King Prawn Exclusive Track by Track for new album ‘The Fabulous New Sounds Of…’

We talk to Al Rumjen and Roger 'Devil' Hands about their first album in 16 years.

King Prawn Exclusive Track by Track for new album ‘The Fabulous New Sounds Of…’

By Tom Walsh

Apr 18, 2019 14:11

In 2003, King Prawn called time on a ten-year career that saw them create a genre-defying sound and introduce everyone to the word ‘wildstyle’. Now, five years after they reformed for what was meant to be a one-off Boomtown show, they are set to release a new album for the first time in 16 years.

‘The Fabulous New Sounds Of…’ is an album that echoes the issues we face in society and delivered in a way that only King Prawn could. We spoke to vocalist Al Rumjen and guitarist Roger ‘Devil’ Hands to take us through each track.

1. Numeration Dub

“Musically it’s the heaviest song on the album,” Roger explains. It is a song about overcoming fear and and standing up for what you believe in. Al wanted to get those points across by writing a song about workers rights and standing up for your principles. I’m not sure how the title relates to that subject, maybe it’s like counting heads or something I’m not sure.”

2. Seven Seas

“It’s a ska punk banger,” Roger laughs. “It’s for our audience, for the hardcore base and that’s why it needed to go at the beginning of the album. It’s about choosing love over hate. It’s the first time I’ve seen the word ‘love’ in our lyrics.”

3. Build Up The Fire

“Anti-war song. The theme of the lyrics is a couple arguing and the struggles in a relationship but it’s a metaphor for others things, essentially an anti-war song. Musically, I like that it has this tri-vocal effect through the entire song, there’s influences of early reggae and roots in there.”

4. Level Up

“It’s about having a dream and realising it, musically it’s got a lot of influences. There’s a bit of Madness, a bit of Blur, bit of all sorts but like the songs before it still has a ska punk sound going through it.

“I think it’s really catchy and that’s why it was chosen as a single. Although, maybe I’m a bit deluded because I think every song on the album could be a single.

“Had we made ‘Seven Seas’ or ‘Numeration Dub’ the first single it would’ve been too much of what people expect from us but ‘Level Up’ still sounds likes us but a little more accessible to a larger audience.”

5. Done Days

“It’s about living in the present. We released that as a double a side single with ‘Solemn Man’ as a limited edition single when we first came back.

“I don’t think we’d found our feet when we wrote it, we hadn’t quite got back into the rhythm of writing so when we came to do the album we thought we needed to revamp them a bit. It’s much different from the earlier version but I doubt many people heard that anyway.”

6. Modern Cages

“It’s about the trappings of the modern world – religion, drugs, politics, crime and the illusions of freedom, which I think is a poignant theme. Al wrote it entirely, I don’t even play guitar on the recording, it’s an Al song, you can totally tell from start to finish,” Roger explains.

Al adds: “I’d already had the track with Asian Dub Foundation which originally had a bhangra beat in the background but that kind of got lost. It was only the time I’ve sat down at a computer with my guitar and recorded on my own.”


7. Worse For Where

“I came back to the UK last summer to go to a wedding and on the way back I’d completely forgotten about what trains are like on Friday nights,” Al says. “It was pure carnage! People being sick, people fighting, it was just mayhem. It was just the worst thing to be in late at night.

“There was a girl being sick in the luggage rack, she was sitting in there while her mates were completely off their heads. She was just falling asleep and I had to tell them to look after their friend and check she’s still breathing as she had vomited in her sleep. ‘Worse For Where’ is almost an observation of that.

“It’s like the taxi ride home, looking out and seeing the carnage outside. That train ride brought back those memories of being on tour and driving through any UK town on a Friday night you and seeing same thing on the same strip.

“I haven’t lived in the UK for 15 years and you can forget about that kind of thing.”

8. No Harmony

“The chorus was already written by Nil [Nikolai Jones, drums] which I kept because I liked the character involved. It’s kind of like a Machiavellian world where everyone is competing against each and the character in the song wants to escape. The person is in a world where there’s no trust, where everyone is stabbing each other in the back and wants to get one over the other.”, Al says.

9. Jump In The Fire


10. Colonel Panic

“It’s basically how the tabloids are trolls and the hypocrisy in some parts of the media. We talk about trolls as individuals feeling the power of being able to say anything they want anonymously which turns into abuse without any comeback,” Al laments.

“What’s the difference between a troll and The Daily Express or The Daily Mail? They are the original trolls and some parts of the media. It’s about the arrogance and the hypocrisy of that.”

11. A Solemn Man

“It took us another five years to rewrite ‘A Solemn Man’,” Al laughs.

“It’s a stream of thought but was triggered by whistleblowers searching for the truth. It’s giving the thumbs up to people who have the courage to stand up and say the truth even when its a detriment to themselves, that battle with your own conscience.

“Can you imagine the secrets that are all around us? If you had access to all the information, all the zeros and ones floating around, what would you use it for, good or bad? What would the consequences be? Probably not good, if you did it for good the consequences would be bad for you.

“‘A Solemn Man’ is about it not always being easy to do the right thing.”

12. Black Beads

“This was written a couple of years ago at the time the Brexit debate,” Al explains. They [politicians] tried the economic debate, then the anti-immigrant sentiment and that song was done imagining the UK was sinking.

“Imagine the country is disappearing underwater after a disaster and everyone has to leave the UK as refugees. How welcoming would other countries be? The essence of the song is that we should help people and we shouldn’t vilify people who are in need while also not being complacent of war or disasters.

“It could happen in the UK one day. We take a lot of things for granted and if there was an environmental disaster in this country, where would we go?

“‘Black Beads’ as a title is a bit obscure but was inspired when I saw those posters of people fleeing Syria and Iraq. There was a huge line of people covered in mud and dirt and ‘Black Beads’ just says we should look after people who need our help.

“It’s a good way to finish the album…if people get that far.”

‘The Fabulous New Sounds Of…’ is released April 19 on Cherry Red Records.