Entry Requirements: Over 18's only
Kerala Dust’s new album ‘Violet Drive’ is a record deeply affected and influenced by its surroundings. The band, formed in London in 2016, are now based between Berlin and Zurich, and the three Brits – Edmund Kenny on vocals and electronics, keys player Harvey Grant and guitarist Lawrence Howarth have created a deeply European album torn between the past and future. Formed out of a growing love of electronic music mixed with a history in indie bands, Edmund started the band at a time when making electronic music on a laptop “seemed like the most sensible thing to do”. He adds: “I got really into club music and used to go to Fabric and Corsica Studios loads. I got deep into the endless repetition of all of that music, and the way that, as it repeats incessantly, things unfold on you and it almost becomes a weird sort of mantra, leaving you in a clear headspace.” These hypnotic elements are a defining force behind Kerala Dust, whose music incorporates blues and americana mixed thrillingly with untraditional electronic beats. Through playing clubs worldwide for three years after forming, they honed a somewhat improvised and always fluid live show that broke their songs away from the shackles of their recorded forms and set the stage for a band determined to b reak moulds and keep rewriting their own script. While releasing debut album ‘Light, West’ towards the end of 2020, the band were diving into their new base of Berlin and letting its deep, complicated history and landscapes influence their next move. During lockdown, Edmund became friends with film director Greg Blakey and spent his days roaming deserted streets and old abandoned buildings (with help from a website dedicated to identifying them, and the difficulty of which to access each one). “There’s a richness and strangeness to the history of Berlin, and how many people have occupied this space in the last 80 years,” he says. “I grew up with British history, but there’s a very different sensibility here. In Britain, we’re told that the battles and the wins of the empire are a victorious thing, even though it crumbled and a lot of it is quite a shameful history. There is a deep sense of pride for these things, whereas Germans at school get imbued with an intense, deep shame for them. “These remnants are just standing there,” he adds. “Remnants of the wall in the middle of the city, old motorways built by the Nazis, all of these things that are left to rot because they are quite shameful. They all carry some weight of history that wasn't even too long ago, and going around and looking at those really, really informed the sound or the record.” In a break from past ways of working, the songs on ‘Violet Drive’ were built from the drums up, and this truly stunning, off kilter percussion defines the album; in keeping with the record’s inspirations, they often sound like a war cry. Recorded in two weeks in a studio in the Alps just outside of Zurich by Till Ostendar, the thudding backbeat laid down provide the framework upon which the album’s lyrics and instrumentation flashes of bluesy guitars and woozysynths, Edmund’s deliciously deep, syrupy voice bounce off and flesh the songs out. “I'd been previously writing in quite an Americana way,” he explains, “and this record is way more central European in terms of its influences,” with German legends Can a constant touchpoint.