EMQ’s with KESEM
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Los Angeles, California based Psychedelic Prog Rock band, Kesem. Huge thanks to Josh Austin & Jay Howard, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Josh: Bass and vocals, I joined when Jay put up a post about starting a prog band and always wanted to be in a prog type band.
Jay: I play guitar and sometimes make some sounds with a sampler and synthesizer. I was dating a girl who had been a singer in some bands, and we both had similar tastes in Rock music. You know, a lot of Kraut, psych, prog, etc. etc. We talked about starting a band in this style so I went and found these maniacs. It didn’t work out with her, so Josh took over on vocals.
How did you come up with your band name?
Jay: Said ex-girlfriend was from Israel and she came up with the name. And while it didn’t work out with her, we decided to keep the name as we thought it was still fitting for our music.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Josh: We are from Los Angeles California, the Metal/Rock scene is all over the place. Some people probably still live in the Glam Metal of the Sunset Blvd days, while people like us in this band have gone down rabbit holes into weird sub genres. We have all been in various metal/punk bands, and have seen so many venues open and close throughout the years.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Josh: Our first full-length called “Post-Terra” was released on September 24th and we recently released a video for ‘When Stars Cave In’ from the album and hope to be releasing a couple more videos soon.
‘When Stars Cave In’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Josh: Too many, for me Amon Duul II, Magma, Black Flag, Krallice, King Crimson, Unwound, and many more.
Jay: Amon Duul II, The Mars Volta, Acid Bath, Zeni Geva, Gong, Ash Ra Tempel, Hawkwind, etc.
What first got you into music?
Josh: I guess for me it was MTV, my dad had a record collection too that contained King Crimson and a bunch of awesome stuff. I really wanted to play guitar, and wasn’t into sports, so about 12 years old I started playing.
Jay: My Dad. He was into Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, etc. and played that stuff for me basically since the day I was born.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Josh: I would like to play with Beak> Brian Eno would be amazing, in my head at least, he seems to have all these great ideas and ways of recording that sound interesting. On top of that he would most likely be great at adding atmosphere, rather than make us sound like him?
Jay: Someone who doesn’t sound like us. The collaborative results could be very interesting.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Josh: Maybe Glastonbury? I haven’t been to England too many times, but every time I went for work, it was a blast, I have also always wanted to go to Roadburn.
Jay: Also, always wanted to play Roadburn.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Josh: A print of Freddy Krueger!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Jay: Thank you!
Josh: We can’t wait to see you more as the shows start becoming more available!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Jay: Probably Hendrix
Josh: Not sure I like this, most of the time bringing someone back from the dead results in some horrible things, like Pet Semetary, or Return of the Living Dead, although then at least they would be able to talk while trying to eat your brains. If I was responsible for bringing this person back and could actually hang with the person, maybe Chris Squire?
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Josh: Creating new songs, the process of being creative is what I enjoy the most.
Jay: Playing music and shows with my friends.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Jay: More focus on the music than on what sells. There are countless bands out there who make incredible music who have never or will never get the chance to be heard by the audience they deserve for this reason.
Josh: Stop regurgitating the same songs and take more chances again. I don’t even listen to popular music anymore, there hasn’t been any point or interest.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Jay: Acid Bath – “When the Kite String Pops”.
Josh: King Crimson – “Red”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Jay: Personally speaking, it depends on the album. Some sound best on CD, some sound best on Vinyl, etc. It’s all in the ears of the beholder.
Josh: Vinyl to me is the ultimate package, the cover is large, the process makes you put the album on and listen, sure you can skip around, but it’s better to just let it play out.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Josh: Probably the most fun was any that we play with our friends, we did play with Deafkids and that was awesome because I wanted to see them anyways.
Jay: We have an artist friend, Albert Reyes, he has these Halloween backyard shows every year, he has had us play two of them. They are the best!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Jay: A visual artist. I do that anyways when I have some free time and feel inspired.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
What’s next for the band?
Josh: Keep writing, recording, and hopefully getting to go on tour soon when this pandemic slows down again.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Josh: If I could try one maybe I could answer! Wikipedia says it’s a cake…
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Josh: Our first album “Post-Terra” came out 9/24 on Bandcamp, vinyl is taking longer than expected, but will be a small, limited edition, handmade run to come out soon. Thank you for the interest and hope you are doing well.
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