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Interview with Keeper
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My parents got me playing instruments quite young. First, it was the piano, did that for one or two years until my teacher moved to Australia. I never really picked it up again. It took a few years until I picked up another instrument. But I ended up going with guitar.
Unfortunately, in the early days, it always felt like a chore. It just never clicked. My preteen mind always thought of it as homework. Wasn't until about my 15th, when my musical taste started kicking, did I even consider it as a career. It always felt unachievable able.
But at 15, I stumbled across a Paramore band documentary. “This is Riot”. The songs slapped, they were young, they were traveling. And, they were having fun whilst making money. These weren't some distance rock stars on some stage. These were young adults, sleeping in the back of a van, doing what they loved.
It suddenly felt achievable.
For me, that was the big push. The like, “aha!” moment.
Other than music, I had a few other various outlets.
I loved acting, did a load of that when I was younger. Westend stuff. Pantomimes, musicals, you get the gist.
One point It was a pilot.
I don't know fully what I would've found myself doing. If there was a way to view a possible parallel reality, would be interesting to find out!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Normally I find myself at work, unfortunately. I'm at a customer service desk at a supermarket. Lots of angry people.
And normally, as a customer service staff member, you're the brunt of the anger.
So music is stress relief, to be honest.
I use the expression as an emotional outlet, it's either that or counter strike. But that makes it worse. So I've been avoiding that!
But I do use my time at Tesco to work on music. Not always. Very rarely know. But I have found myself writing or singing melodies in my head.
Funnily enough, in the song after this, the main chorus line was written at Tesco CSD. I can vividly remember writing that in my head.
Now I think it's one of my best songs.
It's weird how things work out.
Other than that.
Spending time with the girlfriend, going down to the beach, zoos, and a lot of food. Oh my god, a lot of food.
In terms of how it “influences my creativity”, if anything, this is a need break from music haha, a chance to recharge, allowing for better focus when I come back to it.
It's a much-needed tether.
I find, it makes the music sound better when I can come back to it. Gives you a chance to look at something from a different angle.
How long has your band been around?
I was originally in the post-hardcore band, Jack The Envious. But unfortunately, that had started to slow down, so I was trying to find a new expression.
I started writing for Keeper during the pandemic. Almost the first two-three months.
It started over a Minecraft game.
During the first week of lockdown, everyone's trying to find another outlet. During this time, I was sick, So I was home for the week anyway.
My mate Ben had started streaming, he invited me to join the Minecraft server he was starting up.
I said yes.
Skip a couple of hours as he sets it up, and I meet a mutual friend Jon Cass.
Cass plays in the band “As Everything Unfolds”. Before my time with Jack The envious, they were touring bands. So I knew of him, but never really had the chance to speak.
Later turned out we also went to the same college, Acm, at the exact same time. I just didn't see him.
We hit it off, as were a similar age, we were into the Lil Peep, XXX and Nothing Nowhere type music Ben had missed.
Told him, I was learning beat making so I had something to start singing over.
Turns out he made beats.
As I played guitar, he had asked me to send over some guitar stems for him to turn into instrumentals for his clients. I loved the idea, so sent him a hole folder.
What ended up happening, was that after I sent him a few guitar stems, he sent them back as fully realized tracks.
One of which, I loved.
I ended up asking to use it. After Lockdown, went around his house and recorded my first song.
Ended up being “Sorry!”, a track you can hear on my first EP, Guess I'm Keeper
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I'm born just outside of London, Staines. Ali G territory.
It's an okay Town.
Not a lot to do.
But it's good for growing up.
Hard-fi came from here.
I remember going out to HMV when the second album came out.
I think I was about 9?
Saved up my pocket money to go buy it.
When I was 8, my parents got me a Cd player. One of which was the first Hard-Fi Cd. Loved it.
We met Richard Archer a few times just walking around. Homebase of all places was one of them.
We also knew Wallsie, a member of their old manager team.
Wallsie used to run a music youth club me and my sister went to.
We had old band rehearsals there. Me and my buddies Rob and Alex.
We sounded sh1t. All the typical covers were being played. Smells like Teen Spirit, Song 2, an awful rendition of Sweet child of mine, and you can't forget Wonderwall….
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Keeper came from a character I made in the game Monster Hunter.
Thinking about it now. Most of this project started with various different videogames.
Minecraft, Monster Hunter….
Potentially, might have a problem….
Going back to the question,
Keeper is basically a character. A version of me that does more. Goes to cool places, and ancient lands, fight cool monsters, a better version of myself. One that's not confounded by the day/night job at Tesco and how much money I have in my bank account.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
So, unfortunately, Keeper's only had three shows. So, not a lot to pick from.
But If I had to choose out the three, Id say the most recent one.
For this show, I hired out myself a band. Had two mates come down to help. One for Gutiar, the other for drums.
