YOU only need look at their images…
to know they are a force to be reckoned with. Graham and Amy form KAZE and have been talking about their start and changes. I ask what inspired the song, Fierce, and how they will follow it up; whether there are any gig plans lined up; some new artists to check out – what KAZE hope to achieve before the end of the year.
Amy and Graham pick an album important to them; they discuss how they create such a sense of fun and theatre; whether they have favourite memories from their time in music – they reveal what they do when they’re not recording music.
Hi, KAZE. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, there! We are both well, thanks. We’re away at the moment doing a spot of songwriting actually…
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Graham McCusker, crazy Scotsman, writes the music and plays keys while Amy Webber, from Kent, writes the lyrics and provides the lead vocals.
For fans of (it’s somewhere between) Björk, Wolf Alice and Kate Bush.
What can you tell me about the latest single, Fierce? What is the story behind it?
Fierce is about finding your inner-strength to finally stand up to people who intimidate and bully you. It's about finding your power and your confidence to stand up to injustices.
I love the vocals and theatrics on the track! Was it quite a complex track to put together and get ‘just right’?
We rehearsed the track thoroughly before going into the studio, so it was actually more straightforward than we thought it would be when it came to recording it. While rehearsing it, we experimented with a number of approaches and characters which was fun.
You recorded at Blueprints studios. What was the experience like being in the studio? Who else can we hear on the track?
We absolutely loved going into Blueprint and playing/recording! Just being in that atmosphere where all you think about is creating music; all the worries of the ‘outside world’ seem distant. You can hear Thomas Fripp on Guitar, Jamie Brewster on Bass and Alexander Tod on Drums.
How did you come to meet one another? What started the KAZE ball rolling?
We met at the Royal Northern College of Music where we both trained to be Opera singers. It was when Graham became ill with leukaemia in 2016 and was undergoing chemotherapy that he decided we should start a Pop band. We had the occasional jam before of covers, but it was nothing serious.
After finding himself so ill and out of control physically, Graham felt music and writing was something he could control and put his energy into. We wrote twenty songs over his four months of treatment - and that’s how it all started.
What sort of music do you both like? Who inspired you growing up?
Graham grew up listening to Steely Dan, Radiohead and At the Drive-In.
Amy grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, The Cardigans and Caravan Palace.
Now, we both have a huge range of music taste: we love Loyle Carner, mr jukes; Sigrid, Tune-Yards etc.…
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
We have some gigs coming up at the end of April which we can’t wait for!
24 April: Edinburgh @ Sneaky Pete’s
25 April: Glasgow @ The Hug and Pint
27 April: Manchester @ The Castle
Which albums, old and new, do you count as favourites and standouts?
Frank - Amy Winehouse
Gaucho - Steely Dan
Can we expect more material before the end of this year, do you think?
Yes! We have two releases in the pipeline - we’ve got a bold song called Weapon due for release in June and another song due for release in August!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
In 2018, we hope to secure some summer festivals. We have a stage show which we’re really proud of. It’s very theatrical and involves dancing, props and general performing flare. So, we really want to perform to a wider audience and on a big stage.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Amy: Those movie moments where you’re sat around a fire and, after drinks and food, someone gets a guitar out at the end of the night. It sounds cheesy but I love making music when there’s no pressure on it to have to ‘sell’ or reach a specific audience - when you just make music for enjoyment and just sing your heart out.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Write as much music as possible! Keep writing down lyrics ideas and little melodies. Put them on your laptop or on paper and hold on to them. Someone once said to us, for every ten songs you write, you might write one good one!
Keep on top of social media profiles too and keep connecting with people on there. Upload interesting content and connect with like-minded people/musicians.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
There is an excellent vocalist and songwriter in Angus Munro. We’re actually playing a few gigs with him in Scotland soon and we’re big fans of his punching, acrobatic vocals and heartfelt songs.
We also have a friend, Stella Angelika, who’s from London - and she’s writing really beautiful songs with sublime vocals. Check them both out!
IN THIS PHOTO: Stella Angelika
Do you both get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Graham is a goalie and loves playing football with a post-match pint. If not on the pitch, Graham also enjoys virtual football, A.K.A. Fifa.
Amy likes eating, cooking and running/yoga (probably done in the reverse order and with fresh herbs, cheese and a glass of dry white).
We both love getting outdoors and going for wild, country walks as well.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can both choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Amy: Candi Bar by Keith Murry
Graham: Boogie Nights by Heatwave