A few weeks ago we went to the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan to meet Kiyoshi Matsuyama, Chris St. Hilaire and Tash Neal, the three members of the great new group The London Souls. They were celebrating the release of their debut album, “The London Souls,” by putting on a concert, which was sold out. We didn’t get to stay for the concert, but we did interview the band and listen to the soundcheck. It was a fun afternoon.
We really enjoyed talking to them and we like their music a lot. They’re very funny and down to earth. They told us the inspiration for their songs comes from personal experiences. Their songs are mostly instrumental, and the instruments are very well played.
We think The London Souls’ music is best for teenagers, because the music is very loud. They’ve been a band for a couple of years, but are getting to be really big now.
We asked them who influenced their sound. Kiyoshi said, “Led Zeppelin, for sure. Old stuff. Sly and the Family Stone, Beatles and James Brown.”
We also wanted to know how long it took them to record their album. Tash said, “We did it in seven days. And we did about two songs a day . . . just go for every song as fast as we could.”
Kiyoshi added, “We recorded it live, too. We had all the microphones on the amps and the drums and we would sing at the same time. So, like it was everything was done at the same time.”
They have been all over the world and two of their favorite places to play have been the Prospect Park bandshell in Brooklyn and on the Great Wall of China.
We asked what makes the band’s music different from everyone else’s.
Kiyoshi said, “Chemistry. Every band is different for whatever, like, personalities are brought. I think we have a unique blend. It’s hard to add some other people involved to it or just find it in other context. It feels different than any other band I’ve played in.”
Finally, we wanted to know what their favorite thing is about being in a band.
Chris said, “I’d say the unpredictability, the interaction. You never really know. When it’s just you, you can kind of predict where you can go. When you’re responding to someone else, bouncing ideas off of them, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Check them out online: myspace.com/thelondonsouls