Thursday 25 August 2022

An Interview With King Legba & The Loas

Psych Stoner Rockers King Legba & The Loas were a band I noticed back in 2019 when I reviewed their last album Back From The Dead. The album was a wildly stunning mix of Blues Rock, Stoner Metal, Heavy Metal and Psych Rock. The record was produced by Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Entombed and Backyard Babies) and Tomas has produced the band's upcoming new EP - Shine A Light.

I caught up with the band to discuss their humble beginnings, working with Tomas and how they coped during COVID-19 Pandemic.

This is a great band to listen to and discover for yourselves. Hopefully this interview will help you on that musical journey....

Hi tbere. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Things are good, we‘re looking forward to release our EP and play some shows. You couldn’t say that not too long ago, as we all know!

For those not in the know, what is the history of the band and where it is today.

The band was founded by me, Tobi, and Marco about ten years ago. Since 2011, Silvio plays the drums in our band. We released two records previously and played shows mostly in Switzerland and Germany. We are now a well established team when it comes to songwriting and gigging.

How would you describe your music in your own words.

It is definitely a blend of different styles that influenced us. We call it Voodoo injected Rock‘n‘Roll.

Where did the name for the band come from and what inspired it.

Papa Legba, or King Legba how he is sometimes called, is a voodoo deity. I was always fascinated by the story of Robert Johnson. It is said that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroad in Clarksdale Mississippi. That story is actually inspired by stories about Papa Legba, who is the keeper of the crossroads in the voodoo religion. So the name of this band is a kind of a tribute to Robert Johnson and his tragic story.

You're releasing your new EP Shine A Light in September 2022. What can people expect from this release.

Good music, ha ha. Seriously, I think it’s an eclectic record that also shows a new side to our band. Ranging from rather quiet music, like in the verses of "Smithereens“ over some psychedelic Fuzz tones to thundering drums and walls of electric guitar.

You've teamed up with Tomas Skogsberg (The Hellacopters, Entombed and Backyard Babies) for this release. How did this collaboration came about and I believe you have worked with Tomas in the past.

Yes, we already worked with Tomas on our second album "Back From the Dead“. When we wrote the material for our previous record, we asked ourselves who we would like as a producer. We were always big fans of Tomas‘ work with Entombed, The Hellacopters and other bands he produced. 

So we contacted him straight away. When he replied that he would like to work with us, we were stoked. On "Back From the Dead“ I played the same Peavey amplifier that was used for "Left Hand Path“ by Entombed, a record I used to blast in my bedroom as a teenager, playing air guitar while headbanging to it.

What does Tomas bring to the King Legba And The Loas sound.

Tomas is really the perfect producer for our music. In short, he brings out the essence of our band, while giving us a raw but fat sound.

Shine A Light is different to your previous releases. More Grunge Based in my own humble opinion. Did you want to try something different for this release.

I agree with your definition. It just happened that way. After all we were kids that listened to hard music when the Seattle thing happened, it was definitely an influence and we still like bands like Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. This time it just shines through a bit more in our music, I think.

What were the recording sessions like for Shine A Light. Was this a difficult EP to write and record for.

It was actually really easy and a lot of fun to record this EP. We spent only three days in Sweden at Tomas very own Skogsbergs studio. We did a little pre production in our rehearsal space this time, that helped us getting prepared and knowing what we want. The writing process was also quite natural and relaxed.

Did you do anything differently with this EP compared to your previous releases.

Yes there are some differences. I used a cleaner sound for the vocals and we allowed ourselves more overdubs than on previous recording sessions. But most of it was actually pretty similar.

What is the creative thinking process for the band. Is there set people writing music and lyrics or do you all have assigned roles within the band when creating new music.

Mostly it’s me who brings some ideas for riffs and vocals, but some ideas come out of jams we do to warm up at the beginning of a rehearsal. We then work out our individual parts together while playing these riffs or song ideas. The lyrics are all written by me.

What inspires you all when writing music.

That‘s a though question! Maybe the joy of finding something that sounds good to our ears?
For the lyrics I like to get inspired by stories I either experienced myself or legends like the tale of the crossroads I mentioned earlier in this interview. I then try to find metaphors that transport the feelings that I connect with those things, without being to obvious.

Was there a particular song, album, group or artist that influenced you to become musicians.

I don’t think there was only one album or artist. We were all influenced by a lot of different things. Marco and Silvio both have pretty huge record collections and I myself studied music and listened to and played very different music over the years. We all like loud, hard music though!

Do you have any personal favourite highlights being part of the band.

To be able to write my own songs with my own band is a permanent highlight to me, but recording „Shine A Light“ was really a blast!

How did you all cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Must have been a particularly tough time for the band.

Oh yes it was. We played no shows at all, but kept rehearsing on a loose but regular basis.
Personally we all came through those times pretty well, Silvio and I kept teaching the drums and guitar respectively and Marco found a new job during the pandemic, so we were at least economically safe. From an artistic standpoint it was dreadful though.

Will you be promoting this EP heavily with any gigs at all and where will you be touring.

We will for sure play gigs, anyone who runs a venue and wants to book us please get in touch!

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thank you very much for listening to our music, I know it sounds cheesy, but it really means a lot to us!

Words by Steve Howe and King Legba & The Loas

Thanks to Czar Of Crickets Production for all of the press materials and for arranging this interview.

Shine Of Light will be available to buy on CD/DD via Czar Of Crickets Productions from September 23rd 2022.