“It’s Like Embracing A Nightmare!” Clash Meets Opus Kink

"It's a cycle… a vicious whirlpool of images and sounds!"

As the social, political and economical state of the world becomes increasingly chaotic, it is no surprise that the sonic landscape would appropriately shift in the same direction and there are perhaps no newcomers more chaotic than the jazz-infused six-piece, Opus Kink

Following the release of their 2022 EP ‘Til The Stream Runs Dry’ they have become widely regarded as one of the UK’s most exciting new bands, dancing on the edge of the extremes, producing a unique jazz-punk blend that is as equally anxiety-inducing as it is sublime. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoBtzbxNXow

Thriving on the spontaneous, the Brighton-based outfit are now gearing up for their new EP ‘My Eyes, Brother!’, released via Nice Swan Records. It is a collection of tracks born out of a hurried desire to avoid stagnation and keep on barreling forward at high speed. For most bands, this self-imposed pressure to maintain a high-pace would create a creativity-culling pressure, however it only seems to be spurring Opus Kink onward. “We’ve become more refined by not trying to refine ourselves as much. We’ve given more stock to the process of getting it down and getting out of there. It’s more fun that way. We had an apparent fire at our backs that wasn’t really there of big things coming and big people watching, wagging a finger at us saying ‘write 100 songs by tomorrow and then go and record them’ so we did it quite quickly, but quick is good!”

This writing approach may be conducive to sonic innovation, yet, from an outside perspective it seems like a frightening environment for a new member to dive into, a situation that was presented to Jack Courtney last year. 

Jack: “I’ve been way more involved with this EP because I joined when the last one was pretty much ready to go.”

Angus: “I think the third time I met you was in the studio!”

Jack: “For this EP, the track we did in the studio was probably the best writing experience I’ve had. There were just six of us in a room and everyone donated what they had for it and it came together really perfectly. Each session we had, we’d get to know each other more and now there’s a real understanding.”  

Jazz: “I think there were a few walkouts in our sessions though… I seem to remember you walking out Jack?”

Jack: “Haha that’s true… but that wasn’t to do with writing!”

Angus: “That was political.”

Jack: “And it wasn’t directed at anyone but myself…” 

Angus: “But that probably points to the fact that we don’t have time to debate things. There’s no time to pat each other’s backs and have a tea about it, either fuck it off or make it happen.”

‘Dust’, the first single from the upcoming EP, has set the tone for the new seven-track collection, offering their trademark hectic sound, bolstered by thick, dance-worthy grooves, assaults of big brass backing and angst-ridden poetic outbursts from vocalist Angus Rogers. However, it is perhaps simultaneously their most gloomy and most uplifting song they have ever produced. The deep, unified vocal chant of “the dust” is both mysterious and menacing while the striking, electronic bell rings, that punctuate the track’s opening and midpoint, add an even more appealingly disconcerting sonic element into the already dense mix before a finalè of maniacal sing-along that emits an audible camaraderie.

Lyrically, the new track’s story is just as abstract and bizarre as its sound as songwriter Angus explains: “The lyrics all came from dreams which is increasingly how I write now… it’s the classic anxiety dreams like teeth falling out, being buried or being trapped in the desert. It’s like embracing a nightmare. I think I’ve tried too hard with the past records we’ve done to sound like something and have each song as this singular work but the necessity of being in the studio and needing to write something on the day has made me write in this way. It’s quicker, less agonizing and often better than sitting down to write your master story”.  

When you produce music with such an otherworldly, expressiontic flair as Opus Kink, there is almost a demand for the lyricism to radiate the same kind of grimy, abstract energy and they certainly achieve this. Although Angus adds that this is more a byproduct of them as artists rather than a prophecy they have to fulfill. “I think it’s just how we came out of the oven. The music begets the lyrics and the other way round, it’s a cycle… a vicious whirlpool of images and sounds”. 

The new EP will be complimented by a run of Spring live shows kicking off at Liverpool Sound City in late April before they head to Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, London and Brighton. Seeing Opus Kink live is a sensory overload and is arguably the only way to truly appreciate the magnitude of their impressive songcraft and the unflinching intensity of both their music and their presence. Ahead of these live shows Angus recounted one of their most memorable live experiences. “We got booked for Boomtown last year and we were secretly ungrateful at first because we’ve got a chip on our shoulder about being a band with a saxophone and a trumpet and people think we’re like ska or steam punk and all that fucking bollocks and Boomtown might have a bit of a reputation for that. We closed the stage and by the end we got taken off. Things were getting unplugged and things started to get a bit violent. There were some pyrotechnics and mushrooms involved too so that was a pretty stock rock ‘n’ roll festival experience! Boomtown is the 9th circle of hell in the best way possible”.

Whatever your musical leanings, being bored at an Opus Kink live show is an impossibility, for better or for worse. So, whether it’s their frenzied concerts that promise high-octane pits of twisted, brass-fuelled euphoria or their sonic thunderstorm of an EP, be prepared to get caught up in some Opus Kink madness this spring.

Opus Kink will release ‘My Eyes, Brother!’ EP on May 19th.

Words: James Booton
Photo Credit: Anya Rose

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