King Creosote recently played at the Carling Academy in Oxford and I was fortunate enough to have been there. The band put on a great show – one not to be missed if you get the chance.
There’s quite an endearing quality about King Creosote aka Kenny Anderson. His voice has a rustic, folk feel that can be so soothing – and if I close my eyes and listen to one of his slower songs, like “And The Racket They Made” (a duet written by fellow Fence artist HMS Ginafore) I’m easily taken in by the gentle tranquility of his music. But don’t get me wrong – he can rock out, too – live and in the studio.
The songs that I’ve heard off of the latest King Creosote release, ‘Bombshell’ are excellent and “You’ve No Clue Do You” is an absolute stand-out track.
Being fairly new to his music, I’m at the stage now where I want everyone to know about King Creosote – and as for his long time fans – aren’t they the lucky ones to have known of his music for so long?
Anderson is not only a talented musician and songwriter, he’s also the founder of Fence Records, a collective of musicians, artists and craftsfolk based in Fife, Scotland.
Jenny May: How did you come up with the name King Creosote?
King Creosote: I used to make records with a band called “Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra”, but always had to record a lot of my songs on my own. I wanted to put out these recordings on my own label Fence, so then I needed something to go on the fence. That’s the creosote part. I wrote down king creosote, and immediately liked the juxtaposition of the regal and the carcinogenic.
Which instrument to do you prefer to play the most?
At the minute it’s my new electric guitar. The love affair will no doubt end soon and I’ll go crawling back to my accordion wife.
When did you form your first band?
1985, as a fresher at Edinburgh uni. I hooked up with a school chum called Ralph. His sister got pregnant, so we named the band “Uncle Ralph”. We only played maybe 3 live shows in 4 years, but recorded a lot.
What is your favorite song to play live?
This tour it is a song called “Cockle Shell”. I get to play the electric guitar thru a fuzz pedal. It’s ace.
Do you ever play with your brother Gordon’s band, The Aliens (one of my favorite bands, by the way)?
I’ve leapt up on stage with them once or twice. I was asked to go with them to tour the U.S. but our dates clashed. Boo.
I really enjoyed your show in Oxford. Just curious – you mentioned that you went out on the lash the night before your gig. Do you remember where you went?
The White Horse, one other, the King’s Arms.
When on tour, what do you do in your spare time? What is a typical day like for you from when you wake up to when you go to sleep?
I’m driving the tour bus most days. So, brace yourself for the excitement … Get up, shower, eat at little chef (25% discount when you stay Travelodge), repack van, switch on tom tom (renamed tam tam, or sat gav after our drummer’s efforts at map reading), find venue, unload van, soundcheck, go eat/do interview/radio session, get nervous, play gig, load up van, drive to Travelodge.
What is your favourite tipple?
Fruit beers (cherry), red wine n coke, Cuba libre. On rotation.
Do you enjoy the process of filming your music videos?
No. Yes. No. I feel very self conscious, and hate it if they choose public places to film in. I’m always surprised when I look a lot more at ease than I felt at the time. I much enjoy the end result, sometimes.
How do you like living in Fife, Scotland?
I love Fife, at least, the north east part. Every season. I belong here, and the place has so far treated me like I belong.
How often do you record music?
In my spare time in between touring and accounting. I try to get a fortnight’s worth twice a year outside of recording “official” albums.
Where do you record?
At home in my attic. I have a digital 8 track and various keyboards, stringed instruments and machines. All my songs start on a dictaphone then end up on my 8 track.
What is your daily routine like in the recording studio?
I record late at night, when my daughter is at school, or during school hours if i’ve gotten all my other work done. I get a drum loop, shove on a guitar or accordion and a vocal, then I look around to see what I feel like playing next. Move on as soon as it’s mixed down, listen to it back in a day or so.
Do your record sales affect your desire to tour?
Nope, but as they go up, tours get more dates added.
How long have you been playing the accordion? Who inspired you to play?
I’ve played accordion for 33 years. My dad plays, I’m the eldest son, so he passed the baton on to me.
Who are your biggest influences in music?
Mark Hollis, Morrissey, Michael Stipe, my brothers Gordon and Iain, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, the Fence Collective. Early 80s stuff.
Who are the musicians playing with you in the current line-up of King Creosote? How long have they been playing with you?
Pictish trail, guitar, 4 years?
Onthefly, drums, 4 or 5 years on and off.
Uncle Beesly, bass, 13 years in different bands.
Where is your favorite place to play music?
Small rooms or halls.
I don’t say this very often to people that I interview (actually I’ve never said it), but if you ever need a backing singer for a recording or two just let me know!
For the latest tour dates, music and information go to: