“Some try to replicate the past merely for the sake of nostalgia but for King Washington they are not trying to churn out what you have heard before, instead they have taken the music they love as a base and built their own unique sound around it. Part folk, part rock, part blues, part pop, part just about every genre going, King Washington covers it all and with (“The Overload”), they have presented a collection of songs to relish, to rock out to and above all else, to enjoy.” –Room Thirteen
King Washington, a Los Angeles-based rock group started as a garage band, combining elements of folk rock music of the 60s and 70s, their Southern California heritage, and vocal harmony. King Washington has already recorded and released two full albums, The Gears (2012) and The Overload (2013). Their third album, entitled Potential, is expected to be released on May 19th of this year. My Society had the opportunity to interview this up and coming band to learn more about the origins of the band, it’s members, and their future in the music industry.
About the Band
- Tell me about your past in relation to King Washington.
- Billy: I first met Tyson at karaoke, my sister was the karaoke DJ at a place in the valley, I went to a few of their shows, liked their sound. Later, after I finished college, I ended up joining the band and here we are today.
- George: We’ve been together for a long time. I was at USC with Spencer, Tyson’s brother, and that’s how I met Tyson and joined the band. We started working on music and playing songs in LA more seriously. Once Billy joined we started touring and that’s when our lives took shape and we started getting more momentum.
- Tyson: Growing up I was inspired by vocal groups like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel. I founded the band, met George and Billy, told them to join the group and together we sing in harmony.
- What is your proudest accomplishment as a band?
- George: Opening up for Michael McDonald, I have to say. Probably releasing as much music as we have, actually completing albums and recording it all independently. Our upcoming album will be the first we are releasing with a label, but we made all of the albums ourselves. And touring, pretty much every tour we booked ourselves. We don’t have an agent. Everything we have done so far is a massive accomplishment because we did it ourselves without the help of a team. It has been a very grassroots effort.
- What would you, as individuals, consider your greatest influence as a musician?
- Billy: My favourite band growing up was a band called Silverchair. Silverchair by Billy Lee. That’s an answer.
- George: Tom Waits, number one all the way. Final answer. Lock it in.
- Tyson: The Beatles, John Lennon.
- Describe your music without using musical terminology or referring to a band or genre.
- Billy: It’s a series of neuromorphic sensory stimuli.
- George: It’s music that is universal. Anyone can appreciate the qualities of sound and the feelings that we give out. They resonate deep in the soul and we can also have fun with it. We like to write songs that are an adventure, a journey with an arc.
- Tyson: Symbolically the music is like a journey. It’s a struggle. It’s like diving into a swimming pool filled with warm Jell-O and when you get to the bottom, you’re f*cked.
- Have you had moments as a band when you wanted to quit and, if so, what deterred you? Aka How do you stay motivated?
- Billy: They told me I had to trim my beard and I almost quit, the other day actually. I just had to take a deep breath. The impulse went through my mind. I decided not to act on that impulse.
- George: Sometimes what we do as a band is more for the greater good than our own, individual, complete happiness and satisfaction in every moment. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit of this for that.
- Tyson: Would I make it far if I ran away, try to reach the stars before they fade to grey…
- How can people listen to your music and support you as a band?
- Buy CD’s from our website
- You can find us on any of the streaming sites. We are on all of them.
- Buy off of iTunes
- Buy CD’s from our website
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Elaborate if you’d like.
- Billy: One of the best pieces of advice I have received was actually from George’s dad. He said as long as you’re working on something you are going to make mistakes. You just have to keep banging your head against the wall and that determines whether or not you move forward. Just work through all the mistakes.
- George: Learn when to keep your mouth shut. I don’t use it, but it’s the best.
- Tyson: Don’t let it bring you down It’s only castles burning, find someone who’s turning and you will come around.
- If you had the opportunity to communicate with your younger self how would you do it and what would you say?
- Billy: I would go to my infant self and just tickle him. And that’s it. I think it’s the best way not to break the space-time continuum, visiting my infant self while I have no cognition of my identity, thereby keeping everything in tact.
- George: Gosh what would I say to myself, I feel like I’ve done everything right so far. I’d probably say “don’t go to college”. Start working in what you want to do.
- Tyson: I would say “don’t stop taking Adderall”
- Considering all previous experiences and occurrences, what would you consider your life philosophy?
"Rule#1: Do whatever you want"
"Rule #2: All the time"
- Tyson: “Don’t take any guff from these swine”—Hunter S. Thompson
- Billy: Wait to see about climate change before making any life decisions. Very contextual. Try not to project yourself onto others. Try to be more empathetic.
- How do you handle Criticism and Failure?
- Billy: Fail often to get good at something. Try to do things even at the risk of failure. Don’t hesitate your whole life out of fear of failure.
- George: Be objective. Be honest with yourself. You can be wrong. You are wrong often. Learn to admit it. You will fail, get over it. Learn to pick yourself up quicker and quicker every time you do it.
- Tyson: Nobody ever got anywhere without failing over and over again. Try things, you have to try things. You shouldn’t be discouraged because something went wrong. Take failure as a chance to grow and learn from your mistakes, move forward.
- Group Effort: If NASA asked you to put together a collection of items that represented the best of humanity to send to an alien race, what items would you put in the space capsule? Let’s say 10 max, because it’s expensive to ship things to space I’d imagine.
- Tyson: and sushi
- George: a kindle full of books.…and pharmaceuticals, psychedelics and pot. Just in case they don’t have those. I would love to see an alien take a Xanax and all of a sudden they’re like “hey, we don’t need to blow this planet up. What did they do?”
- Tyson: coins, some sort of concept of love encapsulated in an object
- George: a wheel
- Billy: lab synthesized bacon
- Tyson: fine bourbon
- George: One iPod with all the best music
After over a decade of performing, touring and making music, King Washington has signed with The End Records, a New York based record label which specializes in indie, electronic, metal and rock music. To learn more about the band, their upcoming album, and tour dates visit their website here.
Interview conducted & written by Brenna Winkle