Leeds band Kram release their new double A-side single through GrooveStealer Records on Monday 12th March. Rachel Wilson caught up with the band.
Kram are an alternative / grunge / rock band from Leeds consisting of Simon Elvin on lead vocals, James Wall on bass and Kyle Coleman on drums. I caught up with James and Simon one crisp winter's evening to ask them some questions about life, love and a few things in between...
With the New Year having just arrived, what are your plans for 2007?
J: Well, we have single coming out on the 12th March [a double A-side including "Sides" and "Where were you?"] and then some intense gigging throughout the year. We are thinking of releasing another single around June time and an EP in the summer. Then hopefully hit the summer festivals, local and national.
S: I really want to play some festivals in the summer and hopefully get noticed by a wider audience. And hopefully the single will do well!
Any New Year's resolutions? Have you managed to keep them?
J: I didn't make any this year as I never keep to them, don't set yourself a goal you can't do then you'll never be disappointed!
S: Not any serious ones really, maybe spend more time playing at Ray Mears...
You guys appear to have changed your line up rather a lot...how did the whole situation with Ryan leaving the band come about? And how do you feel about the current line up?
J: Ah you must have got the Ryan info from our old MySpace; Ryan was in the band for around two months. He came into to the band when our old drummer Jack left for University. As we were looking for a new drummer [which they found with current drummer Kyle] we thought it would be an idea to get someone in to play additional guitar and synth.
S: I feel the current line up works really well, we are a lot more creative when writing and have a lot of fun outside band situations too. Ryan is a really good friend; just didn't really work out being in a band together.
Describe yourselves and/or the band in 3 words.
J: If I had to describe the band in three words it would be power, energetic and fucking ace. [hmmm... I think that's 4 but I'll let you off] And I would probably describe myself in the same way.
S: Sweaty, Hairy, Injured. That's during and after playing a gig, not in general. I'm actually quite hygienic.
A previous LMS review described you as "Muse, Nirvana, Jeff Buckley and Sonic Youth tied together". Who do you most like being compared to? Which bands have inspired you or do you aspire to be like?
J: I love it when people say we are like Nirvana on stage, because they were so raw and didn't care what anyone thought. I went through my teens listening to bands like Nirvana, Pixies, Foo Fighters and the Beatles so I would have to say they have inspired me but I wouldn't say I aspire to be like anyone.
S: I don't think that description stands anymore really. We were recently compared to early Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin by a very drunk ex-Happy Monday, which was nice! Also I like the Jeff Buckley comment!
Which has been your favourite gig that you've played and why.
J: I have two gigs that I always remember, the first one was at Carpe Diem. We were the only band on due to some Battle Of The Bands competition going wrong. We had loads of people down and we played for ages, we even got a moshpit going in Carpe! We were only young back then though. Second, when we supported Yourcodenameis:milo because there crowd was so big! It was a lot of fun playing in front of so many people.
S: We played in Chorley recently and that was ace because loads of people turned up just to see some live music and we had loads of people coming up to us after saying how much they enjoyed it and asking about the band.
You guys are actually from Leeds, what's made you stay here? Any plans to leave and try your luck in the big smoke?
J: Leeds is a great music city, even though these last few years it has got very cliquey and there is one too many venues, but we have family friends here. We don't have to move out of Leeds to play other cities.
S: I've stayed here because of family, friends and University but otherwise I'd love to get out of this city. I think, from a band point of view especially. Leeds seems very proud of itself at the moment and people tend to have the idea that the scene is thriving, but I think it's based on a lot of hype. I've seen lots of brilliant acts in Leeds playing to empty venues, just because they are not the hyped band of the moment. It's really sad that people are not interested in going to see live music unless it is a band that has been thrown down their throat for the last few months. Going out of town and playing in places like the Chorley gig, for instance, really opened my eyes to what a thriving scene is about, where people go out just because there is a gig, no matter who is playing, and in a lot of cases see some excellent bands. Also I think local crowds are diminishing because there are so many places putting on gigs at the moment in Leeds because it seems the fashionable thing to do for bars. It means that good venues like the Mixing Tin are not as full as they could be.
Where's your favourite place to play in Leeds? And where are your favourite places to be on the other side of the stage - eating, drinking and generally just being merry?
J: My favourites are Mixing Tin and Carpe Diem; Mixing Tin because it's always a fun night watching Neil get drunk, plus they have nice staff and a good sound. I like Carpe because it's free entry. When I'm not playing, again, Carpe is a good place to get a drink. We go to Fab Café a lot for a dance with friends. I don't really like it but once I'm drunk it's a good laugh. Finally my bed with a good film a take away and SWEETIES! With the girlfriend obviously.
S: Yeah same places as James really. I love playing at the Mixing Tin and Carpe Diem. Otherwise I don't care where I go as long as it's cheap and not full of idiots.
J: Long boring story, you don't want to know.
S: Yep, nope.
In a BBC article it says the song you'd most like to cover is "We Can't Rewind" by Feeder, does this still stand?
S: Haha, I think Jack our old drummer may have wrote that when we were very young. I don't think we'd be into doing covers, and I really don't think a Feeder cover would be appropriate!
J: Yeah, if you have ever seen us live you'd probably guess we wouldn't want to do a Feeder cover, not that Feeder are bad, they are great, but it wouldn't really fit into our set. Also we wouldn't ever do a cover.
Another piece said you'd "received acclaim abroad" - which other countries have you played in? Any exciting tales of foreign lands to regale us with?
J: We haven't actually played any other countries but we did get a lot of European radio play, the station used to send us the play list. Once we were on after U2, not bad eh? Also a different story - some guy in America was setting up his own label and wanted us to fly out there and do some recording for him and he was going to release it. We actually have some film footage of us talking to him on the phone ... really funny stuff. But talks ended with him due to creative differences.
S: Yeah that American bloke was an idiot, he kept trying to slyly mention songs he'd written and wanted us to play. I still don't understand why he chose us if that was the way he wanted to work.
Who are your idols? Musical or otherwise.
J: My idols are Dave Grohl, Mr Cobain and Tim Burton the director.
S: Syd Barrett definitely, he is a real inspiration, although I don't plan on emulating his life style.
What's the first thing you think when you wake up?
S: Why did I dream about that?? That sounds bad! I usually have really trippy disturbing dreams, anyway never mind...
Finally, James; you've got a girlfriend (isn't MySpace great for finding out personal info about people you've never met...) but Kyle and Simon, any party tricks or things we might like to know about you that might make a few more fans give you a few more phone numbers after gigs?
J: I know a few of Simon's but I wouldn't want to say in case his parents read this.
S: I don't know what James is talking about...
Thanks guys, its been a pleasure.
Kram's double A-side single will released through the GrooveStealer Records label on Monday 12th March.