"I know it's sunday, but the next three songs ar boogy-songs and I want you all to dance..."
On a sunday night I find myself at Knust in Hamburg , surrounded by people who have to get up for work/school/uni/whatever the next day and are probably tired or hungover or both. But after a few songs many forget their sore feet and aching heads and dance, nobody leaves without a smile. That is the best example for the effect The Kabeedies have on people.
Soap was released in february, showing off a cleaner version of their music, without losing the fun charm of their slightly more messy debut album Rumpus.
Fab, the drummer of The Kabeedies writes more about their album, influences and inspiration.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sonja Prahl
Has playing live influenced your music and, if yes, how?
It’s influenced the music completely. Gauging the reaction of not only the crowd, but of ourselves helps us to get down to the real essence of a song is fundamentally a good song and a fun song for people to dance to. We can dress the songs up in the studio as much as we like with accompaniments and effects, but when we play it live if it’s not a good song then people aren’t going to like it. The live sound of lots of Afro-beat party bands like Fools Gold have also shown us that a live setting is perfect for getting across the raw joy of a song and performance, and the reaction of the crowd depends entirely on the energy of the song.
How would you describe your music using only feelings, tastes and images?
Hrmmmmm, that’s a hard one. It’s very individual for each song I suppose. I like to think that it’s about unbridled joy that washes away the cynicism that surrounds happy music. A party that wells up inside you. I like to think there’s lots of depth and variety to the album too, so I suppose the images it conjures up for me are not only of sun-drenched terraces in Cuba, but of Civil War victories, of revolutions and people dancing in the street.
Is there any music in particular that influenced your new album?
There are hundreds of influences that we each, individually, take on board – but I think collectively we’ve been hugely hugely influenced by Vampire Weekend and Paul Simon. Both of these Western artists made African music accessible to us and taught us how to take those Afro-influences and turn them into pop songs. Afro-beat is the main driving force behind the album I think, that and the ethos of all 50’s Rock’n’Roll music.
In what way is 'Soap' different to 'Rumpus'?
In the very name we suggest that this album is a catharsis, effectively washing off the work we’d done with Rumpus and starting again. Soap is a more considered album, subtler and with more attention paid to it. However, it’s still maintained the fun factor we had in Rumpus and the jovial edge at our core. It’s hard to say we’ve taken it more seriously, because as people we aren’t serious, but this has been more of a complete album. With the extra time we’ve had in the studio we’ve had more time to craft our songs rather than just record them and throw them together (as with Rumpus). I think, therefore, that Soap is a lot closer to our hearts.
How has the response to your new album been so far?
It’s been good so far. I think people are understanding it as we wanted them to. Most of the reviews have said that we’ve moved on musically, but have still maintained our fun element, which I think is key. A couple of reviewers have said that they think we’ve changed direction a little out of “panic” and “fear”, but I think it’s narrow-minded to think we’re evolving musically out of some nervousness about our old sound – we just don’t like that sort of music any more, we’ve changed as people. It’s only been a couple of weeks since it’s been out, and we’re not expecting an explosion, but things have steadily been getting busier and we’re starting to see doors opening up in places they weren’t before. (Plus I think our parents like it more).
Which musicians do you admire?
So so many Rock and Roll musicians… I think mainly the likes of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. Lots of Soul singers like Sam Cooke and Al Green, 20’s Blues stars, and lots of African musicians like Ebo Taylor and Fela Kuti. There are some great contemporary artists around too, (I’ve got a secret penchant for Indie Dance tunes) stuff like Phoenix and Bombay Bicycle Club and Tokyo Police Club – they’re all great songwriters.
Who or what inspires you?
I think for me a lot of it is History, chasing around the secrets that the world has to offer – and then reflecting some of that in our music. We all observe the world around us carefully and it has so much to offer – Evan can find the pattern on a brick wall amusing if he tries hard enough. Politics inspire myself and Rory. Great performances by musicians. Love. Great movies. All the things the make the world interesting. Oh and Pokemon.
If you could travel back in time to see a show of one musician or band, who would it be?