It takes a special kind of frontman to be in a successful rock band. He must be infinitely talented and confident, mysterious and creatively hungry. The band must possess the same swagger, while being strong enough to roll with internal drama and the punches of cheap journalists digging for dirt. It is these qualities that make a band successful, qualities that Luke Pritchard and British band the Kooks possess. Their debut, Inside In/Inside Out, may have sold triple platinum in Great Britain, but the band retained underground stature here in the States. Thanks to the success of their undeniably catchy single “Naïve,” they still secured buzz-worthy gigs like their Coachella show last year. Youthful yet wise beyond their years, they’ve transcended the boundaries of location by translating the success they’ve had in England to the States—playing with the Rolling Stones at Cardiff Millenium Stadium while alternatively selling out shows at the landmark Troubadour in Hollywood. They’ve successfully navigated the ills of meddling reporters back home in England, and are now facing their current obstacle—their bassist’s exit from the band—with utter grace under pressure, like a true legendary band that they have the full potential to become one day.
We got a chance to talk to the band about their new album, Konk—a collection of rough, gritty yet ever-hooky rock n’ roll tracks to be released on April 14—following sold-out shows in Los Angeles. “It’s all very self-indulgent. The songs are personal and honest as well,” explains Luke, discussing the meaning and evolution of the album and songs. “It was really hard to begin with because we hadn’t been in the studio for quite a long time. It probably took us about a week, just sort of fanning about before we finally got into the groove. It’s all a bit of a blur really; we had massive highs and massive lows.” When asked what one such high was, he laughs. “Certain songs, when you get into them. You literally would go in the room and it would just all come together. Everything was feeling really good. After we recorded most of the album, I wrote a song called ‘Mr. Maker,’ the last day we were here [in LA] actually. So we decided to go back and record a few more songs in London. It was a pressure release. Not that we had massive amounts of pressure, but we’d done the album so we thought, ‘Great, we’ll have some fun!’ Then, we literally just got drunk and played, all in a room. That was a real high.”
Regardless of the internal obstacles and perils of being in a high profile band, things are undoubtedly coming together for the boys from Brighton. And Konk surely represents everything they need to get them closer to conquering America.