Here’s an interview from the end of 2008. Questions were posed by the guys at Vombat Radio. We were hoping to get this published in a fanzine, but it hasn’t happened yet…
-How did it happen that such unique
personalities gathered together to form Keshco?
A: Keshco started at school soon after I met Robert for the first time… we were both 14 years old. A group of us used to play in the music room in our lunch hour, messing around on keyboards mainly. We did lots of ten-minute progressive jams with comedy bits… pretty similar to some of what we do now, actually! Is that a bad thing?
R: I had a high voice in those days and would scream all the time, luckily Andy liked my pitch and I was in. I remember clearly during the dinner time sessions always wanting to get to the synths but ending up with a drum and a small hand held cymbal!!! It was pure
Casio hell in those rooms!
A: Robert and I stayed friends and kept creating music together. When I went to Leicester to study, we played there a couple of times. Then Luke came along!
L: My eyes were taken by an advert Andy put up at De Montfort University asking for unusual people who could play unusual instruments -
Thankfully his quality control was not at its most strict and I snuck through the net! Do you still have a copy of that advert?
I’m quite interested to see what it said! Robert was, of course, an original member of Keshco and his influence was felt immediately.
A: I do have the advert and it was asking for everything except guitarists… so of course, most of my replies were from guitarists! Luke also played the flute, mandolin and keyboard, so I grabbed his arm and haven’t let him run away yet.
R: We got on with the job of playing pretty quickly and it felt more shading and texture was there, he’s a very intricate player and i like that very much.
-You are the authors of the soundtrack for
“20,000 little reasons” movie. Can you share
some backstage information about making the
L: It were great. Wasn’t it Andy? I liked the book better mind.
A: Hehe. This was a low-budget gangster film and our involvement was down to Robert…
R: I went to do a degree in Ipswich and my housemate during the second year was film-maker Andy Wilton, we had a good friendship and when he left after two years I stayed to complete the degree, then Mr Wilton got in touch and mentioned the film… it’s an interesting thing to see, our music with someone else’s film. It was the first time i’d seen something like that that we’d done!
A: They used a few of our songs, mainly from our second album “The Seeds Of Wom”. I don’t think the songs were very suitable; we would have preferred to compose a score specifically for the film, but there wasn’t enough time.
-Where does the name Keshco comes from?
L: Ahhh, the favourite question. I wish I knew. I like to think it represents a very exclusive cult (a nice one though. One that favours
biscuits as opposed to mass suicide).
R: Ask Andy, although I did at one point make out I knew what it meant as an acronym…
A: It’s very silly. When we were growing up, my local corner shop (grocery store) was run by a Mr Keshwara, and we liked the idea of a corner shop having its own band. Just as a local shop stocks all sorts of different things you need, so Keshco music is in many different styles… some out of date! The name has stuck ever since, although it’s often spelt wrong…
R: My acronym… (K)entucky (E)gg (S)ausage (H)am (C)auliflower (O)ffal. Oh how silly I was. I remember getting some very cheap Japanese Star Wars figures from that same shop in the late 90′s!
-There are three of you in the band, who is
responsible for what?
L: Andy is El Capitan, chief songwriter and genius producer. He creates – we follow. Robert is the magician, the stage presence and underground
musical maestro – He is the spirit of Keshco. I merely play along wherever I can.
A: Luke is very modest, a true pro. His steady hands and sharp musical sense keep us on the right track. Robert adds a certain unexpected quality, like a musical maverick! I often get lost in my computer playing with sounds and rhythms. We all write songs individually and together, in different styles. Some of the backing tracks are constructed on a freeware tracker program called Buzz. It’s a very cool and powerful piece of software, with lots of community-written VST plug-ins.
R: Andy is “big chief little whip” and does lots of technical stuff which still makes my brain buzz when we’re together recording! Luke is a very tight player and has precision on both guitar and keyboard – he’s a secret singer though I’ve tried to nudge him a few times. In fact Andy has a great voice that I like to harmonise with! Even when I’m not supposed to!
