is going to go up to them and ask if they can start an OASIS boy band.
How did songwriting begin for you?
I wrote a lot of stories when I was younger, but the first song I had ever written was on a Saturday evening in an apartment that I shared with my uncle. I was looking out the window to the city of Kent and I had just gone out. I had just overdone it with drink and stuff and I just felt so awful because my best friend had just died and I wrote this song called 'OUTSIDE' and from that night on, I was pretty much writing everyday. That song actually got put into the 'PEPSI POP CHART - SEARCH FOR A STAR' in England and I was one of the final three out of about a thousand people, and that was the first one that I ever wrote.
Do you still write everyday?
I write so much. I've got a back catalogue of about fifty songs. In the past months after recording the album, I've actually been picking up older songs and improving them. I don't really write the same any more. I used to be very melancholy and very haunting. Now, thats not the case much. Going back to your question about influences, I was influenced heavily by eighties music like DURAN DURAN, and MR. MISTER and all of those people. When I had my listening party the amount of people that came up to me and told me 'this is like modern day eighties music' was enormous.
So is this E.P. a sample of your forthcoming L.P.?
It's all in anticipation for a new album. Right now, we've tentatively booked the KEY CLUB for June 12, which is a Thursday. I wanted to do it earlier, but it's so busy and crazy. It's almost ten thousand dollars to sell out the whole night, so me and my sponsors are trying to figure out how we're going to do this. It's very stressful trying stay on top of all of this when you're dealing with sponsors and investors. I never dreamed that it was ever going to be this big. It can make you want to pull your hair out.
Don't pull your hair out, it's gorgeous.
But believe me, I'm not complaining.
Explain to me, if it's explainable the creative process. How does a song go from something that you hear in your head to something that a person hears over the speakers?
There are two ways actually. One, is I dream the song. I've heard that there is a word for this, but I dream the song and wake up singing a line or two and I run out of bed and I record it. An example of that is this song that I had written for my father who has recently passed away. The other way I write is when I pick up the guitar after I've had an awful day or after I've had a relationship problem and I just play a chord and I sing along to it. I've hardly ever written the lyrics of a song and later added the music. It all comes out as one and it's normally quite quick.
From this E.P., are there any tracks that sort of stand out for you as favorites?
I love them all, but at the moment, one track that I didn't think would be the biggest selling or the one to be getting the most airplay which is 'YOUR DIVIDE'. It was number three on the REVERBNATION pop charts.
Why are you surprised by the reaction?
Because in England, if you say KRIS SEARLE, they kind of know who I am, but over here, I'm pretty much unknown and that song had only been on the REVERBNATION chart for about two weeks and it went straight up and I really hadn't promoted it much with the exception my thousand plus mail out list and a couple of friends, but it spread really fast.
What do you want someone to come away with after hearing your music?
When people come up to me regarding my music, they normally say things like "I can relate to that" or "I've been through the same thing". I would like for people to listen to it and understand. If I've gone through something and have put it to song and another person understands it, then that's great! I think there is something very comforting about that.