Tuesday, 24 March 2009

KASMS, here to Bone You. PT1

Back in the heady days of 2008 this very blog predicted big things for a scene of the very darkest nature. A scene we brilliantly called Dark Wave. Basking in the cast of it's gloomy shadow, we marvelled at the brilliance of Televised Crimewave, S.C.U.M, Lord Auch et all. One Dark Wave band however were and are firm favourites of 'Is There Anything...' and that band is Kasms. As spell-binding as they are scintillating and as seedy as they are sultry, from day One,
Rachel Mary Callaghan (Vocals), Gemma Fleet (Bass), Scott R Walker (Guitar and Drums) and Ex-Testicicles Rory Brattwell (Drums and Guitar) captured our hearts, made love to our ears and made us weak at the knees.
Dabbling in the dark arts, Kasms have emerged from the scene as the main pretenders. Cross breading post-punk with sharp and sensual shriekbeat the London 4-piece are stealing a march into the spring of 2009.
With their already finished and as of yet untitled debut album due for release before the summer Kasms are preparing themselves for a busy year of ‘ones to watch’ proportions. Already headlining gigs across Europe, including Paris and Milan the band are playing gigs throughout the months of April and May and are taking in two festivals in that time, Camden Crawl and The Great Escape.
We caught up with the band in the new year at a deserted gig in North London to talk albums, ex-bands and Echo and the Bunnymen.

It must of been weird tonight, sparse crowd?
(Scott) Yeah it was a little bit quite. I feel like we didn't do much to publicise tonight so its our own fault really.
(Gemma) It's a full moon so its a very strange night.
(Rory) All our friends were down the road watching a band called Vivian girls. They’re really good you see and way more important than us. Everyone else was watching Coldplay at the O2 arena.
(Scott) Actually Shakin Stevens was playing the O2 I checked earlier, not that I wanted to go(Laughs) So all our fans were down there. Shakin stevens at indigo. Kasms 0 shakin stevens 1. Or 2000 really.

Tonight must have been a perfect opportunity to try new stuff out and experiment a bit?
(Rory) Yeah it was. I enjoyed tonight as it goes. We got the chance to play a new track, we haven't named it yet but it was good to give it an airing. We kind of umed and ared about it anyway and we said we’d see on the night. So it all came good.

Was it a track off the new album?
(Scott) Yeah its the last track on the album and the last we recorded.

It must be harder to play in front of a crowd like tonight than a packed venue in a way?
(Scott) It was horrible. We all said it was a bit nerve racking before we went on and that doesn’t normally happen to us. I used to get nervous but now I'm just eager to start but tonight i felt nervous. Which is strange because your more nervous when there’s less people. I suppose its that impending feeling you get when there’s a lack of sound after each song. You just go oh god I'm gonna tune my guitar in total silence. When we first started we played some really small, quite gigs and everyone seemed to really hate us. They were the worst ones, nothing like tonight though.
(Gemma) Your making us come across really well in this interview!
(Scott) Its a day of honesty. And i suppose that's what kasms are all about. Its true we've played some brilliant gigs and some big gigs but there's also been times when we could have walked of and no one would have cared. At least tonight we weren’t shit.
(Rachel) Yeah we’re not completely shit anymore.

So do you feel like you’ve improved as a band then? It's been over a year now since your first gig.
(Rory) Yeah when we first started we were all quite novice. Rachel hadn’t sang in a band for 4 years, I hadn’t drummed in a band before. Scott hadn’t played guitar for about 40 years(Laughs) and Gemma had never played bass before. So we were a little bit shambolic but shambolic in a good way.
(Rachel) We’re never going to be a really tight band.

Is that a conscious decision?
(Rachel) Yeah it is. When we get to a point when we feel we’re getting tight we mix it up a bit and try something a bit different (For half the gig Rory and Scott played each others instruments).
(Scott) I think if one of us makes a little mistake or if we decide to deviate from the original path we’ve got to the stage as a band were we can carry on or pull it off. Before, it would be more obvious and we’d have to start again because we couldn’t finish the song. We all definitely feel more confident playing these songs and being members of Kasms.
(Rory) Absolutely. Because of the album we’re much more confident and its made us better as a band especially live. I think we’ve improved a great deal in a year.

And how has your first year together been?
(Scott) Yeah its been good fun. I was saying its definitely just something we do that’s fun and that’s how it started. Just something to do and enjoy.

So Kasms isn’t a career?
(All) No.
(Rory) In the sense that it has gone quite well and very quickly we’ve been lucky really because very quickly we got a label, we played New York, Milan, Paris and everything sold out, including our first singles and EP. We all started the band not really knowing how to play instruments and we instantly sounded good. Even with the new record everything was really quick. During the recording of the album we wrote two songs.

Do you have a process of writing? Do you all have a go at it?
(Rory) Yeah we do. In older bands there was a process but not in Kasms. We kinda just turn up and someone will play something then we’ll repeat it, add to it and we’ve got a song.
(Scott) It all feels a bit too easy at the moment. We have rehearsals and when we need to write a song we always do.

Maybe that’s a testament to how good you are as a band. How close you are. (Scott) Yeah maybe we don’t want to admit how close we are but yeah I guess it does. We all live together, we’re like a family.

How did you meet?
(Gemma) Dancing! I met Rory on the night I met my boyfriend dancing at a New Years party. I met Rachel dancing and I met Scott at a party.
(Rory) And I met Scott at a gig. We got banned, injuring people, wind milling at the front, bring back those days!
(Rory) Gemma, tell him how you met your boyfriend?
(Gemma) Oh I was at this New Years party, all my mates we're off with there boyfriends and I was bored so I saw this boy and just asked him if he liked Echo and the Bunnymen (giggles all round). As soon as he said yes I just jumped on him. We've been together ever since.

Echo and the Bunnymen are one of your influences are'nt they?
(Gemma) Yeah I guess so. They’re a bit noisy but we definitely take influences from them.
(Scott) It’s funny when you say influences because I don’t really think we sound like them and we don’t go out of our way too. We just take inspiration from them.
(Rory) I like more heavy punk bands, American post hardcore stuff, not really heavy but a bit darker and soggier.

Obviously tonight was hard to gage, whats a normal kasms gig? And is there a typical kasms crowd?
(Scott) Well we usually have more people, honest (Laughs). We really haven’t had a quite night like this for a while. I don’t know what our normal audience is but all these trendy Shoreditch kids that are supposed to like us just stand arms folded looking a bit bored. But when we play to men with suits on they go mental.
(Gemma) Yeah business men. I don’t want all these trendy cunts dissin us i want bald business men saying we make them feel like they’re 17 again and are having the time of their lives.
(Rory) At 93 feet east we had business men going nuts and these 3 dreadlocked French dudes telling us they were our biggest fans. Its normally the gigs we think are going to be great when we fall flat on our faces and the gigs we think will be rubbish that end up being mental.

Keep checking the blog for part two were I discuss with Rory his former band, Testicicles...
Oh, one last thing. The photo's were taken by fellow blogee Richard Anderson. We all think they're ace which is why we made em large. Just look how friggin good they are...

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