Alter The Press!


Interview: Kyoto Drive

As part of our continue support for British independent bands, Sean talked to Birmingham-based band Kyoto Drive. Kyoto Drive are 4-piece pop-punk/emo band consisting of Adam Binder, Mike Levell and Chris and Mark Piper. They joined together in early 2008 and by the end of the year, they recorded and released an EP called 'Spotlights and Stars’, which the band released for free. They are now planning their first full-length, which will be released Engineer Records later in the year.

Sean spoke to them about their history, their future and the Birmingham music scene.

Alter The Press!: So for those who don’t know who you are, tell us a bit of history about Kyoto Drive?
Kyoto Drive: OK, basically three of used to play in one Birmingham hardcore band called Forever Ends Today and the other one used to play in a different Birmingham hardcore band called Cassettes Lost Meaning. When both bands broke up the four of us came together wanting to play softer music. That happened at the start of 2008 and things kind of followed on from there.

ATP: How would you describe the sound of your band?
KD: That is a tough question when you’re trying not to sound like an idiot. We will stick with melodic pop rock, that’s a pretty safe answer.

ATP: Who would you compare your sound to?
KD: It’s a bit like New Found Glory, Hit the Lights, Spitalfield, Brand New, Circa Survive and The Early November in an all night dirty hotel orgy. Hotel staff included!

ATP: Tell us a bit about the Birmingham scene, I can imagine it being pretty big.
KD: A lot of Birmingham bands are doing really well at the moment, All Or Nothing and Maycomb are doing well, Shapes have just signed to Big Scary Monsters, Blakfish are also on BSM and have just been recording in Seattle, Templeton Pek seem to be doing good in Europe. It’s really good that all these Birmingham bands that we have been playing with and watching for years are finally getting some recognition.

ATP: So you recorded your first EP yourself and gave it away for free. Firstly tell us why you decided to release it for free and also are there any advantages or disadvantages of releasing it for free?
KD: Pure and simple we are a new band starting completely from scratch and we wanted to get the band name about and we didn’t want any excuse for the people watching us at shows to not go away with a CD of ours. And people are always willing to go and download a free EP just because its free.

As for the advantages/disadvantages, the advantages are hopefully our plan works and the band name gets around. Disadvantages are the price of ink for printers is ridiculous and it takes ages to sit there burning loads of copies of the EP off.

ATP: Now you’re on Engineer Records. What’s the label like and how did you become apart of the label?
KD: We had been speaking to David at Engineer for a while even when we were in our old hardcore bands and when we recorded the EP we sent a few mp3s and he liked what he heard and offered to do the promotion for it.

The label is great, in our opinion Engineer is way underrated, they only take on bands when they really like their music, and they really put effort into pushing the bands. They also have an office in New Jersey which is cool.

ATP: You’re currently planning your first album. What can you tell us about it?
KD: Great chance to plug! Well we are recording it during the first two weeks of July with Jim Turner of Tribute to Nothing at his studio in Worcester. It is going to be 11 or 12 songs long, we still don’t know yet because we are still writing it, and we probably still won’t know until the week before we go in. Here is an exclusive; there is a song on the album about Lost, as in Lost the hit TV series, it’s a bit about the love triangle between Kate, Jack and Sawyer, so listen out for that. Even though every band says it we are really trying to cut out any filler on the album, we want every song to be a great song.

The album is called ‘This Is All We Ever Wanted’ and we came up with the album name after a night out seeing Forever the Sickest Kids. It basically came about when Mark and (Adam) Binder were reminiscing about being 15 years old and wanting to be in a band and wanting to tour and to write music. And really we have achieved that, not on any great scale but we get to travel around in a van playing to people that are into the same style of music and having a ton of laughs along the way and we have some funny stories to tell the grandkids.

ATP: What can we expect musically from the album?
KD: Musically? …….. Catchy melodic rock songs really.

ATP: What is the plan for the rest of the year?
KD: Well we are going to put our debut, tour it like crazy, we are talking about a split EP and maybe even a vinyl. But it’s all about touring really!

ATP: Are there any long-term goals you want to achieve?
KD: What everyone in a band wants… To sleep with a Girls Aloud girl, even if it’s the ginger one! No, really we just want to play music everyday, if we could get to that stage that would be amazing and maybe to play every festival going.

ATP: Have you’ve got anything else to say?
KD:Lets answer this one individually…
Binder: Please people download our EP, it’s free! And keep an eye out for the album.
Mike: Tell all your friends!
Chris: Erm………
Mark: You don’t wanna f**k with KD, cuz KD will f**cking kill you.

More details about Kyoto Drive, including their free EP 'Spotlights and Stars' can be found on their myspace.

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!