As Kwabs drops the video for “Perfect Ruin”, we take a look back at our Rollacoaster interview with the main man.
In celebration of the release date of his long awaited debut album, Love and War, Kwabs has released a new version of his “Perfect Ruin” with a video to boot.With the twelve track album charted for release 18 May through Atlantic, the video follows Kwabs walking through a blizzard, the scenery and the vocals both as beautiful as one another. Watch the video here:
Taken from the Summer 2014 issue of Rollacoaster Magazine:
You might say London-based singer Kwabs is a man who likes to play with contrasts. Bursting onto the scene late last year off the back of “Last Stand,” a track written with the furiously respected Austrian producer SOHN, it pitched his soaring vocals against harsh electronic elements, creating something refreshingly unexpected and undeniably stunning.
“That’s kind of my M.O. ,” he explains to me over the phone from Manchester. “I love soul and gospel, but for me it was always about singers growing up, real singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha. Since then I’ve picked things up along the way, from bits of classical and electronic music to African beats – anything that pricked my ears and caught my attention. I see no harm in exploring all of those things. I want to put my voice in a context where it might be less often heard, and for me that’s the benefit of jarring or unusual production. It makes things really interesting, and that’s why I’ve worked with some of the people I have.”
There’s barely been a time when Kwabs hasn’t sung, and with a voice like his – a booming baritone, able to convey profound sadness as well as the hazier subtleties of emotion – you can understand why. He started singing in school assemblies (“I was the loudest and most confident, but maybe not the best singer” he admits), but it was subsequent encouragement from teachers that persuaded him it was something he should take more seriously – a dream he pursued to its natural academic conclusion, studying Jazz at the Royal College of Music.
One critic has described his voice as “a harbinger of sorrow; the bearer of bad news.” Thankfully, he took it well: “That’s intense,” he quips. “But I can live with it. I hope it’s emotive in more than one way though, and that it can evoke sadness but also great joy and hope. I think things that are distinctive are always going to split opinion, and bring discussions and extreme descriptions. I’m cool with that.”
Interview by Maya Hambro.