Posted On 06 Apr 2018
On March 30th, the LA rockers Prima Donna released their new album S/T via Wicked Cool Records in partnership with The Orchard. “4 Real” was the first single out from the collection. Inspired by the mysterious 1995 disappearance of Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers, “4 Real” captures Prima Donna’s unstoppable energy in pure garage-rock form.
“It’s a new chapter for us,” lead singer Kevin Preston shared of the 11-track collection, which was produced by Eric Palmquist (Thrice, The Bad Suns, The Mars Volta) in the band’s hometown of LA. Harnessing influences that cover the corners of rock & roll from Ronnie Spector and the Stones through Nina Hagen and the Ramones, S/T showcases Prima Donna’s musical development into a fully formed garage and punk influenced outfit.
Prima Donna have shared stages with an incredible range of unstoppable rock acts, from Green Day (who they supported on two arena tours on two continents) to Andrew W.K., Blondie, Fitz and the Tantrums, Adam Ant and more. Preston, who first emerged on the LA scene in the reformed early 2000s lineup of legendary LA punks The Skulls, also plays in Billie Joe Armstrong’s garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs – further testament to the band’s rock & roll credentials.
Garage rock taste-maker Little Steven Van Zandt has named five of Prima Donna’s tracks as his “Coolest Song In The World,” most recently 2015’s “Deathless.” With the release of S/T as part of Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records’ ongoing partnership with The Orchard, Prima Donna continue to push forward as infallible rockers with multi-dimensional capacities.
Prima Donna is comprised of Kevin Preston (vocals, guitar), David S. Field (drums, percussion), Aaron Minton (keyboards, saxophone, vocals) and Lights Out Levine (bass, vocals).
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Learn more about Prima Donna in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So what is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
Kevin Preston: I really dig “Love From Above.” That and “Recurring Nightmare.”
Light Out Levine: I’d say “Automatic” is the one we’re all really into. I don’t think we disagree about any of them.
How has 2018 been treating you all so far? What is one musical goal that you have for this year?
David Field: Any year you write, record and release an album is a good year, so I’m pretty happy with 2018 right now. Now that it is being released, all that’s left to do is hit the road and tour.
Aaron Minton: So far we’ve just been waiting to release our new record this year. As far as goals go – more and more exposure.
Lights Out Levine: We’ve just really been chomping at the bit to get this record out and start performing it live. Hitting the road is always a main goal for us.
Kevin Preston: 2018 has honestly been the best year of my life so far. My musical goal is to take our show on the road and play in some countries we’ve never been to.
Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in this band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are?
Kevin Preston: I can’t pinpoint the moment, but I do remember just having this awesome summer. It started with 2 songs I wrote. I really wanted to be in a band with David and Aaron, so we spent the summer in David’s garage and it was rock ‘n’ roll magic. Summer of love.
David Field: No one call themselves a band unless you can survive touring together. If you still love playing music with each other after weeks and months on the road, then you’re in a real band. Luckily for us, we realized that pretty early on. After years of touring all over the world we are more like brothers than band-mates.
How much do you think you all have grown as a band since you first formed? What has remained the same about your dynamics?
David Field: Our musical taste and influences have changed a lot since we first began. While we still love all the rock ‘n’ roll bands that helped shape us when we were young, we are now listening to all different styles and bands. It makes us better songwriters and musicians.
Kevin Preston: We’re straight up mind-readers at this point. We pretty much know what we need to do musically to make the songs pop. Much of it, we can do without even discussing, you know?
Lights Out Levine: We have always worked so well together. That has always remained the same for us. We all write tunes and contribute to everyone else’s songs. A lot of respect, personally and professionally exists in this band.
Why do you think that Wicked Cool Records is the right place for this band and your music today?
Kevin Preston: They support bands. Real bands with real instruments that have real things to say.
What does it feel like to be releasing your album, S/T? How does this collection show a new chapter for the band? What was it like putting it all together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
Kevin Preston: I’m completely elated. This album is wholly different than anything we’ve ever done. We tapped into some vibes we’ve always wanted to dig into. Eric Palmquist [producer] really pushed us out of our comfort zone and made us try new things. We rose to the challenge and we really loved the process.
David Field: It feels great. On this album we have matured a lot and I think it shows. Recording was a very different experience in the studio than we were used to. Eric our producer really pushed us and made us think about different ways to approach the songs. It was also our first time collaborating on songwriting with someone not in the band.
What was the inspiration for your album’s first released single “4 Real”? How did you decide to release it first? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music?
Kevin Preston: It was inspired by the disappearance of Richey Edwards (Manic Street Preachers). It seemed like the clear choice to kick off the new era because it just has this wild, freight train kinda energy.
Aaron Minton: The musical inspiration for ‘4 Real’ was just something driving and powerful. It’s the first track on the album because we figured it’s a good engine starter kinda song, since it’s so driving. After that, we picked it as the first single naturally.
Lights Out Levine: When you listen to 4 Real, you get to hear a bit of what everyone does. We all get our shit in; Aaron has the great organ line, Kevin has that magic voice and the sweet guitar riffs, I get to play some cool lines and David gets to blast off on the drums.
I’ve got to ask what was it like sharing the stage with Green Day on two arena tours on two continents?! What did you learn about performing live from those experiences?
Kevin Preston: It was a dream come true. They were one of the bands that turned us into rock ‘n’ roll fiends. We learned so much more about putting on a show. Most nights we were playing in front of 20,000 people that had never heard of us, so we really had to give it our all.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Where can people see you perform next?
Aaron Minton: I think we’re happiest on stage. We’re also very happy after a great show, hanging together wherever it may be.
David Field: Definitely on stage and touring. We work hard in rehearsals and in the studio so we are able to play these songs live. Being on stage and having the crowd respond to us is the best feeling.
Kevin Preston: These days it’s a little bit of both. I love getting creative in the studio. Making the songs come to life is as intense as it is rewarding. Playing live never gets old. It’s such a cool give and take of energy. Such a rush.
Lights Out Levine: For me, being on stage performing is what it’s all about.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
David Field: The world is so crazy right now that it can become overwhelming. There’s a lot of negativity that’s constantly being shoved in your face. We think that with this band, and especially this album, we are making something positive. We want our fans to put this album on and feel good and forget the world for a while.
Kevin Preston: It gives me joy that I can have a blast playing music that also makes other people happy. I get to have my cake and eat it too. Songs like “Vulture Culture,” “Automatic” and “Give It Up” are a reflection of how I feel about all the crazy things going on. Songs like “Love From Above” and “Until I Break Loose” are meant to help escape all of that.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Kevin Preston: I’m always checking out music from other countries. My two current faves are Makthaverskan from Sweden and La Femme from France. I’d love work with Eric Palmquist again. I love what he did with this record. I’ve always wanted to write a song or two with Billy Idol. Call me Billy!
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all of your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it all?
Kevin Preston: It’s fun for us because we have really cool fans. We maintain all of the socials ourselves. We try to give everybody a glimpse of what we’re up to behind the scenes and all that.
David Field: It’s important for us to keep in touch with our fans, especially the ones overseas. Social Media has helped us to do that.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? What do you hope they take away from one of your shows?
Kevin Preston: Overall, I just hope our music and concerts help people have a good time and break loose for a little bit.
Aaron Minton: I hope people find whatever songs they favor most and that it makes them happy to play over and over again. And hopefully they have just as much a good time seeing us live!