Kingdoms and Crowns, an alt blues-rock band from Boca Raton is putting out a new album, Leave a Light On, this fall. The band released their first EP Casey last year in May of 2013 and have graduated to recording full length albums, something rare for bands at a local level.
But as frontman Stratis Washburn (yes that's his real name and we got into that in the interview) explained, the band wanted to take full advantage of the time they had in the recording studio with engineer Andre Scheidt and this time an EP wasn't going to cut it.
Veterans of the local music scene in Broward and regulars at places like Dada in Delray, the band plans to showcase their new album with a buttload of local shows to start and then hit the road hard to get their music out there as much as possible.
We talked with Washburn about the new album, his name, the idea of being signed and his passion for photography.
New Times: What can you tell us about your new album, Leave A Light On?
Stratis Washburn: We've been working on it for about 5 months now, it's a full length album. Right now we're looking at 10 songs. We're so excited, it's a dream come true for all of us.
What about the inspirations behind the songs?
I don't want to sound too cliché, but girls. For all of us, just really life and the trials and tribulations of being a rock band. That pretty much sums it up.
Are you planning on showcasing the album with some shows once it's done?
Yeah, absolutely. We have two shows coming up in September. We plan on really hitting our tour book hard and we're really looking right now for a good place to have a record release show and play with some of our favorite bands that have supported us while we've kind of gotten on our feet. So yeah, we definitely plan on doing something big.
Do you prefer being independent and unsigned or do you hope to land a recording deal in the future?
Well, right now the independence is great because we don't really have a deadline (laughs). We thought we were gonna be done a lot sooner than we are right now, so the independence is great.
I've been watching a lot of documentaries on how scary and how troubling it is to actually be with a label. But I don't think it's possible for a band to really do it themselves right now, although that's kind of what we are doing. Ideally, we'd like to have the support that a label gives you with promoting and stuff like that, all their resources. We don't have a lot of contacts and the kind of money to back ourselves as much as we'd like.
So, I think right now we're content with being independent, but there's definitely the goal of wanting to be signed and wanting to have that support for sure.
So is Stratis Washburn your actual name or is that a stage name?
(Laughs) It's my actual name. My first name is Greek which I got from my grandfather and my last name is my dad's. But that's my actual name.
Cause it really sounds like a stage name. Washburn makes me think of Washburn guitars and Stratis sounds like Fender Strat.
That's funny, because I play on a Strat and I own a couple Washburn guitars. And I've had someone say that to me before that it sounds like a stage name. I don't know if I think that's supposed to be cool. I'm not sure how to take that.
I mean maybe your parents knew you'd be really into music.
I hope so, I mean my dad was always kind of musical with us when we were growing up. And I remember my mom singing to me and my brother who's the lead guitar in the band. So I've always been around music. But I just get happy when people know how to pronounce it. (laughs)
What are your ultimate goals for the band?
It's certainly a dream of ours just to be successful and we just really love making music. So I guess the ultimate goal, I think what every band kind of strives for, is playing in front of a lot of people.
The money's not something that we're after, we just really want to play in front of the most people possible and make it our full time job. I think for all of us, if our music can affect people the way that some of our favorite artists have affected us I think that would be a surreal moment for all of us and hopefully one day we can get to that point. We've been going for about 5 years strong now so hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.
What are you passionate about other than music?
I've kind of actually gotten into photography a little bit. I'm trying to put my hand into it. There's a picture on the album cover that I actually took on my iPhone which I thought was pretty cool. I'm always finding these things that the iPhone does that are so amazing.
I was reading an article about professional iPhone photographers, so I kind of try to apply it. So right now I'm kind of getting into photography. I really like playing golf a lot. But music is my main thing. It's the only thing that I can put as much into it as I do. I don't feel that with anything else. But I guess right now a close second would be photography for me.
Kingdoms & Crowns, 10 p.m., September 6, at Swampgrass Willy's, 9910 Alt A1A, Palm Beach Gardens, and 11p.m., September 20, at Dada, 52 North Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach.