The band recently spoke to Peter Dennis from Northampton based Pulse-Alternative Magazine, check out the interview below.
Peter Dennis spoke to local band THE KEEPERS just prior to their gig at The Garibaldi Hotel on the 30th March 2018.
Peter: Hi guys. Please introduce yourselves. Who does what in the band?
Jordan: I'm Jordan. Guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Oliver: I'm Oliver. I play bass guitar.
Steve: I'm Steve. Drums and percussion.
Liam: I'm Liam, guitarist.
John: I'm John, playing keyboards at the moment.
Peter: How did you all meet and what gave you the idea to form the band?
Jordan: I kind of formed it as a solo project but I had these songs that required being played by a band and not on acoustic guitar. That was about 2 or 3 years ago and it's been a kind of gradual process, having to try out different members and different producers, learning how to get songs down as we went along. People have come and gone but we've kind of settled on these guys. Everyone's got their individual story of how they came to join the band.
Liam: Jordan found me online! [laughs] and he started bringing me along to the gigs. Eventually they had a line-up change and he brought me in to add another guitar to the equation.
Oliver: The Keepers were looking for a bass player. They went through about 547 different bass players before I decided to join. They went through a couple more thinking 'We'll probably ask him.' I joined and my first gig was supporting Noasis at The Picturedrome which was a bit mental but it was fun.
Steve: I went to see the band Space with my girlfriend and a mate of mine was there. I said 'What are you doing here?' and he said 'I'm here to see my mates band.' Then two months later I asked 'How's your mates band getting on?' and he said 'They're having problems with their drummer' I said I'd sit in for a few gigs and six months later I'm still doing it.
John: I'm essentially the bands producer. I'm currently doing a couple of guest appearances on keys.
Peter: How do you feel this band gels together? Are you happy with the line up?
Jordan: Yes. I think it's the best we've ever sounded, the strongest. It was a turning point when Liam joined and another turning point when Oliver joined. So each guy (and the same with John) has upped the level. We all king of gel quite well. I think we're all on the same kind of wavelength.
Peter: Are you friends outside the band?
Jordan: No! We hate each other! [laughs] No, we all get on. Steve's my drinking buddy. Oli falls asleep after one sip! And John just takes money off us really!
Peter: Musically you're influenced by music from the early '60s right through to the late '90s. How do you filter your influences from such a wide expanse of music?
Liam: It's the attitude on stage plus the sound itself. A mixture of the two really.
Jordan: The influences are always going to be what I'm listening to at the point of writing a song. So if I've been listening to The Velvet Underground or The Doors, which I have recently, then the next song will sound a bit like them. I think we've all got common influences, the bands that made us want to pick up instruments: The Beatles, The Stones, The Who and Oasis. It's probably more attitude and song-wise I'd say.
Oliver: And clothes.
Jordan: ...and clothes. Clobber is a very important part...and hairstyles!
Peter: Would you say your choice of cover versions is typical of your sound? You've covered 'Paperback Writer', 'Interstellar Overdrive' and 'Good Thing'.
Jordan: 'Good Thing' was quite a weird one because opposite where we rehearse is a scooter shop and we've known the owner for quite a while and he wanted us to cover that song. It's been a bit tricky because about six months ago we were in a position where we were playing at pubs and they didn't want all originals so we'd have to throw in covers and think what's kind of easy? We used to play whole sets of covers just so we could make money to fund everything else: hotels, recordings... If we liked a song we'd do it. At one point we had more Stones covers than we did The Beatles and I think it's safe to say we all prefer The Beatles to The Stones?
Liam: They're both equal.
Jordan: They're both equal. I think it's a trend of what you're most listening to on your iphone as well.
Peter: From where do you draw lyrical inspiration?
Jordan: It can be anything. Some of the songs like 'Here Comes Spring' for example, I was on holiday in York when I wrote that and it's literally about late February and it's getting a bit warmer. As pretentious as it sounds I don't really have a lot of control over the lyrics when I write a song. It's almost like I get it from a satellite that's transmitting and it's like I'm transferring them to a piece of paper. When I sit down and try to write lyrics then they're shit really, to be honest. When I wake up in the morning and write them down then that's better so I don't really know where they come from.
Peter: You have to sing the lyrics so they must mean something to you.
Jordan: They do. Like 'Another Night' they're quite brutal lyrics.
Peter: Are the lyrics autobiographical? They're certainly relatable.
Jordan: Yeah, unfortunately. 'Another Night' is a person sitting in the pub and their mates are doing god knows what and you're not into that. Just being human is the main influence of the lyrics, just very human things.
Peter: You're all local lads. How do you rate the contemporary music scene in Northampton?
Liam: I quite like it because of the mixture. Hip hop, indie and alternative stuff. I'm quite into it. It's diverse.
