Indie-Pop band The Kooks sold more that two millions copies with their debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ in 2006. Followed by ‘Konk’ in 2008 and ‘Junk of the Heart’ in 2011

On February 3rd, we had a telephone interview with singer Luke Pritchard about their fourth album ‘Listen’ released last September. After playing it from start to finish it’s clear that the boys from Brighton have travelled a long way since 2006’s debut Inside In/Inside Out. Here what he told us.

Sunday night the band performed in a packed-to-the-gills Fabrique in Milan.

Hello Luke, nice to have the chance to speak together. Where are you?
I am in Munich right now and it’s snowing! I am getting ready for a new gig tonight in a place called Tonhalle.

First of all, thank you for your time. I would like to ask you more about the new album ‘Listen’ as it has a radical change of direction compared to your previous works. 

Are you satisfied? And where the new inspirations come from?
Well, yes, i am really happy with that. This album is about pure expression, like an experiment. Even the way we made the album felt fresh and very new to me. Rather than us just being a band in a room, playing our guitars with the vocal over the top, which is what we’d always done before, we were really listening to what was going on around us, picking up ideas. The whole thing was much more natural. I got in touch with someone in London, a very young guy called Inflo, 25 years-old, coming from the world of hip-hop, and we started working of this project with a shared desire to break out of the institutionalized music industry.

You are fusing soul, funk and even Ethiopian Jazz. How did it come?
The groove is not really jazz, is very funky with jazz poison and that is something new that inspired me.I got really into stuff like Ethiopian jazz and that sort of thing, and you can hear it on the record. I wanted to use lots of percussion… The album was recorded in a jazz way: we never went to play the same way twice;  it’s very live and in-the-moment. That was definitely a sort of big fusion for the album.

Electric church music. Tell me more about the spiritual aspect of the album. 
There’s a spiritual aspect to the album, even if it is not a religious album. It sounds like ‘the modern church’, for me the modern music.

I was inspired by a lot of old gospel recordings and seeing gospel choirs and in a way it was like deconstructing how we work and build it up again.

You are a big fan of Bob Dylan. Who do you like nowadays?
There are few people that inspires me: Lykke Li for example, i really like her style and i think she is extremely talented in everything she does.

Who else, let me think… Damon Albarn (singer of the Blur), i have been listening a lot of to his work. And Kanye West’s production, brilliant.

But we do not want to sound like anyone now in a way, as we always try to find the magic in the music we do, bringing our values and something magical.

We are impressed by ‘See Me Now’ that is a letter to your dad, a true ballad.
Thanks, it is. I wrote it with the producer Inflo. I did’t particularly want to write that song… We were just talking in the studio, I was telling him about my dad that passed away when i was really young and suddenly  he said “we should put it in a song” and that’s how it was born. So i wrote the lyrics and he wrote the piano part. It came very quickly, it was one that song that was just so quick to do. And i am happy i did it because it’s full of meaning and beautiful to me.

Where are you looking forward to play this year? Any preference in terms of festival for example?
Can I tell you the truth? … I don’t even know where we are playing next (laughs). You know, with that kind of thing we travel from country to country and sometimes do not even know where we are going to stop.

But on the other side it’s really cool and i look forward to my next gig in Italy. I think we are just doing Milan but i wished we could also do Rome.

So, RedMilk, see you at the gig?

Of Course Luke, see you there, we look much forward to it!
Sunday night it was 1 hour and 15 minutes of good, vibrant music with a crowd on fire.


Photos by Fabrizio Consoli for RedMilk – instagram @fabconsoli

Special thanks to VIVO Concerti