Interview: KAWALA

Benedict Watson sat down with KAWALA’s lead singer Jim Higson after their fantastic acoustic show and signing at Rough Trade. Having just released their debut album Better With You a few days before, this was the perfect time to hear his thoughts on the album, touring and KAWALA’s plans for the future.

Q: Thank you for doing this interview, we really enjoyed the show! How’s the tour been going so far?

A: I am sleep-deprived! Tour is a weird thing, it’s one of those really unique jobs where you have to wake up really early, you’re not eating, you’re not sleeping, but you’ve got to look amazing, you’ve got to sound amazing for everyone – it’s a weird job! But the tour is going great because I’ve enjoyed every single show so far.

Q: How do you find performing acoustically compared to performing as a full band?

A: Yeah it’s different, but me and Daniel (lead guitarist and co-lead singer) started as an acoustic act, so for us it’s going back to our roots and we really enjoy it. It’s an intimacy that you don’t get when you upscale. You can see every face and look into the eyes of everybody there really intensely and make them feel weird!

Q: The band started with you and Daniel, what caused you to recruit more members?

A: We hit a ceiling with how and where we could perform, we found ourselves playing in a lot of churches! We wanted to make music that people could really dance to, so we knew that getting more members was the natural way to go.

Q: Where do you think the band will progress next?

A: Our dream was to play Kentish Town Forum in Kentish Town, but we did that in December, and that was the pinnacle of success for us! Now we need to set ourselves another goal – maybe Glastonbury pyramid stage?

"It felt like we could actually write about our own vulnerabilities for the first time ever"

Q:When can we expect new music?

A: I don’t know, when we feel like it really!

Q: In other interviews you’ve said that this album is more personal than your earlier work, why is now the time for that?

A: Because there’s two frontmen in the band, it can be weird sometimes if Daniel goes through a break-up and then we both have to sing about his ex-girlfriend! But through lockdown, we both came out of incredibly long-term relationships, so we were in very similar situations and it felt like we could actually write about our own vulnerabilities for the first time ever.

Q: How did you decide the order of the tracklist for the album?

A: There was only one definite from the beginning. Hold Back The Years is the oldest song on the album, with the drum fill in the beginning we just knew that that was going to open the album. The rest of the songs came naturally, it just kind of fell into place.

Quickfire Questions!

Q: The Strokes or Arctic Monkeys?

A: The Strokes.

Q: Aldi or Lidl

A: Lidl because of the middle aisle!

Q: What’s your favourite festival?

A: We love 110 Above, and Latitude was my best festival experience ever because it was our first

show back after the pandemic.

Q: If you were a fruit, which fruit would you be?

A: A banana – I’m tall and blonde!

Thank you to Jim for his time!

Benedict Watson


Edited by: Joe Hughes

In article videos courtesy of KAWALA via YouTube. Featured image courtesy of KAWALA via Facebook.