If reminiscence had a sound, it would sound like Keston Cobblers Club. The five piece group use utilise their folksy instrumentation, their campfire harmonies and their penchant for whimsical topics to craft a sound best suited to looking back fondly, and basking in gentle sunlight.
After two acclaimed albums, a string of festival dates and a support spot on Bellowhead’s farewell tour, Keston Cobblers Club are going from strength to strength.
Their latest release, ‘Almost Home’ is their most intimate yet, embracing them theme of homecoming that’s always been in the mix for the band’s music. Gigsoup’s Matt George Lovett caught up with the band to talk about the new album, the festival season, the importance of family and brand new bass guitars.
On ‘Almost Home’ you’ve stripped back the production and song-structures and gone for a much more intimate sound. What was the thinking behind that? Is it a reaction to the lavish production of ‘Wildfire’ or is it just something that happened organically?
We don’t tend to plan out the album’s overall sound and vibe before we start recording so it just depends on how each track comes out after the recording process. We did know that we wanted to specifically focus in on the strong harmonies and melody, so I think that directed us towards a stripped back sound. In the same way, Wildfire ended up with a big, full sound. Maybe it comes down to what other bands we’re listening to at the time and the inspiration they pass on to us.
The album focuses a lot on the theme of homecoming and family. What prompted that do you think?
As a band we’ve always relied on our families as they directed us towards a love of music. Our parents and siblings all played musical instruments and we were surrounded by music a lot. Matthew and Jules’ parents’ home is still the band hub though, it’s where Matthew and Tom recorded and the produced the whole album (as well as the past 2 albums) and where Jules and Matthew wrote a lot of the music. It’s where we store loads of instruments and merch, which the parents aren’t so happy about! We write our songs in our favourite chair in our homes or in the mini home studios so it isn’t too surprising that this album focuses in on the theme of ‘home’.
Even though ‘Almost Home’ is more stripped back that some of your previous releases, it still features a selection of folksy instruments (banjos, trumpets, ukuleles, violins). Given several of you are multi-instrumentalists, how do you go about choosing what each song needs?
Our instrumentation hasn’t changed dramatically for a while so we have a core instrumentation that we fall back on when we go about coming up with a new idea or riff for a potential song. It will start from a comfortable and familiar place. When we begin the recording process and have the foundations of the song laid down we add various instruments, some of which may not sound right and we’ll take them off or re-record with a different instrument. Its all trial and error.
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You also dabble in electronic elements, especially on ‘An Island’ and ‘All I Need’. Given your sound is so rooted in old folk, how does it feel to combine the two?
We find that ‘new sounds’ and production skills help us to come up with new ideas and inspiration. With Almost Home, Matthew and Tom delved much deeper into the production side of the album and this in turn worked its way into a few of the songs. We try to add something a little different with each album so that as a band, we are constantly evolving.
‘On Your Own’ is one of the album’s standouts. It’s got a funky, woldbeat sound that you’ve never really tried before. Where did it come from?
Ha! Well that track originated from the bass-line that Matthew started to play when we got a new bass guitar. The bass riff wasn’t initially written for the band but was just something that Matt played to Tom one day, who added electric guitar to it and they liked the sound of it and thought it would be a fun track to have on the album. We liked that it was different to anything else we’d written.
With summer fast approaching, how is your schedule for festival season shaping up? Any special dates to look out for?
Summertime and festival season is what bands live for! We have some great festivals we’re heading to this year and the last few offers are coming in now so the summer is more or less planned. There are many to pick but Cornbury Festival in July will be great as it’s their last one ever and I’m sure it will finish with a bang. All we need now is a summer full of blue sky and no rain!
Any chance of a return to Glastonbury this year?
Well we do love playing at Glasto but we can’t confirm anything just yet…but keep an eye out for us just in case!!