Roses Kings Castles is the moniker which Adam Ficek, better known as the drummer from Babyshambles, uses for his solo project. State spoke to him recently ahead of his gig in Galway’s Bar 903, hearing his thoughts on going solo, the frustration of his day job and his dislike for the falseness of the London music scene.
How did you come to record your own debut album?
You know what this album’s cost me about twenty grand, and I’ll probably get about twenty quid back. It’s not about the money, it can’t be, its about a creative outlet. Lucky enough I have Babyshambles to pay my bills, my main band is my income so I’m lucky enough to be able to put that money back into something creative.
Obviously being in a band like Babyshambles will help and hinder a project like Roses Kings Castles. Did you feel in that sort of environment the need to forge your own career?
Yeah I think maybe there is a sense of some semi-insecurity being in a band like that, you just don’t know where it’s going to go. That didn’t deter me from doing solo stuff, but it’s looking now like Babyshambles is going to last a lot longer than I had initially expected, when there were a lot more problems. But it’s nice to have that outlet and not have to rely on anyone else for your creativity. That’s the main key and it’s not about any financial stuff but it’s nice to have that creative security.
One Babyshambles gig that sticks in the mind is one you were supposed to play in the Temple Bar Music Centre about two and a half years ago’¦
Well when you say you’¦you know me and Drew were downstairs in the dressing room ready for that gig, it is really the worst feeling in the world.
Drew obviously has some solo projects going too, I was wondering is that because in the situations you are left in with Babyshambles, your hands are tied, and you are always left to pick up the pieces.
It is an awful situation to be in, you can’t even imagine, it’s really difficult. So it is nice to have a bit of security, I can say I’m going to play in Ireland next week and I will play in Ireland next week. But obviously along the way someone could get ill but if I’ve got a commitment I can honour it. And it’s a nice relief to have that on this side of my creative outlet. It is frustrating when you miss shows, with -shambles and stuff. But I think some people actually like it, some people go along in anticipation of -oooh maybe it’ll be a no show’, it’s quite an odd thing, people are sometimes excited by it, it really brings out the dark side of human nature. It’s not for me though, I wouldn’t be impressed if I paid to see a band and they didn’t show up. But you know things are getting better, and I have the utmost respect for Peter. He’s out of London now, and out of that sort of limelight, I think it’s a really good thing for the band.
Do you think place and location influence your work?
Environment plays a huge factor in the writing process, I believe in energies too, some places have a great energy about them and some places just don’t. You can hear a lot more of the rural in my album; it’s not really a city album. Sometimes you hear albums and they sound like they are written by kids that grew up in the country, moved to London, shopped in charity shops, went to art college and pretend they are down with it. You know what, just because you shop in charity shops doesn’t make you any more sincere. I hate all that bullshit I really do, and there’s a lot of it in London.
You grew up in Milton Keynes which is quite an odd place’¦
Milton Keynes is a strange place, I think it was set up when they were trying to rejuvenate London and get people out of London, so you get a lot of people from there, but you’ve got a real odd cross of people, you’ve sort of got people with a piece of straw coming out of their mouths followed by cockney gangsters. That’s how I always felt when I was growing up, I could go out my door and a hundred yards one way there’s beautiful greenery and horses and cows’¦I’m not going to come out and say I’ve been working in co-op all my life and now I’m a kid from a council estate. Most of the kids I know that are singing that council estate vibe are just full of bullshit, they are totally middle class and kids of school teachers and the like. The people I know that have come from humble working class backgrounds are the ones that don’t feel the need to glorify it.
A lot of the tracks on your record are quite sombre’¦
It’s weird that you should say that, most people say they are really luscious and full of melody, and yet they’re not, when you dig beneath the surface’¦
Lyrically they’re quite dark though.
Yeah it’s weird, it’s quite juxtaposed between the lyrics and the music. At first you get these nice little melodies and then you get some scathing attacks and cynicism. Generally about people I’ve met, people I’ve yet to meet, fictional characters. Obviously people are going to make the natural association with who they most relate to me through, but it’s a bit patronising to assume I have nothing else going on in my life.
Well we’re sure lyrics like -cling to your mistakes, play the rumours down’ is about your other band?
Ha ha yeah maybe, that’s what I love about lyrics, they’re so open to interpretation. Although in hindsight I do feel some of the lyrics are a bit too personal, it might hinder the record a bit.
You seem to have quite a close relationship with your fanbase, it’s more like a community?
Yeah it’s certainly a two-way thing, we find each other venues for gigs and help each other out in anyway way we can, it’s really nice to have that relationship. It helps with a project like this especially, I see this as something I want to do myself for a long time, maybe release and album a year, or if I don’t have time an EP a year, it’s important to have your own body of work and to have that creative outlet.