Interview with KAV.
We spoke to KAV who is just about to release his solo debut album. He played guitar with the Mondays for 4 years after helping reform the band with frontman Shaun Ryder in 2004.
In this exclusive interview with KUL BRITANIA, KAV discusses his new solo record, his musical influences, meeting Shaun Ryder and former Oasis founding member Paul Arthurs, his new solo album, the music scene in America and the UK and more!!!
Read our exclusive interview below.
KUL BRITANIA : After playing with the Mondays, How did you end up on the American West Coast? Why did you decide to settle there?
KAV: I played Coachella with The Mondays in 2007 and stayed a few days in LA. I fell in love with the city! It just felt like me. The vibe and music was was exactly what I was into. Yeah I spend most of my time here now.
KB: Speaking of the Mondays, what was it like to play with them and how did you get to know Shaun Ryder? Is it true he actually said to you (when you invited them to play GETLOADED) "I need you to play guitar"?
KAV: Haha Yeah he did! He's a great man. True lyrical genius! I was a kid back then, playing around the scene in the UK. I was in a band called A.K.A Weave from Leicester. We launched around the same time as early Kasabian. I had a touring club night called GrooveHarder so Shaun used to tour as a DJ & sometimes get on stage with us. We were tight around that that time. I moved to London & was just finding my feet and Getloaded had kicked off. It was a monster at the time! I asked him if he would play as Shaun William Ryder & play all of his BIG songs & he said ‘Na, lets reform the Mondays but you're playing guitar’. So naturally I said yes.
KB: You said once that being in a band is not just about picking up a guitar and playing. What did you learn from being with the Mondays in those days?
KAV: Yep thats true! It is so much more than just playing guitar these days. You need to be wise and on top of so many different of aspects of the day-to-day of being a musician. Being in any band or playing with any of the musicians and people you’ve met along the way you learn so much. It's life experience. You get up out of bed and within 5 mins you could learn one of your most valuable life lessons.
The Mondays taught me a lot. I was a young lad playing with some legends and guys who were 20 years older than me and they had been there, seen it and done it. It was one hell of an education man. Priceless! The best part of it was to top it all off I also had some of my best friends on tour with me as well. Mikey Shine was playing bass – (aka the BASS CHIMPas Mani from the Roses named him back in his A.K.A WEAVE days) & my boy Jonn Dunn on guitar. Plus my friend Poss played on the decks at the start, probably the most underrated scratch DJ ever (he prefers to go fishing than playing music). Dave Parkinson was also the programmer at the start of my time with the band. I made a lot of new friends along the way and these are people I still stay in touch with today. I also got a chance to work with talented people like Julie Gordon and Dan Broad.
KB: You released your EP Blaggers and Liars in 2012 It's been two years KAV since that release, what are your expectations from your self titled album which is scheduled - if we are not wrong - to drop this August?
KAV: Yeah man it's out this August and I'm just listening to the master of the record now. Just got it from Stephen Marcussen. He's a top man he's done The Stones, McCartney and bands like Nirvana. I'm going to stick it in the car and drive real far Californian style. I'm happy with it! It's been a journey it really has. I wanted this record to be honest and true I wanted every lyric to tell a story and mean something. Every note had to be played with an honest truth. You know when something’s right and it finally felt right this time. It's been recorded all over the place. From London to LA & my hometown Leicester and then back round again.
If someone puts that record on and enjoys listening to it then that’s whats it's about really for me. If it’s a few more than one person, that’s even better!
I've decided to name the record 'Man With No Shadow' It's named after one of the tracks on the album and kind of explains a lot when you listen to the album.
KB: We heard the first track "Dance in a Panic" and it has this 50s, 60s rock sound brought into this day but with a bit of a twist there which sounds great. The Guardian described your sound once as “combining the speed of the scream with the swagger of the stones”. Do you subscribe to that? What can you tell us about your musical influences particularly in the making of this album?
KAV: It's always an honour to be compared to your musical heroes and The Stones and Primal Scream are two of my all time favourite bands.
I'm not sure I can actually pick out influences for this record as the music just happened, but I guess you are being influenced subconsciously by everything around you, the sounds you listen to and everything you've grown up listening to. I listen to and play music all the time, although I do like silence as well every now and again!
I grew up on my Aunt’s records. She left them at my parents house in Leicester and I would come home from school and play them every-day. The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan, The Who, Small Faces, Hendrix, The Kinks and Pink Floyd were the first bands I was listening to at the age 7 years old. After that I was really into Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Beastie Boys followed by The Prodigy, Primal Scream + artists like NWA and Public Enemy. I was still really young, but they were just some of the artists I was listening too.
