After surfacing in 2013 with their debut EP, “Wasters & Wannabes”, The Kubricks soon became one of the must-see ska bands of this generation. Tracks from their debut release were supported by Huey Morgan (6Music) and Tom Robinson (BBC Introducing – 6Music), and The Specials’ bassist, Horace Panter, championed the band, claiming, “I can hear Madness, The Ruts, Squeeze and The Clash in there…” The timing was perfect, and coincided with a new interest in ska music, as many of UK’s festivals began dedicating entire stages to the genre. Riding on the back of this wave, the band soon found themselves supporting legends such UB40, Bad Manners and The Toasters, in addition to sharing the stage with The Skints, Buster Shuffle and Bombskare.
Dave Thorogood (bass) and Jon Spalding (keys) had met at university in Ealing, West London; they’d struck up a friendship and quickly began working together. Very soon, The Kubricks began to take shape, as Dave brought in school mate, Peter Shreeves (lead vocals), and long-time bandmate, Marc Rich (guitar). The four carefully crafted “Wasters & Wannabes”, demoing it at Dave’s studio. The results were taken to experienced live producer, Andrew Tulloch (The Charlatans, Madness) who worked the band to the bone in his East London studio during the Olympic summer of 2012. By this point, the full line-up had been established: the brass section consisting of Chris Saunders (trombone) and Jackson Mathod (trumpet), and driving the band, Dave Oliver (drums).
They released the debut EP in the summer of 2013, but it took another year of gigging and promoting for tracks to reach the national airwaves. It was around this time that Jon removed himself from the live set-up, choosing to focus on writing and producing for the band. He was replaced by Stuart Barden (keys), who has subsequently become an important writer for the band.
In 2015, an extended version of “Wasters & Wannabes” was released, including some of the tracks which were always meant to make this debut release an album. This included the ska-stomper “Ghosts”, the sleazy “Rave With the Rebel”, and “Lead Me Away”, which featured the magnificent Sharlene Hector on vocals.
Whilst the The Kubricks continued performing to huge crowds across the country, Jon had been busy writing the next album. Heavily-influenced by the 2-Tone bands of the late seventies and eighties, he wondered what those bands would sound like in 2017, and was keen to experiment with the ska genre. The band had been listening to some of the best acts in this field, including The Skints (who they played right before at Godiva Festival, Coventry), and Gentleman’s Dub Club. The latter proved particularly enticing, so Jon reached out to GDC band member and producer, Toby Davies, to produce the new album.
The move proved to be a master-stroke, and what resulted was a true collaboration in “The Heist”. The album maintained some of the up-tempo ska which had established The Kubricks’ sound, but what evolved were some slower grooves and songs which came from a much deeper place. The title track from the album actually came from the band’s interest in those old boys who were involved in the Hatton Garden raid, deciding to give it “one last shot”.
Upon release in January 2017, the band’s work reached beyond the ska community. The UK’s longest-running skazine, Do The Dog, immediately commented that it was already, “A very strong contender for album of the year”, whilst Bucketlist in Canada claimed, “The Kubricks bring something surprisingly refreshing to the table. A gem of an album that makes ska and reggae seem like a perfect fit with 21st-century musical trends.”
Tom Robinson (6Music) immediately shared the title track “The Heist” with his listeners, and BBC Introducing in Essex soon began supporting the album too, regularly featuring songs from the album, and inviting the band in for a live session and interview.
In 2018, Jack Courtney replaced Jackson Mathod as the band’s full-time trumpet player, and the guys completed another successful summer of festivals, including a stand-out performance at BoomTown Fair.
However, it was time to make some new music. The band had briefly worked with Tom Donovan – producer/instrumentalist/band member of Essex’s hip-hop outfit, Monster Florence – some years ago. In fact, that’s how Alex Osiris’ performance on ‘Hold Us Down’ came about. So when it came to choosing a new producer, Tom was number one choice. The band started working at his Essex studio in mid-2019, and in November of that year, the single ‘Humans’ was released. This was the first in a series of new singles and was shortly followed by ‘Criminals’ in 2020.
In January 2020, the band were approached by Midnight Mango live booking agents, who now represent the band.
Another summer of festivals looms which includes a main stage (Pallet) performance at Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering.