We recently featured their rowdy new single ‘I Can’t Do A Thing’ on our site and it blew us away, so it made sense to track down Londoners KEROSCENE to discover what goes into their music, hosting warehouse parties and the influences that make them tick.
You’ve previously said that recent single ‘I Can’t Do a Thing’ is about “people’s ever-changing emotional states and how ultimately one can only ride the roller coaster, not control it”. Would you like to elaborate on that thought? Was there something specific that you were referring to?
We always write music first and lyrics second. It’s just how our process works, so I’m always tasked with the job of figuring out what our songs are about. With ‘I Can’t Do A Thing’, I always knew the vocals would be very ethereal and trippy. The guitars are pretty heavy but we didn’t want the song to come across as aggressive. So apathy seemed like a pretty good place to put the song emotionally. The track is complex and there’s a lot of different noises and textures going around, I felt this was similar to our modern reality where we are bombarded with all sorts of information at an unrelenting pace. So the song laments how we can’t really control our environment but is apathetic to our environment’s effect on us. More simply put, you can’t control how crazy the world is, but you can control how crazy it makes you. So it’s a bit more of an uplifting message more than just out and out apathy.
We really enjoyed your noisy, shoegaze-influenced sound. Tell us a little about what inspires you all musically; do you all draw influences from different places or artists?
This is a question that we keep getting from different people and we still haven’t gotten any better at answering it! In a nutshell, we take our main influences from a lot of American 1980’s noise, punk and post-punk bands like Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma and Butthole Surfers. We also like alternative acts from the 90’s like Jane’s Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins and The Pixies. But the truth is, the question of genres and influence is a bit archaic. Music tribalism is dead, culture consumption is becoming more homogenous. Who needs a scene when you can make a playlist right? So with that said, we try to think of ourselves as a modern band. One that has clear inspiration in certain sound but is always eclectic in terms of influences.
How much experimentation goes into your writing? How do you know when a track is done and enough is enough?
We’ve done a bit of a 180 on experimentation in our writing. Before, we used to love spending countless hours experimenting in the studio and using it as much as instrument as a recording platform. But personally, we find all that stuff a bit lame and self indulgent now. It’s difficult reconciling punk and psychedelic aspects in our music. But there is always something about the rawness and efficiency in punk music that I always keep coming back to, almost like a musical reset button. So now when we record stuff, rather than dicking around with effects or whatever until we feel “inspired”, we think to ourselves, how can we get this song as tight as possible as a group? How can we convey maximum effect without over embellishing everything? I think this is a much healthier approach and one that forces you to write and produce better music, but cause you can’t rely on as many smoke and mirrors.
You owned a warehouse in London where you lived, wrote, partied and hosted live music nights that attracted bands such as Esben and the Witch, The Telescopes and Secret Fix. Why did you stop hosting such nights and would you do something similar again?
In short, we stopped because our landlord at the time kicked us out. So we fought our eviction, put on some of the last parties and shows at that location and left. It was sad at the time, but looking back on it, something as cool as that can’t exist for too long, so it was inevitable that it would come to pass. We would love to do some more warehouse parties in the future for sure. Having the ability to curate a space and put together experiences that aren’t really commonplace in London is a very powerful thing. We have a few ideas in the pipeline, but we are not in rush to go back to that sort of stress. Our music is our priority now, but maybe someday we will roll out our next warehouse party format.
Given your ability to host live music nights, we presume that there is a active music scene from your neck of the woods. Has it helped Keroscene grow so far? Do bands support each other or collaborate?
Throwing warehouse parties was a great way to connect with artists and bands around us that we loved. When we set out we had it in our heads that this was going to be a platform where all sorts of people could meet and cross-pollinate. But after going through some of the experiences of running an underground warehouse venue, I’ve come to the conclusion that we all live in our own little digital bubbles and nothing is out there in real world anymore. Who cares if there was a cool party with some incredible new live talent last week if it wasn’t liked and reposted a bazillion times on social media? Unit-4 was a fun time and place for us to do some incredible shows and we are grateful for that opportunity. Hopefully, we can take our message further in time.
You’re just played the Old Blue Last, how was it? What can people expect from your live show? Do you have any more gigs lined up?
The Old Blue Last show is a great venue and we always enjoy playing there. We’ve reworked a couple of our older songs for the show and we showcased the new single ‘I Can’t Do a Thing’ as well.
What are your plans for the near future? Are there any other releases in the works?
After the Old Blue Last, we are playing a warehouse party in North London to celebrate the 6th anniversary of Strummer Studios, which should be a great night. Details are yet to be announced, but you can find out more on our social media. The video for ‘I Can’t Do a Thing’ is done and will be coming out in the next couple of weeks, we self-produced the video, working with a director who is a friend of ours and we feel we’ve really managed to translate our music’s identity with this video. Next week we are heading up to Leeds to record our next single with Matt Peel, who’s a great producer and has done records with Pulled Apart by Horses and Eagulls. We are recording in his studio which is in a church with lots of cool gear so we are excited to get stuck into that process!
Keroscene’s single ‘I Can’t Do A Thing’ can be listened to via Soundcloud.