This year’s Opple Topple Festival STARTS TODAY and runs all weekend at Winding Brook Farm, 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Pa in beautiful Warrington, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The festival’s line up features a variety of local and regional acts from around the country, this past week we had a chance to chat with the group New Kings of Rhythm.
New Kings of Rhythm have been playing since 1995 and feature a set list of over 300 songs which highlights their talent to play a mixture of Funk, Reggae, and Rhythm and Blues. They truly are a band that approach’s each show differently, which is always refreshing knowing that you will not be seeing the same show twice. This is truly a band that seems to thrive in the festival environment. With a plethora of talented musicians this is one group that promises to entertain. Be sure to check out their set Saturday at noon.
We at TSI were able to catch up with the group and speak with them on a few of their inspirations among other things.
TSI:Your line up consists of nine people and seems to feature something for everyone. How does that transfer over to your live show? Can you describe what someone might expect to see walking by?
NKR: I wouldn’t expect anybody to walk by a New Kings performance, I think that the display of musical passion is generally enough to make anyone stop and listen if not completely let the groove take over and join the party. The group is used to working the stage with any or all of the Nine Members present, and despite our varying personalities we all unite to create the music we love.
TSI: Many of your influences seem to be more classic performers, are their any bands/performers currently that might have inspired you or had some influence on you?
NKR: For me staying power is the true measure of a bands relevance to the musical spectrum, so while there are some modern bands that I check out from time to time I’m not giving out any props in print. I will however state that I find inspiration from many of the other acts on the festival circuit in the form of friendly competition and the camaraderie of like-minded individuals
TSI: You seem to be a regular on the festival circuit. Is there anything unique or different that you do for these shows?
NKR: I try to launch new material and/or stretch out on some of our older originals in a way we may not at a regular Bar Show. For me festivals are essential for the evolution of the New Kings Sound.
TSI: Playing since 1995 as a band I’m sure that you have seen a number of changes in the music industry. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen and how did you adapt to them?
NKR: While the recording industry has certainly changed, the gig scene has largely remained the same. We just keep on doing what feels right to us, and luckily that has kept us working a full schedule year after year.
TSI: With a set list of over 300 songs do you have a set list for each show, or do you just feel out the crowd?
NKR: For me it is all about my current mood and the vibe I pick up from the crowd. While there are some staples that we play at almost every gig (although often with different arrangements to keep em fresh) I never try to lock down a set list. It can be certain doom for a band to go into a gig armed with a set list and risk the audience just not feeling it. Also, it gets old for the players too. Never be a slave to a set list!!!
TSI: Is there anything else you would like to add?
NKR: Either don’t go to sleep Friday night or wake up early enough to catch the New Kings at High Noon Saturday, despite the early time slot It’s gonna be a super funky affair!