11 June 2022
Turn Up The Volume champions this British quartet for some time now. Why?
Because their karma is cool and most of all because their music exploits so far
(1 EP and 2 albums) are pretty cool too.
My ears tell me that their sound is inspired by the vocal and harmonious psychedelia
of the 60s/70s (The Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Eagles) and present (Band Of Horses, Teenage Fanclub, and Dinosour Jr‘s melancholic resonance). They rock both with electric panache and entertain gloriously with jingly jangly tunes and sticky pop earworms.
Enough reasons for an interview. Driving force Jim Styring will introduce us to his band
and their past and future works. But first, as usual, a piece of music to set the tone…
Hello Jim, pleased to have you for this Q & A
Where and when did IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL came
alive and what or who inspired the band’s name?
“I’d known our bass player, Mikey Barraclough, from a previous band. We got together in our home city of Lincoln, UK, early 2019, to write a bunch of new songs, with no real plans, just that we might get them recorded in the studio at some point. Martyn Bewick (guitars) and Danny Krash (drums) came on board for the studio sessions, but things worked out so well between us, we became a full-time band soon after.
You’re very lucky if you can find a group of musicians that all get
on and are on the same page musically. We’ve been very lucky.
The name IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL? Well, it is, isn’t it? Good or bad, it’s coming
back to bite you on the ass. Better watch what you do, ‘cos it’s watching you.”
Which track would you pick to introduce the band
to music fans who never heard of you?
“I guess we’d all probably choose a different song, but I would have to go with, ‘Back In ’78’ from our album, ‘Woke Up In Hollywood‘ It’s a great example of what we do, and is always a favourite live. It’s just a bit special that one for me. On the other end of the spectrum, you could choose, ‘Coffee Cup Circles‘ from the ‘Homesick For Our Future Destinations’ album. An up-tempo, in-your-face, punky blast of caffeine-fuelled adrenalin!”
I love the retro look/image of the 2019 EP ‘HIPSTERS AND AEROPLANES’.
Who came up with the visual idea and who designed it?
“A guy called Mick Dillingham did the design and artwork for that record.
We gave him some rough idea of what we wanted and he did the rest.”
You can stream ‘Hipsters and Aeroplanes‘ here
The cover of debut album ‘WOKE UP IN HOLLYWOOD’ (2020)
has a similar look. What’s the story here, Jim?
“Again, it was Mick Dillingham. We asked for something that tied-in with the album title and Mick‘s imagination did the rest. He always surprises and never disappoints with his brilliant creativity and vision.”
You can stream ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’ here
For the second longplayer ‘HOMESICK FOR OUR FUTURE DESTINATIONS,’ the artwork’s style changed entirely. Was the band’s image a way to introduce the humans behind the music?
“Yes, that’s exactly it. We just thought it was time to show our faces; we’d hidden behind the music for long enough. A guy over in America, Steve Stanley, did all the artwork and design for that album. We were very happy with how it turned out, and the first time
we’d included a lyric booklet, which people had been asking us for.”
You can stream the album here
2022 will be another KARMA COOL year with no less
than the release of 6 digital singles? Tell us about it?
“Yes, we’re going to be releasing six DIGITAL SINGLES individually, over the coming months. We’ve been locked away in the studio writing and recording and it’s very nearly time to let folks hear what we’ve been up to. We’ve been like mad scientists hidden
away in the laboratory, but with amplifiers and drums and other loud things.”
You worked with a special guest for 3 of the 6 upcoming singles.
Introduce us to him, Jim?
“Yes! We’re incredibly excited to announce, we have the one and only, Peter Holsapple joining us as ‘honorary 5th member‘ of It’s Karma It’s Cool, for three of the new songs!
Peter was a member of legendary, The DB’s, and played with REM on their huge
Green world tour, as well as playing on their multi-platinum Out Of Time album.
He’s also played and recorded with Hootie & the Blowfish for over 25 years, and is
currently a member of Continental Drifters, whose ranks have included Vicki Peterson,
from The Bangles, and Mark Walton, from the Dream Syndicate.”
There’s some big guitar things, some jangly pop things, even some mandolin
in there. To say we’re excited for folks to hear these songs is an understatement!
Name three songs (old or new) of other artists which can
subscribe more or less how the new pieces will resonate.
“That’s a good question! We never try to sound like anyone else, we just do what we do. We all bring our own influences to the band and throw them into the pot. We let the listeners tell us what they hear in our music, we don’t give them any pointers or clues.
Who would you say you can hear in our sound, Jean-Luc? I will say this; people who have followed us this far won’t be disappointed!! And people who are just hearing us for the first time, where have you been?”
I suppose the recordings happened during the pandemic. What was the
making of like? Together in the same room, or individually from home?
“We just had to work the best we could around the pandemic and all the restrictions.
We did a lot of writing at home; once we had the initial ideas between us, we took them away and worked them up into something resembling a song. Martyn or Mikey would send me a guitar idea, I’d add melody and lyrics, then, when we were safely able to meet at the rehearsal room, we’d all work on arrangements and knock the ideas into shape.
We’re still in the studio finishing a couple of the songs as we speak, fine-tuning. They’re some of the strongest we’ve written, without a doubt. As Peter‘s over in America, all his overdubs are done online, he just sends them across. It’s worked out so well, Peter instinctively knows what a song needs and brings it to life.”
How about the visual artwork for the singles project, Jim?
“We have Mick Dillingham back onboard. I’ve already
seen some of the artwork, you’re going to love it!”
Will the band play live to promote the releases?
If so, what is an IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL gig like?
“Yes, we’re very much hoping to get out playing. We write songs to be played live, that’s when they really mean something, the connection with people. An It’s Karma It’s Cool show is exactly that, a connection with the audience; a feeling that we’re all in this together.
I would hope our songs resonate, and folks leave the gig still singing, with a feeling we were all part of something special. I always work hard to make the crowd as important
as the band, we can’t do this without them.”
Would you give free downloads of the 6 tracks
to BORIS JOHNSON if he would ask for it?
“If he were to feed the hungry, and house the homeless,
possibly. No t-shirt, though.”
Thank you for the Q & A, Jim
May the road rise with the Cool Karma.