After listening to The Kev's single, "Cheap Hotel," we can in all honesty say he is one of the most original artists out there!
Fun and irreverent, The Kev is one of those artists who transcends styles and genres to create some really unique tunes that support his realistic and honest lyrics.
Today we have the pleasure of discovering more about The Kev and his artistic journey with an exclusive interview!
The Kev, thanks for being with us at Planet Singer! Your music is intriguing, fun yet extremely realistic. We are thrilled to know more about you and your artistic journey, so let’s start from the very beginning. When did you discover your passion for music?
I got my first guitar in 1997 when my hero was Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Some people think it’s a sign of societal decline that so many kids want to be famous, eg. be reality stars and Instagram influencers instead of teachers, bankers, and lawyers. But to me, it’s just a case of kids going where the respect is, and in some children’s lives, role models may be thin on the ground.
In subsequent years, I gradually lost interest in being famous and became obsessed with the craft of creative writing, and by the end of my twenties, songwriting was apparently my best means of communication.
Your song, “Cheap Hotel,” is brilliant. Can you tell us the story behind this track?
Two of my favorite musical comedy acts had songs about extramarital affairs. These were ‘Let’s Go to a Hotel’ by Fascinating Aïda, and ‘Seedy Affair’ by KATG. The latter made a habit of pulling a woman out of the crowd to be serenaded during the song.
Both of those songs were in minor keys to achieve a sordid atmosphere, and the first part of ‘Cheap Hotel’ I wrote was the part in B-minor which begins “It’s becoming quite clear that your marriage is far from healthy”, it was only after a couple of weeks that it crossed my mind to write the song in a major key and give it a singalong quality.
I write songs about failed romances, or in this case, romances that were only imagined. As I explained to a live audience, I am basically Taylor Swift with dick jokes.
Your live shows are very engaging, not only thanks to your music but also thanks to the way you manage the stage and the audience, making them feel part of the show. What is, for you, the best part of being on a stage?
I treat the audience the way that little boy treats the tiger in ‘Life of Pi’, as both a friend and a threat. Both the songs and the between-song chit-chat are things that I write, rewrite, and rehearse down to the last detail.
Of course, there is always the unexpected. As Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, planning is everything.” Audiences will misbehave and do things the performer doesn’t want, but the better prepared the performer is, the more able they are to deal with challenges.
Entertaining lyrics, but also a solid musical base. Can you reveal what your creative process is? How does your music come to life?
I started writing songs when I was fourteen, so some of the songs on my The Kev albums (the first of which I released when I was 36) are tunes that I wrote as a teenager. These include ‘Truth Be Told’, ‘The Great British Indie Song’, and ‘Sometimes’.
But where I get inspiration varies a lot. I read a lot of comedy, The Onion, The Daily Mash, The Viz, and I find them to be indispensable when it comes to looking at modern phenomena with a twist.
When can we see you on stage next?
I am launching my third English album ‘We Need to Talk about The Kev’ at The Castle Hotel in Manchester on May 26th. After that I am playing at a venue about four times bigger than that on November 11th called The Bread Shed.
If you could collaborate with one of the artists who inspired you, who would you like to share a song and the stage with?
I’ve always admired musical theatre. I’d love to play a role like Riff in ‘West Side Story’ or Cosmo in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, but last I checked I was not able to triple somersault while singing, so that will have to remain a daydream.
Another great track in your discography is “Romance Tonight.” Can you tell us more about this song?
The tune is something I wrote in 2009, but never found a lyric for. In early 2022, I came across the idea for a song that would involve a bit of everything I have been singing about in recent years, romance, sex, murderous violence, and scatological humor, bringing them all together. I was phasing covers out of my sets, and to test whether I could write material that was as funny or more so than the covers I had been performing.
When I debuted it at Manchester Academy 3 in August 2022 it was a huge hit and a perfect on-stage moment.
Comedy in music is often underestimated. While the audience loves it, there is still very little space for it on bit platforms. Do you think this is bad or maybe, keeping it more “niche” is a good thing?
There are obvious reasons why music and comedy seldom mix well. A good comedy set is all about the unexpected; a good music set is usually full of comforting crowd-pleasers.
There are a handful of household names who started out as musical comedians, Steve Martin, Jack Black, Adam Sandler, etc… but now they’re far better known for other things. Even when a piece of musical comedy is an international megahit like ‘Gangnam Style’ in 2012, it tends not to inspire many imitators or start any long-term trends, unlike say the punk movement or grunge.
What are your plans for the future?
I have started writing comedy skits and hope to integrate them with my music videos. However, getting actors to agree to appear in these videos will be a challenge.
The Kev, it was such a pleasure having you with us today! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Just a question, if there is a God and you could ask Them one thing, what would it be?
Check the links below, discover more about The Kev and his music, and don’t forget to add his tracks to your favorite playlists!
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