Mark Graham, an integral member of party-hard festival lovers King Kong Company, is a Waterford music legend. As well as his work with the band, he’s spent recent months releasing the brilliant Irish Music Industry podcast, something of a scene bible, and made himself utterly integral to the Irish music landscape in the process.
He’s typically modest about all that, of course, as he comes into the launch of a new concept, Mark Graham vs King Kong Company, a kind of solo-offshoot of his musical day job. And what a charismatic one it is, too.
The biggest bombshell of this interview by far for me, though, was Mark’s revelation that in a few years he plans to head off into the world and cycle for an extended period, leaving us without his considerable expertise. Best lap it up while he’s still here. Here’s what the main man had to say about his new project…
First of all, let’s talk about this new side project. What’s the story behind it, and how will it link in with King Kong Company?
It’s very much linked to King Kong Company. We often find that we’ll be working away on material, stuff that we’re really getting into, but when it comes around to this time of year, we know that those tracks will never see the light of day because they just won’t fit into a festival set. They might be too slow, a bit too serious or just not gelling with the other material. Those tracks form the basis for these remixes and reworkings.
There’s an obvious stylistic difference between this and your musical day job. Do you see it as more of an emotional, poetic outfit as opposed to an energy-driven thing?
My musical day job is teaching music technology-related subjects to students on the BA Music course in Waterford Institute of Technology. Pretty much all the stuff I do can be related to that job in some way. But yeah, there probably is a bit of a difference between these latest remixes and full-on KKC tracks. I suppose it goes back to that previous point, they’re not full-on bangers, they’ve been written with something else in mind.
I’ve been surprised in the past to read and hear King Kong Company described as a ‘dance band’, I always just thought I played in a band, full stop. Without doubt, what we do is heavily dance-influenced, but there’s ska, reggae, rock, post-punk, spoken word and god forbid, even a bit of folk in there too.
These remixes lean heavier on those other influences, and releasing them
from a slightly different angle hopefully won’t fuck around with what
people expect from a KKC show.