Yesterday Irish Rock Band ‘Fangclub’ headlined an incredible set at the Sunflower Lounge. Before the three piece rocked the night, we sent Hassan y to sit down with Bassist Kevin Keane prior to the band’s first headline show in Birmingham.
Hassan – Hey Kevin, how you doing?
Kevin – I’m doing good dude, how are you?
Hassan – I’m doing pretty good man. Is this your first time in Birmingham?
Kevin – My dad is actually from Birmingham, so I’ve been here quite a bit as a kid. So it’s kinda like a home away from home for me.
Hassan – Almost like a homecoming because this is your first set tonight, so how is that feeling?
Kevin – Pretty great. All the shows have been great so far on the tour. We’ve been to places like Edinburgh that we’ve never done before. We haven’t been here (Birmingham) since Pretty Vicious and Twin Atlantic.
Hassan – It’s funny you mention Twin Atlantic because you were an opening band and now your headlining. Is the mentality different now? I imagine because when your opening you got to start the show, make everyone energetic as f*** basically. And now you’re ending the show, almost like a wrestling show.
Kevin – Oh I love wrestling so much.
Hassan – No way cause Ireland has some amazing talent right now.
Kevin – We got OTT in Ireland.
Hassan – Oh yeah OTT, have you got a particular favourite wrestler?
Kevin – In WWE?
Hassan – Anywhere.
Kevin – I like Session Moth Martina, she’s great in OTT and then Dean Ambrose is my boy in WWE.
Hassan – I’m wearing a Pete Dunne t-shirt today
Kevin – Oh Pete Dunne he’s great.
Hassan – As much as he lost the title the other day to Travis Banks, which I’m a little gutted but at the same time I like Travis Banks so I can’t complaint.
Kevin – British Strong Style is the best at the moment.
Hassan – BSS for life, but moving away from wrestling: is the mentality different when your opening the show compared to headlining it.
Kevin – I think I suppose the scale of those Twin Atlantic were so much bigger then the kinda club shows we do. But we always feel like we’re a big ball of energy from start to finish regardless of the slot we’re in. So I don’t know it’s not really a change mentality that much then giving people a good show and make the whole thing full of energy as possible, whether we are opening or closing.
Hassan – That’s the goal at the end of the day. You mention energy and I don’t know much about the Irish music scene as say Birmingham well I live here or Manchester and London but Ireland I don’t know much about that scene. I know some of the greatest musicians came (from Ireland) like Rory Gallagher one of the greatest guitarist ever, U2 an influencial band, Sinead O Connor came from there.
Kevin – Thin Lizzy too.
Hassan – Thin Lizzy yeah, one of the pioneers so many metal bands we love now.
Kevin – For sure.
Hassan – So what’s the scene like? Because say I came to Ireland, I don’t know much about the scene you got to show me around. What’s it like?
Kevin – In terms of bands? Or in terms of venues?
Hassan – Everything.
Kevin – I always think since that first Royal Blood album, the alternative scene because it was really tough for a number of years ago. Since that album came out, rock has been coming a little bit more mainstream again. You’re seeing a lot more rock bands, there’s a tone like the Irish music scene is thriving at the moment especially for rock bands and heavier bands. There are more club nights and more venues that are opened to putting on rock gigs which is great. There are so many bands in Ireland like Hurricane and there’s another great band called Bitch Falcon that you need to check out. The name alone would backup how good they are.
Hassan – Well I’m going to be here tonight to see you guys rock out, so I’ll list those guys out. You guys are a three piece, and there have been some great three piece bands over the years. Being in three piece does that help with the sound? Cause you guys have known each other for so many years, does that help having that three piece sound having it compressed together then saying let’s get 4 or 5 guys in the band.
Kevin – I think it makes things very simple in terms of setup. But when you’re playing the songs live like a recording a rhythm guitar or when your recording, so you have to improvise some stuff, but it makes us work harder to try and improvise as much as we can with the recordings to the live setup. So for one point it’s a simpler setup for a three piece band, you got the guitar, bass, drums and vocals so we do find new ways to recreating the record sound for a live sound.
Hassan – Awesome! It can be very difficult cause you’re a three piece that your sound is so heavy I used to think man this is four or five guys but the fact that it’s a three piece is so compressed together it must be difficult, and that your able to recreate that is incredible. Anyone who is able to recreate their sound or alter it just a bit for a live setting, it’s almost as if you’re an actor its different to being an actor on tv to acting on the theatre. It’s a different mentality.
