We met up with Kid Adrift (Iain Campbell – vocals and guitar, Nico Triay – drums, Peter Sené – synths with Becky Wools – piano and backing vocals) to have a natter before their gig at The Harley with Dananananaykroyd. They were in a great mood, leaving whispered messages about cylons in our dictaphone, talking about their obsession with filthy bass as well as serious stuff about working with a major label and recording their forthcoming album.
“We have found our sound as a band” – Iain Campbell
S] Let’s start with an old skool zine-style question: where did the name Kid Adrift come from?
I] “Er, I don’t know. I picked two words that sounded good individually and combined them and they didn’t sound good together, I thought it was an interesting effect.”
S] You’re opening for Dananananaykroyd and Flashguns on this tour and your sound is quite different, is the tour opening you up to a new audience?
I] “I think so. We’re totally different to the other bands. Nobody really knows who we are and when people come along and see Dananananaykroyd, they see us and we’re different. We’re a bit like Marmite. We’ve had some bad responses but some amazing responses as well and it’s been good.”
P] “I think it’s really good having bands that are completely different on the same bill because it’s not like the bands are competing to win over the same audiences. We’re quite clearly doing different things, but there’s still a kind of similar passion behind it.”
I] “It’s been the best fun we had on tour so far.”
P] “Playing with bands that mental just forces you to pick your game up live, it’s great!”
S] You’re often compared to Pendulum and Muse, but you don’t really sound like either of those bands and it’s been said that you’ve got a dubstep influence but we’re really not picking up on that either. What would you say your key influences actually are?
I] “Just some filth bass, distortion; distortion units, distortion pedals, anything sort of distortion we can get our hands on, a bit more distortion on top of that.”
P] “Some nice, weird classical music like Arvo Pärt”.
I] “It was lots of different things; it was just sitting up in a room in Scotland in seclusion, making ridiculous sounds and then bringing them down to the band. We take in a lot of different things.”
P] “We pretty much just pick the things that we like best about different bits of music and bring them together. It’s what we like about different genres of music, I don’t think they should be in different genres, I think they should just be the same thing.”
B] “I think it’s a combination of differences as well, I’m not really into anything ‘filthy’, I’m more into pretty things and good song-writing. So it’s kind of a combination of classical and rock and all these different things, but I wouldn’t say it’s [influenced by] dubstep.”
N] “The thing is, it’s totally different what people hear on a record compared to how we play because there’s real drums and it becomes a lot more rock-y. When people hear the electronic side and hear a little wobble somewhere in a song, then it’s like ‘Oh, that’s total dubstep’ and [they compare us to] Muse because we’re doing arpeggios.”
I] “I think on the album as well, all those things will just fly away. We’re just finishing it off at the minute and we’ve got a track with a gospel choir but with like, sub-bass underneath. There’s a track with sixty-four string parts but at the same time, something that sounds like a chainsaw in the background. So hopefully, it’s going to break down any comparisons so far.”
S] How do you go about writing the songs now? Because originally, Iain, you wrote and recorded on your own but now is it more of a collaborative process?
I] “Yeah, definitely. I did the first EP by myself. It was literally just me in my bedroom and I didn’t even think anyone would listen to it. It was the most shambolic affair you’ve ever seen! It was me with a laptop which I called The Millennium Falcon because it’s just so broken up. I recorded the EP as a really rough demo and sent it out and for some reason it took off and did really well and we got together and now we’re doing some really good stuff. We’ve got a guy who works with the Chemical Brothers [Steve Dub] mixing it and taking it up to a new level. We’re really excited about it.”
S] How did you record the album? Was the process different from recording the Oxytocin EP?
P] “It’s all just done at home. Because myself and Iain have worked in studios ourselves, we thought that rather than paying loads of money and going into studios, it would be much better and we’d have much more creative control if we did it ourselves. So we’ve all just been working at home in my room and it’s chaos, but it works really well just for us to be able to get all the sounds we want and have as much time and as much creativity as we need.”
