Music Interview: Louis XIV Sexier than 17th Century Ottoman

By Rachel Betts-Wilmott

There are things you need to know about Louis XIV: their meteoric rise in popularity, how they got signed to a major label without seemingly selling their souls or losing their integrity and four boys from the west coast coming to identify with the most famed of French monarchs. It all comes back to the music really.

“We’ve been playing in bands together since we were about 13,” recounts Brian Karscig. “We started on the playground together.”

The four boys from San Diego, one day, found themselves in an apartment atop the warehouse. After a look around they decided to hole up in there and record an album. If the product, their first full-length album The Best Little Secrets are Kept, is any proof, Jason Hill (guitar and vocals), Karscig (guitar), Mark Maigaard (drums) and Jimmy Armburst (bass) ruled that makeshift recording space with equal amounts of authority and bacchanalia. The comparison to Louis XIV, the French King seems just too perfect.

But their affinity to the king has nothing to do with their name, nor does any love for beautiful 17th century French furniture.

“It just started out with a song,” relates Karscig. “So we wrote a concept album about a modern day boy who started to believe he was Louis XIV. It was a bit about situation, being in Paris it seemed appropriate. Had we been in the English countryside we probably would have called ourselves Henry VIII.”

For those who don’t remember their French history, all you need to know about the 17th century Louis XIV is he came to rule at the age of four and quickly developed as a king and womanizer. It seems appropriate for them to play explicitly sexual songs.

“That’s based around hanging out in the studio and chasing women,” explains Karscig. “But we had no money, so we burnt a couple hundred cds, bought two cans of spray paint and put either a pink dot or a blue dot on each cd. That’s how they got their name.”

That was before their signing to Atlantic about six months ago, now the issues they have more with packaging more have to do with the nude girl on their cover. “It’s great to really have their support,” says Karscig of their label, who not only left the band with artistic reign, but also supports them on issues like this one and on the road. For Louis XIV the switch to a major label from their own Pineapple Recording Group only means the ability to better getting their music out to a larger audience and eating something other than KD. Though Karscig insists he still enjoys dinner from the blue box.

Signing to Atlantic hasn’t garnered the group popularity, they started that themselves. The EPs they sold at shows quickly made their way to the English press–notorious for making stars out of little heard bands. More reliably, word of mouth earned them the attention of those in the know. To understand how they command all this interest you just have to listen to Secrets or go see a show-Louis XIV play the sexiest music around.