KC discusses the band’s new hit song, upcoming tour, and the voice of the artist
For over 40 years, KC and the Sunshine Band have been making music that gets listeners off their feet and onto the dancefloor. With hits like “That’s the Way (I Like It)”, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty”, and “I’m Your Boogie Man”, KC and his band have always been able to stay near the top of people’s minds when it comes to nightlife.
This summer, the band released their fourth consecutive Billboard Dance charting single, “Movin’ Your Body”. The song’s contemporary groove is a testament to a group who keeps their minds on what’s hip and what’s selling; they’re currently working on a new album which could see contributions from the likes of either Pitbull or Flo Rida.
ARTISTdirect’s Christopher Friedmann caught up with KC to discuss his upcoming tour, the music he currently listens to, and how he views the voice of the artist today.
Christopher Friedmann: We are talking because you are about to head out on tour again. Just to start, how is the mood in camp?
KC: I tour all year long. I don’t really go out on a ‘tour’ tour. The longest I maybe do is a week or two at a time, sometimes 10 days or something, but I do mostly weekends. We haven’t been out all month, so it’ll be great to get back out there and hit the road again for a little bit.
CF: You recently played in Chile and the U.K., and you have upcoming shows in Australia as well as the U.S.A. These places are geographically far apart, but what are the commonalities about playing to your fans in all these different destinations?
KC: The music.
CF: Do you find the audiences to be different?
KC: I think they vary sometimes. Sometimes they are a little bit more reserved than other places, and it’s very interesting, but for the most part everybody comes to have fun, and they have fun the way that they have.
CF: What makes for a perfect night on stage for you?
KC: I guess when everything is going right. When sound, audience, everything is just laying right in there.
CF: Do you ever have those moments when everything drifts away and you’re just…
KC: … Yeah, there are some nights just acoustically it isn’t happening, and I feel off that night, or my concentration is not where it should be, for me anyway, and other band members seem to be a little bit lost in concentration also for some reason. You can tell the nights when it’s a little bit off, and not what it could be, and there is always a conversation about that afterwards.
CF: Over the last 40 years, you’ve seen the music landscape change dramatically, but this past June you released “Movin’ Your Body”, your fourth consecutive Billboard Dance charting single. How do you continue to keep up with the ever changing world of music?
KC: A lot of the mixers, the people I use on some of the remixes, maybe have a better handle on what is happening out there than maybe I do, but I just make the music that I always made, and I like current music, so in my mind I stay pretty current. I just don’t turn on and listen to nothing on the radio or whatever. I’m always into music, so I’m able to stay pretty current that way I believe.
CF: What are you currently listening to?
CF: Any favorites from this year?
KC: I love the new Montgomery Gentry song called “Better Me”, Sam Smith’s new song, U2 “You’re the Best Thing”, “Ready for It” by Taylor Swift, “Worship” by Lizzo, Maroon 5 “What Lovers Do”, Taylor Swift “Look What You Made Me Do”, “What About Us” Pink, “In Case You Didn’t Know” Brett Young. That’s country. I got a lot of different things here. I have country, pop, rock, RnB, all kind of different things, whatever is Top 40 actually, whatever is happening Top 40.
CF: Dancing has always been at the center of KC & the Sunshine Band’s theme or message. What is it about the act of dancing that you find to be so necessary for the human experience?
KC: I don’t know. My mother loved to dance. I was around a very musical family. I was always around dancing and that sort of stuff, so I don’t know anything different than that. Whatever I do is just what’s already natural, what I’ve known and done all my life.
CF: When speaking about your new single, you said, “With all the tension in the world right now, I wanted to write a song to help people escape and leave their worries behind. I want people to get onto the dance floor and shake their booty, like we did in the old days and are still doing today.” How do you see the voice of the artist in today’s society?
KC: They do it in different ways today, I think. A lot of the times back in the older days, or back in the 60’s and 70’s, I think it was done a lot through the songs. A lot of messages were sent through songs, we had more message songs. I don’t think you have as many songs that have messages in them now, maybe Pink’s has a little bit of a message. Buy you don’t have the same… they just verbally say what they want to do or they act it out in a public forum.
I don’t know if that’s a good thing to do. I think music is the best message you can get out to everyone, but of course if people don’t want to hear the message, they don’t buy the record or they don’t support it. It’s just a different world now.
Before, although you had all these freedoms and everything, you kind of held back on what you would say in public. Today, everyone just puts it right out there, no matter what, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
CF: It’s been a little bit since you released a new album. So what’s next for KC & the Sunshine Band?
KC: I have an album in the can right now. Actually it could be a triple or quadruple disc. I’m just finishing up some mixes because I want to make sure it’s the best that I’ve ever put out. I’m really excited about it and hopefully everyone is going to embrace it for what it is. So that’s eventually going to come out, I just don’t know the date yet, or when, because it’s still a work in progress.
CF: Did you work with anyone exciting on the new project?
KC: Just some of the band, some of the DJ’s and people I’ve worked with. I’ve also talked with Pitbull about doing some stuff, or maybe Flo Rida, maybe Rick Ross, so I’m trying to… not trying to, just slowly working my way into a market I guess.
CF: That’s an interesting collaborative setting. What would you want to go after?
KC: I’m not trying to go after anything. I’m trying to make KC music and we’ve just been talking together, the three of us on different occasions, and maybe something is going to happen because of it next year. So we’ll see.
CF: Do you find that the South Florida landscape has an affect on the music you create?
KC: I don’t know. I was influenced by music that was played nationally, and other than that maybe things here are a little more rhythmic than other places. I think because of how things were raised and my heritage and things like that, a lot of it plays into what the music was about and where my influences came from.
CF: Throughout your career we can imagine you’ve had a fair share of interesting experiences, but is there one moment that stands out – a grounding experience or moment of perspective that reminds you why you do all of this?
KC: Every time I get up on the stage, that’s what does it. That’s what it is, to see what the music does for people, and what the music brings to people.