Victoria Holdsworth chats with Kava Kava main guy Pat Fulgoni.
Kava Kava are a bit like Baby from Dirty Dancing - no one can ever put them in a corner. Whether you like Funk, Hip Hop, Dance, Rock, Indie or Soul this Huddersfield based group have their fingers in many pies and they all taste as sweet as their name would suggest - including their own record label - Chocolate Fireguard!
I spoke to their main guy Pat Fulgoni for Leeds Music Scene to find out how he manages to juggle everything on his plates and still find time to promote other Yorkshire bands as well as do all this amazing live music.
I've read a lot of reviews about you and most people just can't decide what genre to put your music into. What would you consider your style to be?
Miscellaneous [laughs] We're kind of half way between a dance band and a rock band and we've got funk in there and a bit of psychedelia, so it's one of those kind of bands that can't make up their own minds [grins].
You aurally hit people hard with cutting lyrics - how do you put your tunes together? Is it something that just comes or is carefully crafted?
It pretty much comes with every kinda tune. We always spend loads of time arguing over them and discuss for a few hours what the first section of the tunes are going to be like.
You've been around for quite a while now but still remain fairly underground. What's the secret to your success would you say?
Yeah, well we have done the Glastonbury thing and all that. We've done a lot of stuff in Europe, but it's not the kind of music you're gonna find on mainstream radio, and we all do other projects as well. I think the secret to our success would be... I don't know really [laughs] We're slightly stupid, and that means we keep going.
After playing across continents, what has been your best audience to date and why?
There's been some amazing festivals, particularly in eastern Europe. As an example, take the Czech republic, we've done about 50 gigs there, and we've played to about fifteen thousand people once at a festival, that was amazing! But we have done some equally as good ones in Italy and Switzerland and France, but Glastonbury was REALLY good.
Speaking of foreign climbs. In Czech your name means 'Coffee Coffee' and in Sweden your name means 'Schedule Schedule' - what's the funniest misgiving you've heard regarding your name?
Ooh I don't know really. We were Carver Carver once, which sounded like an axe wielding band, that was a good one [chuckles]. But just getting back to that Schedule Schedule, we actually had an order from the Swedish ambassador in Estonia or something like that, for one of our earlier albums, and he actually bought the album because it meant Schedule Schedule. No other reason!
Did you get any feedback from that then, after he had listened to it?
No! we didn't, and we certainly didn't get any tours from Estonia or Sweden unfortunately!
Pat - you run your own record label Chocolate Fireguard, and put out compilation albums including some of your own tracks on there, but which other bands would you recommend to our readers that go on those albums?
Well, from the Chocolate Fireguard stuff I would definitely recommend The Bluefoot Project and LA Cedille, who I have released. I've started working with a new UK hip hop crew as well called Practical Headz and then I've gone a bit more rock with a girl band called Mary Jane. Also I have had some involvement with a bit of regeneration work for the West Yorkshire Music Industry and I got a bit of funding and got a track of each label of Yorkshire bands and put it out South by South West, but that was more of a promotion for the area thing.
Your music could almost be the soundtrack to a film - have you ever been approached to do a score? If not, which director would you most like to lend music to?
Maybe Coppola, given that I'm half Italian, you know what I mean [sly grin]. I could maybe make a few calls [nudge nudge wink wink Sopranos stylee]. We have been in a few US TV shows and films recently. We've been in Weeds the TV show, it's won a golden globe and all that, well we were in the first episode. We have also been in LA Riding Club, which is another US TV film thing, and more recently there's an independent Hollywood movie called Boys & Girls Guide To Getting Down, which has also got the likes of Goldfrapp and Dirty Vegas on the soundtrack. They have 4 of our tracks in that! It's outrageous too, it's all about sex and drugs and I'm not convinced it's going to get distribution because it is so outrageous. It's a brilliant film though. It was shown at the LA film festival last month. That was good because I think out music kind of lends itself to films as well.
There have been many comparisons about you in the past to the likes of Leftfield, Chemical Brothers and even Roni Size. But for Kava Kava who sums up the funky/dance/rock scene?
We have so many influences. We all like your funkadelic stuff. We all like Basement Jaxx and even bands like Primal Scream and other bands that are not a million miles away I suppose. We could even be like Hawkwind from a million years ago [laughs]. I keep flashing back to those gigs. You can't beat Hawkwind, they're great!
How does your download market compare to physical sales?
It's picking up. We are on about 40 different sites now with the label stuff, which is good. I'd say being on iTunes is pretty essential. E Music is another good one that we've got our stuff on to and Karma Download, but it's all good, because our music is all over the world with those sites. We have good distribution in places like Japan and most of Europe, but it's not that far reaching because it's quite niche stuff, but it's good to just have it out there on t'internet and all that.
If it all ended tomorrow - what would you be doing?
If what ended? The World!? [looks slightly worried].
No just your musical career.
What direction is the next Kava Kava EP or album going to take and when can we expect to be able to get our grubby little mitts on it?
We've been kicking it around a bit and not really getting it together, but we went over to Prague and recorded a load of drums and a load of other instruments because my mate has a studio there. Killing Joke recorded their last album there! Most of the time we're there but we've just got to mix it now, and we've been a bit slack because we've all been doing our own kind of projects. Believe it or not I've been singing on house music and stuff! Even though I look like a rocker [laughs] we just have to get our shit together and finish the job.
So what have you been singing on?
I've done a track for Erick Morillo's label. Just a load of avant-garde stuff that nobody really wants to listen to [laughs].
So when is the new Kava Kava EP coming out?
Probably next year I think, we need a bit of time to do a bit of PR and stuff, but we've gotta mix it first, but it's sounding alright you know, it's a bit more hard hitting than the last one.
So is that going to emerge from your underground scene and get a bit more recognition than the past stuff?
Yeah! I hope so - it's gonna take over the world. I think I'll have a manifesto [pinky and the brain style laugh] And we're gonna form a party!
So what is your manifesto?
I can't reveal that information right now. You will know when the time comes! You might get an envelope at the Leeds Music Scene containing some hints [laughs].
I'm certain we will, and you know what? I for one can't wait if it's anywhere near as good as the stuff I've already heard. Kava Kava are one of the biggest pioneers of the Yorkshire music scene, who can lend their hands and ears to anything!