Today, we sat down with Little King to talk music inspiration, advice for musicians and much more! Be sure to check out their new song Keyboard Soldier on Youtube right after the interview below!
here is the interview:
What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?
Good morning, and thanks for hanging for a bit today!
Inspiration comes at odd times, or sometimes not at all. My life is full…kids, career, music, relationships, travel, repeat. After 25 years and (almost) 7 releases, it’s hard to rely on a cathartic moment to get me back to my guitar and rhyming dictionary. So, I typically have to decide that IT IS TIME to make another record, and then I go about setting it up.
Waiting for inspiration, for me, is tricky. My Muse is fickle! In the case of this album, she came to me one night in April of 2020 in a most unusual way. The pandemic was literally THE ONLY thing anyone was talking about, whether at work, on TV, in the house, on the phone…it was certainly all-consuming. I had a terrifying dream one night that woke me up in a cold sweat. I don’t remember all of the details, but the gist of it was that I was running out of time and that COVID might be the end of me. Or someone I love. That gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get to writing. And when I did, the floodgates opened.
The new album is called Amuse De Q, which alludes to the time I spent “amusing” myself during the Q (“quarantine”) as well as homage to “A Muse,” who was Melpomene this time around. Melpo is the Muse of Tragedy and in ancient times, also the Muse of Chorus. How apropos, right? She is featured on the cover and is also named as the title of a short instrumental on the new record. The focus is on all of the experiences I and those close to me endured in the months of 2020 that dragged on forever. Sobriety, domestic abuse, Social Media, the Political Climate and Protests that rocked the USA, and more.
2020 was fertile ground for inspiration. I’ve often said that if one could NOT find the muse during 2020, what were they really doing?
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
We were a house divided when I was young. My dad was into the Stones, Beatles, Coltrane, The Eagles. Mom? Oy Vey…BeeGees, Kim Carnes, Gordon Lightfoot, England Dan and John Ford Coley. I appreciate my dad more than ever after saying that.
My older brother is a music aficionado, and growing up in Seattle, we were lucky enough to have KISW 99.9 as the go-to radio station. They had a couple Deejays in particular named Steve Slaton and Bo Roberts who were like Gods to by bro, the neighborhood, and me. Lots of Zeppelin, Rush, Maiden, Ozzy, Floyd and the like. That was formative for me.
When I was a bit older, my bro bought me Exit..Stage Left by Rush. I dropped the needle on Side 3, which has “The Trees” into “Xanadu.” BLEW ME AWAY. I couldn’t believe that was 3 dudes. Still can’t believe it, really. So that combined with the radio and all of the great rock of the 70’s and early 80’s my friends were into really set me on a course that I’m probably still on today.
Is there someone you looked up as a hero?
Yeah, definitely Neil Peart of Rush. The fact that he was the world’s greatest living Rock drummer, an incredibly erudite lyricist, and a humble guy who eschewed the spotlight was a very potent combo to me. He was and is just an incredible historical figure in music. I imagine in 100 years he will be viewed much like McCartney, Mozart, Louis Armstrong…larger than life. Definitely gone too soon.
As time went on, I learned to admire David Byrne, Donald Fagen, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and a host of other people. Loved thinking about Hendrix, too…as a Seattle guy, he was THE MAN in growing up in Seattle in the 70’s and 80’s.
If you weren’t a musician, would you be doing today?
Promoting musicians, no doubt. I love it! I can’t get away from music…and I’ve tried. 7 albums over 24 years is no joke, especially when you consider the gaps between albums were sometimes 5 years deep. I did own a music promotions company from 2000-2006, and I still dabble in helping other artists get going, just on the love.
I have a career outside of music as the owner of a corporate team building company that helps pay the bills, and I am proud of how my biz partner and I have persevered through 2020 and come out the other side even stronger. We actually have hosted over 350 virtual events since April of last year, and now people are finally coming back to “in-person” events. That’s gratifying, for sure.
My true passion outside of my kids and work and music is travel, without a doubt. It’s taken on new meaning now after being locked inside for a year, and I’ll never take that for granted again. So…time to TOUR. Travel + Music = Heaven on Earth. Just need a good driver and decent accommodations. Don’t care about money, really, as long as I can take care of my crew and break even, personally.
What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?
Don’t Do It! It’s a black hole of money and time and it will eat your soul without a care. Become a mortician or a cartoonist or something…this shit is for the birds!
Kidding. Sort of. Get good at something, be humble, and don’t be afraid to fail. No one learns much from great success, at least not at the outset. Find your passion within music, and if the financial rewards or critical accolades don’t roll in, you won’t care because you’re HAVING FUN. Best advice I can give, I think: Follow Your Passion. No one regrets that on their deathbed…