Quarantine Q&A Vol.1 #5: Little King

Little King was formed in 1996 by guitarist/singer/songwriter Ryan Rosoff in El Paso, Texas. Currently Little King is working on recording a new album, Amuse De Q, which he talks about in this awesome Q&A. Amuse De Q was inspired by Rosoff’s time in quarantine and all of the events surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, which is sure to be relatable to most of us. Lyrical topics include the joy and pain of isolation, a battle with sobriety, the protests across the USA, and so much more.  Stay on the look out for the release! In the meantime, let’s get real with Ryan Rosoff.

MR: Introduce yourself in 6 words or less. 

Ryan Rosoff, Guitarist/Singer Little King or Point Guard for the Seattle Supersonics

MR: During the Covid-19 Quarantine, a lot of people spent time doing things they normally wouldn’t have done…did you pick up any new hobbies or learn any new skills? 

Ryan: I drilled the fitness and nutrition thing. I got in trouble with the law in December of 2019, and while that sucked (and continues to suck), it did prompt me to quit drinking. So I haven’t had alcohol in 9 months, and that allowed me to focus on my physical health, and by extension, my emotional and creative well-being. I subsequently lost 30 pounds and I am back at my high school weight. BEASTING! 

Sobriety…is that a hobby? I am not sure what an alcoholic is. Drink to inebriation? Check. Drink almost every day? Check. Affects your everyday life adversely? Check. Runs in the family? Check. Hmmmm…okay, maybe this isn’t so much fun. So I quit. It was easy. And I have NO DESIRE to drink again. Too much to lose, and the hangovers and my age were absolutely stupid.

MR: What do you miss the most about touring?

Ryan: It’s been a while, even before Quarantine. Because of life, career, kids, and drama, Little King hasn’t really toured for a long while. So when Occam’s Foil came out in early 2020, the buzz was palpable. People actually cared, and that was flattering. So like a good little band, we planned a long spring and summer tour. Festival dates, club shows, radio appearances, and the like. The record charted at #150 on college radio, had over 100,000 spins on Spotify, and the reviews were incredibly gratifying. I mean, I don’t make records for anyone other than myself and my friends/fans, but it doesn’t suck when people who review music for a living hop on board.

When Coachella slammed its doors, all the other festivals followed suit. In truth, we were so ready to go that it was a crushing blow, but instead of wallowing in misery, I went to the Quarantine Lab and wrote a new record. Thus, ‘Amuse De Q’ will be birthed fairly soon. 

MR: Do you have any Post-Quarantine plans? Professional or personal

Ryan: Yes! As I just said, we have a new record in the works, and I couldn’t be more excited. The early work is so good…bass, drums, and about 90% of the guitars were tracked in El Paso at Eddy Garcia’s place, Krank Studios (Ed is the drummer and engineer for Little King.) He has played drums on the last 3 and engineered the last 4, so we have a really intuitive and creative partnership. He’s one of my closest friends, too, so it’s a great excuse to hang out. But now that I don’t drink, um…anyway.

The new record, Amuse De Q, was inspired by the Q, or quarantine. Inspired by, entertained during, horrified by. Also a play on the word “muse,” as the dear and frightful Melpomene makes a couple appearances on the new album. She’s a fickle muse, that one. Lyrics are reflective of some very universal themes that virtually the entire world should be able to relate to – isolation from friends and family and the associated mental fatigue, the COVID fear and (mis-) information associated with the pandemic, domestic abuse (a pandemic in its own right, malheureusement), the BLM movement and the associated world on fire, and the upcoming referendum on sanity and decency in November. If you’re an artist in 2020 and haven’t been inspired to create something special, time to get a new avocation.

I hope to have the album mixed and mastered by January and ready for a late Winter or early Spring release. We are praying for a vaccine, better remedies, and some sanity to bring back the touring industry. So many of my friends and colleagues are suffering irreparable damage during the pandemic, and we NEED to see a stage soon. I am gonna have a HUGE setlist to pare down, too. 

MR: Whats one personal item you absolutely can not tour without?

Ryan: Earplugs! My career is 23+ years long, and (Fun Fact) I am affected by tinnitus in my right ear. It isn’t fun. It isn’t curable. It can drive you mad. So I am in preservation mode, and I literally have to block out the world in order to calm my ears and my mind. Do we get weirder when we get older? Maybe…but I think age just exacerbates the quirks we have always had. Mine have always been there, and they are just coming more to the surface. So yeah…I need sonic solitude and ear protection.

MR: What are the Top 3 artists you are inspired by?

Ryan: I mean…really? Three? Yikes. I am gonna piss someone off, I guess. Certainly Rush, Steely Dan, and Zeppelin are right there. David Byrne/Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, Tool, The Beatles, Tupac, Snoop/Dre, and Peter Tosh all have their say, too.

My life doesn’t move at one speed. There are variables, and I need my soundtrack and by extension, my creations, to reflect that. I always try to make sure we touch a ton of moods and genres within a record, even if it is only 30 minutes long (the current album will be 7 songs and about 30 minutes). I get bored easily. So the challenge is to have a Little King record stay lively and dynamic while always sounding like Little King. I think we have done a really good job with that the last couple of albums.

MR: Any words of wisdom for someone who may draw their inspiration from you?

Ryan: Perseverance is paramount, especially if your vision and goals are important. Don’t settle. We get one trip around the universe, and as far as I am concerned, it is a crime to live it any other way than on your own terms. We can be so desensitized to our own dreams because of the day-to-day grind of bills and kids and mental health. The pandemic has only focused that and has been a challenge for all of us.

What moves you? Are you honest with yourself? Look inward and tell yourself the truth, and then go out there and get exactly what you want. It’s yours. And I love you!

Please visit us frequently at littlekingtunes.com or on FB, IG, and Twitter @littlekingtunes. We give away stuff, leak songs, post new pics, and muse hard. I think it’s a worthy follow. -Ryan

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