Interviews · music

Music Interviews: A Hearty Conservation With Little King

1. Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?

We are Little King…Ryan Rosoff (me, Guitar and Voice), Manny Tejeda (Bass and some Voice), Eddy Garcia (Drums and no Voice).  Since 1997, I have been the sole writer (music and lyrics) and producer of the last 6+ Little King albums, and this is Eddy’s 4th album on drums and Manny’s 2nd on bass. For the first time in 23 years, I have kept a lineup together for back to back albums…more on that later!

2. Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?

Eddy and I met at a club he co-owned with his brother called The Attic (which changed to Debut Records) in about 1995.  He has always been the drummer and founder of Pissing Razors, the legendary Texas Metal band.  He and his brother Danny opened the Attic in the early 90’s in El Paso as a place where local original bands could play for a few people, or sometimes a lot of people.  Little King actually had its first CD release party there in 1997, and Ed and I have been friends ever since. But he didn’t start working on LK records until 2003 when we recorded Virus Divine at his studio, Krank Records.  After that, he played drums and engineered on Legacy of Fools (2008), OD1 (2014), Occam’s Foil (2019), and now the upcoming release, which is titled Amuse De Q. 

Manny and I met in Delaware, where until recently I lived for the last 7 years.  Manny is originally from the Dominican Republic but has lived in the States for about 15 years, and we met through mutual friends in the little music scene in Rehoboth Beach.  Just hit it off, probably because we are both a little nuts and more ambitious than the average cover band musician!  So, when we met and I was like, “Yeah, I’ve made a few records and I’m working on another one” in 2017, he jumped on board.  Glad he did…he is the bass player Little King needed.  Great vocalist, too.  And we are very close friends, as are Eddy and I.

3. What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?

Ha! You tell me?  I guess it’s Melodic Progressive Dynamic Rock. Lots of moods, so little time. I have been around the block, and the thing I always try to achieve with Little King records is to touch on a wide variety of genres and feels while still sounding like US.  I think we’ve gotten really good at that, and after just listening to the playback of the raw tracks from Amuse De Q, I think this is next-level.  Very pleased…we just got out of phase 1 in the studio in El Paso, and I think our fans are gonna love it.

When you’ve made as much music as I have through the years, one thing you are conscious of is not to be repetitive. That can be difficult, as I am drawn to certain styles and riffs and progressions.  I even copped one from my first album for the new record (no one will know, because no one gets to even HEAR that first abomination!)  So, through using different musicians, arrangements, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, and purposely trying to change things up, I think Little King remains dynamic and original.  Again, different styles but STILL LITTLE KING!

4. What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?

We are all good friends, and Little King was born from a desire to make music with my friends!  After all this time, the thrill is still fresh for me.  I love the possibilites, the tangible progress, and the realization of a goal.  Having a completed project is something no one can ever take away from you, and if people like and appreciate that, so much the better.  We are all very different people with different skill sets, but without a doubt this lineup compliments each other in an incomparable way.  I think Occam’s Foil from last year showed that, and this new record is an extension of that chemistry and infused with comfort and familiarity. 

5. What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?

I have a degree in Creative Writing and I was an English teacher for a bit, so I put as much care and effort into my lyrics as I do with the music. This is my LEGACY, dammit…the words have to have meaning and be as timeless as possible. It’s important for me to listen back and still be able to relate to what I was thinking and creating at that milepost in my life. It’s even more important to do so when we play live…if I am not in touch with a particular message or sentiment from a past album or song, it will not make the cut, no matter how much fun it might be to play or how much our audience want to hear it.

For every album, there is a through-line.  I won’t go into detail here, but you can read about each of them in our bio at www.littlekingtunes.com.  For the new record, I was inspired by the quarantine and all of it’s gnarly repercussions.  Solitude, domestic abuse, sobriety, the BLM and counter-movements, sickness, the upcoming election, social media wars, and more.  I mean…if you are an artist and can’t find inspiration from current events, go find another hobby!  So Amuse De Q…inspired by and during the quarantine, and the Muse Melpomene (the muse of tragedy and chorus) makes a couple appearances on the new record. She’s been a fickle witch this year, no?

6. Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?

I always cite Rush, Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Floyd, and Talking Heads.  They are always in there and it’s in my DNA.  But I want people to know that I love and take inspiration from some very different sources as well.  Tupac, Peter Tosh, Vivaldi, Mozart, Jerry Garcia, Widespread Panic, Phish, King Sunny Ade, Paul Simon, Sting…they all are in regular rotation right now.  Snoop is always on in my house, too…his reggae album as Snoop Lion is one of my favorite records ever.  Listened to a lot of Allah Las and Tame Impala this year as well.

7. Where can someone looking for your music, find it?

Everywhere online, really…but particularly on our web site.  All of our last 5 albums are available to stream from YouTube and Apple Music, and there are streaming links etc. on our web site.  Only the last couple albums are on Spotify, for some reason, but I’m working on that.  But if you look up Little King, there are a couple others out there, so make sure you cross-check it with our catalog at www.littlekingtunes.com

Some guy in 2018 in Texas decided to call his band Little King.  I mean, really?  I had been making albums in Texas for 21 years prior to that, and he didn’t even bother to check?  Lazy and shitty. So every once in awhile a fan or press person will email me and say, “Hey, is this you?  Doesn’t sound like you!”  And I have to explain that some people lack the creativity to name their band properly.

8. What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?

I barely remember!  We haven’t toured properly in a long time, as I have been busy as a single dad, business owner, and hermit. But I love playing on the road…you get to try and win fans in person every night, and even if you have a mediocre show the night before, you get a clean slate and a chance to win the day.

With so much music out there now in the streamingverse, anyone can make a record and distribute it. I try to keep an open mind, but there’s something about a guy with a computer and a mic making and album and releasing it that just rubs me wrong. I mean…do you have any idea how long it takes me to write and edit and write and edit and perform actual instruments in an actual studio?  And along comes Joe Shit The Doofus with an album that was completely computer-generated?  It probably sounds great, too!  So actually…hmmm…I quit?


But no one can defeat an awesome live performance. It’s the Great Divider…almost anyone can make a song sound decent with Pro Tools, but can you deliver it live? How’s your stage presence…are you entertaining?  Can you be dymanic?  How long can you hold someone’s attention for?  It’s a bit like theater vs. movies. That tense feeling of walking the tightrope in a live setting, for both performer and audience, is palpable. Will they fuck up?  What improv wizardry or douchebaggery do they have in store?  I miss that vibe…and it WILL be back.

9. What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?

Think more deeply, question everything, challenge yourself and expand your vision of what happiness and kindness really means. Do not just take things at face value, and that includes your musical choices.  I don’t know if Little King is every gonna be the soundtrack for a casual listener, and that’s totally okay with me.  But listen closely, find what works for you, and dive in.  You only get one go-round and anything less than full investment into your own life and happiness is a waste of time. And also…rock the fuck on.

10. Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are you future plans for the band?

I’ll be over in 20 minutes for lunch.  Thanks for the hummus!

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