Kevin – It’s all method acting.
Hassan – So you’re the bass player, what’s your role as we mention before the greatest three piece bands like Nirvana and Cream and Rush. Their bass players have such an important role to the band. What do you bring to the table?
Kevin – I think just being just the backbone. Like we always say for every song, don’t over complicate things that don’t need to be overcomplicated. Like Steven will go do his own melody and me and Dara are the driving force, the backbone in the background. So I suppose just keeping things simple might just be my biggest job I suppose. And If Steven does a solo getting that rhythm distortion, like I use a big muff pedal and an equaliser to pump up my sound. Cause you’re doing two jobs, being the rhythm guitarist and the bass player.
Hassan – It’s just keeping those two mentalities, like you got your role at the same time the other members are doing their own thing. Like come on guys, I’m trying to do my own thing here.
Kevin – Haha I’m good at just keeping in the background.
It was at this moment guitarist and singer Steven King and drummer Dara Coleman joined the interview.
Hassan – So you’re the singer right?
Steven – Yeah
Kevin – Our tortured poet.
Hassan – Well we mentioned Nirvana, let’s just hope a similar faith doesn’t happens.
Steven – a what?
Kevin – A similar faith doesn’t happen like with Cobain, like your 28 now?
Steven – yeah
Kevin – Oh, so you’re over the 27 club.
Steven – Oh yeah
Hassan – Phew that’s fine then.
Dara – We were very worried.
Kevin – Steven wrapped in bubble wrap for a year.
Hassan – Jeeze it’s like that scene from the new trainspotting movie, you know I forgot his name he had his entire face covered in bubble wrap.
Steven – Oh yeah
Kevin – I still haven’t seen the new Trainspotting.
Steven – It’s good.
Hassan – So you guys have been making a name for yourselves these last few weeks and months now. Kerrang have reviewed you guys and I believe a local Irish newspaper said some stuff about you guys too. You signed to a major label. Being that we mentioned the indie scene, do you ever have stick from other musicians that you joined the major label and you ruined indie music now, is it ever stuff like that? Cause they say punk died when The Clash signed to a major label.
Steven – I don’t know.
Kevin – I don’t really care.
Steven – Yeah we want our music to be heard by everybody.
Kevin – As much people as possible, so getting on a label is giving us a bigger platform.
Dara – We know so many who are like f*** the major labels but there all miserable. So it’s like whatever.
Steven – I think these days it’s not like you sell-out when you sign to a big label, your born sold out that’s just how the world is.
Hassan – Yeah.
Steven – Like my favourite bands that I got into like The Offspring and Nirvana. We just want to follow that path and I don’t think I would’ve heard Nirvana if they didn’t sign to a major label I wouldn’t have heard them growing up or The Offspring if they stayed local California punk in the desert. I want to be out there to hear our music and for some kid to collect our records and start their own bands.
Kevin – I mean does indie still exist anymore? Cause every major label seems to own them.
Hassan – Exactly.
Dara – You only sell it to yourself, so you wouldn’t have done something for any reason if its money then that’s selling out.
Kevin – We control our own work, so we can control the art and the music. The DIY aesthetic. So if you sign that away then yeah maybe it would be f****** weird.
Steven – We tried to keep a hold of that cause that is what we love.
Hassan – Awesome answer. I’m excited for tonight, I love the new album. Is there any plans for the second album now? I don’t know if you guys are looking that ahead to the future, but for you guys for Fang Club what’s the plan?
Kevin – We were just playing them downstairs right now. We’re writing constantly and I have an idea for what I want to do for the second album, but it’s trying to get it right.
Steven – Cause the industry is always changing you got to be fast and looking at the next I don’t know trick.
Hassan – Get a synthesizer.
Steven – Exactly just go with full strings.
Hassan – Imagine
Steven – Just me and strings and the guys can stand there smoking a cigarette.
Kevin – I’m alright with that.
Hassan – That sounds like a plan. I would actually listen to that.
Steven – It would be pretty cool like a full orchestra like Han Zimmer.
Hassan – Imagine, well Johnny Marr works with him so.
Steven – That’s my way in, just need to become friends with Johnny Marr.
Hassan – You’ll get there, you’ll get there. Listen lads thanks so much, I’m really excited for tonight. Good luck with sound checking.
Steven – Cheers man.