Fresh from playing a victory set upstairs in Leaf on Bold Street, we caught up with the latest Merseyrail Sound Station prize winner: Paul Walker aka KINGFAST. Having wowed crowds at Liverpool Central station just hours before, KingFast stands before a year of industry mentoring, free Merseyrail travel and festival slots – to name just a few bells and whistles!
KingFast is on the cusp of beginning his 12-month period of mentoring and management from industry figures, as he looks closely at his established discography, securing bigger festival slots, as well as working on developing his own live show and experience. We thought it only fitting to find out what we might come to expect from this year’s competition winner, and what to look out for.
What are you hoping to achieve over the 12 months of mentorship and assistance from the music industry experts/advisors that accompany winning the MSS prize? Is there anything that you are looking to focus on specifically within that?
KingFast: Well, I’m hoping to take advice and see what the best next steps are for me. I’m hoping to get something really solid recorded though and become more established in the local scene – as well as beyond! I’m hoping to learn more about social media, and what sort of posts I should be doing. Hopefully I can hit more major festivals next year too.
Can you tell me a bit about your musical journey up to now? Does ‘KingFast’ mark something of a new chapter for yourself as a musician, or not?
I guess since a very young age I’ve been playing music to some extent. I only properly started gigging as an ‘artist’ however, in 2012 when I moved to Liverpool. I only recently changed my name to KingFast about a year ago, mostly because the name Paul Walker is extremely unsearchable and hard to stand out with, as you can imagine. But I wanted my artist name to be of some relevance to me, so I mashed up my heritage; I’m born in Kingston, Jamaica and grew up in Belfast where my family are from. In some regards KingFast is a new chapter though, as I’m focusing more on professionalism in all areas of my music.
What is important to you when composing your music?
Absolutely everything is important in composing music. Lyrically I like to do some songs more of a social commentary of things I’ve observed in the world but also some songs based on personal experiences. I think melody has to be the most important aspect of a song and I do feel my melodies are getting stronger and stronger so hopefully they can continue to grow.
What can we expect from you over the next few months, in terms of live performances?
As things stand I play guitar, keys and [use a] loop pedal, which creates quite a full sound. However I am toying with the possibility of getting a band together and see how that may lift my sound even further. I will just see how things go and hopefully on the horizon exciting things will come in terms of my live set.
Dream World [KingFast’s debut EP] is pretty funky. Are you pleased with how it turned out? Can you tell our readers a bit more about the recording process, and anything else that influenced the sounds that we’re hearing on the record?
It is kind of funky, I suppose that would be my playing style! I am happy but at the same time I’m not fully in love with the EP. I think I rushed into it and didn’t have a proper producer so next time I’m definitely going to have the cleanest and most structured sounding songs. I was encouraged to go strictly guitar and vocals on this record but next time I think there’ll be much more instrumentation. I guess with that first record I was keeping the vibe similar to what I create live – but I definitely want to create something even fuller in the studio, so watch out for what’s coming next!
What do you spend time doing outside of ‘KingFast’ and music?
At the moment I’m still working a 9-5 job in a law firm. Outside that I’ve recently joined an 11-a-side football team; I’m not the best asset but I’m enthusiastic! I enjoy a good TV box set, book or a film. I probably like too many to list though.
If there were one thing you could achieve over the next 12 months, what would it be?
I think my main aim has to be to build a greater fan base so I can put on shows of my own with more ease. So hopefully my exposure will increase and I will become more of a household name.
What would you say to anyone thinking of getting involved with the MSS this year?
It is definitely worth having a try! Make sure you have good melodies and be ready for your live video as it’ll most likely be acoustic or stripped back. The song is obviously the most important thing, and if a stripped back version of your song still sounds really good to you, you’ve got nothing to lose.