BWW Interviews: Guitarist Kaki King
Groundbreaking guitarist KAKI KING will join acclaimed new-classic string quartet, ETHEL, for a multi-city national tour of their debut collaborative concert "...And Other Stories." On June 24th the tour will make a stop at the New York "River to River Festival" at the Winter Garden downtown.
For the last decade King has amassed an impressive and eclectic catalogue of solo release and she also appeared on albums from Tegan and Sara and the Foo Fighters and contributed to the soundtracks for Into the Wild and August Rush. Rolling Stone Magazine has called Kaki a "genre unto herself" and she certainly remains a "guitarist's guitarist," challenging musical stereotypes while delivering consistently interesting and innovative music. BWW got a chance to chat with Kiki as she prepared for her upcoming tour.
Do you hate when people ask you "what kind of guitarist do you consider yourself?"
I certainly don't fault people for being curious. It is a very hard question to answer, though. I usually list some names of other guitarists that I share a style with and see where that goes.
Did any players influence your style in your formative years as a young player?
Alex de Grassi, Leo Kotke, Nick Drake, Johnny Marr.
How has your playing style evolved over your career?
I think my right hand has gotten a lot better--faster, more fluid, more accurate. So much of what I do now depends on my right hand really being on point. I'd say that's the biggest change. I'll probably spend the next 5 years or so focusing on left hand strength and agility.
You have done some exclusively acoustic records, would you consider doing an exclusively electric record in the future?
I've also done some almost exclusively electric records, but I'm game for anything.
Playing with a band requires a different set of skills than as a solo performer, do you prefer one over the other?
I love the energy and the sheer volume you can create with a band. But as a soloist I like how much versatility I have. I think of those settings as a macro vs. micro scale. When I'm performing solo I feel like I'm under a microscope, which is such a challenge but at the same time has potential for so much reward. I love them both and I'm glad I've gotten to do both.