The transaltlantic trio that is KING HOBO will release its new album, "Mauga", on May 31 via Weathermaker Music. The disc was produced by Tobias Strandvik and recorded at his studio in Varberg, Sweden.
KING HOBO consists of Thomas Juneor Andersson (KAMCHATKA) on vocals, guitars and percussion, Per Wiberg (KAMCHATKA, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, CANDLEMASS, ex-OPETH) on vocals, bass, and keys, and Jean-Paul Gaster (CLUTCH) on drums.
The "Mauga" album cover is designed by Wiberg himself. He says: "I wanted to pay homage to all the great labels that inspired the music we play, like Chess, Atlantic, Vee-Jay, Prestige and Blue Note, for example. All these labels had a classy design in their heyday which was immediately recognizable. That's why our image is in tri-tone, and the names of the bandmembers together with the label and stereo logo are mentioned on the front cover. The sci-fi imagery is our little twist."
"Mauga" track listing:
01. Hobo Ride
02. Dragon’s Tail
03. King Blues
04. Good Stuff
06. How Come We’re Blind
07. Listen Here
08. Move To The City
09. Twilight Harvest Pt. I & II
10. New Or-sa-leans *
* Bonus track on the digital release only
The first single from "Mauga" is "Hobo Ride" and will be released April 19 as an instant-gratification track at iTunes and Amazon. That single will be followed by "Listen Here" (May 3), and "Dragon's Tail" (May 17).
Weathermaker Music will release a limited 12-inch LP in a gatefold format which has been autographed by the three musicians on the inner sleeve, and a digital 10-track version that includes the song "New Or-sa-leans" as a bonus.
Gaster on how KING HOBO began: "Per and I met in 2003 when SPIRITUAL BEGGARS and CLUTCH were touring Europe together. Within the first hour of meeting him, he and I had an in-depth conversation about the blues and funk and how the BAD BRAINS were one of the most important bands of all time. Even though we grew up in countries thousands of miles apart, we had an immediate kinship thru our love of the music.
"In the summer 2005, CLUTCH and OPETH were on the 'Sounds Of The Underground' tour. Per was playing with OPETH at the time. After the show, he and I would often hang out enjoying a cold beer and listening to everything from CAPTAIN BEYOND to BLACK UHURU and Miles Davis. On a hot and humid evening somewhere in the Midwest, one of these listening sessions led to us setting up gear in the bus parking lot and holding an open jam in what we called the funk tent. These jams are where the KING HOBO seeds were planted.
"It was at one of the 'Sounds Of The Underground' tour dates that Per played me a new release by a Swedish band called KAMCHATKA. I was blown away by the man playing guitar! He had a soulful voice and played like Stevie Ray Vaughn. This was my introduction to the powerhouse singer and guitarist Thomas Anderson."
Andersson on the sound of KING HOBO: "In a metaphorical way, this is the sound of two continents meeting; Europe, particularly Sweden, and the United States and here particularly the East Coast. When we play, all hell breaks loose. Our music can, at times be intense and loud, and then again almost like a whisper.
"Per and J.P. are my role models, as persons and musicians and it's a huge honor to play with them. We play what we feel and that's the sound of this album. We are three musicians from different parts of the world, friends actually, who are having a musical conversation, as grown-ups do."
Wiberg on the recording of "Mauga": "We recorded this album the same way as the first, live in the rehearsal room. It's quite a liberating process compared to how a lot of albums are recorded these days. We set up our gear in a circle and go full on, no headphones or screens to seal off the amps or drums. We jam all through the day to see what we come up with, arrange it on the spot and record. I really like the fact that it doesn't feel like a regular recording situation with monitors, click tracks and whatnot. It feels a lot more exclusive and kinda like a proper gig actually, plus we don't have to worry what it's gonna sound like live either, 'cause this is live in the raw! The hang-out part and easygoing vibe adds a lot to how we play together as well and none of this would happen if we didn't have a guy we trusted in the studio. Toby Strandvik did a tremendous job this time with the technical side of things as this way of recording might not be an engineer's wet dream, so to speak. The journey is just as much worth as the destination to us and I think we found the HOBO way of capturing the moment."