King Tuff's Kyle Thomas on growing up and letting his music follow.
King Tuff's Kyle Thomas on growing up and letting his music follow.
Olivia Bee

King Tuff Grows Up

With every release since King Tuff’s debut back in 2006, the poppy garage rocker has become a bigger contributor to the neo-psych scene. It’s all about evolution for the musician, whose real name is Kyle Thomas.

On his latest record, The Other, swirling guitars, trippy organs, and an air of sentimentality have replaced some of the noise.

“I’m not 20 years old anymore,” Thomas says. “A lot of the music I made in the past has been about having fun. And it’s not that I’m a super-serious person, I like to have a good time, but I’ve written emotional and serious songs over the years, so I wanted to explore that zone more.”

Part of that change stems from being true to his instincts. “I released Was Dead in 2007, and it had a lot of fans. I always felt a little pressure to live up to that record and continue to make records in line with that one.” he says. “I was getting older and trying to make this music from when I was younger, and it didn’t make sense. I stopped worrying about that.”

One thing Thomas did with The Other that was comparable to Was Dead was handling the recording duties by himself. “That’s one way this new one is in line with Was Dead, but this time on a much bigger scale.”

The process was a challenge, but one the artist loves. “I was using all new gear and equipment. I’m not an engineer, so I don’t know any ‘right’ way to use these things, but it came together naturally just by listening. I did a lot of that.”

Something else that’s new is the band. Now a five-piece, Thomas says that “since the whole record felt like a new chapter to me, I wanted everything to feel that way. I love the two guys I used to play with, but it was time for something different. There’s a lot of good energy.”

Expect an energetic live show, as usual. “People might think that since there’s not as much loud distorted guitar sound, the show will be mellow, but it isn’t, by any means. I think it’s got more energy in a lot of ways.”

Don’t be surprised to see some bedazzled outfits and bling. He encourages the crowd to get gussied up, too, because it feels good. “Let’s get classy,” he says, “and by that, I mean cosmic-classy-magic-freaky — let’s celebrate!”

King Tuff is scheduled to perform at Valley Bar on Frdiay, May 4. Tickets are $16 to $18.

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