The Sleeves 13.7.17

Hi Keith, you’ve been described as ‘part punk, part classic rock, part throwback 80s indie…proper rock n’roll’ which is quite an endorsement. How would you describe your sound?

Well that’s already pretty detailed. It also reflects our collective influences which we’re told come through loud and clear in our overall sound. So I’m happy with that description. Mix up The Kinks, the Sex Pistols, PIL, Stone Roses, Kasabian and The Faces and you’ll be close.

The band have an interesting story; you’re all British but based out of Hong Kong. How has living in Hong Kong influenced your sound and creative output?

Yeah the band was formed in Hong Kong (in 2007) and has always been based in the city. But we’re all English born and bred and our music and lyrics mostly reflect those formative years.

Hong Kong’s relatively expensive cost of living makes it a transient city so there have been various line-up changes over the years. It also means that we all need full time jobs to pay the bills. On the plus side, new bandmembers have kept our songwriting dynamic fresh and the gaps between albums allow plenty of time for quality control !

And to make it more international, the new album ‘Deliverance’ was recorded in Cambodia. What prompted you to record in Cambodia?

Mainly Hong Kong rents. Cambodian studio time is inexpensive by comparison. But recording in Cambodia also meant that we were able to step away from our daily lives for a week and focus 100% on the album, which is a far more effective way to record … give or take the occasional bottle of whiskey !

How would you describe ‘Deliverance’ and how’s the reaction been so far?

By comparison to our debut album ‘Arcade Rock’ (2011), which was an anthology of songwriting by early bandmembers, ‘Deliverance’ is a more cohesive body of work as it was all written and recorded by the current line-up. We generally aim for rocking guitars and a shoe-shuffling rhythm section but there’s some light and dark stuff in there too to mix it up. The album’s still being mixed but we’ve been playing it live for over a year now, so I can only comment on the live reaction and we haven’t had any complaints to date !

You’ll be returning back to UK shores playing dates in Darlington, Northumberland and Middlesbrough. Are you excited to be coming home and playing the new material? As an international band, how does a North East of England crowd differ from crowd elsewhere in the world?

Well we’re always excited to go out on the road to play our music but we’re really looking forward to this tour, which begins and ends in the North East. Our first night (of 9) will be at Coquetfest on the Northumberland coast (Fri 18 Aug) and then we finish the trip in Middlesbrough (Whirling Dervish at TSOne, Thurs 24 Aug) and The Quakerhouse in Darlington (Fri 25 Aug). My mum lives in Darlington so the last night of the tour will be something of a Prodigal Son’s return … for her if no-one else !

Finally what is inspiring you at the moment?

That varies on a daily basis. Right now it’s the chance to spend some quality time with my kids before the tour. Last week, it was the energy and atmosphere around the week-long live music festival that I run in Hong Kong. And musically it’s Rock & Roll Queen by The Subways … how the hell did I miss that the first time around ??!!!