Kino release their new album, ‘Radio Voltaire’ – their first in over fifteen years – via Inside Out on 23 March. Kino consists of John Mitchell (Frost*, Lonely Robot, Arena), Pete Trewavas (Marillion,Transatlantic) and Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson, Lonely Robot). Pete tells a little more about the album, Kino’s touring plans, Marillion at the Royal Albert Hall and more…
What made Kino decide to record a new album now after so many years and how did you manage to keep it secret so successfully until the news was officially announced?
We had always planned to record a second album and in fact the contract we signed was for three Original recorded works as far as I remember. It just took us a long time.
To be honest the timing of Radio Voltaire was not so good for me, however I did manage to get over to John Mitchell’s studio for a couple of weeks writing and recording. Keeping secrets is easy if you don’t tell anyone and we just kept quiet about it.
How does the writing process work. Do you write individually and then meet to exchange/modify your ideas or do you have a joint song writing session?
On this album the writing was split between John Mitchell who wrote the majority of the songs and myself. I contributed three songs and John and I collaborated and various bits and pieces of each others work.
So most songs were written individually with collaboration during the recording stage.
The new album does sound similar at times to ‘Picture’. Did you and John Mitchell listen to that album to get ideas or is ‘Radio Voltaire’ more a case of where you both want Kino to be musically now, rather than trying to emulate the debut album?
I haven’t listened to Pictures since we last played together, a long time ago.
So this album is very much its own thing. More modern sounding and less quirky in some ways than Pictures, but obviously the two of us have ways of playing, working together and feeding off each other.
It’s always a lot of fun working with John.
How involved was John Beck in the recording of the new album?
John Beck was not as involved as on the previous release. He came and joined us in the recording process where as for the last album he was more involved in the writing and arranging.
‘Radio Voltaire’ covers many serious subjects, yet the songs always have an upbeat melody. How do you both create these catchy pop/prog/rock tunes?
I think the ethos of Kino as a musical entity is to be an intelligent melody driven musical force. It’s all about placing the subject matter inside a good solid song base. In many people’s eyes to call music Pop music is to cheapen it, but a good song is a good song and there have been many great examples of such, from pretty much all genres.
It’s those kinds of sensibilities, where the tune is key, that we draw from when writing for Kino.
Any live plans at all for Kino this year?
I’m not sure we can all find the time to do any touring as such.
I would love to do a festival or two, but I know from my own plans I’m pretty booked up this year.
What was it like for Marillion headlining the Royal Albert Hall last year? Are the band still surprised at how popular you still are when many other bands don’t manage to keep their popularity going for such a long time.
The RAH was an amazing experience for all of us. It took us a long time to even contemplate a show there, but once it was decided and we brought a new show together for it, it was and will remain a special thing in our hearts.
The band’s popularity has risen considerably over the last three or four years. I think with our shows getting more visual we are becoming more of a big event kind of band. We made a conscious decision a few years ago to get out of the rock clubs and play more concert halls and grand events in amounts our touring schedule. So we have now played quite a few bigger places like RAH, Zenith in Paris which holds a lot more than Royal Albert Hall.
This combined with the strength of the writing we have has seen us have much more success recently. I think we are in a good place moving forward.
Pete Trewavas photo by David Randall
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
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