Dead Man’s Knee
WITH a fantastic single out there….
it was a good moment to speak with Dead Man’s Knee and find out more. They talk about Pleasure and what inspired the single. They tell me about their formation and influences such as Funkdaelic; whether there is more material brewing in the camp – the members each choose an album that means a lot to them.
The Rock band reveal what they do when not making music; new artists worth looking out for; what sort of gigs they have lined up; if they each have a favourite memory from their time in music – the guys all select a kick-ass song to conclude the interview.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. It’s been a pretty good week. We’ve all been busy promoting our new single, Pleasure. It seems to be going pretty well - and we’re happy with the reception it’s been getting.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Well. We’re a four-piece Rock band from London called Dead Man’s Knee. Angelos is a Greek living in London and he plays the guitar; George is also a Greek living in London and he plays the bass; Leonn is our drummer; he’s from Walthamstow in North East London and Del is from Brixton in South London and he plays the guitar and sings.
I like the sound of Pleasure. How did the song come together? What inspired it?
Pleasure was one of the very first songs we ever wrote together but it went through about three different versions before we settled on the version that we finally released. The melody and the lyrics stayed pretty much the same as they are now - but the music changed drastically.
Musically, the song was inspired by a wide range of things; underneath all of the distorted guitars and the Blues influences that are pretty obvious to the ear. There’s this '60s R&B and Motown vibe in the drums and bass. It’s a song for dancing.
It, in a way, rallies against the image of Rock. What do you think of the new breed of Rock/Punk bands? Does the return of a band like Arctic Monkeys hint at a genuineness that has been missing?
The intention wasn’t so much going against the image of Rock per se: it was more saying you don’t have to do what everyone else expects you to do; you should be able to live your life in a way that makes you happy without feeling guilty about what you like or ashamed for enjoying yourself. We don’t really have a set opinion on the new Rock and Punk bands that are out there. As is always the case, some are good some are not to our taste...
We’ve said before, we really like what Royal Blood are doing. We also really like what Nothing But Thieves have been doing as well. As for Arctic Monkeys; we’re excited to see where they go musically after AM. That had a lot of different influences; from Hip-Hop and R&B mixed into their core sound (and made for an exciting record).
How did Dead Man’s Knee come together? Did you instantly know you set up a band?
Del and Angelos had known each other through George and some other mutual friends for a while - but had never played in the same bands because most of what we did as session musicians only required one guitarist.
So, as an excuse to play together, we decided to have some late-night jams and things kind of kept going from there. We all really enjoyed the music that we were making together, so we just kept doing it and started writing songs based on bits of those jams. At some point, we decided we should give ourselves a name and, now, here we are...
I hear shades of Funkadelic in your tones. Which artists are most important you all?
We love Funkadelic, so we’re glad you can hear that influence in what we’re doing.
We’ve got such a mixed bag of important influences from the Blues legends like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and the Chess Records artists to the Gospel influences of Andre Crouch and the Edward Hawkins Singers; from Led Zeppelin and AC/DC down to Queens of the Stone Age and The Foo Fighters.
Might we see more material later this year? What are you guys working on?
Right now, we are working on an E.P. called Fear of Flying - Pleasure is actually the first single from that project. We’re intending to put out another single from that later this year and then the E.P. should be ready for release towards the end of the year.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Angelos: AC/DC – Who Made Who
Because it was the first album I bought when I was eight-years-old and it made me want to play the guitar and be in a Rock band.
Del: It’s really, really hard to select just one - but I’ll say Lewis Taylor’s first album. It’s just called Lewis Taylor and it’s one of those albums I’ve never stopped listening to since the first time I heard it.
George: Miles Davis - In a Silent Way
Because it’s optimistic, it’s dirty; it’s stressful, it’s peaceful; it’s a constant journey through feelings and emotions.
Do you guys have any gigs lined up? Where can we see you play?
Playing in front of an audience is where we are most at home and the songs really shine in a live environment. As of right now, we don’t have any gigs booked in but we are working on some festivals for the summer and we’re hopeful that, once the E.P has been released, it’ll get enough support for us to get out on a small tour.
If people keep up with us on our social media, we’ll be letting everyone know about our next shows as soon as we’ve got everything confirmed.
If you had the chance to support any artist, and choose any rider; what would that include?
If we could support any artist on tour right now it would probably be the Foo Fighters. As for the rider; we’ll take everything on the menu times four, please.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
The plan for 2018 is to get the E.P. finished and get that released so people can start hearing who we are and what we bring to the table; then get out on the road and let people come and see and hear how we do it live. It’d be nice to really get a good buzz going so that we have something to springboard onto the next phase of our evolution as a band…
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Angelos: Most of my friends come from music and are musicians so, whenever I see friends, I have happy musical memories
Del: Every time I look around on stage and realise I’m playing music I love with friends I love. Sometimes, it can be very overwhelming realising how lucky I am to be able to do that.
George: I have way too many memorable music moments to be able to choose just one: my whole life is music.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Keep doing what you do because you love it, and don’t give up on your dreams: keep chasing them until you catch them because, eventually, you will…
IN THIS PHOTO: K N DÉ
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We all enjoy spending downtime with our respective families and we like a bit of sport; mostly basketball, football; boxing or watching Formula 1. Music is always there, though. Even when we’re relaxing; we all have other artists we work with and projects we’re involved with – as well as Dead Man’s Knee. Some for work; others just for fun.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Michael Jablonka – I Found You
Kadija Kamara – Nothing Left to Lose
AC/DC – Ride On
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
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