A: You’re improving all the time, hehe!
R: I like playing spacey noisey things with my synth and 707, and belting out vocals a la Freddie Mercury!
-How long have you been creating together?
R: Ooh I’m terrible with dates. Don’t wait for a Christmas card from me!
A: For a long long time! Half my life.
L: As Keshco in this form I’d say 2/3 years? There was definitely a turning point where we made a concerted effort to focus on Keshco
and the music of.
A: That’s right… we became aware that we should meet up more regularly and focus on Keshco. I think that was around the time I realised we could do gigs with homemade rhythm tracks (on Minidisc), freeing Bob to do his comedy and synths on stage (as he mainly played drums before that).
-Keshco is a project focusing not only on music
but also on various forms of art, what exactly
do you do apart from writing songs?
L: What don’t we do?! Film, performance, writing, animation. Loads, loads, loads. I’d like to try “keshco – the human statue next”.
A: We tend to have so many ideas for different projects that it’s difficult to focus on one particular idea. The danger then is if you don’t concentrate on one thing, nothing gets finished! Keshco lets us combine many disciplines. We do quite a lot of filming and scriptwriting, for pop promos and comedy sketches. I enjoy doing stop-motion animations, although it’s hard to find the time. We write a fanzine too, which is called “Beware”. We want to do a gallery show of our artworks…
R: Andy’s right about the problem we have sometimes of focusing… We are all creative in our own ways, I enjoy drawing and hoarding things so I can make them into models that never seem to materialise!
-How did you like the idea of home concerts and
what did you first think about it?
L: I love it. It produces a nice relaxed, intimate sound. Like an extended practice. It initially seemed like the ideal way for
us to give listeners a sense of how varied our music can be. We can switch from full-on folk to battered synthpop via spooky
stirrings without too much trauma. You do miss the feeling of a great live performance though and all the fun it is with Bob’s
entertainment skills. I think I like both equally.
A: It’s very nice to play a concert from the living room… much better for my nerves! Also you can reach so many more people in their homes, while they’re eating or tidying or having a bath…
R: I think the idea is very 21st century while still like a radio session. Luke’s right about losing the visual aspect but at least we do have that aspect if you saw us live! We’d be pretty terrible if we stood there like politicians all stiff and awkward! I was very excited to do this new thing, even if we didn’t rehearse beforehand…
-You are using many unconventional instruments
to produce your music
L: Oh yes, from the full on Samba band to the things with strings. Rapman synth…oh how we love you.
A: We all like getting as many odd instruments as possible! A lot of these came from charity shops or car boot sales. It helps our creativity too, because they do unexpected things. I love using pots and pans for percussion. Our computer music also tries to be lo-fi and individual, we wouldn’t want a pristine studio sound as where’s the fun in that?
Also, it always seemed natural to play with whatever was at hand. As a kid I made up songs using two mono tape recorders as a primitive multitrack, incorporating cutlery, scratching records, digital watches, radio noise, anything…
R: Andy’s bang on, I seem to get restless these days with just one keyboard. I’m not going to stop until I have one of every keyboard in the world, oh and particularly a Steinway and a Moog! I want a Theremin too! Santa’s sack is full for me! Ha!
A: We could chip in for a kazoo…
-Your music suggests that you have a rich
musical past. What musical genres did you all
L: I loved 60s music and was bought 3 tapes for a 7/8 or 9 birthday. The Beach Boys (Endless summer), The Drifters (Greatest Hits) and
an Eddie Cochran LP. Still perfect. I progressed through early Beatles to Simon and Garfunkel. Hit my A-levels with the Indie sounds of the
Charlatans, Gene, Bluetones, Stone Roses and Pulp. Grew into the Beautiful South, REM and Shack before unleashing a love
of lo-fi American sorrow in my 20s; most notably Low and Elliott Smith. This soon blew up to full-on Americana with Wilco, Lambchop,
Kevin Tihista and the Flaming Lips taking centre stage. I was there at the start for the Divine Comedy, but was late to the Smiths and Morrissey
which I now find difficult to explain. Currently I switch dramatically from arch songwriters (Waits, Newman and Costello), indie classics (Yo La Tengo,
Loney Dear, M. Ward and all things Jim O’Rourke)to perfect pop (Abba, Euros Childs and Paul Simon).
