Japanese Fighting Fish are no more, but Karlost has armed himself with new songs and compelling audio ideas to stun the public once more. His debut music video awaits your perusal, but first, a few words on his music and how his mind works. So, Karlost, what’s ‘Way Down Deep’ about?
Karlost: It could be a story about a man in prison, or it could be a metaphor for the internal prison we sometimes find ourselves trapped in… up to the listener! ‘I don’t know myself any more than you…’
Would it be safe to say that you write intuitively, and if so, why?
Karlost: I rarely sit down with a pen and paper when I write, I jam it out on my acoustic and record everything, the lyrics are what has come to mind at that point, then I will edit slightly, if necessary, but as little as possible.
Perhaps the video can provide another interpretation of the song?
Karlost: Like I said, the public can take from it what they will, if you know, you know! It’s good to talk and please find that inner strength to reach out if you need to, we are all in this together.
Indeed. There’s quite a lot of post-punk bands who are keen to open up about social pressure. I remember initial conversations about the video being related to mental illness, still a taboo subject in our culture, let alone the music industry. Care to talk about this, as Public Pressure is quite invested in such issues.
Karlost: Things can change so quickly and silently, I have people around me that are going through hell, but on the surface, you would not know. I’ve had my own journey and battles, life is no easy trip, highs and low, I am so happy that finally, this is part of the public conversation. I have lost friends to suicide, drug abuse and depression. There are services out there now, and it is finally being recognised as a real and very serious issue in society. The more we can all talk about it and support each other, the better.
Yeah, the conversation is opening up now. Well done you for being so frank about your experiences. Is it daunting making a solo career now as opposed to being in a band?
Karlost: Yes! I’m excited, though. I’ve loved being in bands over the last ten years and please don’t think I am just a one-man show, I am working with a plethora of different amazing musicians on each track I make. I think the main difference is I’m taking more of a lead when it comes to writing and arranging the songs. Live is a different beast, I’ve just bought a looper, and I am baffled by its science, I’m not a tech head, but I am learning lots these days. Shout out to Gareth, Matt and Al for their fantastic contribution and performance on ‘Way Down Deep’.
Yes, caught your last loop pedal video. Tricky but exciting stuff. Always charming when I see a musician take that task on. A real crowd pleaser. Care to share the lyrics of ‘Way down Deep’ here for people to read?
Karlost: Here are a few of my favourite lines… ‘Prison, It’s the best place for me’….’ I don’t know myself any more than you’…’ We have to stand firm, one day we’ll all be free’…
Ever intriguing. What do the various characters represent in the video? Who is the soldier?
Karlost: It’s my inner team, the soldier, I suppose, represents the ‘You can do this! Battle through’ voice in my head. The sailor is my guide on this journey, the policeman is my authority – or lack of – and my reassurance. The doctor played by my good friend Jordan, is the help I so badly need… We all need a team!
Having all those aspects work in concert can be tough. Glad to know we have musical shamans like yourself keen on sharing vulnerability. You recorded the song with Margo Broom. How did that go?
Karlost: Margo is amazing, pushes when you need it and sits back and lets it flow when things are rolling. I’m looking forward to getting back in Hermitage Works to see what happens next. I will never forget listening back for the first time. We were all blown away, she has serious Skills!
How did the recording proceed? How did Margo’s methods strike you? Feel free to share.
Karlost: Margo proceeds to tweak and twist and in some cases replace parts till we’re all agreed the music is ready to record. Recording was easy, once we knew the plan. The lads nailed it quite quickly (vocals took a tad longer, but we got there)! When we’re not playing, we discussed all manner of things, Margo is full of new gems!
Care to share a gem?
Karlost: Unfortunately I’d have to kill you John and I need you to make the next music video, it’s too risky. What’s said in the studio stays in the studio, you want a gem? Book a day at Hermitage Studios.
I’m sure I can get an answer out of Margo later. When’s your next gig and what do you have in store for us audience members?
Karlost: Multiple dress changes – some pretty awful dancing and a magical mix of intense and the absolutely ridiculous. I am in Leeds playing at The Lending Rooms on the 5th of July and in London gig at Ritzy, in Brixton, on the 6th of July. Could be a disaster, could be wonderful, who knows but it’s exciting!
On the strength of this debut single, I’d bet money on it being the latter. Thanks for chatting with us!
Karlost: It’ll be sexy whichever way it goes! Thanks to at Public Pressure and Mr Clay, top work directing the video! Thanks to Al for his editing genius!