NHC MUSIC has a chat with one of the hottest up and coming acts on our radar at the moment, it's Concrete Kingdoms, folks - and if you haven't heard of them yet, you will soon!
It’s easy to tell when you’re on stage, that you lot love playing music!- when did you each know that you were going to be musicians?
Ben and Dougie (who are brothers), I think have been musically inclined all of their lives. Ben has been playing violin since age 9 and in his teens his fascination with the 90’s Grunge scene and bands like Aerosmith and Metallica helped push him towards guitar. Dougie followed a similar path by starting violin at a young age and then discovering the bass. The two of them also play the bagpipes very well.
Grant was encouraged by his dad, himself a keen musician, to follow music and started playing guitar and trumpet. He then started playing drums when he started university.
As a boy I was big into bands such as Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Verve, Aerosmith and Ocean Colour Scene and started playing guitar in 1998. I was only ever decent on guitar so when I discovered my natural aptitude was for singing around the age of 18/19, I thought here’s a way I can express myself I’ve been into performing music ever since.
Who and what are your musical and life influences?
My life influences are my parents and my wife Samantha. As well as being there to share the ups of being in a band, they are also there to support me through the inevitable downs that come with being in a band. They are also 3 very good hearted, decent and loving people so I do try to be like them and be a good person.
Shout out to my in-laws Alan and Betsy and My Auntie Maureen and Uncle Davie, they also support and have shaped me big time as well.
Music wise, as a frontman I am influenced by Kelly Jones (Stereophonics), Jim Morrison (The Doors), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Michael Hutchence (INXS) and Bruce Springsteen.
Which bands and genres do you think have influenced/added to Concrete Kingdoms’ sound?
We are a strange brew of Americana, 90’s Grunge/Alt Rock, 60’s/70’s Rock, early 00’s rock and Brit-Rock bands such as Stereophonics and The Manic Street Preachers I believe. I think there’s also a little bit Guns n Roses and INXS in there too.
How did Concrete Kingdoms form?
On a night out. Me and Ben had been in separate bands and had got quite pally with each other and started drinking together. We got talking about jamming and got Grant along for a practice and we hit it off as musicians as well as people. Dougie joined 6 months later and fit in well too.
What makes your sound unique?
We have a bit of “rawness” and grit about us to which I think sets us apart from some of rock bands who at times can sound a bit synthetic and over-thought/over-produced if you will, we try to sound warm, earthy and “tight but loose”. I think that comes from the Pearl Jam, Springsteen and Rolling Stones influence going through the band.
You do a pretty brilliant cover of Rebel Yell by Billy Idol! What made you choose that song?
We just liked the song man!
What are each of your favourite songs to play live and why?
Me – Time to Play (because it’s got a killer melody to sing)
Ben – I think……Sick and Tired (He’s justifiably proud of this song which he composed) or My World ( for his solo on which is really cool)
Dougie – ( I don’t know but he really gets into Suffer in Silence one of our new ones)
Grant – (He loves them all!)
Where does the name Concrete Kingdoms come from?
Ben invented it. He wanted something with a blue collar appeal that sounded powerful too. I think the Kingdoms is a homage to Fife (The Kingdom) where we are from. Dunfermline to be precise.
Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?
Everyday life, heartbreak, women, politics, failures, successes, alcohol, paranoia, lies, love and death. The usual stuff
You lot are pretty tight on stage- do you spend a lot of time together as friends? What are your favourite things to do together as a band when not gigging/rehearsing
Yeah we’re all good friends off stage. We bicker a lot and get under each others skins but we’ve got each others backs and we’re a solid unit who socialise together and look out for each other.
Hobbies, Ben, Grant and Dougie are all good pool players so and play in competitive leagues. Ben and myself like to keep fit and are gym goers. Ben’s a decent footballer as well and plays 5’s twice a week. Grant also plays darts.
Best gigs, where & why
Supporting Puddle of Mudd at LaBelle Angle in March was quality! It’s a bit of an infamous gig because Wes Scantlin was absolutely hammered and turned up 2 hours late, so people were pissed off by the end of the night. But it was our first taste of a big time gig and by all accounts we absolutely nailed it and I can honestly say that we got a great reaction and took a big step up that night. The crowd reaction and feedback we received that night was really cool.
Another memorable gig was the NHC Birthday bash a few weeks back at Ivory Blacks. It was a strong line-up and again we got a great reaction and some superb feedback about our songs and performance. We even got a festival date on the strength of our performance (more info below)! It was great to meet and be involved with the NHC team as well. Good bunch of lads.
Dream gig, line up and location- if you could play anywhere with anyone on the bill, where would it be and who with?
An all day gig in Madison Square Garden where we play along with the following bands and acts, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Audioslave, The Strokes, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Neil Young. If we could somehow clone Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, I’d like The Doors added to that bill.
What would your advice be for newer bands?
If you aren’t enjoying it, stop doing it.
What does the future hold for Concrete Kingdoms? Anything you want to tell me about?
Upcoming E.P release, pumped!
Big gigs including supporting Diamond Head at Labelle Angele Thursday 6th of October and supporting Dunfermline’s own Nazareth at The Glen Pavillion Dunfermline Saturday the 22nd of October.
We’re also stoked to be opening the Winterstorm Festival in Troon on Friday the 25th of November. This is a big deal among Rock bands on the rise so to be invited to play this is a real honour and privilege.
Tickets are available from the band for each of these gigs(except Winterstorm) so if you fancy seeing what the CK boys are all about, contact us or our manager Mark Robinson (who’s been a massive help to us) on Facebook and we’ll hook you up a ticket.
Oh and check us out on Facebook, Twitter and our very own website www.concretekingdoms.com