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JOHN MITCHELL Kino,Arena,The Urbane

KINO - who feature John Mitchell (ARENA/The URBANE), MARILLION's Pete Trewas, John Beck (ex-IT BITES) and Chris Maitland (ex-PORCUPINE TREE), have just released their excellent debut album, 'Picture' via Inside Out. If you like quality modern progressive music then you're in for a treat. Over to guitarist John Mitchell...

1. What are you currently up to?

We are currently rehearsing ready for a tour with Spocks Beard that starts on the 13th of March. Check for further details.

2. Who came up with the idea to form Kino and where does the name originate from?

The idea behind Kino was born out of a conversation that I (John Mitchell) had with Thomas Waber at Inside Out a couple of years ago. He liked what I had done with my other band The Urbane and wanted to know if I would be interested in doing something along a similar vein but with a more progressive edge.

I liked the idea and agreed to have a shot at it. The next question was who would I like to work with. The rest, as they say, is history :-) As for the name, that was the only thing we couldnt agree on. In the end we resorted to leaving through the English dictionary for ideas. I fell on Cinema but everyone thought that was too Genesis sounding. The very next day, Pete Trewavas suggested Kino. In the abscense of anything better, we agreed. Now we all really like it!

3.The new album, 'Picture' is out - could you take us through some highlights please?

For me, the opening track 'Loser's Day Parade' is my fave and also the last song, 'Picture'. 'Loser's Day...' was the last thing we recorded for the album and its definitely the most adventurous thing we have done to date. I just like the extreme dynamics in it!

4. When you compose a song where do you get your ideas from and how does a song evolve?

I have no idea where the seeds of inspiration come from but they normally appear at REALLY inconvenient times like at 2am, and they normally spring forth in the form of an acoustic guitar and a dictaphone. The song then gets sequenced on a computer using a program called Nuendo and then everyone chucks their ideas in. The drums are then overdubbed in the main studio and we put down the final parts that replace the original guide parts. Simple as that :-)

5. There were some rumours of an It Bites reunion last year. Is there any likely hood of the band getting together again?

Yes there is. The trouble is that everyone is very busy and has conflicting schedules so when there is a window when everyone can make it, the album that has pretty much already been written will get recorded. It will hopefully happen later this year.

6. For me your vocals have really shone through on this album. Have you seen your voice develop down the years and who are your vocal heroes?

I dont think im a very natural singer and its taken a long time to get anywhere near where I want to be with it. I basically sing on this album by default as noone else really wanted to :-) We originally had Ray Wilson lined up for the job, initially he agreed, but sort of got cold feet later on. I think that he wanted to concentrate on his solo career. If I was to have a vocal 'hero', then I would say that there is only one person and that's Peter Gabriel. The guy has a beautiful voice and is basically a genius.

7. You're supporting Spock's Beard - what other live plans do the band have and will the set list feature any songs from the members other bands?

We hope to do a headline tour later this year but it's still in the planning stage at the moment. As for the Spocks tour, we're pretty much going to be playing the whole album and we probably won't do any back catalogue at this stage as there isnt really enough time.

8. Is Kino a long-term band and what would happen if the band really took off? I.e. would the band members ever have to leave their other bands?

Yes, Kino is going to be a long term thing or at least we plan to do more than just one album. And as for the other question, ask me again if it ever happens!

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I'm a huge movie buff. I collect and watch films. I have a huge wall space at home covered in videos and DVDs. I also like going for long rides on my BMX. Oh and i also collect model ships. Nothing hugely exciting i'm afraid!

10. Message to your fans?

Buy our album if you haven't already done so.....its ace!!!! :-)

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Interview © 2005 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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