Oliver: It's very unique. It's not like London where it's diluted by loads of bands who no one has heard of. There's a few select bands who are all unique and that makes it quite special I guess.
Steve: I think some of the venues closing... There used to be The Roadmender which used to be the core venue for guitar bands and they seem to have shifted to drum and bass and grime where they used to be the breaking ground for new bands. Then there was The Soundhaus and you had bands like The Killers and Kasabian turn up and two months later they'd be playing arenas. I think it's a bit more disparate in town now. There's venues like The Lamplighter where people go just to watch bands no matter who's playing so they are good training grounds but a lot of the clubs just want cover bands now.
Jordan: Saying that I suppose it's like that for the rest of the country really.
John: The scenes as good as you want it to be really. If you get involved and support everybody else it creates a good community spirit. It's easy to step away and think negatively about it.
Peter: Would you say there's a community spirit?
Jordan: Most of the time. We had The Mobbs playing with us last June, then they asked us to play at their last gig. It was nice because we would have been there anyway so I was like 'Wow! I can bring my guitar with me as well!' Some bands can be very, very positive and some can't be but that's not necessarily a Northampton thing. It's a person thing really.
Peter: Northampton's got a great grass roots music scene but we need a band to breakthrough to the mainstream. Are there any local bands you'd tip for stardom?
Jordan: It's like Manchester isn't it? Joy Division opened up the gateway for the next generation.
Steve: Sarpa Salpa have got a couple of tracks that are very on the money. They've certainly got strong material.
Liam: I think Ginger Snaps and Deaf Trap. Ginger Snaps: they're proper hip hop with bits of rock n' roll.
Jordan: I quite like Killer Mojo who are absolutely mental. We did a gig with them in Milton Keynes and they're really fantastic, they've got some really good material. I'd like them to go far but they're in the same boat as us: they're not commercially viable so they're not going to get Radio One airplay, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'd like to see them and Deaf Trap go really far.
Peter: How far do you think you can take The Keepers? What's your ambition?
Jordan: A mansion in Cheshire! [laughs] It would be nice if we could all give up our jobs and just be playing Roadmender venues all the time. I just want people to dig the music because if they get the music then they 'get' us a little bit. To get a bit of recognition and appreciation for what we do.
Peter: You've recently re-released your first four singles. When you look at them as a body of work chronologically how do you evaluate the bands progression?
Jordan: A lot of songs were kind of written, they're not like new songs apart from 'Here Comes Spring'. 'Another Night' was written before 'Here Comes Spring' so I think you can probably hear how we are developing in the studio and musically and that has a lot to do with John. 'Here Comes Spring' was probably the turning point for the band. We were like: we want to put out something that is so '60s because we've got the ability to make it like this. 'Another Night' was the same kind of thing.
Peter: So what's next for you? A full album?
Liam: No. Not an album yet. Maybe a few more singles. Do more gigs to get our name on the stamp.
Jordan: The songs that we're playing plus the extra tracks that are not in the set list tonight we could probably put them on an album. If we put them all on an album I think we'd all be unhappy. I wouldn't say the songs are unfinished but they just need that extra chord change or something like that. So I suppose it's working on the arrangements and that only comes after you get bored playing them for a bit. I'd say two or three more singles for the rest of the year then we might release an actual body of work like an album.
Peter: Have you been involved in Twinfest?
Jordan: We did it one year before Liam joined and we applied for it last year but they didn't receive our application. Twinfest is something we really want to do this year. We're booking the weekend off and thinking that's where we want to be. Whether or not we're actually playing we just want to get involved with it. I really hope we do play Twinfest this year.
Peter: Have you taken the band to the continent yet?
Jordan: We're going to the continent in October but we can't say where yet and we're going again next year.
Peter: How do you think foreign audiences will take to your quintessentially English sound?
Jordan: I think they'll quite like it. I don't think it'll be Beatlemania but I think they'll get it. I hope they'll dig it.
Peter: Have you had a favourite gig so far?
Steve: Playing with The Spitfires was good.
Oliver: The gig we did in Hastings for the Beano on the Sea festival was definitely up there for me. That was amazing.
Jordan: I think one of the best gigs we did was fairly recently at MK11, I thought that was really good. Going back was supporting The Moons at The Roadmender, one of our favourite bands. That might have been the gig turning point. It was the only time where I think we all actually felt nervous. We walked out on stage and there was 3 or 400 people for our set. We were like 'This is it!'
Peter: Finally you're filming a video on April 6th. Can you give us a sneak preview?
Jordan: We'd like to talk about it but I don't think Mr Director would be too happy. It's at The Pomfret Arms. It's gonna be a typical Keepers gig but we're going to take you back to a little speak easy in 1967 Soho. That's all we can say. We want extras dressed smart in casual, vintage wear. From 5 O'clock: be there or be square!