There is something momentous to the blend of punk, new wave and glam rock that is Kurt Riley. This is a band that are exploring exciting directions of music, and have a surmountable mystique to them, so us being ever curious here at BG decided to speak with the band and find out all the info you need to know!
What is Kurt Riley all about?
Defiance in the face of insurmountable odds.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
The Rolling Stones, Gary Numan, Chess Records, T.Rex, Vangelis, David Bowie, The Beatles, Roxy Music & Bryan Ferry.
What inspired you to start making music?
Music was – and remains – a many-faceted jewel, shining bright in the darkness. The ability to express that which seems inexpressible; to memorialize life’s celebrations or heartbreaks; to satisfy that incessant need to make one’s mark, ye mighty, on history…music satisfies all of those urges, and so many more. (And what a wonderful way to cultivate a rich and fulfilling sex life! Ha ha.)
Additionally, I was weaned upon tales of the 20th Century’s heroic gods – the noble alien Superman; the righteous, vengeful Batman; the indefatigable Wolverine, his life lost to time…the idea of dual personae – the id and the ego writ large in colour and costume – these fascinated me. That primal, arcane notion that simply by donning a mask, one becomes someone else – or perhaps, reveals who one truly is…it is no wonder that some of the first musicians I became enamoured with were quite akin to those superheroes. For with their Campbellesque arcs, their “superpowers” of songcraft, vocal/instrumental ability, and dramatic appearance, were not Brian Jones, Marc Bolan, and David Bowie the comic book heroes of rock and roll? Donning costumes and combatting demons? In fact, the failure of some musicians to triumph in that regard is as Greek as it gets. It is the ultimate tragedy, to be consumed by that which inspired you. I dance with that spectre daily.
So – I have invented myself. My 1980s action film training montage is over; I’ve spent fifteen years in the wilderness, releasing music unlike any of my contemporaries, donning different personae for each export.
My first album; Brighthead, was produced by Beyoncé and Run The Jewels collaborator BOOTS, and I’m anticipating a cease-and-desist of this unrelenting namedropping at any time now. Ha ha.
My sophomore record, the concept album Kismet, is a sci-fi opera about an alien king who traverses the known universe in search of his missing queen. He travels to Earth in search of her, and ends up saving the whole human race in the process.
For my third release, titled Tabula Rasa, I donned a crimson suit, mirrored sunglasses, a full head of white makeup, and red lipstick. The songs touched upon everything from the socio-political zeitgeist to senescence.
Since then, I’ve decided to release only singles – and this move has been a prudent one, as they’ve garnered more attention than the previous three records combined. In 2018 alone, I released Love Is In My Heart (think Nat King Cole by way of synthesizer), Failure of Imagination (a stomping glam jam retort to critics), and Be Cool (a joyous celebration of being totally uncool – and not giving a damn).
Tell us about the latest / upcoming project?
The first chapter of my musical career – the first panel in my triptych – has just closed. 2019 opens a brand new door, a dark sound composed for a dark future. These new singles, released in a phase I’m calling Chrome Empire, will sound unlike anything I’ve ever recorded before. A journalist recently asked me to sum it up with an example, and the best analogy I can put together is this: imagine listening to Keith Richards and Brian Eno performing in a dusky, smoky bar down the street from Rick Deckard’s apartment.
Chrome Empire will be 21st Century rock and roll.
Is there a particular message you wish to get across through your music?
Sure. All of you who have wondered “why doesn’t music sound like it used to?”; all of those who have left YouTube comments asking “why aren’t there artists like this anymore?” – – there are. And we’ve been waiting for you, too. Hang on tight – here’s where it gets serious.
What are your plans for 2019?
My band and I shall be releasing the first series of Chrome Empire singles, with accompanying music videos, to boot. Additionally, we’ll also be performing extensively, with a new sound and a stellar new visual look. Catch us if you can.
Check out Kurt Riley on Facebook to keep up to date!
If you are yourself or know of some young and deserving musical talent and would like to get an Artist Spotlight feature on Bloggers Gamut, get in touch! Drop an e-mail to