That said, ultimately all roads lead to Dylan and the Band.
A: I grew up mainly listening to chart pop with my sister, but our dad played Glenn Miller and our mum liked Mantovani. My tastes broadened a lot in my teenage years. I always liked electronic music… theme tunes, incidental music, radio jingles. Computer sounds. I loved the Pet Shop Boys (I had their 1989 annual), the Housemartins and Madness. Then I was given a tape of the Beatles and so I got into Donovan and all the psychedelic groups. The Smiths and The Cure were my teenage gloomy favourites. When I went to Leicester, I started exploring lots of areas like Indian music, krautrock (Amon Duul, Neu!), outsider music, and got very into left-wing political lyrics. Now, I like all sorts. There’s good and bad in every genre. Good, intelligent, peculiar lyrics are still very important to me, so I love Elvis Costello, Tori Amos and Frank Zappa.
R: I used to do Freddie Mercury impressions at the age of 5 and was escorted round my relatives’ houses doing his Live Aid performance! I liked electro stuff and one of my earliest memories is sitting in the back of my dad’s brown Ford Cortina with “Vienna” by Ultravox and the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?” on the radio. Later I turned to Pink Floyd and early Genesis, then Depeche Mode, and these days I’m more eclectic than I thought… I like folk, and the Beach Boys harmonies, electric oddities like Bruce Haack, Brian Eno, 70s Bowie and the theatrical sides of the Bonzo Dog Band and Peter Gabriel. Lots of songwriters, Hurricane Smith, Kenny Everett, Pulp, The Cure, ohohohoh and the space that Air create. “10,000 Hz Legend” is a fab album, especially the drumming on “Don’t Be Light”!
-Are you working on new material now?
L: Certainly are. The Butter Mountain is building. Whatever happened to Bleak Mouse?
A: Bleak House is another of our bands – it’s quieter, more introspective, and we’ve started doing more with that… an album will follow soon. The “Butter Mountain” is what we call the vast collection of tracks we’ve recorded, which are waiting to be unleashed in different ways. We have another album nearly finished, it’s called “Deforestation Of Dak”, has fifteen tracks and we’re still deciding whether to release it ourselves or through a netlabel.
R: Sometimes it all gets a bit bottlenecked, and there’s the ideas but nothing comes out and it’s so frustrating. I’m talking from a personal point of view with my soloish stuff, Ricky Egg Music. However there’s never a material shortage with Keshco…
-What are your plans for the future?
A: With luck, making more free time for ourselves, so we can finish off all the things we’ve started. I’m hoping to work part-time, in order to concentrate on creative things. We’d like to play European festivals…
L: More music, more gigs, more projects. More Keshco!
R: I’d like to become more technical, take the pressure off Andy, so he can feel able to write more freely. Luke’s correct – more gigs and more costumes!
A: More silly costumes. Well-stitched silly costumes.
-You’ve released quite a number of albums, where
can they be found?
L: Via Mr. Brain’s stash of cds. All available for the quite ridiculous 4 for a fiver offer! Otherwise the wonderful WM recordings have
our free EP.
A: That’s right, you can get a lot of our music from our website which is www.keshco.co.uk. It’s all homemade.
R: Something else homemade is this sandwich…
R: But you can’t buy it.
-If you had three wishes, what would you ask for?
L: Keshco related wishes right?
1. Music for the day job
2. A tour of somewhere outside England
3. A nice small loyal following – ensuring wish 1 never fails.
A: I’ll agree with those. Although I always hoped someone would write “Keshco – The Computer Game” for the Sinclair Spectrum…
R: Knighthoods would be nice. How about to have the first ever billion-selling greatest hits album at number one in every country for 1,000 years?
A: Sounds a bit grand to me.