I taught the guitarist the parts, and the drummer I let loose, as he is a god at hitting things with sticks.
It was a support slot for our boys Bambi.
They had just released an ep, and this was the show coming off of that.
London gig. Surprisingly packed. Nothing crazy. But it had around 50 people there.
So 50 potential new fans.
We had some technical issues at the start. The kemper doesn't like the electrics at the venue.
Takes an age to turn on.
Plus, doors 30 minutes opened later.
So it got a bit worrisome, but we got there in the end.
We were only able to play about 18mins of our set before we were told to come off for the next guys.
But, If I say so myself.
We smashed that.
It was around 5 songs. And it flowed beautifully. I wouldn't have changed it for the world. We Were on top form.
The number of people coming up to us afterward was insane!!
I shot up in followers, not just on insta, but on Spotify too!!
Made some new contacts, and got some new fans.
Honestly couldn't ask for a better experience for a new artist.
All in 18mins. It was mad.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
So Keeper’s only been able to play one venue at the moment. They just “keep” asking us back (lol).
The EngineRooms in east London.
I love that venue.
I’ve got a lot of history with it.
My old band used to play it.
Used it for rehearsals too.
So it's a special place for me. I really cut my teeth there.
But, out of all the venues, I’d have to choose The Scala in London.
The stage there is amazing. Huge! HUUUUUUGEEEE!!!!!!
I think it's the biggest stage I've ever played music on.
It's insane. Super daunting!! Omg, it is.
Such a venue.
The crowd area is amazing. It's got barriers!! The sound that comes out of that venue is insane.
When I played there with my band. It wasn't the best we sounded. But we did sound bl00dy good.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Now that's a hard one.
One of my favorite bands.
Truly important in helping me discover what music I liked. Really helped steer my direction in life as a whole.
I owe Paramore a lot. Like alot alot.
To play a show with them, well it would be amazing. Like a full circle moment, you know. They have banger after banger after banger.
So that's our Headliner.
Now let's go to main support.
I would love to see Nothing, Nowhere.
My introduction to the emo rap stuff came from artists like him, Lil Peep, lotus, and such.
I hadn't heard anything like it before.
It was suddenly all the 2000 pop punk and emo that I loved but combined with a whole bunch of modern sounds.
It instantly connected.
And he's amazing.
I think he’s started coming into his own.
The combination of a full band with him. SLAPS.
It's iconic, it helped really inspire my sound.
AND, I think having him on a bill with Paramore would work!! It's not random, the sounds are different sure. But the fan bases are linked.
Next, Id say a band like Wastr.
I love Wastr. And while I don't have the same conection with them as I do the others. I feel the lineup would work well. They would be a good size band to put between me (tiny) and Nothing, Nowhere (huge). Sonically, it works.
They do that new pop punk thing.
The songs are hits. They're tight live. It would be dope.
They got some real singalongs.
And then, me as the opener.
Obviously, this would never happen in a million years.
But a boy can dream.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I never really practiced guitar as a kid.
Wish I did. I'm confident in my skills now. But if I had practiced when I was younger. I would be so much better than I am now.
I played around too much.
It's something I find myself thinking about. To be honest. I do vocals now. So it's not like a big thing. It doesn't affect me too much and I'm good at guitar anyway. But it's just one of those things.
Relax a little bit, that would be another piece of advice. I still struggle now.
Sometimes I'm way too tense about music.
At the end of the day, I should be enjoying it. So if I'm finding it hard or annoying. I should just put it down, and come back to it later.
The final piece of advice.
Thankfully I've started doing it this year.
BUT OMG PLAN
You got a song. When do you wanna release it, when are you going to take pics, when will you have the video filmed, and when should you start to promote it?
Normally, I make a song, and then that's it.
Then all of a sudden. Sh1t,
When's it out!?!?
Plan your stuff. It makes life so much easier, and you get much better results!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
For me. One coming out on October 29th.
I can be a really bad friend.
I'm awful at responding. I'll forget to turn up at places. I don't reach out enough, and I’m far too busy all the time to hang out.
It’s something I'm trying to work on. But I'm bad. There's no other way of putting it.
The songs about that.
Letting down your friends, and fading into the background like some ghost.
And it sucks.
Because It hurts people I love. I end up pushing them away and losing them. And then I go wondering why I'm alone all the time.
It's bad for my friends, it's bad for me.
It makes everyone in the situation feel like poop.
Yet why do I do it?
So, I've started setting myself times to respond.
I push myself to look at messages I don't feel like looking at.
Make myself go to parties. And send check-up messages to my pals.
I'm not great. But, I'm better, and that makes a difference.
I think a lot of us go through phases like this. I think it's important that we realize our bad habits and work towards fixing them. Small steps in self-improvement.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Throwing LOADS of hard ones my way.
The best intro to the set.
The way the instrumental builds up to a full bad release.
