Adam Ficek Interview
Posted by Guest Writer on Mon, 15 Nov 2010.
Adam Ficek created Roses Kings Castles as an outlet for his own musical ideas whilst still with The Babyshambles, and since their first tour in 2009, "RKC" have been building up a loyal following.
Grace: Okay so how did you come up with the name Roses Kings Castles?
Adam: I didn’t! Are you going to show this at College?
Adam: I just thought of those 3 words. Erm I just kinda summed up the music I was making at the time. it was really suppose to be a band name. And then did a Myspace and they picked up on it and its kinda stuck with that name. I'm not really a huge fan of it to be honest. I'm gonna abbreviate it to RKC next year...
Grace: But then it sounds like KFC!
Adam: I'm trying to get an endorsement going. That's what I'm going for, endorsement
Grace: Oh okay
Adam: Imagine that though, it would do really well if I could get like on the KFC commercials
Grace: But you probably wouldn’t.
Adam: What are you trying to say!
Grace: The artwork for your cds is brilliant, did you do it or have any input into it?
Adam: Yea I did it all, everything
Adam: Yeah, straight up, everything with my own fair hands. I draw everything myself I even pressed the records myself! Like tonight, it's just me on stage, but it looks like other people but its actually all me. Me, its all about me! Alright, no I didn’t, first album was done by a girl called Georgia who’s from Italy. I suggested to her what a wanted. I wanted something simple that really anyone could draw, I think sometimes an artist has to really listen to the music and try and work out what would go visually as a representation of that music. She did it really well I thought. So yeah she done that and it works really, and the next album I wanted an evolution of that like the music, the music was kind of evolved from the first album, so a friend of mine Sarah did it. Because there’s not much budget, it’s just finding artists that you trust who can do a good job really. I try and give initial ideas and we bounce ideas backwards and forwards and generally they get it. It’s about meeting artists that have great visual skills.
Grace: I like the artwork, it’s good. How does being in Roses kings castles vary from being in bands like Babyshambles and White Sport?
Adam: It’s a lot easier I think! Although it’s difficult, your ego has to take a backseat. You know you get used to playing big venues. You turn up to the venue, you just turn up and then drum and I was just ready to go on stage, whereas here it’s getting all the gear here, it’s kind of back to grass roots really doing it all yourself. It’s a lot harder. It’s more fun because your going back to basics. I really miss that being in Babyshambles. I mean doing arenas was good but I did miss sometimes playing smaller venues. So, it’s different. I mean financially it’s a lot harder. Some of these shows don’t even break even, by the time we’ve spent money on hotels and travel, we don’t actually earn any money. It’s nothing compared to what we used to earn in Babyshambles. But it’s good. It has its kind of positives and negatives really. I have to organise everything, things like the music, make sure everyone’s playing the right parts, make sure the gear gets here, but yeah Babyshambles was easier just go on stage whack the drums then go of stage and drink! But it's fun, I have more say in this, I kind of get to be a bit of a meglomaniac, a dictator, get the way I want. Which is good, I like being a dictator.
Grace: Do you prefer Djing or doing gigs with Roses Kings Castles?
Adam: If I haven’t done much Djing then I really miss it, I really miss the power of dance music. But I've done too much Djing I miss the intimacy of live performance. The thing about Djing is you can turn up to a club and there’s not many people in you still get a really good vibe cause you have a whole pallet of sounds from electro, to pop music, to indie music, to punk so you’ve got a whole pallet to choose to entertain a crowd but if you’re doing your songs, that you know 12 songs your kind of stuck with that really. So it’s different, it’s a different kind of thing. But I enjoy both. I can’t see a time when I won’t be doing both to be honest. At the moment the precedent is set on the live stuff, but I think early next year I’ll calm it down a bit and do a bit of the Djing and then make another album for late next year again. But yeah I’ll always be swinging the pendulum I think so I’ll have a happy medium.
Grace: So yes, I don’t want to ask too much about Babyshambles but how were they with your Roses Kings Castles work?
Adam: Still am, what you talking about?!
Grace: You’re not though are you!
Adam: How were they? They didn’t mention it, think maybe in hindsight maybe one of the band members... it’s kind of a bit tricky, it’s all about legal... I was out of the band basically because one of the band members made moves to get me out of the band. And maybe that solo stuff upset one of the band members. I don’t know. But that wouldn’t stop me doing it. You know, everyone does solo stuff. So I don’t know if that's the case but you know in hindsight maybe I should have not tried to write music and do my own thing but I don’t know, whatever. In an ideal world that wouldn’t have happened but it did, so, I don’t even know what I'm talking about now! Next question!!
Grace: Well my next question was what was your reason for leaving Babyshambles?
Adam: I didn’t leave Babyshambles. Can't really go much into the reason but I wouldn’t ever leave something that I care so dearly about and that I put so much of myself and energy into. I’d be a fool to leave that environment. I can’t explain anymore but I didn’t leave.
