411 Music Interview 11.18.10: Johnny Richter of the Kottonmouth Kings
As a member of the Kottonmouth Kings, frontman Johnny Richter has sold over two million records, and rocked shows all over the globe. He recently released his first ever solo album on July 6, 2010, entitled Laughing and is about to depart on the Party Monster Tour which features the Kottonmouth Kings, Slaine and Big B. We had the chance to speak with KMK’s own Johnny Richter regarding his solo release, the upcoming tour, the new Kottonmouth Kings album, as well as his thoughts on Proposition 19 in California, Tila Tequila and much more.
For more information on Johnny Richter and the Kottonmouth Kings regarding releases and tour dates, visit the : Kottonmouth Kings official website
Q) Tell us a little bit about your upcoming tour. What cities are you going to be playing, are you going to be playing a solo set of songs from Laughing?
Johnny Richter:Kottonmouth King’s starts our second leg of the PARTY MONSTER TOUR November 16th in Chico Ca. This leg is mostly a west coast run hitting Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and a couple other bordering states. I won’t be doing a full solo set but will be performing a few songs from my first solo record LAUGHING during the KMK set.
Q) You recently released your first solo album Laughing in the summer. What has been the reception to the album, and are you happy with how it has been received?
Johnny Richter:The record has gotten a lot of positive feedback from KMK fans and while on my first solo tour this past summer I had quite a few people come up to me after my set and say they didn’t know what to expect but really enjoyed it. I was thoroughly pleased with the finished record and feel it was well received by everyone who gave it a listen.
Q) Why has it taken so long for you to release a solo? Is it something you have been meaning to do for a couple years now?
Johnny Richter:It took almost 10 years to make and release this record because of all the other project’s I’m involved with. I’ve always wanted to do a solo and when the time finally presented itself I jumped at the opportunity and got to work.
Q) I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the album. I think sometimes when you are a member of a successful group and you decide to do a solo, fans get concerned whether or not you can carry a full album by yourself, were you worried about that?
Johnny Richter:First off thank you for the compliment. I wasn’t really thinking about whether I could or couldn’t carry a whole record; I just was stoked to finally have full control over song subject matter and structure. I’ve been writing song’s for over 15 years now and was confident in my ability to put together a full record by myself. I write songs that I like first and foremost and all the positive feedback is just a added bonus for me.
Q) Take us through the recording process for Laughing. How did you come up with the concepts for the songs and how was it different then recording a Kottonmouth Kings album?
Johnny Richter:The process started by getting beats from a few different producers and just listening through them until one of them jumped out at me and I just started writing to it. I used a few different methods on this record from starting with a beat and building off that to having a hook idea and building tracks from the ground up to fit the lyrics. The difference between this process and doing a Kottonmouth record was pretty much it was all up to me to get it done. I liked having complete control over every step of the process. The song subject matter comes to me in many different way’s but I usually let the track talk to me, if it’s a upbeat party track that’s probably what it’s gonna be if it’s a mellow track I tend to write deeper lyric’s.
Q) What is your favorite song off the album? What is your favorite song off the album to play live?
Johnny Richter:That’s a tough question because this being my first solo I have a special attachment to all the songs on the record so I can’t pick just one. Live I really like playing At It Again, Remember That Summer, and Celebration.
Q) You are in so many different sub groups of Kottonmouth Kings, from Kingspade, and the Subnoize Souljaz, tells us the major differences of recording an album for the different groups.
Johnny Richter: When Kottonmouth is recording we have a formula we’ve been using for year’s now where one of us will usually come up with a hook idea and the others will write verses and give their take on what the hook means to them. When doing a SubNoize Soldiers record it’s more like doing a guest spot on a song. When me and D-Loc get together for Kingspade there’s usually a few beer’s getting tossed back and it’s more of a laid back party environment.
Q) The Kottonmouth Kings were a major supporter of Proposition 19 in California. How do you feel regarding the outcome of the vote, and do you think that the next time there is an election, the proposition will finally pass?
Johnny Richter: Well it didn’t pass this time but getting 45 percent of the vote supporting the proposition say’s a lot about the way people in California feel about the legalization of marijuana. Hopefully this will open up a more serious conversation so in the future people are more educated about the facts and we can be the first state to legalize.
Q) You recently added the Dirtball as an official member of the Kottonmouth Kings, how did that come about?
Johnny Richter: Well the Dirtball has been touring with the Kings for years now and is one of the most underrated artists in the game today. Having him around on the road with us all the time something just clicked and when it came time to record a new KMK record it just felt right to bring him in and make him a member and the rest as they say is history.
Q) You are scheduled to release a new KMK album on 4/20, titled Sunrise Sessions. How many songs have you recorded for that album, and will you be playing any of those songs on the new tour?
Johnny Richter: As of right now we’re currently working on about 18 idea’s with many more to come. we usually record about 30 or so song’s and then pick the one’s we’re feeling the most for the record and put the rest out under our Hidden Stash brand. I don’t think we’ll be playing any of the new track’s because we’re still in the beginning stages of recording but we will be playing song’s off Long Live The King’s as well as song’s from all our older records.
Q) Do you know of any guests you plan to have on the upcoming KMK album, Sunrise Sessions?
Johnny Richter: For the Sunrise Sessions record I don’t think we’re gonna have any guest spot’s, just gonna keep it all KMK. But you never know what the future holds, I can’t say 100 percent that we won’t but as of right now there’s no plans for any guest’s.
Q) Any other upcoming releases that we should keep an eye on from Subnoize Records (Kingspade, Subnoize Soldiers, etc.)?
Johnny Richter:Me and D-LOC have been working out a time frame to do another Kingspade record so I’m really looking forward to that and of course I’ll be doing another solo and the new KMK record dropping April 2011.
Q) Any plans to release another solo album in the future?
Johnny Richter: I can’t wait to do another solo record but my main focus in on KMK so I’m not sure when I’ll have time to. But I promise it’ll be sooner than later. The whole experience of recording by myself and touring as a solo artist was fun as f–k and I can’t wait to do it again.
Q) You have probably been asked this a million times, but since you played the Gathering of the Juggalos, what are your thoughts on the Tila Tequila incident.
Johnny Richter: Well I wasn’t at the stage where all the madness happened so I don’t know exactly what went on or was said but I do believe it should never have gone that far. heckling is all part of the game but it should never get to the point where lives are at risk.
Q) Thank you for our time
Johnny Richter: Thank you to all the fans that have supported me through the last 15 years of my life, it’s because of you I get to live a dream. Get ready for the new Kottonmouth Kings record SUNRISE SESSIONS dropping in April 2011.
Thanks for your time!
The Kottonmouth Kings Party Monsters tour runs from now until the end of the year, with the dates below. For more information or to purchase tickets visit KottonmouthKings.com
Nov 16 Chico, CA Senator Theater
Nov 17 Portland Wonder Ballroom
Nov 18 Seattle Showbox at the Market
Nov 19 Spokane, WA The Knitting Factory
Nov 20 Boise, ID Knitting Factory (formerly the Big Easy)
Nov 21 Missoula, MT The Wilma
Nov 23 Denver Gothic Theatre
Nov 24 Salt Lake City The Saltair
Nov 26 Las Vegas House of Blues
Nov 27 Reno, NV Knitting Factory
Dec 9 Bakersfield, CA The Dome
Dec 10 San Francisco Slim’s
Dec 11 Modesto, CA The Fat Cat Music House
Dec 16 San Diego House Of Blues – San Diego
Dec 17 Los Angeles Grove of Anaheim
Dec 18 Phoenix Marquee Theatre