Track By Track: King Cannons
Songs inspired by gospel, soul and Jamaican music, the Christchurch earthquake and heartbreak – frontman LUKE YEOWARD leads us through King Cannons' debut album 'The Brightest Light'. The band are playing the M+N Lunchbox in Melbourne this Friday (July 20).
‘Stand Right Up’
This is an uplifting song inspired by soul and gospel music. The main inspiration for the music came to me from two things: a bongo rhythm that our percussionist Lanae Eruera recorded and sent to me, and a loungeroom jam session that happened a couple of days prior where I was mucking around with some old R&B guitar licks with my friend Benny Peters of the Flybyniters. This was one of those brilliant tunes where the lyrics and music were complete and on a piece of paper within about half-an-hour of smelling the whiff of inspiration.
This song was written very late in the album recording process, in the spirit of a teenage rocker. It's essentially me telling the story of my mid-teens. I worked full-time at a sawmill and paid my own way in the world but I didn't want to hold down a full-time job – all I wanted to do was play music. It was the classic working man's conundrum. As the song progresses, in the breakdown I talk about how this relates to adult life, and how not much has changed. Your heart and soul become a result of the experiences they've been through, they get harder and tougher, and you find yourself more wrapped up then ever.
‘The Brightest Light’
This is a very ambitious song for King Cannons, but also one of my favourite songs on the record. It earned the title track of the album because I think it encapsulates the feel of the record overall for me.’ The Brightest Light’ is me reminiscing about the stories and feelings of my past, and relating them to how things are at this present time. I was driving home from rehearsal late Friday night though crowds of people partying and having a good time. The town was alive! I thought to myself, "The lights look a little bit brighter then what they do during the working week." When I was growing up in small town New Zealand, there wasn't much going on, I felt like I had nothing to lose. When I left town and did my own thing, I was reckless, I really felt the freedom that came along with that. I think what I wanted from this song was for people to realise the ability to celebrate and embrace freedom, no matter what the circumstances.
‘Too Hot To Handle’
I wrote this song quite late in the process with Tij from Boy In A Box one afternoon in Melbourne. To me this song is about a situation and/or feeling you don't want, but you have no choice but to be a part of. Its about being completely overwhelmed with this feeling.
‘Call For Help’
This song is a story about my first time in New York City. I ended up there when I was 20 years old with next to no cash, no friends, and my accommodation fallen through. This is a story about figuring things out for yourself. I recorded a foundation of worldly percussion, then just started hammering guitars and lyrics over the top. This song is hand-crafted dance music to me.
‘Shot To Kill’
Jonno [Smith] wrote the lead guitar riff for this tune, and I worked out the rest in what ended up being the most personal song on the album. It’s a song about my past relationship, and thinking the path of being bad was one that would work out OK in the end. (Reality check, Luke, you were wrong.) This is a sad song about regret, pain, heartbreak and falling from grace.
Rob [Ting] and I worked out the music for this tune, and I wrote the words for this song when the earthquakes were happening in Christchurch in 2011. At the same time my current relationship was quite turbulent and I found myself sounding more and more like my father when he was at his worst. I had a to question who I was, where I was, and what I was doing. This made me think about New Zealand and family life growing up. Had I become a hardened man like my father used to be? Did my relationship stand a chance? Am I just a generation clone? Yet again, I learned that hard times come and go, you just have to be tough enough to get back on your feet, and give the good things another shot.
This is an important song for us to have on the album as it serves as a tribute to our love for Jamaican music. Jonno and I wrote the music for ‘Charlie O’ in Queensland. The lyrics are a story of the trials and tribulations of someone growing up in a city, travelling, living and learning.
‘The Cool Change’
It was the middle of summer in a tiny brick apartment in Thornbury, Melbourne, when I wrote the majority of this record. With no air conditioning it was really, stinking, hot. People in Australia really celebrate when the cool change comes around and a rain storm opens up. This song is a comment on this time and place. Life, politics, dealing with the weather and the constantly moving carrot of success.
‘On Our Own’
This tune pays homage to our love for Americana and country music. Jonno and I also wrote the music for this song in Queensland. It’s about me being away from home, and wanting to grab my girl by the hand and just run away. Its about forgetting everything that keeps us in one place, exploration, rising above, and making our mark on new ground on our own terms.
The idea for this song was provoked from a recent "Australia Day" celebration. To me, this celebration and the sense of national pride within this country makes no sense. I wanted to question national and ethnic pride, I wanted to question ignorance and generation cloning, I wanted to share the idea that we all share the same dark history. I wanted to realise the idea that all people are one. These were the terms for this folk song.
‘The Last Post’
This song talks about the possibility of a better world, if we could only change the way we think about it. We are stuck in our ways, yet we have so many choices. It's about confronting who we are before it's too late. This song is filled with metaphors, and it is the final call for help.