KEG On Their Forthcoming EP “Girders” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, September 22nd, 2023  


KEG On Their Forthcoming EP “Girders”

Brighton based seven-piece discuss life as a band before and after the pandemic

Aug 18, 2022 Photography by Theo Zeal Web Exclusive
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Meet KEG, who just happen to be one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the UK underground music scene in recent years. Their trajectory reads like a tour of English seaside towns, having been initially conceived in the North East coastal resort of Bridlington before heading further south to sunnier pastures in Brighton.

Numbering seven in total – Albert Haddenham (vocals), Frank Lindsay & Jules Gibbons (guitars), Will Wiffen (keys), Joel Whitaker (bass), Charlie Keen (brass) and Johnny Pyke (drums). KEG straddle the fine line between post punk, old school rave and experimental pop, with comparisons so far ranging from Talking Heads and Devo to LCD Soundsystem and Dexys Midnight Runners. And that’s just today.

Debut single “Heyshaw” came out at the back end of last summer to a fanfare of positive reviews, while follow-up single “Farmhands” off the same Assembly EP also made several heads turn upon release at the tail end of 2021. Since then, the band have issued three more singles this year in the shape of “Kids”, “Elephant” and “NPC” with their second EP Girders due in the early part of September 2022.

In an hour or so, KEG will literally tear the roof off The Lodge stage at Deer Shed Festival. Beforehand, Under the Radar meets all seven of the band in their makeshift dressing room to discuss festivals, influences and what comes next on their already exciting journey.

Dom Gourlay (Under the Radar): You’re playing the “late night slot” this evening at Deer Shed. How do you approach a festival set compared to a headline show of your own?

Albert Haddenham: Most of the time when I see we’re playing that late its just a feeling of dread because we’ve got a whole day to just not get drunk. We’ve managed that so far, but it is hard. We’ve got an hour and a half slot, so it should be really fun.

Will Wiffen: For a long time we actually went through a phrase of just shouting out song titles on stage! We didn’t have a setlist. We’d just wing it because we can rely on each other to just carry a show.

Charlie Keen: We realised there were some times when one of us wanted to do a particular song, so we’d end up having little domestic arguments on stage.

Will Wiffen: But then after a while when you don’t know which song you’re playing from one to the next it stops being fun.

How did the band start?

Will Wiffen: We got together about six months before Covid happened so it meant we could only record in our bedrooms.

Albert Haddenham: We haven’t been doing it that long really. We’ve been in previous bands before. KEG from conception is about three years old. It wasn’t the first stop. We’ve all been around each other for a while. Initially, Will moved to Brighton, I moved to Bristol.

Will Wiffen: There have been a lot of eye-opening experiences I suppose. Everyone else is from cities. I’m from Bridlington.

Albert Haddenham: Lots of things happen there. Charlie Heaton from Stranger Things is from there. David Hockney lived there for a bit. The first ever female pilot Amy Johnson lived there as well.

Did the pandemic interrupt the band’s progress somewhat? Was it especially difficult to make that progression from bedroom recording artists to a fully fledged touring band?

Albert Haddenham: I think it’s always been difficult. It’s just since the pandemic things are getting even harder.

Frank Lindsay: It’s more of a rigmarole going into Europe now. We’re meant to be playing Germany and Switzerland in a couple of weeks so we don’t know what to expect. It’s a weird one because we were told there would be loads more checks going over the border into France, but when we played there recently there wasn’t.

Was it always your intention to put everything into playing live as much as possible once the pandemic restrictions were lifted?

Albert Haddenham: Absolutely. We just wanted to get out there and play to as many people as possible. Same with festivals. You don’t have to worry so much about playing something new, because to most of the people you’re playing to every song is new anyway. Once all these gigs are out the way we’ll focus on writing again.

Frank Lindsay: We’ve been on the road for so long now that even when you come off for a week, you don’t really feel like writing.

Will Wiffen: Before we played Latitude last month we had five day sessions from 10-4 in two weeks, so we just need to get in a room and do more.

You’ve released a handful of singles that have become two EPs. Will there be an album to follow?

