Kings of Spade is going to be slamming jams on the stage again at Stella Blues this Friday, so MauiTime spent a little time getting cozy with Kasi Nunes the band’s lead vocalist. KOS is about to embark on their next cross country tour in March after a prolific 2012 where they opened for 90’s icon Everclear and joined the Autumn Lights Festival in Los Angeles and captured fans in Arizona, Austin, Boston, Vermont, and New York. Tickets are on sale at Stella Blues.
1. Who is KOS? Where did you meet?
I (Kasi, vocals) was bartending at Anna Bananna’s Pub and jokingly got asked to come up and sing a song with the house band. As it happened we all knew “Sweet Child of Mine” by GnR and launched into it. In the middle of the song some sort of chord got struck in me and I became overcome with a feeling of “hey, this is what you’re meant to do!” It was never a dream or anything I pursued in the past. It was just fun as hell. When I sing, I mean it… it feels like getting possessed. Jesse (guitar) who wasn’t even old enough to drink would come in and shred Johnny Cash tunes every week. I would always look forward to his open-mic performances so when I decided to start a band he was the first guy I approached. We sort of recruited everyone else out of different bands they were playing with at the time.
2. You have been described as a Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin hybrid. Who would be your dream celebrity guests in attendance?
Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. I was just lucky enough to see her perform in an intimate 30 person performance and later that same evening to a Sold Out big venue. In performance, she exposes herself completely and invites listeners to go on an emotional journey with her. Im a huge fan of performers who throw themselves into their craft 110%. She has soul, blues, and an old-school flavor that I just dig.
3. Describe your fans….
Its more of a friend base thats extremely diverse and ranges from kids to older folks from no particular walk of life. When a crowd shows up to see us I am so grateful and thankful that people take the time out of their day to come and get down to live music with us. Im a huge fan of so many other bands and I love it when I get to chat up one of my favorite artists and become friends with them. I hope to never have a separation between us and the people that come to see us.
4. Funk has been pretty popular on Maui, how does KOS stay true to its unique sound?
We have no idea. We all have different opinions in the band and we fight and argue and break things and stomp on our gear in rehearsal… then all of a sudden a killer song is made that we all love and cant wait to play in front of people.
5. What is something that your fans don’t know about KOS?
Besides being band-mates, we are pretty tight friends too. Also, for me… people see a spiked mohawk and suspenders and assume I’m not from here. I’m Hawaiian, born and raised in Waianae, and graduated from Kamehameha schools.
6. You kicked off your 2012 tour at the Autumn Lights Festival in Los Angeles, with shows booked in Arizona, Austin, Boston, Vermont, and New York. What do you look forward to in Maui?
Geez, where do I start with this one? Everybody, especially on Maui, is so friendly and welcoming and enthusiastic. Its the home of my favorite band, The Freeradicals Projekt. I will fly to Maui just to go to a Freerads show. We get to cruise with Aunty Angela and Uncle Phil Benoit (two of your local Jazz musicians) that are our hanai Maui parents in Makawao. One of my best friends, Summer Star, is there too. She has been supporting our band since its inception on Oahu. We have a tradition that after every Maui show we eat crepes at Cafe Des Amis in Paia the very next morning. We are lucky to have made friends with Maui’s live music scene cultivators and supporters like Scott Johnson, Trish Da Dish, Brendan Smith, David Randall and Mike O’Dwyer. Most recently we got a new super awesome booking agent who lives in Maui but books clubs on the mainland, Tammy Miranda. We also agree the prettiest girls, by far, are on Maui hahhaha. We LOVE how Maui LOVES to dance. I don’t care if the dance floor is empty. Im happy dancing by myself, but in Maui, people always jump in and start cutting it up with me. Its awesome.
7. What inspires KOS’s music?
I write the lyrics and they are almost always autobiographical. I write to share my stories and connect with other people. Musically, it all starts with a riff from Jesse’s head. He writes 99% of the music. If we dig the riff we explore it and decide as a group how it plays out. When all the parts are there I feel like the song tells me what its about.
8. What has been your favorite tour snack?
Jameson for the boys. Throat Coat tea for me.
9. What’s the craziest fan story you have encountered on this tour?
In Austin, a fan asked us if we wanted to go to a house party and we were like “hell yeah!” There was a terribly boring live band playing super slow, depressing, wrist-cutting music. Soon as we got there we knew we had to plot an escape but it wasn’t easy because it was a “quiet” party and you could see what everybody was up to. I saw our drummer, Matt, slowly trying to sneak away so I began to follow his lead. Just before we reached our tour van the host of the party was like, “Hey, where you guys goin?” Without flinching Matt made up a story about how our bass player texted him and that he was drinking in a bar downtown and got the shits and needs to get picked up right away because its an emergency. We couldn’t stop laughing as we burned rubber out of there.
10. We hear you are fans of Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, and Rival Sons. Which of these would you be willing to do a band-off with? In good fun of course.
Im gonna have to go with Black Keys because there is no way in hell I could battle any of the other lead singers. If each band’s fans had a dance off though, we’d smoke em’ all
See Sean Hower’s photo blog post from their last gig at Stella Blues: http://howerphoto.com/blog/pics-kings-of-spade-at-stella-blues-maui-on-41312/
MEMBERS:Kasi Nunes – VocalsJesse Savio – GuitarTimothy Corker – BassMatt Kato – DrumsNatalie Phoenix – DancerVIDEO:Kings of Spade Music Video “Boys In The Band” http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=w3vh2JVucqkKings of Spade covering Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” opening for Bon Jovi http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2NXpxFMEiPY-Jen Russo (@jenrusso) & Marina Satoafaiga (@sandtothecity)( Photo Left to Right: Kasi Nunes, Tim Corker, Jesse Savio, Matt Kato, Natalie Phoenix)