As the likes of Black Country, New Road have championed in recent years, it’s becoming fashionable for bands to fit an inconceivable number of band members onto cramped live stages. KEG, a quirky seven-piece outfit of self-confessed “stinky boys”, are no different. Although being dubbed a Brighton band almost everywhere you look, they’re keen to set the record straight when it comes to their musical hometown. “A lot of us moved to Brighton to be by the sea during Covid, but everything to do with the band has been in London,” explains Will Wiffen, KEG’s synth player. “Most of us are in London now and the only affiliation we’ve had with Brighton is through people using it in magazines. We’re a London band through and through, really.”
Two members of the septet – Will and bass player Joel – join us for the majority of our Zoom call, with guitarist Frank Lindsay arriving later and drummer Jonny joining fashionably late with two minutes to spare on the 40-minute timer. They’re promoting the release of their second EP Girders, which follows on from last year’s debut EP Assembly that gained nationwide attention for its erratic, post-punk aura with danceable undertones. Like their London contemporaries showcase, KEG’s new EP sees each band member really finding their own groove. “Sonically, everyone seems to be able to find their own space in the music,” says Joel. “We’ve evolved our own voices and it feels like we’re more together now than we ever have been. Our latest EP sounds nothing like our first, which is a great thing.”
From the outright bizarreness of ‘Elephant’ to the anthemic qualities of ‘Kids’, there’s depth and variety etched across Girders’ five tracks. Lead vocalist Albert Haddenham is often the star of the show with his lyrics pointed towards his family experiences – sometimes directly, other times more abstractly. The new EP was also recorded live with Gilla Band’s Dan Fox and though the band aren’t overly concerned about being bracketed as yet another UK post-punk band, they’re more concerned about making progress with their music. “Unless you’re an absolute maverick who is capable of creating their own distinct musical space, then it’s difficult not to sound similar to other music going in various scenes. It’s inevitable,” says Will matter-of-factly. “But I also think it’s wrong to be completely individualistic all the time in any art form. For us, it’s more about getting together and having good craic most of the time that we enjoy.”
Catching KEG on the live stage is something that an increasing number of fans are revelling. They’re set to embark on a headline UK tour this November, but one of their most chaotic gigs this year came in their ‘hometown’ at The Great Escape. “We had a gig in the morning at Folklore Rooms where they had to pull the set before our last tune because it was absolutely rammed,” Joel laughs. “The roof was literally caving in and the venue still has structural damage from it. It was mental.”
KEG won’t be to everyone’s taste – but that’s the point. Despite having some understandable resistance from their label when they pushed to have their new EP campaign revolve around the theme of eggs, it’s this odd originality that gives KEG their inimitable character and will ensure, looking ahead, that the band can blossom to their full potential. “We’d never change our creative ideas just to be more mainstream,” says Will, while Joel concludes that “the best thing is not to overthink these things and keep running with stupid ideas. It’s definitely more fun!”
‘Girders’ EP is out now on Alcopop! Records.
Words: Jamie Wilde
Photo Credit: Theo Zeal