Saturday 13 June 2009

The dawn of King Midas

Back in the early ninties Bartlebee (of The Tables /Perfect Pop fame) sent me a tape of demos by a new young Norwegian band Moby Dick and i instantly fell in love with their brand of jangly psychedelic pop. Not quite the acidic might of Dog Age but a damn close second. I sent him a letter of fullsome praise back my only doubt being the name they had chosen for themselves....Moby Dick, the great white whale maybe but also to my mind also a bit like an embarrising affliction of the down cheeky words maybe hit home because when the next tape of a short but excellent live show arrived they were now going by the altogether more acceptable name of King Midas. Soon after they released a superb e.p. on Perfect Pop. (The same label that released brother Todd's A Dash Of Haddock e.p.) It came in a full colour sleeve but there was also a limited edition of 50 that came in a collectors sleeve designed by your's truely. Anyway i tried doing an interview with them for the Ptolemaic Terrascope at the time but they took forever and a day to reply and when finally they got it together..well it just wasn't much of an interview...i wrote back to get more and after another few months another letter arrived with a bit more...but really it was too little to late.....

Anyway this was not the end of my King Midas connection but first lets have a look at that unpublish interview, which i turned up inside a record sleeve the other week.

King Midas:We are all good friends since childhood, and we went to the same school here in Oslo. None of us have ever played in other bands than King Midas, though it happens that we are playing together with other friends just for fun. The three of us started up in 88, learning how to play instruments together. We had already done a great deal of school concerts, when Sonny teamed up with us on his keyboards a year and a half later. We did not just learn how to play together, but also learned (and we're still learning) something about other sides to this life as a unit. We are still spending most of the time together, and when we are not playing, we listen to music, drink beer and drive around on our scooters, watching people and buildings.

For all of us, the Beatles and the Doors were our first musical influences along with 70’s heavyrock groups Led Zeppelin & Deep Purple. The first two for their ability to create fine pop melodies, and all of them for their great rhythmical arrangements. We are still listening to these bands, perhaps because the music of our own generation happens to be a bit flat and boring.
Back in 92 when we were still called Moby Dick we did a demo recording in a cheap 8- track studio here in Oslo. The four songs recorded were "Young Man Neglected", "Airplane of Love", "Flowerbox" and an early version of "Magic Lovecraft". As we mentioned earlier, these are the songs that make us laugh demo gives us nothing but a great laugh when we hear it now. (mostly because of the terrible sound and the tacky chorus guitar).. This demo will hopefully never be released! However, it gave us experience in one or another way.

The EP recording was done in a small place right outside Oslo, which is just a giant shopping- mall, so the surroundings were very depressive and dull. The studio contained quite modern equipment which wasn't able to give us the exact sound we were looking for, but it was very cheap so we tried to make the best out of it. Beside the four songs on the EP, we recorded an extra song, "So Much Better" which is to be released on the Perfect Pop compilation this winter. The five songs was completed in 40 hours (mixing included). The recordings were guided by Tom Trobraten of the Time Lodgers, a fine Perfect Pop band. Just recently we also did an acoustic session for the state broadcasting system, containing two songs called "My Charlatan" & "Violin Girl'.' These two songs will appear on our planned full length album, in other versions.

The forthcoming album will most probably be recorded in London in the summer 95 in a studio with tube equipment, which you can't find here in Norway. The titles and songs aren't yet decided, but hopefully it will be a fresh psychedelic album also including strings and horns. We will try to make the sound less "sterile" and give it a special blend, so it tastes like strawberries!.
But first we plan another ep. It is not recorded yet, but it will include songs we have performed live for a while like"Severin The Ripper", "Fool and the Star" and "Look Back In Anger") The sound will hopefully be what we like to call hardcore psychedelia, because we are going to record it ourselves with our own 1969 two-track recorder (A true ripper)

Live we just try to go through our songs as good as possible, and then watch the reactions among the audience. Our concerts are often very, well attended, but that's mainly because the venues are small and intimate. Norway is generally a very bad country for gigging because of the lack of concert halls and enthusiasm. People(especially outside Oslo) seem to be more interested in watching artists like Bonnie Tyler and Smokie (If you can remember them) than try listening to younger and less well-known acts. This has always been a big problem, and the situation doesn't seem to improve.
So theres the interview that never appeared. Anyway a while later the late Norbert Schilling was starting up a new psych label Magical Jack in Germany and he wanted an e.p. from Todd to be the first release (Arthur Woodcote) through this Nobert and I became mates and when he asked me who i could recommend for other e.p.s two names sprung to mind. Dog Age obviously and King Midas. Looking back at the interview this is obviously the E.P. they were already planning. Its very good though more 69 than 67.

and another track, Mr Flannegan turned up on the only album release by Magical Jack, the Hi Jack sampler

after the first album the band changed direction and moved away from my taste...but since they are still going strong today..good luck to them.

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