What are your names?
Dave Stewart (ukulele, vocals), Bex Crossland (vocals, ukulele), David Heath (drums), Jess Tuthill (ukulele, vocals), and Yoshiko Nakayama (bass)
What is the band’s name?
What is your genre of music?
Give us a little bio about you.
This is the way things normally work: Form a band. Choose band name. Write songs. Practice lots with band. Book a gig. Play gig. There isn’t much that is normal about our band. Our journey went something like this: Write songs. Record songs. Book a gig. Realise you need to form a band for the gig. One practice with band. Choose band name due to impending gig. Play gig. That was back in 2016 and we have been gigging ever since, mostly around the Reading and Berkshire area at various venues and festivals. We have just released our second album, ‘Paving the Way’, which follows on from our 2021 album, ‘Everyday Adventures’, and ‘The Spellbound EP’ in 2018. We play upbeat, original pop-rock songs and with three ukuleles in the line-up, along with bass and drums, this is the sound of ukepop!
Who are your influences?
Our influences are diverse, ranging from Teenage Fanclub, Lou Reed and The Kinks to The Wedding Present, Status Quo and The La’s. We also regularly get told we sound a bit like The Beautiful South, The Cranberries and Belle and Sebastian.
Are you a signed?
You released your new single ‘Paving The Way’, tell us more about the single and the meaning behind the song.
Dave says: “The idea for the song originally came while out doing a lot of walking during lockdown, but then the song evolved into the bigger picture of the band’s journey. It evokes a feeling of what we do, trying to do something innovative and unique and challenging perceptions, whilst ultimately just enjoying playing our songs.”
Describe the track in two words.
Who did you work with on the single?
The ‘Paving the Way’ single and album was recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by Josh McCrohan atCreative Control Studio in Bracknell. Dave Stewart produced this record together with Josh, who has become a really important factor in Rocket Kings’ sound. Having provided professional sound services for Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull, Echo & The Bunnymen, Squeeze, Paul Young and Fairport Convention, among others, his input has been invaluable. He is also great fun to work with in the studio.
We also see a music a music video for ‘Paving The Way’, tell us more about the creative process?
We came up with the idea of having short video clips of people walking from the viewpoint of the walker. We put out a call to friends and family and so the video contains lots of clips, some filmed by us, but some by people from around the globe. There are contributions from France, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Thailand, Denmark, as well as London, Cornwall, and the Berkshire and Oxfordshire countryside. We then filmed some band footage and Bex then put the whole thing together to create what we think is a really interesting video.
Will we see an EP or album and if so, what can we expect from it?
The ‘Paving the Way’ album was released in September, and it is chock full of Rocket Kings signature sounds and, as with our first album, these 12 songs are laden with top tunes and harmonies. We are really excited for people to hear this album. The overall sound is perhaps a little more rocky this time around, and we regularly use overdrive and phaser pedals. We even have trumpet on a couple of tracks.
The song arrangements were more collaborative this time around, partly because we feel like we are all playing better than ever as a band and we feed off each other with creative ideas, and partly because the band found themselves with time to meet up just after Covid without gigs to practice for. Amongst other things, there are songs about space (a regular theme for the band), yellow birds, missing museums, faithful dogs, tall tales and the Berlin Wall.
Do you have any live shows coming up?
We are playing at the Castle Tap in Reading on 9th December.
Let us know where we can get tickets if so.
What else can we expect in late 2023?
There are videos coming soon for two more of the tracks from the album, ‘The Yellow Bird of Fortune’ and ‘She’s Going to Mars’. Also, we released a Christmas single and accompanying lyric video in 2022 called ‘Christmas Without You’ and we’ll throw that out there again when we hit this year’s festive season and will, of course, be playing it at our gig in December.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Have fun. Gigs should always be fun. If we’re not having fun, why should the audience?
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
- To check everyone is ready before starting.
- To turn tuning pedal off before starting the set.
- To take a beer on stage.
- That Bex is an astronaut.