I guess Oasis were my first real band at school where I felt part of the movement. I dressed like them - the hair and the Adidas. I loved them! They really changed my life to be totally honest. After getting into Oasis when they first came out with my boy Mikey who I played with in The Mondays and A.K.A Weave, I went back to discover other bands. We use to hang out at an indie disco in Leicester called the FAN CLUB and they use to play The Mondays and Stone Roses etc so yeah then I discovered everything from the La's to New Order. It was a great time! You've just become a teenager and there is endless incredible music! I became a massive Stone Roses fan, I lived by them! Black Grape ‘It's Great When You’re Straight’ was a huge album for me! I don't think I ever played an album so many times walking to school every-day on my walkman. I guess BritPop was huge then, but I never bought into that. I just listened to great bands!
I would say one of my favourite artists of all time has to be Neil Young. He still sounds cool and is as relevant today as he's always been. He hasn't been changed by the music industry and instead it's made him stronger. He's a real artist and a true artist. The best of the best for me! I've been listening and watching the latest record he did with Jack White & it’s amazing! You can feel the soul in the performances. I went to see him in Hollywood in April and I've gotta say it's greatest gig I've ever seen. Just him and all his guitars, keys & organ. Harmonica of course. It got me emotional - you feel every note & vocal. A true inspiration.
KB: Where was the video shot? And why the mods and the rockers there KAV? do you think the Mod scene is getting bigger these days and there's a bit of a Mod revival in the UK or even in the US?
KAV: The video was shot in Camden Town in London. Camden is a place close to my heart. I lived there for a few years and had been hanging out there since I was 16. I think I've played more live gigs in Camden than anywhere else. We shot it a place called The Record Club. When we working on the video with director Martin Pickering it just became clear it was an old school 60's style mod video - which was great as I love that vibe and always have!
I'm not sure about a revival as I think it's always been there! It's pretty strong in the UK still and the look has never really gone away. I mean some footballers look like mods these days. I think in the US the mod movement is pretty underground and small but it seems to be part of the kind of psych /indie scene. I guess bands like BJM and a few of the new San Francisco bands are bringing it back. Yeah maybe there’s a revival in the US!
KB: The song features in Aaron Pauls dancing clip from Decoding Annie Parker. How did that come to happen? Did you approach someone in Hollywood or were you approached by someone there? Are you a fan of Breaking bad yourself?
KAV: We were approached by the director of the film Steven Bernstein. He loved the song and that was it! The track really worked for the teaser. I don't get too much of a chance to sit down and watch TV series. At the start of the year I actually got rid of my TV for a while. When I watch it, I'm really into Game Of Thrones, Banshee, True Detective and stuff like that. I usually have to take two days out and ‘llI watch a whole series from start to finish so I get right in the zone. I've got Breaking Bad ready to go but it's going to take a week or so. Maybe after the albums out! I know I'll love it!
KB: You are going to be taking the U.K. nightlife scene to the West Coast with the launch of your brand new LA parties. Do you see a lot going on in the States for that, especially in L.A.?
KAV: Yeah people love that vibe. We are launching some parties soon. As soon as the album is out, we’ll be focusing on making that happen! We have the venue and everything else in place. LA has such a great nightlife but people love something a little different.
KB: Are you intent on staying there long? Is that your residency these days?
KAV: It kind of is. I've spent more time in LA than anywhere else since first coming here in 2007. I still drift between the UK and West Coast but yeah it feels like home at the moment. This city is good to me and I love this city!
KB: Is the music scene in the States different from the one in England ? Is it too corporate there in terms that musicians need to follow certain guidelines and when it comes to releasing new material and all that?
KAV: I guess you can be a part of that machine if you choose to be but it's not something I have ever wanted to be part of to be honest. I put my soul into my music which means it can't really be fucked with. I think there is more of that in the UK really - you can see it in London more than anything. That’s one of the main reasons I came to California and fell in love with the music scene. There are more independent artists doing it for the right reasons. The Vinyl record shop is still central to the Indie music scene and people love going out to discover new bands whether it's a Monday or a Saturday. There are so many radio stations who support real artists and I guess there seems to be room for all different styles and sounds. The level and quality of bands around LA right now is incredible.It's a musicians town there is no doubt about that! People who are not involved in actual music-making will always try to make guidelines and rules – it’s the way of the industry. I bought into that over the last few years a little after listening to people too much. Now I don't really give a shit. If the music sounds good and I feel it then it's all good with me!
KB: You debuted your first show of 2014 at the Viper Room with special guest Bonehead on guitar and Alex Lipinski. What can you tell us about that day? and how did you get to know Bonehead?
KAV: Yeah it was great! We were just saying the other day when we were getting ready for our last gig at Club Moscow in LA how much Bonehead added to the live sound. The way he just chugged the chords made us sound so solid - with 3 guitars live the sound was massive! It was huge having him play live with us!
Oasis were my band growing up so yeah it was a big moment. Plus he's one of the soundest people you will ever meet - a top man! Also it was great to meet Alex! Such a sound lad - someone I'd hang out with a lot if we were in the same town. We shared some of the same influences and the same sense of humour. He also has one hell of a voice on him.