I] “Me, Nico and Pete all live in a house together and then Becky comes over and I’ll just stumble out of bed at three in the morning like ‘I’ve got a bass line! I’ve got a bass line,’ and then Nico will come down and put a beat down and we just do that and then Steve Dub takes it, and mixes it all together.
S] You recorded a track for the new album with Guy Sigsworth?
I] “We did a track a track for the album called ‘Sleeping Pills’. It was really interesting because we’re all massive fans of Björk and Imogen Heap and all the guys he’s worked with in the past. It’s turned out really, really sick. I don’t know how to describe it; it’s a really sort of groovy, filthy bass-fed, distorted track…”
P] “…And some weird pop over the top!”
I] “Yeah! It’s kind of a pop track.”
S] So will the album sound different from the Oxytocin EP?
I] “Yeah, totally. Every track is gonna be different; there’s a track with a kind of old, tape recorded Hollywood string section with Daft Punk-style synths.”
P] “There’s Tool time signatures in there…”
I] “Yeah! And then some stuff that’s more straightforward like ‘Sleeping Pills’ and a track called ‘Seizure’ which is just a big pop song. It’s just a mixture between more experimental stuff and poppy stuff as well. Well, maybe not poppy, I guess people will make of it what they will.”
S] You’ve been picked up by Island Records, which is kind of a big deal, what’s it been like working with such a big label so early in your career.
I] “Island are amazing, they’re the only major we would’ve wanted to be with because they genuinely do want you to be an artist in your own right.”
P] “They really invest in people as artists.”
I] “Absolutely, We’d literally been together as a band for a couple of months and then they signed us. It was mental! It was because ‘Red, Green And Blue’; the first song got so much hype. I was like ‘guys, just give me a second! I need to breathe!’ but they’ve been really great and they’ve understood that this is our first year and we’re building up an album and building up our live show. But, we feel like we’re at the point now where we’ve really found what our sound is and what we are as a band and what our live show is, enough to go out and actually do it. So it’s been really good. You get the feeling that they stick with an artist and don’t just take them on and drop them after a year.”
P] “They see artists as artists and not just a product to sell.”
S] It seems odd that they were cool with you recording at home. That doesn’t sound like the type of thing a major label would do.
I] “Well, it was just the way I did it at the start and I guess it got a lot of press, I didn’t know a lot about that sort of stuff, I was just making all these demos at home, so they were like ‘Well, let’s just keep doing that.’ It has been great working with other people though. I think we’ve taken a year just to get our sound together and deciding exactly what we are and it was wicked, they gave us the trust to do that. With ‘Oxytocin’, because it’s a ridiculous, distorted electro track, it’s not commercial at all really, but then it really took off when they put it out and that was cool for them, I guess there’s a lot of trust involved.”
S] You last spoke to Soundsphere in November and we discussed your plans for 2011, how’s the year shaping up so far? What do you have coming up?
I] “The album’s gonna be finished in about three weeks’ time, so we’re excited about that, but before that we’re gonna put out a five-track EP and it’ll be just…”
P] “…A taster for the record.”
I] “It’ll really give people an idea of what’s gonna go down. Then we’re gonna do festivals and some other shows. We’re doing a David Bowie cover show with Sharleen Spiteri from Texas and Kate Nash, which should be interesting!”
S] Is that one of the JD set gigs? How did that come about?
P] “Apparently, Sharleen’s a fan of our music and she sent an e-mail through, inviting us to come play. It was slightly surreal!”
S] Finally! Describe your band using metaphor! Dananananaykroyd described themselves as being a moon reflected in a lake but there’s no lake or moon, just Dananan. How would you describe yourselves?
I] “We would be the moon and the lake, but if both were combined into a pterodactyl with a distortion unit on its back and then it got eaten by a pterosaur in the pre-Jurassic period. That’s the sort of sound we’re going for.”
B] “Basically, Jurassic Park?”
P] “Basically anything involving dinosaurs.”
B] “But we’re not geeky!”
For more information visit the official website.