Ahead of our exclusive premiere of the brand new New Town Kings album, Reach Out tomorrow, we caught up with Dabs, frontman of the UK ska heroes…
The Punk Archive: Hey guys! How excited are you to release Reach Out?
Dabs: Hi guys. Yeah we’re all really excited about this one. It’s been a long time coming!
The Punk Archive: How long has this one been in the making? Talk us through the writing and recording process?
Dabs: Ha! Writing the music itself happened really quickly. We recorded at KONK studios and had the main body of music down in a week! Post production involved quite a lot of work and a change in producer which stalled us a little. Although not my first release with the band it is the first album since I joined so we’ve not wanted to put it out until we were all happy with how it sounds.
The Punk Archive: What were your main influences when writing the record?
Dabs: There’s eight of us with a bunch of different influences. The band came up out of the punk scene and our live show has a lot of energy as a result. I’m a big fan of a lot of trad Jamaican Ska but some of our reggae has a bit of a hip-hop edge to it. Here in the UK, I’m a fan of the likes of The Skints, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Hollie Cook, Kiko Bun. Also acts from across the pond like our good friends and sometime mentors The Slackers have helped us to refine our stage show whilst touring. We actually got to record with one of my own personal favourites when we re-recorded Burn Babylon with Sylford Walker.
The Punk Archive: How would you say your sound has developed or changed with the new album when compared to previous releases?
Dabs: Ha! Well there’s the small matter of a change in front man for starters which obviously represents something of a new angle. Asides from the obvious I think we’ve matured lots as a band since then and I think we all would agree that we’ve refined our sound and added a few new angles.
The Punk Archive: Do you have particular favourite songs from the album?
Dabs: Hmmh! Do you have kids? Can you pick one? I know it’s a cliche but for me it kinda depends on the mood. For energy I love Reach Out, the title track. Lullaby gives me goosebumps as the lyrics are quite personal to me and I love the different types of piano sounds we found. In Burn Babylon I got to co-write with a reggae legend; Deep Water reminds me of [the] trad ska I grew up on. I was proud of my contribution to Long Long Road in terms of the lyrics, the horns smashed it with The Hawk‘. I could go on!
The Punk Archive: You’ve got a run of UK dates coming up: are you excited to get back out on the road?
Dabs: There’s nothing like getting on the road. We all love recording but once all that is said and done a band’s live show is where it’s at. The one thing which still amazes me after five yrs in NTK is the energy levels at our shows and just how much of a deep connect we get with our fans. Our die hard fans have been waiting a while for this tour so we’re all proper excited and can’t wait to get up and down the country with Reach Out! We kicked off our tour in Cambridge with our good good friends Last Gang In Town. The fact that it sold out is one thing. The fact that I met guys who came down from the north of Scotland or a couple who drove up from Toulouse in France for the show shows exactly why we’ve proper buzzing about this tour and why we’re so excited to finally have the album ready for our very loyal very dedicated fan base (big up yourselves. One love).
Reach Out is available everywhere on Friday 27th April; but we at The Punk Archive have the world exclusive premiere. Keep it locked here on Thursday 26th to listen to it first!