If any band has gone above and beyond for their fans this year, it’s Melbourne’s favourite sons, Kingswood. Not only have they delivered the powerhouse record Juveniles, but they also treated fans to a reimagined version of the album, later releasing Reveries. If we haven’t been spoilt enough, the boys are capping off the year with their very own crooning Christmas album. We had a chat with lead vocalist Fergus about the year that was and the festive season to be.
First and foremost, we’re nearly at the end of a tumultuous year – how are you?
Very well thank you, still buzzing from our run of shows at the Corner Hotel, it felt wonderful to play shows again.
In a strange year, Kingswood have had a big one! What kept you going, motivated and inspired?
We wanted to make sure we didn’t let this year go by and slow us down. When all our touring was cancelled we got together and decided we would write and record as much as possible. Although we were separated for most of the year we spoke almost every day and managed to have a pretty special year and achieved a lot.
We’ve been absolutely spoilt by Kingswood in 2020. What was the inspiration for doing a reimagined album? How do you set the expectations for you and your listeners when doing something very different?
When we write songs we want them to be great in their most pure form, they need to work just being sung acapella, rather than hiding behind a drum beat or instrumentation. If you start with the music then the lyric and melody can be constrained around that, and we value lyric and melody above all so we try to have a song finished before we then decide how we will record the song. Juveniles is a loud rock album designed to be played in front of big crowds, after the world shut down we wanted the songs to have a new life in a new world so we re recorded to album but this time designed for a sole listener.
And now a Christmas album! There’s a real swing/crooner feel in A Kingswood Christmas. Is this a glimpse of some influences that you don’t always get to lean into? Whose style did you find yourself drawing on the most?
We wanted it to feel like the old Crosby era records, Al and I have very different voices, he tried to sing like Frank Sinatra and I tried to Ella Fitzgerald. A daunting task but they were our inspirations. We wore suits and sipped whiskey and had a jolly old time.
What inspired you to do a Christmas album (and again, challenge the signature Kingswood sound)? Was it a product of 2020 or has it been in the pipes for a while?
We have talked about it for years, we love the old christmas records and always thought it would be fun to do one. I think our fans understand that we don’t fit into a certain box and that we love to try new things, we love that when we put an album out you don’t know what you are going to get. But it was also an opportunity that arose out of lockdown, we were supposed to be touring all year so we may not have had the chance to get it done otherwise.
Not only are you showering us with some extra Christmas spirit, but you’re donating the proceeds of this record to Beyond Blue. Do you have a special message you’d like to share with those having a harder festive season?
We always knew we wanted to do this record for charity, mental health has always been a cause close to our hearts. Beyond Blue do an incredible job helping those who are doing it tough, they have a service specific to those suffering as a result of Covid, and they are greatly aware that Christmas is a difficult time for many. If you are suffering at all they are there to help so don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, make sure you call or visit all your friends and family and tell them how much you love them.
The Christmas sentiment also really shows how cohesive Kingswood are as a family – what’s something you’ve learnt about yourselves as a group over 2020?
We’ve never spent so much time apart, so it was a bit of a shake up. But we spoke often and kept in touch with what we were all doing. All chipping in to send gifts for birthdays and so on, we just missed each other and in such an uncertain time it was important to stay close.
You also very quickly sold out a number of shows at the corner last month! What did it feel like it to finally be back on stage? How did you find the new gig format with early and late sessions and a seated audience?
It was glorious, we played 10 shows in 5 days and could have kept going for weeks we loved it so much. We adapted the show to suit a seated audience so it didn’t feel weird at all, we have discussed touring this format because it was such a success.
And what are you most looking forward to next year?
Shows!! We will definitely be touring, but also we have written so much music that we will be recording a new album (or two) in the near future too. So another big one for us, just you wait.
The Christmas quick-fire:
- Favourite carol? The Christmas Song
- Can’t-miss tradition? Backyard Cricket
- Must-have Christmas dish? Pork Crackling
- Top of your wish list this year? Just to sit with the family with the guitars out all day long.
- Favourite Christmas movie? Die Hard
Stream A Kingswood Christmas below:
Posted by Rebecca Costanzo