If you don’t know who the Kurt Baker Combo is, you should take the time to look in to the face of Rock & Roll in 2018. This Madrid based band is doing everything unconventionally and making a name for themselves across the ocean. Read our full Q&A with the band’s namesake below.
- Introduce yourself and tell us your role in the band.
Hi there, my name is Kurt of the Kurt Baker Combo. I sing lead vocals and play rhythm guitar in the band, and also I write most of the tunes. We’ve been playing together since 2014, and it’s a lot of fun. In my spare time, I like to read Scandinavian Crime Novels and sample various different types of cheese.
- Let’s talk about “Let’s Go Wild”, the record has been out since May. How has everything been since the release? How is it impacting your summer?
Ya! “Let’s Go Wild!”, we are really proud of this record. It’s definitely the Combo’s best record yet and we’ve been hearing good feedback from friends, fans and even some people that don’t like us. We started touring with the record a month or so before it hit the streets.. we toured in Germany and France, along with our buddies in The Fleshtones. Those gigs were 100% party, and everybody was enjoying.. singing and dancing. Great vibes all around. I think the highlight was playing on a tiny sand dune in the middle of the North Sea, a festival called Rock N Roll Butterfarht. Just from the name of the festival, we knew it was gonna be a good time. We’ve also played all over Spain, promoting the new record. We are based in Spain, so it’s great to play in towns like Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao and my current home of Madrid and go out before the gig to have a couple glasses of wine, some tapas and hang out with our friends. This summer we’re hitting the Spanish Festival Circut, and even getting up to Amsterdam to open up for our Boss, Little Steven Van Zandt. We’ve got a busy summer planned, I hope we have some time to get to the beach and take a dip in the sea.
- Since this is your second record, Did you feel more confident releasing or were you just as nervous about how it would be received?
We definitely went into the studio much more confident than when we recorded our debut studio record “In Orbit”. A lot of that is because we’ve been playing a lot together over the last few years, and we are much more comfortable, more of a solid unit. As far as reception goes, for me it’s important first and foremost to be happy with the record. I wanna be 100% into it, and if people don’t dig it.. that’s fine, but at least for me, it’s a record that i’m proud of. I think “In Orbit” was a cool record, and i’m proud of it, but the band all knew that we had much more to show. So, on “Let’s Go Wild” we really went for it, and gave it our all. There is a good musical mix on this record, but also some experimentation into uncharted waters, which as a songwriter was really exciting when putting those ideas to tape.
- The title “Let’s Go Wild” could be interpreted so many different ways. How do you “go wild”? What do you do to let loose in between shows and making music?
The title is an adaptation of what our drummer Sam screams into the mic before we start our show. He always yells “Let’s Go (expletive) Wild!”, and then we start the first song of the set. Music is a great creative outlet, and playing live is one of my favorite things in the world. I love performing. Sometimes I consider myself more of a performer than an “artist” in that respect. I love bringing people together at a concert to have a good time and enjoy life and the music. We also go pretty wild on stage, we are playing upbeat and fun rock n’ roll music, with the intention to get people moving and to sweat out all their troubles. We even do that too. When we aren’t touring I try to keep it more low key and less wild to balance things out. I really like reading. At home, I listen to a lot of jazz and classical records. Sometimes I go jogging. Actually, by sometimes I mean rarely, but I try to get out the old jogging shoes at least one time every four months. I should probably work on that a bit.
- How did your move to Madrid alter your career path? It seems that that was the turning point for your career?
Moving to Madrid changed my career a lot. I finally had the chance to constantly. which I what I wanted. I moved here to focus on playing, growing as a musician and a performer and learning from other musicians. I’ve been involved in a handful of other projects with some incredible musicians and friends in this country, and i’ve grown and gained a lot more knowledge of what playing rock n’ roll music is all about. Back in the States, I was playing gigs, but it wasn’t as much as I had hoped for. When I finally decided to come to Spain, a place that was always so welcoming and that has always respected rock n’ roll, it really put the wheels in motion for me.
- Are there any major differences that you have noted between the American music industry and the Spanish music industry? If so, how has this affected your sound?
There are many different levels to the music industry, but more or less I think that the difference in Spain is that it’s a smaller country, so it’s a bit more connected in that way. You run into a lot of the same folks while out on the road.. in a way that’s very comforting. There are major labels in Spain and mainstream bands and festivals that i’m sure operate on more or less the same level as in the States, but here there seems to be a close-knit independent rock n’ roll scene that is lacking in the States. A couple factors could be the size of the country, but there are many more rock n’ roll bars than what i’m used to back home in New England. If it’s affected my sound at all, it’s given me the opportunity to really dig into my most obscure musical influences..whether it be in writing tunes, or even picking out 45’s to DJ at a bar and knowing that there are people around that geek out about the same kinda music that I love. Back in the States, I could talk about a band like The Jags with my friends, but here if a song by them comes on at the Wurlitzer Ballroom in Madrid, for example, you’ll see a bunch of people singing along to it. That’s a real nice feeling. Where I was a bit of an outsider for my musical tastes in Portland, ME, here I’ve got a sense of comfort. Hell, there is a small rock n’ roll bar around the corner from my house that always has good music playing. The beers are a bit expensive, but man, sometimes I gotta pinch myself for how lucky I am to be here.
- What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Really looking forward to the upcoming festivals this summer, especially the gig with Little Steven in Amsterdam. We are playing a festival called Motorbeach and one of my favorite bands SLADE is playing. I don’t even think any of the original members are still in the band, but man.. SLADE! I’m psyched. Also, we will be touring on the East Coast come November, which should be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back to the States to tour and see my old friends from back home.
- Any last words for the interview?
I hope you enjoy the new record “Let’s Go Wild!”. If you are a rock n’ roll fan, or like catchy tunes, i’m sure there is something you’ll dig on the record. We tried to combine a lot of elements of our favorite genres in the songs.. Pub Rock, New Wave, Glam, Garage.. all of that stuff. If you wanna come out to an upcoming show, that would be super cool.. say hello and take a beer with the Combo. Have a good time all the time, and try to stay positive even if it seems like the world is burning down into an inferno of flith. At least we’ve still got rock n’ roll music! Peace and Love.