Oxford based band the Keyboard Choir is a unique collaboration of musicians that, in their own words, "make music with the turbulence and dynamics of traditional 'ensemble' performances from purely electronic sound sources and 'found sound'".
The group recently released their debut album 'Mizen Head to Gascanane Sound' on Brainlove Records, and word has been getting out about their music and strange on-stage antics (that have included cardboard robots).
Their music has been receiving rave reviews: "It borders on the celestial" - DiScover Album of the Month, drownedinsound.com; "this is a beautiful and endearing album that proves that when you take away all the visual elements of their live performance, the music is still what makes them truly special." - musicomh.com; "a piece of challenging, different and overwhelmingly beautiful electronica, with an industrial edge..." - subba-culture.com - and I wouldn't be surprised if one day they pop up on Later...with Jools Holland or even late night at the Glastonbury Festival.
In case you're wondering about the interesting album title, the name was taken from a map that was on the wall in the room where the band was recording in Ireland.
Exclusive interview with Keyboard Choir keyboardist Seb Reynolds:
Jenny May: How long have you been playing music?
Seb: Since I was 4 or 5, I was obsessed with the idea of playing the theme from the Pink Panther on the saxophone, so I stuck at recorder all through primary school...then went onto sax and piano, got into keyboard at about 15 I think, so I've been at it for 10 years....
Where did you grow up?
In a really idyllic little village called North Hinksey, on the outskirts of Oxford. I have really fantastic memories, fields, rivers, summers that go on forever, isn't it hmmm, jumpers for goal posts? etc etc
Where has been your favourite place to play live and why?
I think the Trailer Park stage at Truck Festival has been an awful lot of fun, playing 1st thing on the Sunday morning has been great. The upstairs room at the old Zodiac in Oxford used to be a real treat too, cos we could bring our robots and have visuals and make a proper huge show of it.
When did the Keyboard Choir form?
Feb '04, I did it as a 21st birthday present to myself. Shit, we are almost 5 years old, well, that's certainly our mental age...
How did it come about that you guys decided to form the band (are you a "band")?
We are a band, it works best with the current five piece line up. Although, we have played at least two really great gigs this year with different people standing in. Me, Guy and Ady have been in it since the very first practice, James has been around for quite a while, Alex is the newest member, has been in the band since the summer. The story of how we met is far too long to go in to here... I've got to save something for the bestselling autobiography coming out at Chrimbo... Although I will say, being keyboard players, we felt like getting together and making a big racket... and it was fun... so we kept doing it.
What is the inspiration behind the concept of the Keyboard Choir?
To make passionate, emotive, powerful, spontaneous music with electronic instruments.
Any famous fans?
Brian Eno, Emma Watson, Peaches Geldof, Greig Guillemots, Moses, Saddam before they got him...
Will you be hitting the festivals in 2009?
We will be hitting them hard...
Who are some of your most influential artists?
Godspeed, Kevin Shields, Dr Dre, Autechre, Mozart.
Where did you record your latest album? What was the recording process like?
We did the bulk of the recording in two weeks in a house on the south west coast of Ireland. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far. Then Ady spent untold hours editing and mixing the album, literally months. It was a learning process for all of us, I certainly hope that the next one will get done alot quicker... Dr Dre's gonna record it. hahaha.
What gear is the band currently using on stage?
Me and Alex use slightly shit old keyboards through knackered guitar pedals. A couple of micro korgs, a laptop with Ableton live, it's the best software that we've found for what we do. James has a Triton work station, I forget what Guy has, a DW8 I think and some Yamaha thing. I also use a Boss sampler fed through a Kaoss Pad, that's where I trigger alot of the vocal samples and atmospheric shit from.
Craziest incident on stage so far?
The laptop broke at a gig at the Port Mahon in Oxford. Woody started playing the music from Worms and Beethoven's 9th and we had a massive spazz, it was very amusing. NOT!
Keyboard Choir live dates for November:
8 Nov 2008 4Talent Stage (Dragon Bar) @ Gigbeth Festival - Birmingham, Midlands
21 Nov 2008 Last FM @ Cargo - Big Smoke, London and South East
'Mizen Head to Gascanane Sound' on amazon.co.uk
Keyboard Choir MySpace
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