Your weekly go-to new music guide brought to you by our London music journo, Peggy as she uncovers the latest ‘bands and artists to watch’ in the post-punk, new wave, jazz and indie communities. This week she chats double A side’s, performance spectacles and combating the Lockdown blues with Brightonian groove punks, Opus Kink.
As a band you formed in Brighton in 2017. Did you naturally come together at this time or had this happened progressively over the years?
Most of us had played music together casually in various guises before, which meant that when the spark of an idea for a group came it was a quick and natural process yes. We didn’t put any ads in the back pages of Melody Maker or anything. Jed & Johny (sax & trumpet) arrived after we sent a few feelers out but we had mutual friends and similar musical leanings so that was pure nature too. Really there was a basic foundation there that we tapped into for this new project. The critics have identified a characterful infusion of jazz and punk in your musical style. How would you best describe your sound and where do you take your main influences? We take influence from both of those camps but adhere to neither - its a tricky game but a fun one, trying to encapsulate the sound. It’s difficult because it’s fluid. The jazz comparison is flattering because aside from the rhythm section we’re all definitely jacks of said trades. Greater than the sum of our parts, we’d like to think. The groups we’re likened to are many and varied, some also flattering, some less so - I’ve heard Blockheads, William Onyeabor, GoF, Fela, even Supertramp which is baffling, and people bring up ska a lot which I don’t quite see, but whatever it sounds like to you that’s alright. We’ll pinch from anywhere. A certain amount of theatre, a narrative aspect, anxiety and joy, danceability, weirdness, a spectacle, attention to detail, variety, levity, these are the things we try to bring to it and hope to give off. Whatever we’re vibing off today will find its way in. Where would you say your style fits amongst the vibrant Brighton music scene?
I guess that’s not for us to say. Brighton is a melting pot and whatever scene there is straddles genres and factions. It feels like everyone wants to work with everyone else which is great, and we’ve played with many hometown heroes. But I wouldn’t know where, or if, it fits. Maybe we’re nestled somewhere between Sodom, Gomorrah, New Cross and the Pret at Brighton Station. You’re a six-piece heavy outfit with an unconventionally wide age range; does this translate in the every-day life of the band, with character traits and roles to play attributed to each individual?
Well yes, in that we accommodate the varying schedules of bartenders, professors, cashiers and delivery drivers, and no, in that everyone shares band duties and gets as fucked up afterwards as each other, it’s just that Johny (trumpet, 40s) has way more roast dinners and Jazz (keys, 20) is still in a growth spurt. At the tail end of 2019, you released your latest singles ‘Faster Than the Radio / Mosquito’ – what were your thoughts behind the tracks and how do they sit well as a double A-side? They’ve both got some stomp to them, and both narratives are character/imagery based, so they felt like a couple in that sense. They were the two newest tracks at the time when we went to record, and became the most stripped-down and polished during the process. They are also popular live and a scream to perform so it was natural selection in the studio. I also felt they were lyrically quite consummate. Good signifiers of where we were at and where we were going, essentially. The current national lockdown poses an immediate physical barrier for most musicians, how have you tried to tackle this as a band? We’ve done a live session online and plan to do more, we’re working on new music written and recorded since lockdown using drum machines, we’ve really pushed our new T shirts designed by Cameron West - which you can buy from our bandcamp now! - and are getting ready for a vinyl release through flying vinyl, so everything in our power same as everyone else really. I think new opportunities and ideas will continue to present themselves during this bizarre section of history. Any indoor friendly hobbies you’ve discovered? Washing my clothes. For many of us, a positive side effect has been having more time to listen to full albums and artist back catalogues. Which LP would you say is a must-listen? We’re all still way into the Mauskovic Dance Band’s self titled 2019 LP and we keep gravitating to Nick Cave‘s under-appreciated ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!’ as well. They’re worlds apart but joined by sex appeal and a sense of humour, which are quarantine essentials. Also Aldous Harding, the new Baxter Dury, Nina Simone and plenty of dub. What is the first thing as a band you want to achieve when the lockdown is lifted?
The instant fame we deserve. We’re working away at booking the rest of the year up in gigs (tentatively, of course, the future is uncertain) to that end. We’ll be getting new singles out at the earliest opportunity too. In the meantime, buy our shit and give us your newly unfettered attention. Cheers!
Bandcamp (music and merchandise): https://opuskink.bandcamp.com/