Dublin duo Kid Karate have been playing live shows with wreckless abandon on our island for years but now, as we approach 2014, it's seeming more and more likely that Kevin Breen and Steven Gannon will transplant their furiously fun sounds to much larger audiences. Kid Karate will be the sole Irish representatives at this weekend's world famous Trans Musicales de Rennes Festival in Northwestern France, a festival with a reputation for highlight emerging talent, and John Balfe caught up with drummer Steven Gannon for a chat about the year that was and what's coming up in the future.
I imagine it's pretty fair to say that 2013 has been pretty good to Kid Karate. What have been your personal highlights up to this point?
The entire year has been pretty amazing. We’ve basically been on the go since SXSW, where we hooked up with our manager and US agent. Ever since then things have been falling into place and working with people who are so driven has been a huge catalyst for us to push ourselves as hard as we can.
You were in the news recently when your song 'Louder' was chosen as the Xbox One intro video. How did that come about?
We signed a co-publishing deal in September with Spirit Music Group, who represent Pete Townsend of The Who, The Naked and Famous, T. Rex, to name a few, and they’ve been pitching our music to companies to use in their campaigns. We still can’t believe the Xbox thing, it’s pretty surreal to think how many people will hear that song when they switch on their Xbox Ones for the first time.
The reaction to the 'Lights Out' EP has been very positive since its release in September, you must be pretty pleased with how it's going down?
We’re delighted with the response the EP has gotten. When we wrote these songs we just wanted to have a chance to perform them for people and since it’s been released it’s amazing to play in places we’ve never been and to see people relate to the songs and to the live show. We love playing live, there’s nothing quite like it.
Kid Karate (L-R) Kevin Breen, Steven Gannon
You've spent a lot of time over the past few months playing shows outside of Ireland. How did the tours of the UK and the shows in America go for you? Do you feel that you're beginning to get a firm foothold in places like this?
The UK and the States are both incredible places to play. When we did the UK tour in September it was the longest run of shows we’d ever done. We did seventeen shows in three and a half weeks then flew straight to America to play another seven or eight shows. We had such an incredible time playing shows in both places, we can’t wait to get back out on the road.
The inevitable album question is next; when do you think we can expect a full length release from you guys?
I think when we release our first LP it will carry on where the EP left off in a sense. There’ll still be the thumping, guitar-driven tunes there with the wailing vocals, but we’re also working on some stuff that I think will surprise some people. It feels like the stuff we’re writing now is a natural progression from the stuff that came before it.
You'll be the only Irish representative at this year's Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, a festival which has a reputation for unearthing new talent and bringing them to wider audiences. You must be pretty pleased to be associated with a festival of this magnitude?
We’ve looked at past lineups of the festival and it’s a pretty big honour to play at a festival with such a great history. They’ve had acts from Beastie Boys to The Brian Jonestown Massacre, from Primal Scream to Fever Ray. We’re such music fanboys and anytime something like this has happened we honestly can’t believe we’ll be playing the same places/festivals as some of the acts that we idolise. We hope we do Ireland proud!
Finally, with 2013 being an incredibly busy one for both can you keep this momentum going into the next? Are you going to take a bit of time to sit down, chill out and take stock or are you going to be all systems go going into 2014 and beyond?
I think the phrase you’ll sleep when you’re dead comes to mind. We’ve wanted things to happen since we started the band four years ago and we want to make the most of everything that comes up in 2014. Ideally, we’ll look back at 2013 and think how chill it was in comparison to twelve months time! Fingers crossed!
Kid Karate will play the 33rd annual Trans Musicales Festival in Rennes this weekend (5th -7th December). Their 'Lights Out' EP is available to purchase now.