Will Wiffen: We’ve started writing for an album. We’re on tour right through to November so I guess we’re just focusing on that and the new EP at the minute.

Albert Haddenham: We’re playing two or three new songs in the live set right now that may be on the album.

Musically, the reference points range from early post-punk like Talking Heads and Devo to eighties soul experimentalists Dexys Midnight Runners then avant garde disco such as LCD Soundsystem. Were all of those influences on KEG?

Albert Haddenham: Originally yeah. We all love those bands but at the same time I’d like to think we’re moving away from that sound.

Will Wiffen: We’re finding our own sound. It’s a broad church to be fair.

Albert Haddenham: I want us to do something a bit more honest.

Charlie Keen: We’ve written three brand new ones that don’t really fit any of those categories so I’d like to think we’re already finding our own space. There’s a lot of different energies going into what we do. A lot of different personalities.

With seven people in the band, how do you make decisions on what to do next? Is it a total democracy?

Charlie Keen: It’s fucking hard! There’s a lot of listens.

Albert Haddenham: We jam a lot of material before any songs emerge, then when something does everyone just slowly moves away and focuses on that particular track.

Frank Lindsay: I think its working really well. We’re a lot less shouty, more dynamic and as a result more honest as well. Obviously we all listen to lots of different types of music individually but the stuff we listen to as a group is probably miles away from what you’d expect us to. We’re trying to write more soulful songs than we have done previously.

Who comes up with the lyrics?

Johnny Pyke: With older songs like “Kids” and “Farmhands” I just set up a drum loop with what I’d done and the lyrics came just like that. That was the process before when we didn’t really have a band and recorded songs in our bedrooms. But now we’re often in the room together and the songs just materialise. We are more of a live room band so it’s better that we don’t have someone sat in their bedroom creating an idea. It works so much better when something comes together in the practice room.

Albert Haddenham: Almost everything that we’re pleased with has come from one, long session of writing. Most of them that come naturally are the best ones lyrically as well.

Will Wiffen: All of a sudden one idea pops up and we run with it for the day. By the end we’ve either got a new song or are 75% of the way there.

What advice would you give to a new band just starting out?

Will Wiffen: Follow your head, follow your heart, listen to each other.

Frank Lindsay: If you want to emulate someone, emulate them. But then once you’ve found your feet do you.

Will Wiffen: That’s true. It’s alright listing a bunch of influences then being compared to them, but if you’re going to make it in your own right the music has to go way beyond that. It’s very rare someone comes along that’s totally original, but if there’s enough going in there to start with then make sure what comes out stands up in its own right.

Girders is out on Friday 2nd September via Alcopop Records/BMG.

KEG play the following shows from this weekend until the middle of November.

August 21st | Green Man Festival - Crickhowell, UK

September 1st | End Of The Road Festival - Salisbury, UK

September 3rd | Manchester Psych Festival - Manchester, UK

September 24th | Detonation Festival - Besancon, France

October 15th | Future Days Festival - Birmingham

October 19th | Vera, Groningen - Netherlands

October 20th | Merlyn, Nijmegan - Netherlands

October 21st/22nd | Left of the Dial Festival - Netherlands

October 23rd | Privatclub - Berlin, Germany

October 24th | Botanique, Witloof Bar - Brussels, Belgium

October 25th | Rotondes - Luxembourg

November 2nd | Clwb for Bach - Cardiff, UK

November 3rd | Heartbreakers - Southampton, UK

November 4th | Strings Bar - Newport, UK

November 9th | The Bodega - Nottingham, UK

November 10th | Cluny 2 - Newcastle, UK

November 11th | Brudenell Social Club - Leeds, UK

November 12th | Sneaky Pete’s - Edinburgh, UK

November 13th | Broadcast - Glasgow, UK

November 15th | The Louisiana - Bristol, UK

November 16th | Komedia - Brighton, UK

November 17th | 100 Club - London, UK

November 18th | The Forum - Tunbridge Wells, UK

November 20th | The Portland Arms - Cambridge, UK

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