Kim “Pops” Horn and Korey “Kingston” Horn
Shuffle and Bang, led by Korey “Kingston” Horn and Kim “Pops” Horn, is a bit of a musical melting pot. Combining their love for ska, dub, jazz and reggae, they’ve joined forces with some amazing musicians to create a one of a kind band. This father and son duo lives for music, as evident in their upbringing, professional experiences, and now their debut album, Island Bop. A project spanning over two years, it's had to face some obstacles along the way. Despite everything the two have had to encounter, they’ve created an album people are sure to love. Raven recently sat down with Korey to talk about how he got started in music at such a young age, the history behind Shuffle and Bang, and how Island Bop is the perfect album not only for jazz fans, but punks as well.
Korey’s story in itself is pretty unique. Like many drummers who felt they were destined to play from an early age, his journey started before he was even born. “The story goes that everyone thought I wasn’t going to make it. They thought I was stillborn because I wouldn’t move. My parents would go to the disco back in the day, and my mom walked by the speaker one night and the vibrations in her stomach made me come alive. She knew before I was born I was most likely going to be a drummer.” And so, he was. His father played in a band at the time, and when Korey was about two years old, he sat at the kit for the first time. He felt at home, and the sound that resonated when he hit it was what he had felt inside of him from the moment his mother had walked by that speaker. “I was always watching the drummer. And then one day his drums were there and I kept going in, I just had to hit them and hear how they sounded. That sound, that feeling is just like what’s in me, and it needs to come out.”
Korey’s journey with drumming carried on, and once he was in high school he and his father realized it was turning into a serious thing. It was also around this time that he had gotten serious about the scene he now loves so much. His family had a blend of interests with music, ranging from reggae to jazz to ska, and it was ska that really stuck out to him as a teen. With bands like The English Beat and The Selector, Korey was enthralled. However, it wasn’t until he experienced the friendly environment ska is known for in person that he realized that was where he belonged. “It was the one time I felt like I fit in. There were black kids and there were white kids, and it didn’t matter where you fit in this scene. At my school I was this weird Puerto Rican kid and now I was having people come up to me like, ‘What’s up, man?’ It changed my life.”
This passion carried over into his professional setting, having played with bands such as Suedehead, Sharp/Shock, The Aggrolites, and now Shuffle and Bang. Shuffle and Bang was initially a passion project between father and son. The two had talked about doing something together for a while, as his father, Kim “Pops” Horn, is also a seasoned musician. “Me and my dad have talked about it for a very long time. He’s always wanted to do something but just didn’t know what it was. So, we talked like, ‘What if we put together this ska-jazz kind of thing?’ So, we put together a band with some great people and did 5 songs and it was so good. We were both like, ‘Oh my gosh we can do this, it’s so good. We can make an entire album.’”
The album, titled Island Bop, took over 2 years to come to fruition. A blend of jazz, ska, and reggae, Shuffle and Bang was initially started in 2018. However, with financial setbacks, health issues, and now COVID-19, Island Bop has had to overcome a lot of hurdles. Nevertheless, it was released in November on Pirates Press Records, which houses bands such as Cocksparrer, The Bar Stool Preachers, and The Drowns. For a label that’s predominantly known for its oi and punk bands, it may seem unusual that a jazz band landed on it. However, for Korey, Pirates Press was always going to be home for Shuffle and Bang. “It was a no brainer. We didn’t shop around or anything. I’ve worked with Pirates Press and they’re people that can be trusted and they say what they mean. I called them like, ‘Hey I have this project and it’s a jazz record.’ And they heard it and they were like, ‘Dude, we want to put this out. We’re going to put it out.’ When you think about it, it’s pretty punk rock to put a jazz record on a punk label.”
With that being said, Island Bop does have some punk elements. With songs such as “Grand Central,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” and “When I Take My Sugar to Tea,” the album encapsulates Korey’s punk and ska history along with Kim’s background in jazz. By combining all of these genres, Korey hopes it brings people together and exposes everyone to something new. “I hope people realize that we’re trying our best to do it justice and play it right and authentically. When people listen to ska or any of these genres exclusively, I want them to get the same feeling when they listen to this and realize it's great music. I want it to bring some positivity and just good vibes to everyone.”
As for Korey and Kim personally, this album is much more than music. The experiences they’ve shared through the two-year process have not only brought the pair closer together, but it’s made them realize that while life will continue to go on, this album will be cemented in music forever. “It means so much to me and my dad. It was quite emotional for the both of us when we put the needle on there for the first time. It’s a really big accomplishment and something we’ve always wanted to do. We’re not getting any younger and with my dad’s health problems during this process, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about how this is kind of written in history now. It means everything.”
Follow Korey “Kingston” Horn and Shuffle and Bang on Instagram at @koreykingston / @shuffleandbang and Shuffle and Bang on Facebook. You can keep up with the band here and can buy their new album, Island Bop, here.