Fearless Vampire Killers interview with Kier Kemp
Interview by Gary Trueman
Fearless Vampire Killers like to do things a bit differently. They’ve rapidly become one of the UK’s hottest young rock bands by putting in the hours and going that extra mile for the fans. Vocalist and guitarist Kier Kemp spoke to Get Your Rock Out about what lies in wait in 2016, the state of the music industry and why Bring Me The Horizon should be applauded for their new material.
You’re out with Escape The Fate and then back out again doing a headline tour in March. You seem to be really putting a lot of shows together for 2016. Is that the plan, to really get yourselves out there live?
“It always is. I don’t think we’ve ever reached a point where we’re touring as much as we’d like to be. Sometimes you just don’t get all the opportunities you want. It’s definitely a good start to the year. We’re out most of the time until mid March so it’s a good place to be in.”
How do you work your touring in with your writing. Do you write in bits and pieces or do you sit down and set time aside to write?
“We try and write whenever we can really, just fit it in amongst other stuff. We do loads of stuff be it pod casts or videos for our social network the Obsidian Bond. We try and fit all those activities around our touring schedule. We’ve already got a lot of songs written to go towards the next album so feeling pretty confident about that.”
So you’ll be hitting the studio any time soon?
“Hopefully this year.”
You’ve already been pretty prolific though.
“Well you have to keep the stuff coming. People don’t have the attention span they once did and they need feeding. So we aim to keep them fed.”
It’s interesting you say that because you see bands that’ll take a couple of years out and then when they come back the fan base has gone.
“Yeah, unless you’re touring. I think you can get away with it if you’ve been touring. You can’t just have a couple of years off and expect everyone to still care after that. It’s not the way it used to be. I like to keep writing music anyway, it’s good, it’s fun.”
You still keep everything in house, you keep a lot of control over what you do. Do you think that’s important to stop people trying to push you into directions you maybe don’t want to go?
“I think it’s important to believe in what you do and to like your own music. To be honest the reason a lot of the stuff we do is in house is because we haven’t had the opportunities that some bands have had, we’ve worked our way up from the bottom so we think if no one else is going to do it for you then do it yourself. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t like that control, of course I do.”
The music industry has changed hugely, do you think that even though there are a lot of great young bands out there it costs a lot of money to step up.
“Yeah, it takes a big investment which is the point we’re at. You’re right it’s pretty rare a band in the rock world will break so young. It’s a hard slog, that’s why you have to enjoy it.”
You’re getting a reputation for getting a lot of young mainly female fans. Is that a good thing or can a band suffer because of having a reputation of having a certain stereotype of fan?
“As far as I’m concerned I don’t care who the fans of our band are. If they like our music then I like them. I’m not one of these over judgmental people but some are and it’s really pathetic. A young girl who is into our music is no less worthy than an old man, there’s no scale there. “
One of the artists that Fearless Vampire Killers are cited as being influenced by is David Bowie who we sadly lost recently. A massive influence far outside of what people may think was his thing?
“David Bowie was an artist in the purest sense of the word. He did all sorts. He trained in mime when he was first around. It was a horrible thing to hear about and his death affected us just as it did a lot of other people. It’s the loss of an icon and they don’t make them the same any more.”
He was very influential in image as well. Obviously you have a reputation for a stage image but do you think a lot of bands miss out because they just don’t make the effort?
“I don’t know if they miss out. I know a lot of bands that look like they’re plumbers and they do alright. I think we like to feel that we’re projecting something, I think it’s good for a psyche especially if you’re an artist that likes to look your best and feel your best when you get on stage. That’s why we’ve always dressed up. I think you need to separate your normal life as well, you need to feel like you’re doing something, you’re putting on your war paint before you go out. I think it’s an important psychological thing.”
Do you think we’re losing the megastars like Bowie now? Do you think the music industry is producing a lot of not quite so big people?
“I think it has for a long time. Name me a band that’s emerged in the last ten years that could headline a large festival? There isn’t one. The only band that’s getting close is Bring Me The Horizon but they’ve taken a long time to get there it not like they’ve just appeared. It’s not the same as it was but there’s a lot of good music out there.”
It’s interesting you’ve brought them up because they’ve matured a lot and a lot of old fans have criticised them but they’ve done it for themselves, they’ve done it for the right reason.
“Yeah, I hate that sort of thing. If you’re an artist you don’t want to do the same thing for your whole life. It’d be boring. It’s why I don’t have a day job, because doing the same thing day in day out is not very fulfilling. Why any artist would want to churn out the same stuff is beyond me. Bring Me The Horizon just want to progress as musicians and they’ve done it so well done them.”
You mentioned having fun earlier. You guys always look like you’re having fun on stage and that then transmits to the audience.
“I watch a lot of gigs and try to get out to a lot of shows to see what other people are doing and you can tell if someone’s really into it. They project a certain aura and you can’t help but get caught up in that. Even if you’re not a massive fan of the band seeing someone else have fun is pretty infectious. It’s important on a personal level too, to enjoy what you do. You shouldn’t do anything you don’t want to do.”
Is there anyone in particular that you’ve seen recently that you think have something?
“Hmmm. I see a lot of gigs. A friend of mine is a booking agent and has a prog band that he represents called Lifesigns. It was a the tail end of last year I saw them. They’re not your usual rock band but they’re just incredible musicians. They stood out. I miss Panic At The Disco, I really like that band. I saw Bring me The Horizon again recently and because their fans are so dedicated you can’t help but be sucked in to what’s going on. Most bands at that level have half a room of people into it and half that have heard a song on the radio and think it’s alright and have bought a gig ticket on a whim. With them everyone wants to be there.”