“The themes of the album are love, loneliness, sex and suicide, and how to tackle those ideas and situations throughout your life.”
Twickets caught up with Charles Costa aka King Charles to talk about what’s changed in the four years since his last album was released, how songwriting has aided his mental and physical recovery and his upcoming comeback record, ‘Out Of My Mind’.
Merging charisma, charm and candour into an effortlessly alluring package, London-based singer-songwriter King Charles broke through onto the indie scene in 2012 with his eccentrically poetic debut album, ‘LoveBlood’. Channeling his stories of life and love into evocative lyrics and exuberant melodies, Charles crafted his own niche within the often over-saturated scene, expanding his refreshing creative freedom into 2016’s critically-acclaimed sophomore album, ‘Gamble For A Rose’.
Now four years on from the release of his latest album, King Charles is back with a new sound and a fresh focus. Ahead of the release of his new album, ‘Out Of My Mind’, Twickets sat down with Charles to talk about his latest single, ‘Freak’, the new direction he’s taking his music in and his plans going forward with King Charles.
It’s been four years since you released your last album, ‘Gamble For A Rose’. How have things changed for you since then?
Charles: After ‘Gamble For A Rose’ was released and I’d finished touring that album I moved to New York for a few months to try and escape. I then went to Los Angeles to start fleshing out a new record and ended up spending a while going between London and LA to finish this upcoming album. It took quite a long time, longer than I anticipated, but that’s just the way it went. It was quite a tricky process to work across studios in both cities and constantly having to bounce things back and forth, but we’ve made it to this point now.
Your latest single, ‘Freak’, has gone down really well since it’s release a little while back. Can you tell us about the story of that track?
Charles: I wrote that song with a friend of mine in London just before ‘Gamble For A Rose’ was released. It was a tough time in my life which led to me moving to New York for a while. I wanted to escape my life in London and start something fresh, and I felt that ‘Freak’ should stay back in London where it was written.
When I headed to New York I wanted to record a calypso album at Electric Lady Studios, but ‘Freak’ was not a calypso-sounding song so didn’t fit with my focus at the time. However, I wasn’t able to record the album that I wanted to because it was the depths of New York winter and didn’t feel conducive to a calypso atmosphere. Once that concept was canned, ‘Freak’ followed me around to the point that I felt that I had to complete it. A lot of the album came out of the same situation and has the same identity as that single.
‘Freak’ is taken from your upcoming album, ‘Out Of My Mind’, which will be released next month. What inspired the songs on this album?
Charles: The themes of the album are love, loneliness, sex and suicide, and how to tackle those ideas and situations throughout your life.
The singles you’ve released from the new record so far seem to be a bit of a departure in sound from what we’ve heard from you before. Was this an intentional direction change for King Charles’ music?
Charles: To some extent, the music that you make takes it’s own journey and I like following that path rather than being too stringent in mapping out my endpoints. I had an idea about the kind of energy I wanted to encapsulate onstage with the new record and I wanted it to be a new groove for me. I’m always looking for an excitement that will match what’s bubbling up within me and following that instinct is really important. Above all, I always want to sound like myself and sing with my own voice. The apple never falls far from the tree but sometimes it’s a different fruit.
The new record seems to focus quite heavily on your mental and physical health and the various ebbs and flows of recovery. What was it like to write about a journey that is so deeply personal to you?
Charles: It’s what makes me tick and the further I get through my life and career, the more I want to uncover, recover and resolve the things in my life. Writing music and lyrics is the right place for me to channel the pain and through that process there is a sense of healing.
You’re going to be heading out on tour in support of ‘Out Of My Mind’ later on this year. What can people expect from these shows?
Charles: It’s going to be so great. It’s a shame that we’re having to postpone it due to COVID-19 as I was ready to do this in May but it’s going to be just as good, if not better, in October. The band I’ll have with me are incredible and we’ll be playing a collection of the best songs I’ve ever released in whatever beautiful version of life we find ourselves in come October. I’m really looking forward to it.
Who are you listening to that people should be checking out right now?
Charles: There’s a cellist called Sheku Kanneh-Mason who is the coolest guy. He did a version of ‘No Woman No Cry’ and it’s absolutely fantastic. He put out a classical record and it made it into the top 20 of the UK album chart, so cool.
Once the album has been released, what are your plans going forward with King Charles?
Charles: In the period between my last release and this album I’ve been working a lot and what I am about to release is only a part of what I’ve been doing. There’s a lot more that I want to release and it will be in the pipeline very soon. Though it’s obviously awful, this pandemic has given me a lot of time and space to think about where I want to go from here, so I’m ready to start getting more music out into the world as soon as possible.
King Charles’ UK tour will now take place in October, don’t miss your chance to see him playing songs from his latest album, ‘Out Of My Mind’. Get your tickets here.
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Check out King Charles’ latest single, ‘Freak’, below.