Ayrshire band, Kendama, have released their new single “CLOSURE” today, so to celebrate, I caught up with Stuart and John to find out a bit more about them…
–who are Kendama?
Hello! Kendama are Stuart (vocals/keys) and John (drums), a two-piece synth pop/rock band based in Ayrshire.
-where did the band name come from?
We spent ages trying to find a new band name, as we had gone by a different name for a while before we released anything. John was playing ButeFest with another band h was in at the time and the tent they were playing in had loads of circus performers who were jamming along to the music. One of them was had this cool ball and cup style skill toy which he was doing mad tricks with. John asked him what it was called after we came off stage, he said ‘it’s a Kendama.’ Then it just stuck! haha.
-how would you describe your music?
We aren’t really sure how we would describe it ourselves to be honest, but a few of our favourite comments have been things like “a punk Chrvches” and “LANY on cocaine”. I love those, we play live with a tonne of energy but it’s still rooted with pop hooks. I suppose the closest comparison would be Twenty-One Pilots but even that’s a bit of a stretch, we kinda just do our own thing.
-who are your main inspirations?
It super varied obviously, we both love such a wide range of music, and we take inspiration from it all in some way or another. The songs all start with just piano and vocals, and artists like Ben Folds, Death Cab For Cutie and Andrew McMahon have all played a part in inspiring the songs at their most fundamental. Usually the urge to write songs just comes from just whatever we are listening to at the time, which changes weekly. When it comes to the recording and production of our music, the most evident influences are the likes of Chvrches, The Naked and Famous and a bit of Thirty Seconds To Mars. We want to take the introverted ballads that we usually start with and make them massive, anthemic, uplifting bangers. The band that both of us love seeing live the most is Enter Shikari, and they are a massive inspiration on how we try to perform ourselves. At every show we play we try to bring as much energy and passion as Shikari have done when we have seen them perform, making the most of every moment of the performance and leaving nothing on the stage. Another slightly heavier band that we seriously admire is Don Broco. I think it’s amazing how they supported Five Seconds of Summer on one tour and then Bring Me The Horizon on the next, and appealed to both fanbases while still maintaining their own very unique identity. I’d like to think we could do a similar thing in the future.
Overall, and probably most evidently, our biggest inspiration is Twenty One Pilots. Seeing a two-piece band make that kind of music and perform they way the do made us realise that we could do the same thing, and that we didn’t need lots of band members to make massive sounding music or be exciting to watch live.
What we’re listening to can influence the music we make but ultimately we aren’t trying to be anyone else… what would be the point?
-how do you make your music sound so big when there’s just the two of you?
Speaking of Twenty-One Pilots they really did open my eyes as to how to utilise technology for live performance. They are just two guys making a tonne of noise with a help from a laptop. Even before John was properly involved I spent aaaaaages trying to make a live show work with just two people.
It may seem totally complicated at the start, but in the long run have two people is a huge benefit, especially when organising gigs / rehersals etc. We’ve also been pretty lucky with people willing to help us out as well, especially when it comes to production. This goes a long way into helping us grow in confidence with our live show. Plus John is potentially the loudest drummer on earth… Noise Boiz
-tell me about the new single..
Sure thing! The single is a song called Closure and it’s coming out (or already out) on the 8th of November. It’s been a bit of a long time coming, especially since we released our debut Wake in February to launch the band then got a bit distracted playing shows all over the country haha. Now we feel we’re in a good place to get more songs out.
Closure is about being incredibly close with someone and then at some point down the line, the connection between you just isn’t the same. For a while you fight for it, looking for a spark or anything that was similar to how it was before. People just drift away sometimes and that’s fine, but this is about when that person just stops talking without any particular reason. You reach out and there is nothing back, so at some point you just think enough is enough and move on. End the chapter, close the book.
It is definitely one of our favourite songs to play live and we always finish the set with it. We hope that when people see it at a show they will go as mental at the final drop as we do when we play it!
-and you’re playing a show in Glasgow soon?
We are! 24th of Nov in Glasgow with our good pals AmyLou. we’ve played with them a few times and they’ve always been kind so we are thrilled to be a part of that show. Come along!
-if an alien landed from space, how would you describe the current Glasgow music scene to them?
Glasgow is pretty blessed in that it really does have something for everyone, there are a tonne of venues catering to each and every taste. When our wee alien arrives, I’d probably stick on a playlist, get what they like and take them to gigs that they would enjoy so they can experience first hand what Glasgow has to offer, and it wouldn’t take long to see it’s really something of it’s own. It’s a competitive scene but in a really good way, people help each other out and will push you to do your best.
-what are your plans for the near future?
We are away on tour starting on the 15th of November. Full list of dates are here:
15th Aberdeen – The Cellar
16th Inverness – Market Bar
17th Dundee – Conroy’s Basement
22nd Kirkcaldy – Windsor Hotel*
23rd Edinburgh – The Mash House*
24th Glasgow – Broadcast*
Ticket link – http://bit.ly/KendamaNovemberTour
Then we have some other cool shows lined up that we will announce in due course… Keep your eyes peeled! Other than that, we’re back recording in December and working toward another release at the start of next year. All go haha.
You can listen to the single via the link here;