19th September 2011
On a sunny Friday afternoon, just before The God of Soho returned to the Globe stage after a week away I ended up in a small meeting room with the seven finely bearded members of King Porter Stomp and a Dictaphone to find out how they ended up on the Globe stage. Here’s what happened when they all chipped in….
We are King Porter Stomp, there are 7 of us in the group and we’ve all got very different musical influences that we draw on as a band and that we somehow bring all together.
The press for the show called us a new metal band, a sudo rock band and a grime influenced heavens angel’s band but more accurately our fans call us funk, ska juggernaughts, dub, jump up, hip-hop, jazz, blues. It’s really hard for people to pigeonhole us, and we kind of like that because people never know what’s going to come next. A song might start in one place and be in a completely different place by the end of it. We try and mould together as many different genres as possible that have influenced us so it’s quite hard to pinpoint our style – apart from to say that it’s ours. It’s a big sound and our live show has lots of energy.
So how did you get involved in The God of Soho?
We’ve been asking ourselves the same question. Tom (the previous Music Manager) saw us at Shambala festival last year and asked us to play at the staff end of season party. We did that and Raz was there, and he even danced, which by all accounts which is a very rare thing for Raz – he liked our sound. Then when the play turned up he thought of us. Then we had one formal meeting and rehearsed a few times, and then that was it, we ended up here doing an interview.
We didn’t read the script before we were cast. I think we got it the week before we came up here for tech week so we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into!
What were your reactions to the play when you saw it?
It’s got a lot of energy that I think the cast have done really well to bring out. It’s also got some sweet tender parts amongst the filth and the craziness. It is like a whole mixed bag, crazy journey of stuff. I thought it was a really brave and interesting thing to put on here especially for the sort of crowds that are coming in. The language isn’t Shakespearean but the things it touches on and the energy that it’s got, and the little jokes within the play kind of are in a way. It’s interesting definitely, which is good.
Once you had seen the play did you then realise why you had been chosen to be the band?
I guess the way that the play jumps around a lot (we definitely jump around a lot on stage!) echoes how the music within our songs switches quite a bit; we match the craziness of the play. The play’s got lots of energy and as a band we’ve got lots of energy, and Raz recognised that and wanted to use it.
Have you done anything like this before?
I found it quite strange doing the incidental music rather than big numbers all the time. It’s strange for us to just be in the background rather than throwing a party. Obviously it’s a play and the actors are the main focus so it’s kind of different from what we are used to.
Costume changes, reading through scripts and getting used to cues and things like that. That was a really steep learning curve for us.
Working quickly as well. In the pre-show we play Graveyard (one of our songs). It has taken us two years to write and record that song. We have been tweaking and changing and chopping stuff up and replacing it with something else, and putting it in a different order. So we’re used to having a lot of time and a lot of discussion in the writing process, so that was completely different for us as well.
A lot of it was to do with working with Alex Silverman, he was good. In a way it is kind of refreshing to cut out that really long part of the process and just have one person with the authority to say ‘no it’s not going to happen that way, it’s going to happen this way.’ And that’s like six months of the process cut out.
I think he was quite good at taming us! He was really good at dealing with us and communicating with us and being very diplomatic.
I think he’s learnt a few expressions as well. In one rehearsal in Brighton we were singing one of the front numbers and I (Jonezy) said ‘I’ll spit some fire over that’, and Alex said ‘Oh gosh I don’t know… Shakespeare’s Globe is made of a lot of wood. I’m not actually sure you should be spitting fire’. I was just talking about rhyming over the top. This is what I love about new writing about the Globe –people from different backgrounds coming together to create something new. (Sian)
What do you think of the play now that it has opened; is it what you expected?
It is as we expected in the sense that the actors have obviously really brought it to life with their energy and the way that they keep it moving, and it is a crazy journey.And we’re also still finding lots of lines in the play and going ‘ahh, that’s how it should be performed!’ It gets better every time we do it.
Have you got any favourite bits?“Smack of the butter!” (cue raucous laughter ) The chive line. These were some of the more obscure lines from the play, as said by God, and Edwardo. (Sian)I really like Edwardo’s speech about his mental illnesses. Every scene that Edwardo’s in is just hilarious, I think he’s amazing. He’s a great character. The scene where God is trying to speak to Edwardo and Edwardo doesn’t believe him is a great scene.
Before I let you rush off to get into costume, have you learnt anything that you might use in your own work in the future? I found it really strange when we just come in together on the end of a line. We’ve got to work almost telepathically to try and play in time and to know exactly when we’re going to come in as we can’t always see each other as we would at a gig.
Another good exercise has been playing to an unamplified voice and making sure the voices come through. We’re a really heavy electrified band the majority of the time, and to work in an acoustic venue and to really play with our dynamics and let the voices shine through has been a really nice learning curve for us. And I think we should maybe use a little bit more in our music.
Hear more King Porter Stomp tunes here.
Interview by Sian-Estelle, Digital Officer