When asked about his band’s forthcoming LP, Common Kings bassist Ivan Kirimaua jokes it's “something new, something fresh, something hip!” Although they may not be chasing those designations deliberately, the rising pop-reggae outfit has certainly honed in on "something" distinctly catchy.
Hailing from the South Pacific by way of Orange County, California, the band has spent half a decade chiseling their sound, persona and narrative. They’ve warmed up audiences for Justin Timberlake (“we definitely were not expecting him to just be so cool and down to earth"), Fifth Harmony, and, this past summer, Meghan Trainor, who they proudly call an old friend and collaborator ("She's talented beyond her years, we're so happy for her success, as she is for ours. She's a huge supporter").
Next month, Common Kings will release their long-awaited debut album Lost in Paradise, a project that resulted from a perfectionist agenda and plain old hard work. “We grinded it out for the last five years,” Kirimaua explains. “We didn't turn down a show and we only played what we felt was the best representation of ourselves. So that's why this is our first album.”
Kirimaua is the first to admit the band's diligent protection of their brand is to blame for any delays in new music. “We're very particular, even to the point of releasing a single, hearing it on the radio, not liking it, pulling it off the radio, going back in, re-recording it and then re-releasing it onto the radio.” That unorthodox decision resulted in “No Other Love,“ one of their biggest hits to date and a common entry point to the rest of their catalog. “It's what's carried us. It's breathed life into our career for the last five years...But it's a testament really to how picky we are, how much of perfectionists [we are] in making sure that we don't just release whatever.”
Lost in Paradise too was subject to this carefully-curated methodology. After writing, recording and scrapping an entire album’s worth of songs, the guys found a new vision with producer Poo Bear (Justin Bieber, Usher). Anchored by the paradisal title track, the album paints an island landscape in city tones, pairing clever hooks and modern production with an uplifting ethos and a healthy dose of wanderlust. “It's definitely feel good,” Kirimaua confirms of the album's sound. “Very feel good and very geared towards our ladies.”
Common Kings will soon embark on a headlining tour in support of Lost in Paradise, on which they look forward to hearing their songs sung loud and clear. “We've noticed that the crowd is [now] singing our songs literally from the very beginning of the show all the way to the end," Kirimaua enthuses. But he's not afraid of the newcomers: "I think [that[ people coming to see us for the first time [will] be pleasantly surprised. We're definitely going as much all out as we can for these shows."