It was an absolute delight to work with Karlost on his latest video, he has such control over his muse. It also helped that he is actually a fine actor as well. I had a chat with him about his history of singing, the heavier subjects at the coat of his music and some of his wackier concepts.
Hello Karlost, I’d like to talk to you about your wonderful singing voice. Are you trained? Certainly sounds like so!
When I was a teenager I won a ‘Battle of the bands’ in Morley, to this day one of my finest achievements! one of the judges offered to teach me to sing like Sting, I spent many hours singing some of the highest notes in the land! Chris, the singing teacher, is still a good friend to this day almost 20 years later.
I hope he likes ‘Way Down Deep’. What did you learn about your voice during your training?
I think he does! What did I learn? That good breathing technique is crucial, that my range was three times bigger than I thought it was, and to stop shouting like a mad man. Oh and that I sound nothing like Sting! My voice has changed a lot since then, a lifetime of experience has made it what it is.
Let’s talk a bit about what you’re choosing to sing, how do you decide what to reveal via your lyrics? Do you go through many re-writes?
The lyrics are something that seems to come quite naturally, I rarely sit and write, I sing and sing until the theme arrives and then I refine if absolutely necessary, most songs are autobiographical in one way or another, something I’m feeling passionate about at that point. That said, Gareth, the guitarist from JFF bought me a t-shirt with the quote ‘I need to write some fuuuuuuucking lyrics’ on it, apparently this is something I said over and over marching around the studio whilst making our last album.
What’s your most personal lyric in ‘Way Down Deep’, and is there a story behind it?
‘I don’t know myself any more than you’.The lyric came from out of nowhere the first time I played it with the band. The line represents the feeling of looking in the mirror and not recognising who you are anymore, what you have become and where you are headed The chorus line ‘I’ve got to find my soul way down deep in here’ is very important to me as well and comes from the same place.
Intriguing. What was happening in your life that led to that realisation?
I wrote the song whilst sat in a cottage miles from anywhere in Wales. We were really struggling to write as a band, falling out, and I could see the end was close, too many words had been said for things to be the same ever again. Bands are ever-changing organisms. It’s not just about musical talent it’s about getting the right mix of personalities when its right it can be all those things you’d hoped but when it’s wrong it can be very damaging. I have all the love in the world for everyone I’ve worked with over the years but this doesn’t mean certain characters haven’t really tested me, made me question myself.
You were questioning your identity as a musician without working within that organism then, was there something more?
It was really positive when they said they wanted to work on the project, they are all great musicians and important people in my life. After not seeing each other for 6 months we did two practices and they added their magic to the song, a few days later we were in the studio with Margo, it was that quick!
We were all in the cottage trying to write album four so I was very much within the organism when I started writing the track.
I see. It’s rather admirable that you work with vulnerable adults by the way. What inspired you to do so? As I find it’s very easy for people to co-opt such practices to enhance your brand, whereas your work is vital and yet you’re so discreet about its existence.
Working with people who have been through something traumatic and seeing their progress and rehabilitation fills me with pride! I was a behaviour manager in a school for many years before moving to London. I now specialise in supporting people with brain injury and getting them back into everyday life.
That’s good to hear. A few more things before we close: The video! Tell us about the concept and how the song gave birth to it.
The balance was a keyword initially, too much of anything will mess with your equilibrium. The main character is trapped in what he feels is his safe place, which is represented by the light, his comfort. The light could be anything the watcher wants it to be, choose a vice or several! The lyrics and video all tie into what is this crazy journey we call life, it’s a battle, no matter who you are we all have to battle through at some point! To summarise the video and lyrics are all about getting the help you need, finding the strength to reach out! We are all in this together!
Any obstacles during the filming that you encountered? It must have been a lot of hard work to play all those parts.
It was an experience, to say the least, 48 hours in a basement, which I hasten to add was no more than 5 foot tall. Both me and Jordan, the doctor, are 6’1″. But between the three of us we got the job done, the intensity of the experience/time restrictions helped me to get in character and make sure every take we got something usable. I need to thank your housemates for literally letting us take over the house, costumes left, right and centre. Strobe lights and smoke machines going off, and people trying to eat their breakfast and prepare for work.
No worries. What other subjects will you be visiting in your live set and will you be able to give us any hints of surprises?
Song titles like ‘Sexy? it’s undeniable’ and ‘They are going to kill us’ are a couple of clues. I’ve bought a loop machine after seeing Marc Rebillet, it’s like science to me but I’m starting to get a hang of its sorcery! There will definitely be some grade F dancing and multiple golden outfits! Expect intensity and madness and some dam right fabulousnesses! Although ‘Way Down Deep’ has a serious message, not all the songs are quite so intense. Some songs are all out ridiculous.
I remember your fun of the absurd when I watched you live for the first time at The Barfly (Now Camden Assembly)! Plug the date of your single release and inform us of your next show, please!
Next shows are Leeds, The Lending Rooms on July 5th, then Brixton Ritzy on July 6th, do come down, a bonanza is assured.
Sounds great! And the single, when is it released?
July 10th and it will be available on all the usual platforms I-Tunes, Spotify, Bandcamp etc. This is the first of many I hope, the journey into the wilderness begins! Bloody exciting!