Laverys Back Bar
12 – 16 Bradbury Place
ROSES KINGS CASTLES (Adam Ficek, Babyshambles)
+ Graham Harrison
Tues 28th Oct
9pm Early Gig
Roses Kings Castles
Musician and DJ Adam Ficek is most commonly known to the general public for his day-job as drummer in notorious British rock act Babyshambles. As a member of the band fronted by Pete Doherty, the most talked- and written-about rock star of our time, Adam has seen the best and worst of life at the casualty-laden core of the music industry. What many people don’t know is that he is a blistering artistic talent in his own right.
Adam was born in Bletchley, Milton Keynes. “It’s an odd satellite suburban juxtaposition of a place,” he says. “It doesn’t quite know whether it’s farmland or city. I think due to it being built as the main overflow for the London spill, the residents are left wondering where they fit in – or maybe that was just me.” The estate he grew up on was notorious for housing the largest number of convicted criminals in the capital. “We lived on the edge of the city, so on one side we had acres of fields, trees and green. On the other we had sixties architecture, housing estates, and lots of grey. Although I love both equally.”
Over the years he amassed an impressive repertoire of musical skills, and plays the guitar, piano, vibraphone, accordion, flute, trumpet, harmonica, tin whistle, recorder, and – of course – drums. “All the hitting stuff.”
He knew Babyshambles’ former manager James Mullord and ex-guitarist Patrick Walden from the time the three spent together in and around London’s Old Street area. Both told Adam that they had a shared dream of him joining the band. “What else was I supposed to do?” Much of what followed (the albums, the gigs, the arrests, the tabloid scandals, the burnouts and triumphs and tragedies) is already modern pop history.
Roses Kings Castles is the moniker under which Adam performs and records his own unique catalogue of quixotic, chiming, and blissfully astute acoustic pop songs. Lost somewhere between Belle & Sebastian’s pastoral warmth and the hallucinatory six-string invocations of Syd Barrett, a typical Roses Kings Castles track is buoyed by the finest elements of classic British songwriting; by turns wry, beautiful, and bizarre.
Originally conceived as an outlet for Adam’s “need to create my own ideas when Babyshambles were on holiday,” Roses Kings Castles quickly became something more than a means of occupying himself whilst on hiatus. “I continually write, whether it's big band arrangements, electro riffs or folk-pop songs. I just needed an avenue to walk down.”
Roses Kings Castles
Roses Kings Castles
Label: The Sycamore Club
Released: 6th Oct
"Pete's not the only 'Shambler with a swish line in solo material - through his Roses, Kings, Castles project sticksman Adam Ficek shows an ear for melody that the likes of Belle And Sebastian would smash up a tea party for." NME
"A wistful soup of lo-fi English pop, peppered with sparkling shards of summer and a pinch of Shambles to make things exciting." Clash
"Roses Kings Castles shows Ficek is as sweet and starry-eyed on the quiet, as he is strutting and swaggery in Babyshambles. A lovely, lo-fi treat." Daily Star
"Roses, Kings, Castles is blessed with the type of insatiable charm that people fall in love with. In fact, don't be surprised if you're married with kids by the end of it." Gigwise.com
"Sounding reminiscent of Graham Coxon's solo material, Adam proves there's more to him than just a beat for Pete." Future Music
Babyshambles drummer, fast-rising DJ and deft multi-instrumentalist Adam Ficek, who records barbed and bittersweet solo material under the moniker Roses Kings Castles, is releasing his eponymous debut album.
Recorded in Adam’s own bedroom over a two-week period that presented itself when Pete Doherty took time out from Babyshambles to work on his own non-band material, Roses Kings Castles is a short, sharp and savvy burst of sorrow-pop perfection, shot through with jingling melodies, toe-tapping acoustics and a wry lyrical nous.
The back-to-basics dynamic that drove the recording process and inspires the RKC concept as a whole has produced a ten-track LP at once pared-down and multi-layered, comprised of sonorous, chiming highs and whispered, spaced-out lows.
From the dirge-laden bluster of ‘Entroubled’ to the lush, flute-embalmed instrumentation of ‘Brass Winter’, the ragtime swagger of ‘Horses’, the smoky accordion flourishes and pan-clatter percussion of ‘Never Certain’, and haunted, lovelorn lull of ‘Folk Song’, the album combines delicate moments of genuine intimacy with splattered pallets of soaring melodic romanticism.
“I always wanted it to be slightly DIY in the music and artwork,” says Adam of his hands-on approach to all things RKC-related. “It’s far too easy to become clean and glossy in today’s world of assumed perfection.” This philosophy has seen him successfully self-release limited edition versions of singles to fans via PO Box. “I want people to feel they are becoming part of my process and me of theirs,” he continues.
Roses Kings Castles is being put out by Mr. Ficek’s own label, The Sycamore Club, and will be available in all good record stores. Buoyed by the success of his previous releases, Adam intends to insure that the personal and uncompromised relationship he has built-up with his audience goes from strength to strength. “The main ethos behind the music is that it exists in a community between artist and fan. I’ve never been into the ‘look at me’ school of music. I want the music and concept to exist in a two-way, all-encompassing community workshop.”
In this candidly imagined and skillfully executed album – indebted to a vision of England that would make Ray Davies proud – the swelling ranks of the Roses Kings Castles community have undoubtedly found a voice fit for the task of uniting them.
Adam Ficek’s track-by-track guide to Roses Kings Castles:
‘Entroubled’: “A poptastic narrative on the troubles of the world. It has grit, spit, polish and glitter all wrapped up in a melodic gobstopper.”
‘Horses’: “It's nothing at all to do with horses! One of my earliest songs, a slightly shamblesque swing with a brooding chorus.”
‘Sparkling Bootz’: “A swaggered pop song with Steptoe undertones.”
‘Broken Homes’: “It reminds me of living in Essex. It's all very suburban, sullen and melancholic, with a silver lining.”
‘Burn Your Town Down’: “An ever-changing chameleon of a song. It’s a miniature classical sonata.”
‘Brass Winter’: “It's about a dream I had of someone involved in a car accident at Christmas.”
‘Run and Hide’: “Motown meets the Housemartins – a pop jive shuffle. It's about liars.”
‘Never Certain’: “[Singer-songwriter] Catherine Feeny makes this punkier song exist in the place where it was destined. A Smiths-esque stomper.”
‘Folk Song’: “This was directly influenced by the English folk scene of the late fifties; Davey Graham, Bert Jansch. Thanks for the lessons, Bert.”
‘Fool's Revenge’: “My psychedelic parting shot, lots of big choruses, big verses, and a drum-laden outro.”
Support on the night comes from Performance curator and local trubadore Graham Harrison.
Graham wows audiences every Wednesday night at performance in the Back Bar.