Creative Review New Music
KAWALA are back and they’re ready to take on the dark, supernatural forces of the underworld at a game of dodgeball in the new video for ‘Pure Desire’, out now
“The idea to shoot a music video featuring us playing an intense game of dodgeball against five monsters first came about in the only place such an idea could come about = after many pints in the pub” Dan Explains. “We wanted to show off the songs meaning of wanting to overcome & achieve something and at the time it seemed the most obvious way to showcase that. Having an incredible team on board to make it a reality including the unreal prosthetic artist Charity Kase (https://www.instagram.com/charitykase) really made this video an absolute pleasure to make.”
The video is for the A-Side of the band’s first vinyl 7” single, ‘Pure Desire’/‘Loosen Up’, which is a beautiful distillation of the two sides of KAWALA’s song writing. ‘Pure Desire’ is a driving, upbeat piece of soulful pop, showcasing the band’s intricate guitar lines and trademark harmonies. ‘Loosen Up’ on the other hand finds the band slowing things down to create a languid mix of acoustic guitars and delicate percussion, before building to a euphoric crescendo.
“This is the first time we’ve released a 7” single with an A and B side so we were keen for the songs to have a strong link while offering different things sonically.” Daniel Explains “‘Pure Desire’ is essentially about exactly that; the desperation to reach that goal you set out to achieve or a better place you wish to find yourself. We tried to represent that hunger and drive in the constant upbeat pace of the song. Alternatively, ‘Loosen Up’ is meant to represent the tranquil place we see as our end goal.”
The band were also recently been made patrons of the Music Venue Trust. The charities support for grassroots venues is something very close to their heart, with all of them having earned their stripes in the many varied and wonderful small rooms around the UK. In partnership with MVT the band played a 100% live show from London’s Hoxton Hall which was streamed to 2,500 viewers (the equivalent of a sold-out Kentish Town Forum).
The band were joined on the stream by Arlo Parks who spoke with the band about performing in small venues and recited a poem especially written for the occasion. There were also other contributors who joined via VT to express their support for MVT and tell stories of their favourite small venues. They included Everything Everything, The Amazons, Vistas, Dodie, Zak Abel, Rhys Lewis, Bad Sounds, New Hope Club and more…
‘Pure Desire’/‘Loosen Up’ follows ‘Ticket to Ride’, released earlier this year, which was championed by the likes of Annie Mac and Jack Saunders at Radio 1 and has recently been included on the soundtrack to EA’s blockbuster FIFA 21 game.
Centered around the core duo of singer Jim Higson and guitarist/singer Daniel McCarthy, KAWALA aren’t your typical band. Their lush sound is cushioned with the pair’s gorgeous harmonies, driven by Daniel’s unique finger-style acoustic guitar playing, and inflected with sounds from genres far beyond the one they inhabit. As their sound developed the pair decided to invite some friends to join them and eventually added Ben Batten on drums, Dan Lee on guitar and Reeve Coulson on Bass.
Though the band’s 2020 tour plans had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, that didn’t stop the band from spreading a tiny bit of live music joy this year. In July they went on the road for a special, socially distanced outdoor tour (the first band to do so), playing free acoustic sets in parks around the country to a controlled number of their fans, organised via Whatsapp. In 2021 the band will be taking their full, high energy live show on the road proper as they play the rescheduled shows of their 2020 tour, concluding with their biggest London shows to date at the Kentish Town Forum.
Rescheduled 2021 tour dates
12 May – Cyprus Ave – Cork
13 May – The Academy – Dublin
15 May – Arts Club – Liverpool
16 May – The Globe – Cardiff
18 May – The Bullingdon – Oxford
19 May – Gorilla – Manchester
20 May – O2 Institute 2 – Birmingham
23 May – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow
25 May – St Doms Social Club – Newcastle
26 May – Thekla – Bristol
27 May – Kentish Town Forum – London