I first met Bonehead when I was around 14/15 at an Oasis gig in Leicester. I think ‘Morning Glory’ was just about to come out, or had just come out. I’d got the job to help decorate the Oasis dressing room that night which I was pretty happy about haha! I think I stuck the odd Man Utd poster up (which was ok with Bonehead but not the rest of the band!) I saw Bonehead, Alan White & Guigsy watching the support band ‘Smaller’ which was Digsy's band. I went up to them and started chatting. Just remember Bone being dead sound and I was boring him talking about guitars. Anyway a few years later my band A.K.A Weave started working with Guigsy recording some tracks and Bonehead was hanging out with us a lot and he remembered me from that gig. He's got a great memory. He said ‘You’re that kid I met at the gig in Leicester’. I was about 19 by then & was blown away by anything Oasis, being such a big fan. One day we were round Bonehead’s house sitting in his studio listening to the A.K.A Weave album (which never came out!). He loved it! I needed an amp at the time so he said take any you won't. So he gave me an amp he played in his early Oasis days and he pointed out this amp and gave it to me. I'll never forget that. A true gent! So yeah I've known him for a few years.
I bump into him and see him every now and again. When we were talking about someone guesting with me as part of my first gig back in LA I just thought its gotta be Bonehead because of the history. We had a blast! It was great having them out here.
KB: You are doing vocals and guitar, what other instruments are you playing on your album?
KAV: I play bass on some of the tracks and also playing drums on one track and most importantly tambourine one of my favourite instruments. Plus a few other weird instruments I can't remember at the moment.
KB: Any idea which festivals you might be playing this summer in the States or Europe?
KAV: No festivals this summer as we are just playing gigs in the LA area. Playing the new album tracks to my musical hometown. We will be going out live after the release later in the year.
KB: Do you have material in mind yet for another album?
KAV: Yeah lots! I had 60+ songs recorded for this album and then got it down to 37. I then managed to get it down to 15 and make a 56 min album which is kind of a special number for me. I'm recording new material all the time. I can't wait to get in the zone on the next record.
KB: You've been involved in the music scene for years now, How do you see music these days? Are there any British bands that you find exciting?
KAV: I think there’s a lot of great music out there. Music is in a great place at the moment - so many amazing DIY bands doing it for themselves and for the right reasons. Obviously you need to take a look outside of the box to see this & not rely on what you’re being fed by the major media. The major record industry are fairly out of touch with what’s lighting the fires on the underground and where the longevity in music will come from. It’s like with the days of Factory and then Creation - on the underground there are so many greats bands in garages and practice studios all over the world. I get a lot of stuff sent to me by bands and most of the time I'm blown away by all the great rock n’ roll out there.
Because I spend a lot of time in LA this is where I really get a chance to see what’s out there. Most venues in places like Silverlake, Hollywood, Echo Park and Downtown LA are busy on a weekday with good bands. Rock n’ roll is doing great – it’s just the majors aren’t aren’t signing good bands right now. If you look at music history the time when Rock N Roll/ Punk/ Electro or whatever scene it may be is most alive is when the independent labels & the real music fans are running it, without the involvement of the major corporations.
Band wise - here in LA stations like KROQ, KCSN & KCRW are promoting and playing so much fresh amazing stuff it's great! I met one of the guys from The Eeries backstage at the BJM gig with Bonehead & Alex. Now his band are being played everywhere in LA & they don't have a big deal. They are just a good band being championed by people who are passionate for good music.
In the UK I like a band called The Struts. They are really beginning to do good things – they just supported The Stones in Paris so yeah good for them!!
As far as big bands go I like Kasabian. I know the guys back from Leicester & singer Tom is a friend. I used to do some recording with bass player Chris back in our teens. Top lads! I went back to Leicester a few weeks back and watched them smash a huge home-town gig in Victoria Park. They really did it! It was amazing and I'm proud of those boys! They played such a great show. I think Sergio is one of the best modern writers out there and he's taken that band to the top!
I listen to a lot of stuff but I'm a massive BRMC fan & I'm digging Sean Lennon's new project 'The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger' plus I’m listening to Jack White's new album a lot. My list of bands at the moment is endless. I'll do you a playlist at some point soon.
KB: What is the way forward for bands or artists like you? Is it sharing the files digitally? Is it the Festival scene i.e. playing as many gigs as you can?
KAV: I guess it's digital and playing as many gigs as possible. I think it's different everywhere in the World. The digital platforms are probably the most important for getting music out there. Then when people want to see you play live, you go out there and play for them!
KB: Thank you very much for your time KAV and we can't wait to hear your new album!!!
KAV: Thank you guys.
KAV has debuted yet another video "Lonely Men" . "Man with no Shadow" KAVs debut album out 26th August.