News Reading & Leeds Festival 2009: KASMS

With Reading & Leeds Festival just days away, we caught up with a few of the bands playing to see how they’re getting on, what they’re currently up to, and what we can expect from them over the festival season.

Kasms have just released their new single ‘Absent Without Leave / Murder’, and they’ll be playing tracks from their debut LP ‘Spayed’ on the BBC Introducing Stage this weekend. DIY catches up with guitarist / drummer Rory Brattwell.

Hi Rory, how are you today? What have you been up to?
Well I haven’t seen any of the other Kasms lot today, we were loitering in the park together yesterday topping up our tans and drinking Speckled Hen. I’ve just been locked in my studio all day recording a band called ‘Please’ who everyone should go have a listen to!

What has been the best thing about being in KASMs so far, in your opinion?
Hmm, well there’s a few things I guess, it might sound a bit cornball but it’s great to be in band with some of my best and oldest friends and it’s great (and lucky) that we manage to make good music together with a minimum of effort and stress. We get to play lots of shows in weird and interesting places too and don’t have to bang our heads against the wall to make things happen. We’ve only been together a year or so but everything has been pretty enjoyable and straight-forward, but who knows what lurks around the corner!

Being in a band must be expensive at times: what would you most like to claim on expenses, if you could?
Hmmm, well we don’t spend much money compared to most bands because we do a lot of stuff ourselves (recording, artwork, blah blah) but it’d be nice have an expense account for costumes and props, maybe some pyrotechnics. If I had the opportunity I’d love to have a vertically rotating drumkit like the guy out of Earth, Wind and Fire! Oh and I’d like a free American style RV camper van thing and a driver, getting from place to place is right pain in the arse and the only money we ever make is easily swallowed up by petrol and van hire which is an extremely dull thing to spend money on.

Your debut album ‘Spayed’ seemed to garner pretty positive reviews: were you relieved? Or was the positivity expected?
I don’t know really, I’m glad someone liked it, although we get a lot of negative reviews too. The magazines/blogs that I wanted to like it generally gave it positive reviews though. It’s good for people to either love or hate you, it’s much better than ‘that was ok I guess’.

Have you started work on your follow up yet?
We wrote one song a month or so ago in band practice, recorded it that same day and immediately released it as a single (Absent Without Leave) but that’s the only finished new track I guess. We’ve got loads of random noise from messing around, it kinda sounds like we’re slaughtering animals with our instruments, it might end up on a tape, but other than that we haven’t had that much time to write new stuff as we’ve been playing a lot of gigs. The next couple of months we’re going right a whole load of new stuff though.

Spotify: Love or Hate?
It’s ok I guess, I don’t really have a problem with people getting music for free. I am a bit old fashioned though and am a believer that people should have a physical record collection. Having a collection of records (or a collection of anything that you’re interested in for that matter) reflects who you are as a person and can document your life to a certain degree. Plus you’re much more likely to play and find something unexpected that you forgot about when you flick through your record collection than when you just search for something on itunes or Spotify and it instantly appears. It sounds daft but there’s something kind of enjoyable about spending half an hour looking through your records 3 times to find the elusive gem! Or maybe I just a fucking nerd.

Are you looking forward to playing Reading & Leeds Festival? What’s your funniest / most bizarre festival experience?
Yeah definitely, I’ve played it before with old bands and it’s always good to play Reading and Leeds. I’m not really a massive fan of festivals when I’m there as a punter but it’s good to play a show in the daytime then going on a drunken wander for the rest of the day and seeing what happens. It’s a lot cheaper when you’re playing too, festivals are waaaay overpriced these days, I could never afford to go if I wasn’t in this band. Our only bizarre festival experience was quite well documented when we got thrown out of Kendal Calling for ‘trashing’ their drum kit a few weeks back, there wasn’t a scratch on it. It was a very twee festival though and I don’t think they were that well versed in our antics, will have to bring a ukulele and some sandles next time.

You’re playing on the ‘BBC Introducing Stage’; who would you have playing if there were a ‘KASMs Introducing Stage’?
Well, bands we like at the moment are the aforementioned Please, also Fair Ohs, Cold Pumas, Plug, Male Bonding, Not Cool, The Light Sleepers, Veronica Falls, The Human Race, Sound of Rum/Kate Tempest, Spin Spin the Dogs. There’re tons of good bands around at the moment so we would love to have our own stage, not sure if the reading punters would into it or not but we’d all enjoy it.

What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Well we’re releasing our album in Europe and Australia soon, going to be touring in Germany in December and also Japan before the year’s out hopefully if that goes to plan. Also we’re supporting the Slits in a couple of weeks at ULU, that’ll be amazing! Other than that just writing and recording our Prog-Concept follow up to ‘Spayed’.

And finally: would you go skinny dipping in the Thames?
No way, it’s got intensely brutal undercurrents, 100s of people die in that stinking river every year and their bodies get some mangled that they can’t be identified. We’d quite happily go skinny dipping anywhere else but I can think of better ways of popping my clogs than being dragged through human waste at high speed.

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