One album, their own beer and performing in a cardboard box: twenty years of King Kong Company
A SELF-PROCLAIMED COLLEGE BAND reformed to a heyday later in life that far exceeds their 90s peak, King Kong Company are fast becoming Ireland’s go-to festival act, and with good reason.
The Waterford based act are a high energy, upbeat dance six-piece with plenty of stage moves. One member performs in a cardboard box with crudely cut eye holes, while recent outings include a trip to iconic UK festival Glastonbury, a tea party at Michael D Higgins house, and even the launch of their own unlikely beer infused with Buckfast, with King Kong Company plastered across the front.
Colin Hoye, the group’s trumpeter, is the one member currently based in Dublin, and met the Gazette to describe what’s been a strange journey and a wildly busy summer to date. Amazingly, their self-titled debut of 2016 is the band’s only formal release to date, despite performing together from 1996 to 2000, and then from 2011 to today.
“The technology wasn’t really there to do what we wanted to do back then,” Hoye recalls. “We had this massive eight track and you couldn’t even get the drums alone onto it. We have so many channels now. We had a manual drum machine that we started and stopped for every track back then. We did the best we can, but trying to actually make an album would have been too hard, or too expensive at the time.”
“Second time around [following the band’s reformation in 2011], I think we were looking for a mid-life crisis and found one. We had no misconceptions about what we were going to get out of it this time. But we’re surprised at how well it’s gone for us.”
“When we decided to get back together, we used the power of social media to help us along the way. We decided to do twelve tracks in twelve months, and our friend John Loftus basically said that he’d do the videos for us. Those videos sparked a lot of the characters we have now, and those characters came into the live shows. It’s almost more of a product at this stage.”
When it came to the album, Hoye recalls the live set up being very much a key factor. “We had to do everything we could to bring the live sound into the album,” he explained. “It would have been very easy to just do it very electronically, but you want to move the music around to have that live effect to it. We are very much a live band, and we wanted to show people what we sound like live with the album. In a way we were kind of dreading the album as we knew it would be so much work. We used to be more like acid jazz, so it’s a bit of a change of direction from what we sounded like in the late 90s. But nobody sound like that anymore.”