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John Mitchell (KINO) über Label-Wünsche, Reunions und Musicals

14 März 2018 No Comment

Foto: Will Ireland

Manchmal brauchen Dinge ihre Zeit und dann gibt es den perfekten Moment, auf den man lange gewartet hat. Oder auch nicht und die besagten Dinge passieren einfach überraschend. So wie bei KINO. Vor über einem Jahrzehnt veröffentlichte die britische Prog-Supergroup mit dem simplen Namen ein hochsympathisches Album, mit dem sie Fans und Kritiker begeisterte. „Pictures“ sollte ein Debüt sein, mit dem sich viele identifizieren konnten. Auf dem Werk findet sich Pop-Prog mit tollen Hooklines und starken Instrumentalisten in einer rundum gelungenen Aufmachung. Doch so intensiv das Werk, so kurzweilig sollte die Formation sein. Bis nun eher zufällig ein Nachfolger entstand.


Kopf von KINO ist seit jeher der umtriebige Prog-Produzent-Sänger-Gitarrist John Mitchell. Als Saitenmann bei ARENA bekannt geworden, hat er auch seine Finger in starken Bands wie FROST*, IT BITES oder LONELY ROBOT aktiv. Mitchell ist ein unauffälliger Mitvierziger, der aber auf der kreativen Ebene nur so sprudelt. Musik ist sein Leben und wenn er nicht selbst komponiert oder tourt, produziert er Heavy-Alben von u.a. ENTER SHIKARI, YOU ME AT SIX, LOWER THAN ATLANTIS, ARCHITECTS oder THE BLACKOUT.

Nun also wieder die „alten“ KINO. Dass das Experiment geglückt ist, durften wir bereits hören. Unsere Review findet ihr HIER! Sehr modern und doch typisch KINO/Mitchell ist die neue Platte „Radio Voltaire“ geworden. Wir hatten die Chance, dem Mastermind Mitchell ein paar Fragen zu senden, die er uns (etwas knapp und klar) beantwortet hat.

Um Aussagen nicht zu verfälschen, haben wir das Interview in Englisch belassen und auch nicht die gesetzten Smileys gelöscht, die John Mitchell nach manchen Sätzen benutzt hat.

triggerfish: Thirteen Years since the one and so far only release of the project KINO. What took you so long and why now a new reunion?

John Mitchell: Having spent the last 10 years in the studio producing and bringing to fruition other people’s musical endeavours, AND having spent the last several years writing and recording my own music with Lonely Robot, I found I was on a bit of a roll with my writing. When I finished ‚The Big Dream‘, I wanted to continue on my writing streak however Inside Out (my record label) thought it was too soon to bring out another Lonely Robot album, and so we both agreed that a new KINO album would be an exciting channel for my creative energy.
Who was the driving force behind the new creative working? Was Pete initially interested or did you have to use all your persuasiveness?

Pete and I have always spoken about doing another Kino record over the last 13 years, so no, no persuasiveness was required. Any reluctance was probably on my part 🙂

John Beck is luckily also involved. His contributions on the keys really make the unique KINO-Sound. I read that he wasn´t involved in the songwriting that much and on the bandpics he is missing. Can you tell me why?

John wasn’t in the band pics because at the time we were required to do them, he was on tour with Fish. John leans more towards arranging than writing although on the first album, he contributed ‚Swimming In Women‘. 

Chris Maitland did a wonderful job on „Pictures“. Now the omnipresent Craig Blundell is on the drums. You guys are known to be „Super-Buddies“ in the epic and not so deadly serious FROST* – which I think everyone adores in the scene – and now he is in KINO.
First, how awesome is it to have such a champions-league-drummer in your friendslist and second: Was he your first choice?

Yes he was my first choice. Craig and I have known each other a long time now and it was me that was instrumental in getting him the job with Steven Wilson because there aren’t many people I know that can do what he does. Chris decided he couldn’t commit to Kino before we even released ‚Picture‘ as he had been offered a tour with the musical ‚We Will Rock You‘ which I understood but was equally disappointed by. To me it was a no-brainer.

Please tell me something about the songwriting process. Are the new songs maybe „leftovers“ from the first record or did you compose everything new from the scratch?

I never use leftovers. If they weren’t good enough for ‚Picture‘, they weren’t good enough for this. Everything I wrote was written from scratch, although the songs that Pete contributed, he already had. I only have one rule when I write a song which is I always always write to a title. If I don’t have a title and idea in place, I won’t even go near an instrument.

I can hear some german voices on „Radio Voltaire“. What is the idea behind this? Is it to please the german audience, which I assume is an important market for prog?

You’re referring to the introduction of the song ‚The Dead Club‘. I just liked the way it sounded in German, and in my mind, the song is about a fictional bohemian night club in Berlin in the 1920’s where all the dead rock stars end up! 🙂

Are there plans to play some shows with KINO in europe? Which may be complicated with you guys being all so busy… I read a little comment of you on your site writing that you don´t want to tour and lose money. Is this the sad truth that touring just doesn´t makes sense? 

It seems unlikely that we will go on tour as you quite rightly pointed out, everyone is so busy. That plus the fact that I find the whole process quite stressful.

„I Won’t Break So Easily Any More“ has a very strong message. There is this defiant determination in the lyrics. Is this a very personal message to the world and autobiographical in any way?

Yes, it’s entirely autobiographical. I’m quite an overly sensitive chap and over the years I have had to grow a much thicker skin. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

I recognize a lot of great melodies on the record. Is a good melody important for you – even more important than rhythm? I often think about classic musical-style, when I listen to your work. Is this a compliment? 

Yes it is a great compliment. Melody and emotional connection is everything to me. I have absolutely no interest in clever arrangement or technical ability if the emotions and lyrics and melody don’t resonate with me. That is where 90% of ‚Prog‘ music falls flat on it’s face in my opinion.

You are quiet some time now in the music business with having a long list of records that you have made. Does creative routine come with age and experience or is songwriting harder because of a lack of unused and new ideas?  

I went about 4 years without writing anything whatsoever after the It Bites album ‚Map Of The Past‘. Now you can’t stop me. I would say the opposite is true, I feel like I’m making up for lost time.

Thank you so much for taking time!


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