Grace: Between your albums ‘Suburban Timebombs’ and ‘Roses Kings Castles’ which was your favourite to make?
Adam: I hate them both now, I want to move on to something else. Fun to make? The first album was really relaxed and I didn’t know it was going to be an album, so I just made a few songs with a friend of mine in Norwich in his bedroom basically and some of them were done at my place but they’re generally just a collection of songs that we knocked up and it was never going to be an album until Parlaphone, EMI picked it up to then release it, because they own all of what I do, so I had to take it to the A&R and I just thought they were going to go oh yeah it nice brilliant see you later. But he said, “oh, I've just listened to the whole thing 3 times and we want to release it”. So it was like wow, gave me confidence in it and then subsequently they got taken over by Terra Firma. So that was quite fun to make, I was quite naive, I didn’t know it was going anywhere. It was just a bunch of demos. I don’t really consider myself a song writer now really, I just knock ideas up and down. Some times it’s quite daunting being on tour heading the front of a band and writing the songs it’s like woah, I’m just like a drummer in a band who Dj’s a bit. I mean suburban timebombs I actually took it a bit more seriously but it was still written as a side project. I was still in the band when I finished that album. I mean everyone keeps going on about how they can see what frame of mind I was in at that time with the whole Babyshambles collapse but it was actually finished before I was out of Babyshambles. That album was finished in august 2009, I delivered that to the label, so it’s kind of difficult for me because that was written as a side project album and now it’s become sort of a touring vehicle for the whole Roses Kings Castles and its now the main thing, so it’s difficult. Because in hindsight I would have probably worked a lot more on those two albums and the ep, and shape it in to a 10 track album, made a really strong album, if I’d of known this was going to be my main thing. But I'm glad I've done it all. But I think there’s a lot more to come, I think my 3rd albums going to go really weird. I'm considering it as my first proper RKC album. Just because it’s got two letters of KFC in it doesn’t mean its the same! There’s actually a football team in The Netherlands called RKC. But yeah I think RKC’s a happy compromise. Oh excuse me I've just had a kebab, oh no I haven’t I've had fish. It’s more guitar based the next album. It’s really hard to tour as a six piece. It’s amazing and the music’s really good but its really hard to tour with that many people. Think it’s best as a three piece or 4 piece. I’ll probably play electric guitar aswell instead of acoustic. It just needs to evolve and get a bit tougher. I've actually not answered your question! Ask me another question.
Grace: What inspired you to write some of the songs on the two albums?
Adam: I don’t know really. I don’t really sit down and think about things that have happened and write about them, I just pick up the guitar, write the song, and it’s only later what I realise what its about to be honest. I don’t really try and have any premeditated idea. So it’s like after it’s finished I realise what it’s about.
Grace: Who would you say has influence you from an early age to go into the music industry?
Adam: Tayo Ogidan
Adam: Tayo Ogidan, he’s been a hero of mine, he's an African man. It’s kind of like African spoken word poet. I'm influenced by a lot of British melodic pop really and British Indie music. This is where if you’re really cool you could name some really obscure cool bands and I could give you that list of cool bands, but I don’t think it’s really cool to be cool. I love classic bands, like The Beatles, I love a lot of Brit Pop. I'm a huge fan of melodic, kind of obscure bands, erm the Wooden Tops, Orange Juice, Belle and Sebastian, Blur... anything that begins with a B really. And I'm really into Syd Barrett
Grace: That's really weird I got a Syd Barrett cd today...
Adam: Oh really what one did you get?
Grace: I don’t know my guitar teacher gave it me because he played me a song and I liked it
Adam: I did a cover ages ago
At this point Adam plays his guitar and does a cover of love song by Syd Barret.
Adam: Yeah he released two albums
Grace: Well I've got one of them...
Adam: What was the song called that you liked?
Grace: I don’t know?
Adam: Ah, did it go... Again Adam breaks into Baby Lemonade by Syd Barrett song...was it that?
Adam: Was it...Adam breaks into another song...
Adam: Was it Terrapin, how does Terrapin go?
Adam: oh well let me know what it is, I’ll tell you if it’s worth listening to.
Grace: Finally what would your advice be to anyone who’s are age who wants to be in a band?
Adam: How old are you?
Adam: I dunno really... you’ve gotta love it you know, you’ve got to have a passion for it. I see a lot of bands in London that just ponce about but I got into it because I got a passion for it. I used to sit and chance bands in the NME . It used to be a lot harder in them days because you didn’t have the media opportunity you have now. If you haven’t got that really really deep buzz for it and hunger for it, as soon as you get to the first hurdle you’ll fall. You might as well become a plumber! Its either you or its not and if its not in you it’s going to be a tough old slog because its a tough industry until you make it big, and even when you do make it big it’s not for very long so you’re back to square one. So if you don’t really love it make the decision now and just do it on a part time basis. The moneys drying up, you’ve just got to do it because it’s who you are, not for the money. Looks, very important in a band. Just get a local following of fans, or pull a media stunt, set yourself on fire or something! Or get a Robert.