It’s Karma It’s Cool have released their follow-up to 2020’s “Woke Up In Hollywood,” a fantastic new album called “Homesick For Our Future Destinations.” I spoke with Jim Styring about how this album came together.
1). We discussed this when you released the “She Slept With The Radio On” single…there seems to be an extremely high sense of inspiration on this album. What made this one special for you?
You never really know where it’s going to go, when you first get together to write a new record. We just seemed to all be on the same page, in the same mind; let’s make an actual album that is designed to be listened to in order, as one continuous piece of work. It has a beginning, a middle, and brings you to a definite ending. The way music is listened to today, the art of the long playing record has been lost, songs are just skipped, never played and/or forgotten about. There’s a whole lot of thought goes into the pacing and sequencing of an album, we wanted to tell a story, and have people come along with us for the ride.
2). The title of the album…”Homesick For Our Future Destinations”…seems particularly apt for you, as there has been a sense of whimsy, introspection, and exploration in much of your work, as well as sly takes on the general perception of words…yearning for something imagined and yet to happen, pondering uncertain futures. Was the title a launching pad for the songs, or did it come to you as part of the process of creating them?
The title came to me early in the song writing process, before many of the tracks had been written. It is a play on words, something to think about, not just a throwaway title. I kind of knew from that point on that this album would be a little different to our previous releases, a little more focussed. It’s certainly not a concept album as such, but there are definite themes running throughout the record. It’s about missing the past and where you came from, friends, places etc, but at the same time embracing the future, and knowing that wherever it is we’re heading, we’re all going together.
3). As much as I’m opposed to labels for artists, they do help new listeners get an initial intro. I wouldn’t call your music “power pop” because there’s too much going on, you’re light years ahead of simply utilizing jangle guitars and songs about cars and girls. Calling you a “rock band” is also far too simplistic. How would you describe your overall sound?
To be honest, we’ve never labelled ourselves or talked about our influences too much. Like you say, labels do help new listeners find your music, but once you label yourself, you instantly limit yourself. As songwriters, we can think of nothing more creatively suffocating than having to follow song writing rules just because someone initially thinks you’re this or that. There are elements and sounds from a lot of different places in what we do, but it’s far more important to us that people just enjoy the songs for what they are, without having to put us into categories. I think people can spend far too much time talking about, and arguing about, what band belongs in which category. Good music is good music, regardless of what shelf it sits on in the record store.
4). Some of your songs are relatively linear from start to finish, while others are almost a nod to the structure of progressive rock, with multi-layered instruments, shifting time signatures, and rising / falling intensity. Do you feel that you have been inspired by any progressive rock artists, or are these elements simply parts of your
We knew we didn’t want to just repeat ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’. We’re always finding ways to push ourselves as songwriters, to keep it all interesting for our listeners, and for ourselves. Once I had the album title, it soon became clear that the ideas we were working on wouldn’t fall neatly into the three-minute pop song format, ‘All Branches Break In Time’ being a good example. It has an almost cinematic feel to it, taking you on a journey and through several emotions, before ending on a big uplifting chorus. Once it became apparent that we weren’t just going to write a bunch of short, radio friendly pop songs, we let our imaginations, and the tracks, go where ever they needed.
5). Touring / gigging has resumed, to a degree, but its full return is still tentative. Now that you’ve released this new album, what’s up next for you?
Yes, it’s been frustrating for every musician and band, I guess. We’ve just had to sit it out and write a bunch of new songs, somehow managing to record a new album around the lockdowns. We have a big show coming up in our home city of Lincoln, UK, on December 4th, with three other great Lincoln bands, that’s going to be a fun night. It’ll be the official ‘Homesick For Our Future Destinations’ album launch (even though the album is released on 5th November) but it will also be a celebration of live music, and people being able to once again come out to a show and have a good time together. When you’re unable to do something you love, you soon realise how much you miss it and have taken it for granted. I think we’ll all treasure it a lot more from now on.