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15 Minutes With, Karl S Williams, Gold Coast Live Music

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Welcome to our new monthly blog “15 Minute With….” Where we will be featuring interviews with local artists from the Gold Coast and their stories.

Our first 15 minutes is with local musician Karl S Williams,

“Born at a young age into a non-musical family, and named after a criminal from the future, none can be bothered to unravel the twisted line that led Karl S. Williams to The Blues and perverted him into a guitar-slinging, banjo-wielding freak with a penchant for Hell fire, Heavenly salvation, and writing about himself in the third person.” 

An apt self-description that paints a great picture of this awesome local talent.

I first came across Karl’s unique, haunting music and incredible voice that doesn’t seem to fit this skinny white boy from the Gold Coast at The Loft on Chevron Island and was stopped dead in my tracks. Karl is a quietly spoken incredibly modest unassuming guy, but when he takes up his position in front of the mic, picks up his guitar or banjo the transformation is amazing. His music is a hybrid of Delta Blues and Appalachian Mountain banjo pluckin, whiskey jug spittin log cabin greatness!

I caught up with Karl at his gig last night at the Gold Coast Arts Centre’s Basement room, which is sadly not continuing their “Live at Basement” events in 2012 a blow for the local live music scene.

How would you describe your music?

Blues pervades my music and I think it best describes the sentiment of my music.

I can totally see that your music is deeply rooted in blues, but I wouldn’t call you a blues musician strictly speaking. When I first heard you, I was transported to a snow bound log cabin in the Smokey Mountains.

Yeah that’s well and truly in there, I guess I use the blues a little too freely maybe, but you have the mountain region and then the flat cotton land to the south. So you’ve got white man blues and black man blues and they feed off each other and it’s all in there.

I read on your site that you don’t come from a musical family, what inspired you towards music?

I was actually a fairly late bloomer and picked up the guitar for the first time at around 19. Growing up we had a fairly small record collection, but there was some good ones and I got hooked on Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin early, then got more and more into Led Zeppelin and followed their influences into the blues. In their early recordings there were a lot of covers of old blues songs and that’s how I ended up listening to the likes of Robert Johnson.

What would we see if we looked at the 5 most played tracks on your iPod?

It changes all the time, but at the moment you’d see a song by Nick Drake a place to be, that’s a great song, Leonard Cohen would be well and truly up there. Then I guess it would be a heap of blues tracks, Robert Johnson, Son House and I’ve been listening to Sea Sick Steve lately he’s great.

What other local artists would you recommend to our readers?

Marc Bicher who’s playing the second set tonight, he calls himself “The Gentlemen Rambling” he’s really good and I really enjoy his music. Taylor a band that plays a lot locally, they’re an incredibly good band.  A girl that goes by the title CC the Cat she plays reggae, funk, soul sort of stuff and she is also amazing. There’s really a lot of good music around I just wish I had more time to go and see it all.

You’ve recently released some tracks via sound cloud, and a video to you tube that people can listen to for free. When can I download “White Hotel”, or are you holding that one back?

I’ve put 4 tracks on Sound Cloud and then there is the White Hotel video that’s on YouTube, I probably will put White Hotel on Sound Cloud because that’s more indicative of where I want the sound on my album to be and I’m still fiddling with the mix on that track.

So, there are plans in the wings to record an album in the near future?

Absolutely, I have another 5 or 6 tracks in a slightly more produced state, more hi-fidelity than the ones I’ve released so I’m just demoing them at the moment.

Have you had any interest for a potential record deal?

No I haven’t really pursued that to this point, I’m a bit wary I guess.

Wary, as in you don’t believe you’re ready yet or wary of the industry as a whole?

A bit of both I guess, I do think that I’ve got a ways to go yet and I feel that maybe my music style might be a little anti-establishment I guess.

Where to for Karl S Williams from here?

Recording is the main thing I’m looking to concentrate on at the moment and hoping to secure a lot more gigs over summer and maybe play some of the smaller festivals that are around would be nice.

Tell us about tonight’s gig and the local music scene in general.

Tonight I’m playing with Mark Boulle and Pete Miller, we basically take it in turns and jam with each other as we play our own songs. Locally the live music scene is strong but venues are limited especially with this one closing. There are some other good venues like The Cave at Nobby’s, Mandala Organic Arts café, Palmy cafe and The Loft. Live music culture remains strong on the Gold Coast.

Thanks so much for spending 15 minutes with us tonight Karl, and best of luck with your future projects.

Thank you, I hope your readers get the chance to check out my music on sound cloud or through my website.

We were fortunate to be here for this gig where Karl, Mark and local guitar virtuoso Pete Miller didn’t disappoint. What a shame that these nights will end at the end of the year, I would encourage everybody to make the most of the last 2 months and get along to see some brilliant local talent, “Live In The Basement” Thursday nights at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.

Also definitely take the opportunity to check out Karl’s music, music video and website details below.       

I highly recommend you also visit Pete Williams’s and Mark Boulle’s sites and checking out their amazing music.

Special thanks to James Mcgregor for his amazing photography.


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Max C Joined: May 2011     Blog Posts: 86
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