Interview with Bad Knights
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music was never one of my top priorities, or even something I ever thought I’d do in my life. So releasing a full length album has been as surprising to me as it has to everyone who knows me. That said, when it did happen, it did feel like something that was always meant to be.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I always liked to read, a lot and still do. Before and after the music happened, I’ve always seen myself as a writer – which has perhaps been the biggest influence on my music. Travelling and being a nomad, and travelling to unconventional and remote places - also helped a great deal, and it was these stories, experiences and people that helped shape the storytelling and songwriting you see across the music in the album.
How long has your band been around?
Our band, if we can even call it that, has been around for a year. It’s mostly the lead singer/ songwriter, Stig, and our drummer Steven, who also happens to be the producer. We were helped by an assortment of local rockers, friends with angelic voices and a multitude of people who contributed to the stories and more.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The lead singer, Stig is a serial nomad, and rarely in one place long enough to call it home. The base, of sorts, for the past few years has been South Africa, which is where the music was recorded and worked on every time Stig revisited the country. This is also where the co-artist in the duo, Steven, is based, as well as the other members of the act reside. Africa has been a home of sorts for over a decade, and has greatly influenced the stories and words across the album. Although universal in essence, the stories and characters in the songs and across the album are all real people encountered over the years.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Bad Knights was meant to be a play on words, and a name with a dual meaning. Firstly, and importantly, the songs are ones listeners can go to when they’re in tough times, crossroads in their lives, coping with loss or heartbreak and symbolically, on those ‘bad nights’. The second meaning, referred to the duo that made the album happen, who happen to be Bad Knights in their own individual ways.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Wembley stadium or nothing!! Humour aside, being in South Africa, we haven’t played a lot of shows at many known venues – but one day we will. Remember those Bad Knights!
I did play at a retirement home once, and although it wasn’t the big arena rock, or Glastonbury's people that’s the stuff of most artists' dreams, it was the most rewarding experience we’ve had so far.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Rod Stewart, Kate Bush, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Eno (synth, composer) and The Edge (guitars). There would perhaps be many other combinations that would make dream teams and all-star line-ups, but these would be mine.
Honorable mentions – Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and the Crash Test Dummies.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To someone who is just getting into playing in a band, I would say this: stay true to yourself, be authentic and original. There are too many people out there trying to be someone else, trying to fit into a mold that doesn't suit them. Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled, in everything you do. Your music may not be for the masses, but for the few who truly get it, it could be exactly what they need to hear.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Listen up, kid. I know things might seem tough right now, but trust me, it's all going to work out in the end. You're going to make it through the tough times, the rejections, and the heartbreaks. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you're going to come out on the other side stronger and more resilient than ever before.
Fear nothing. The things today, that seem insurmountable, and like the end of the world - are things you will one day look back and laugh about. So keep on keeping on. And don't sweat the small stuff.
And above all else, never stop loving and never stop living. Life is too short to waste a single moment being anything less than truly alive. Love, your future self.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Picking your favourite of your own songs, is like choosing your favourite baby. Overused phrase perhaps, but true nonetheless. The first song on the album, Still got Shoes, carries the most universal value – in that it's a song for everyone, no matter what they’re going through in life. ‘The Pirate Way,’ is also special because of how it inspires leaps of faith, being the captain of your own ship. They say every song has a bit of the artist in them, and this would be the case with both thesesongs.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
The song that gets requested the most, uncannily is one of our slower songs on the album, called “Nobody’s Heroes.” The song is a tribute to the people who have passed, but who are a big reason we are where we are, and the people we are today. It does, however, have a rocky and euphoric reprise at the end, a fitting tribute to the heroes in our lives. I think the song “Mr Suicide Man” is another song that surprised me, in that it was adored by a multitude of people, from different backgrounds, ages and different walks of life. It tells the story of a conversation between a man on his way to a bar, and a man about to take his own life. It’s a poignant and melodic piano-rock ballad that has already touched many lives.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
The creative process and stories and mostly drawn from my own life, travels and experiences of rare, weird and colorful people. I then try and find a tune to fit the music, using my limited and quite terrible guitar skills. That's where Steven enters, the engine and workhorse of the band, and the man with the skills and talent to bring a song together. We discuss this over beers, and burgers, and sometimes don’t discuss the music at all. But when it eventually comes together, it's pretty great.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Messages that inspire, messages of hope and those of a life beyond pain. There are songs for every mood, and every season – but the core message across the music is the same. Courage, leaps of faith and a strong knowing that life can, and will get better.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We mostly have more beer than disagreements, and this has kept us from having disagreements at all. We’re more friends than we are musicians, or an act – and we see ourselves that way too. There is a healthy humility for others specialities, and a respect for each other's accomplishments beyond the music.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have only just launched our debut album 2 months ago, but we are currently working on an EP that will release later this year. But who knows, with ideas becoming words, words becoming verses, and verses turning into songs - perhaps our EP will eventually morph into an album too.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our fans can reach out most easily via Instagram @thosebadknights, or our Bandcamp page badknights.bandcamp.com– which would have links to our emails, and to most of our socials. Our upcoming music and tours are also regularly updated on most social media.