Kings Go Forth "One Day"
When you think of the typical retro RnB / soul revival type group, you tend to think of a well meaning musical ensemble who may earnestly attempt to recreate their favorite bygone musical era, but rarely match the sound and vibe of their soul heroes. Milwaukee's ten piece Kings Go Forth, who last Tuesday released their debut album The Outsiders Are Back on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, instantly break that stereotype. Their sound, as witnessed on this all-killer, no-filler 10 track album, is a refreshing recreation of a 70's soul/funk vibe served up in an all new sound, pitch perfectly arranged, with crispy clean production, and infectious dance rhythms aplenty.
The group's name is drawn from the title of a 1958 Frank Sinatra/Tony Curtis film, and was founded six years ago by bassist Andy Noble and vocalist Black Wolf (a respected figure on the Milwaukee music scene since the 70's who was once part of The Essentials). The rest of the ensemble includes Dave Wake (keyboards), Dan Flynn (guitar), Jeremy Kuzniar (drums), Cecilio Negron Jr. (percussion), Jed Groser (trumpet), Dave Cusma (trombone), Dan Fernandez (vocals), and Matt Norberg (vocals & rhythm guitar).
Before teaming up with Luaka Bop for this new album, Kings Go Forth released a series of seven inch singles that attracted such fans as DJ Shadow, who included them in his sets. Legendary producer and pioneer of the remix and 12" single format Tom Moulton was also drawn to their sound and consequently ended up doing a mix for Kings Go Forth.
I recently caught up with Kings Go Forth co-founder Andy Noble, who Fine Wine at WFMU called "not only an estimable musician; he also happens to be one of North America's top 45 DJ / collectors." Additionally, Nobles opened the Milwaukee record store Lotus Land Records that attracted crate diggers from all over the country. A musician, DJ, collector -- among other things -- Noble was also the subject of a documentary. I got to ask him about all these things and, of course, Kings Go Forth, plus his current Top Five 7 inch records list in the interview that follows.
Kings Go Forth "Don't Take My Shadow"
Amoeblog: How did you celebrate the recent Record Store Day?
Andy Noble: Funnily enough, I spent it buying/selling/listening to records at home! My shop just closed.
Amoeblog: I am sorry to hear that. I had never made it to Lotus Land Records but I hear it was a real cool spot with a lot of great soul, r&b, jazz and hip-hop. Was it mostly vinyl?
Andy Noble: It was only vinyl, specializing in rare and hard-to-find soul and rap.
Amoeblog: I heard from DJ Fine Wine at WFMU that you have a really impressive record collection. How long have you been collecting and is your collection (as I imagine) made up of lots of rare grooves and classic soul?
Andy Noble: Main part of my collection is funk/soul 45s, although I also like soundtracks, folk, psych, and hillbilly music a lot. Probably 2000 to 3000 45s total but a lot of quality rarities and an almost complete local (Milwaukee) collection.
Amoeblog: Was Kings Go Forth a natural continuation of your love for the music?
Andy Noble: Music is part of whatever I do, and always has been. I've been in groups since I was 12. For me, I don't draw many distinctions between writing/playing music and DJing/Collecting rare records.
Amoeblog: What is Black Wolf's history in Milwaukee music and how did the two of you come to form the band?
Andy Noble: He strolled into Lotus Land one day. We talked about a lot of Milwaukee music history and hit it off. Neither of us really knew that the other was a songwriter or a musician at the time. We were just friends first and the rest came naturally, really.
Amoeblog: And do the other band members have history in the Milwaukee music world?
Andy Noble: Yes, many ska and Latin groups. A few jazzers as well. Too many things to mention.
Kings Go Forth "You're The One"Amoeblog: How did the group come to the attention of Luaka Bop?
Andy Noble: Yale, the president, heard us in a BMX video actually. They used 'One Day' (without permission). I wasn't really looking for a label but was open to the possibility. I had a decent idea of how to sell records, mostly to soul/funk people, but I think Luaka has opened my eyes to how many other people buy soul music these days. It's pretty wild.
Amoeblog: And how did the Tom Moulton collaboration come about?
Andy Noble: He called me out of the blue. He's an awesome guy, an absolute mixaholic!
Amoeblog: I hope there is going to be a Kings Go Forth tour. Is there?
Andy Noble: We finally signed with a booking agent (The Agency Group out of NYC) so we're going to be going all over the world soon.
Amoeblog: What's that documentary Super Noble Brothers all about?
Andy Noble: In one sense it's about my two brothers and I (Davey is a painter and Tommy does music and records like me), but also I think it has a lot to do with finding a path as a young person where you can make a living doing something that you love. And Milwaukee plays a key role in the film as well, being such a great and unique city.
Amoeblog: Would you care to list your Top Five favorite soul/funk/rNb 45s?
Andy Noble: Consistent faves for the last year or so, in no order, are:
Sag War Fare - "Don't Be So Jive / Girl You Changed" (LIBRA)
Gene Williams - "Don't Let Our Love Fade Away" (FORTE)
The Candi-Bars - "You're the One" (CANDI STIX)
The Kings of Soul - "Is Your Love For Me" (Down To Earth)
The Young Mods - "I Can't Hurt You Back" (Everblack)
Young Mods "I Can't Hurt You Back"
Amoeblog: Anything to add?
Andy Noble: Thanks for the support, man. I love pulling this group up with help of all the DJs that really live this stuff. It makes it that much more special. Thanks.