Catch up with King Washington's Tyson Kelly (vocals, guitar, keys) and listen to the LA-based rockers latest single, "My Reflection", off their forthcoming album Potential.
What brought you together and got you interested in starting King Washington?
Tyson Kelly: I started the band a long time ago…300 BC or so.. I was inspired by vocal groups like The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel - all of the timeless music of that era. From there I started singing and fell in love with harmonizing and songwriting. I met George a few years into it. He rose the standard quite a bit and we really started to polish our sound after that. Once we met Billy the rest of it really blossomed. Then we started touring and realized how many people outside of LA are dying to get some cool music passing through. They really eat us up!
Which musicians have you been influenced by, individually or as a band?
Lennon, David Byrne, David Bowie, LAKE, Radiohead, The Janks, Races, Stew (of The Negro Problem) are all big influences… The ultimate songwriters of the romantic era: Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin. I love how they can take you on a journey with one instrument, the piano, not limiting the structure to appeal to any standards. Just writing from the heart.
What would you say is the best album of 2016, so far?
You know, I really can’t answer that question because I just don’t know. Sorry for the shitty answer.
Which words would you use to describe your own sound?
Embracive, deep, powerful, dramatic, triumphant, and deformed. I think that’s the hardest thing for me to do as a human being, is to describe music, because if you’ve never heard it and you have no idea what it actually is.
What were your inspirations behind your single and the video for "My Reflection"?
Escape, the song is about escape. It’s about pondering the idea of running away to the big city and leaving your hometown. In this case, the city is New York, a place I’ve longed to live for many years, and we love to tour there. Ideally, one day, we will all be bicoastal!
Is that single indicative of what we can expect to hear on your album and could you tell us more about Potential?
Potential has an array of colors. "My Reflection" is the only song that goes that far out of our comfort zone, but you will be getting some more involved production - experimental sounds and efforts on a lot of these tracks with more sophisticated arrangements while keeping it practical.
Is there a track off that album you're most excited to share with fans?
There’s a song called “The Other Side” that I’m really excited about. The song is six and a half minutes but only feels like a four-minute song. It’s the deepest track I think we’ve ever created - due to the tragic truth behind the lyric. So much truth and depth to this that I can’t possibly explain in this small fragment of space. Sonically, it turned out really great.
How would you sum up Potential in one sentence?
Painful, redemptive, heartstring pulling, heartbeat pulsating good fun.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope that they’ll take away smiles, tears, and excitement. The one great thing about our fans is that they tend to appreciate the music in a really deep capacity. It means the world to us to get such honest feedback from fans because that’s what we do it for.
Is there anything you want to add?
Thank you to Alex Pfender for putting everything into this release and making it what it is. I am grateful to know we have lots of souls out there waiting on our newest material and we can’t wait to share it with the world.