New City Kings = two brothers, Mark and Ben Konstantinovic (who spoke to us before they play the Replay With Rob Da Bank stage at Bestival on Sunday) and rhythm section Charlie Roberts and Ben Nyari. Hailing from the green and pleasant pastures of Essex, these four boys have got a touch of The Gaslight Anthem about them (if the Gaslight Anthem grew up in England, rather than the US of A). They released the live acoustic track ‘Swords and Cannonballs’ earlier in April 2013 and have had a packed summer of touring. Here’s what the brothers Konstantinovic had to say.
Hi there, one half of New City Kings. Considering the fact that you put out ‘Swords and Canonballs’ as a live acoustic track, do you feel that people should experience New City Kings in a live set up first and foremost?
Mark: Definitely - we’ve just started out so I think acoustic is the first port of call, we usually write and work with songs like this before we develop them - Sometimes its interesting to watch the progression of a track from acoustic to a full production.
Why did you start making music together?
Ben: We had all been playing in other bands for years, but when we started rehearsing together, it seemed to gel and really work. We could actually see some potential in the music.
Does having two brothers in the band create a different dynamic from the usual ‘four mates’ set up?
Mark: I’d say so - there’s always alot of tension, drama, emotion, and unbeatable teamwork when you have the same blood in a band. Id say it brings out a deeper form of creativity, and a more intense form of pressure.
Ben: one of the hardest things about being in a band is finding a group of people that you can get on with 24/7 and trust, so if one of them is your brother it makes things a bit easier!
It looks like you’ve had a busy summer of touring, what’s your secret to surviving and still having fun on the road?
Mark: Charlie Roberts, our bass player doubles up as our full time stand up comic. You can’t hate anyone when he’s around
Who’s the biggest prank-player in New City Kings and why?
Mark: Once an egg got smashed on someones head. The retaliation is not for this interview, and since then pranks have really slowed…
Ben: Definitely me… but I can’t tell you what they are as the others haven’t worked it out yet.
What’s been your favourite show so far?
Mark: Probably when we had the chance to do a hometown show at an old club called Hooga. It was a crazy show! Im sure it wont take the top spot for long, the London shows get better and better each time we play there.
Ben: Our hometown show in Chelmsford, it went off that night, it was crazy, the reception and noise was amazing!
Do any of you have really memorable gig-going memories?
Mark: I once saw Santana in Reno, but the highlight was an insanely good support called Robert Randolph - I love it when you get blown away by a brand new band you’ve never seen or heard of before.
Ben: Definitely when every single member from Robert Randolph and the family band, got up up and did a rotor of everyone playing each others instruments one by one, that was impressive!
Your biggest disaster you have ever had at a festival?
Mark: Having our monitors go down and playing blind for the whole set. Still had a great show though, good to have a challenge now and again!
Ben: Walking on to the mainstage at Brownstock and playing the first chord to start off our show as a torrential downpour came along and shut down the stage and put an instant end to our set, and footpedals.
Finally, Why should people come to watch New City Kings at Bestival?
Mark: Because we’re new, lap-tapping, dual drum soloing, gang vocaling, guitar playing Brits
Ben: Come along and you will see why!