The first song of the night. So it's gotta leave an impression.
I am more than confident that it does.
The feeling I get when that comes on is like no other.
I've heard these songs more times than I can count. From the writing process to the mixing, to the release, and now finally, I can hear them Live.
With a full live band.
It’s like all that hard work is finally making sense.
Cus I’m doing what I love, with the songs I spent so long working on finally realized in a live setting, exactly how I want.
Honestly, I don't think it's the best one live. Noor do I think I prefer it over others. It's just the feeling I get from playing this one, is like no other.
It's truly special.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Normally it happens when I'm just chilling.
Watching Tv I make sure to keep a guitar with me.
As I'm watching, I'm really just messing about, playing nothing in particular.
I'll probably be invested or semi-invested in the show I'm watching. But ill snap too when a cool idea, chord pattern, or finger-picking pattern emerges.
From there, ill record my idea and then go back to watching TV waiting for the next musical inspiration.
Sometimes, if an idea is really good, ill expand upon it at home. Layer counter melodies, drums, you know, the usual.
But more often than not, my plan is just to get as many ideas recorded as possible.
I'll then go to my mate Cass’. Show him the collection of different ideas off my phone, and then he picks maybe 3 and we start working.
Sometimes, the ones he won't pick one day will be picked up next time. So we must always relisten to the ideas as sometimes creativity for something can take a bit longer than a first time listen.
Although, I've also gotta make sure the folder doesn't get too unruly. So ill go through them myself with fresh ears, picking out the ones where I had no idea what I was thinking.
So once we got our main guitar section, we normally add drums first.
We always try to get the chorus done first. As it's big and beefy, and a full package.
After you got your chorus, you can slowly start removing things for a verse. You don't want a verse as in your face as the chorus, as it loses its memorability.
After drums, it's bass, after bass its synth and after scythe it's guitar.
Obviously, depending on the beat, or the creativity that day, it might all change. We might just record all the rest of the guitar first, and then come back and do drums.
But normally, drums first.
Once we got our beat. I'll go home, spend the next week listening to it non-stop, attempt to write lyrics, and then try to book more studio time.
I'm no stranger to asking for help with lyrics.
I want my lyrics to be good, so id rather gets a review and put out something I can be happy with than put out something I won't be able to listen to in the future.
Thankfully, I got my sister next door, she's no stranger to writing lyrics.
Begrudgingly, she’ll be forced to come in and have a listen.
Sometimes, she'll even help actually write them.
I got back to Jon Cass’ house, and start laying down vocal tracks.
By the end of a sesh, I've now got a full song, just waiting to be mixed and mastered.
Honestly, I love my writing process, it always feels really natural and never forced.
Were gradually coming into our own, I think this track and the next three, are really top of the game for Keeper. And it's only gonna get better.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
So, I like to write about what I'm feeling.
The particular emotions I'm going through, whether it's just that day or a more constant feeling.
They're not all about me, sometimes, it's a much larger topic. As with RabbitPunch.
I've been getting pretty topical lately, started last year.
I've always been this way, but just kept my “worldview” a little separate from my music.
The more I was thinking about it, the more I didn't understand why.
At the end of the day. Keeper is me. It's what I'm feeling, What I see, and what I believe.
If I can't use my own musical outlet to talk about things I wanna talk about, what's the point of it being an outlet?
So now it's a combination.
You got your woe is me type emo songs;
Your breakup songs;
Your "I'm getting better" and self improvement songs;
Your self-reflection songs
And now we got the political ones.
These are really fun, because if they can piss people off.
To get that type of reaction, out of something so honest about making life better for people, is just plain funny.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
RABBIT PUNCH IS OUT NOW!!
Super excited about it.
It's one of the final singles I'm releasing for an ep.
Two or three more. Haven't decided just yet. But we're getting close now!
And that's amazing.
I've been sitting on some of these for ages.
RabbitPunch was made in September last year!!!
The next one was made over a year and a half ago!
It feels great to finally get these things out there.
They’ve been sitting on my desktop for so long gathering computerized dust, I was starting to wonder if they’d ever see the light of day.
So to think, after all that saving up and waiting, we're finally here…… it's the best feeling.
RabbitPunch, Ispy, Here We Go and Killer are some of my best works.
I’ve been so patient to release them, as I wanted to make sure I had everything in place.
I needed money for ads, pr, videos, and pics and then I need the Spotify algorithm to know me a little better.
Unfortunately, after releasing FML, it thinks I'm a metal band. But if I don't release them now, ill be waiting years too.
So I've gotta make the jump while I can.
I hope you all love these songs as much as I do.
I really want them to get the attention they deserve.
And I'm so happy I can finally present them all to you.
RabbitPunch Out Now
Ispy September 9th
Here We Go October 29th
And Killer TBD
The “Second Ep” is on its way!