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A man of his passion

HARSHINI VAKKALANKA
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PEOPLE King Creosote, who became a lead singer by accident, loves to explore many styles

I magine a much warmer, more passionate Howard Rourke, who does not compromise on quality and lives his life exactly the way he wants to. Ultimately, his love for what he does transcends the success he achieves. The success comes from his love alone.

Scottish modern alternative folk musician, King Creosote aka Kenny Anderson is every bit that man, whose passion for life expresses itself in his bright blue eyes as he begins to narrate his story. He performed at the B-Flat bar recently along with his band at “The Dewarists Stage”.

“I learnt playing the accordion from my father. I formed my first band when I was in college, but we just played in college. But once I left college, I began busking around Europe with some friends. I became a lead singer by accident,” says Kenny.

“We started off by playing bluegrass music along with Scottish and Irish folk. I also began writing songs then, trying to incorporate my lyrics into the bluegrass music. Over the years we became successful and we began recording, exploring many styles. I slowly began to see what voice can achieve. It takes you a long time to realise how much effort you need to put emotion and soul into your voice.”

Kenny started his own record label, Fence, in the 90s. He also works with Domino Records and has released over 40 music albums including “Flick the Vs” and “My nth bit of Umpteen” till date.

“When I had my record shop, I was a big fan of Domino Records and I feel honoured to be a part of it. Our band has played in a lot of festivals in the UK including the Green Man festival. Fence also hosts its own festival which is recognised in the UK's festival diary. The main thing is that I've managed to play music for 25 years. I've never had a hit single, neither has my music hit the charts. But me and my friends (of the bands “Pictish Trail” and “Gummi Bako”) took the label from a cottage enterprise to one of the main independent labels in Scotland.”

His name, “King Creosote”, has an equally long history. “When I was young, creosote was a black tar that my father would get me to paint our fence with. Later, it was declared carcinogenic. But it reminds me of the smell of summer. I added ‘king' to it because, Feif, which is my town, was called ‘Kingdom of Feif'. The word is also an entity against the fence, like setting yourself up and knocking yourself down at the same time. There is also nothing suggestive in the name about the kind of music I make.”

He began recording independently after an unhappy relationship with mainstream recording. “I had a record deal in the 90s. I realised it's futile because I was travelling long distances and playing to people who don't know me or understand my music. I found it pointless. Me and my friends like making records on our terms, we wanted out music to be selling point. We didn't even send our music to the radio or journalists. We did our things and we hoped out audience would find us. It may sound selfish, but it felt right.”

Kenny takes expression through art to a fresh, new level. His USP is that he never tries too hard. “My music is about songs, my songs are very lyrical. I basically poke fun at myself and others. My songs are a social commentary from my narrow viewpoint on this planet. I'm not afraid to sound authentic. I'm not a teenager anymore and I have a 12-year old daughter. I'm middle-aged and I try to be honest and communicate what's happening in my life,” explains Kenny.

“People have said that I've managed to say something commonplace in a unique way. I'm honest even when I'm lying. I mix fact and fiction, mythology and reality. I have has a similar life to most people. But I've said things that nobody would say.”

His favourite musicians include the European band Talk Talk, Garry Newman, Tears for fears and Adam and the Ants. He has done a lot of collaborations. He has worked with Jon Hopkins on his latest albums, “Diamond Mine” and “Honest Woods”. He contributed to the Cold Seeds album along with Frances Donnelly, Neil Pennycook and Pete Harvey.

Next year Fence plans to record EPs with bands like “Wither Tanned”, whose lyrics, Kenny thinks are “A cut above the rest” and artists like Seamus Foggery who play textured acoustic music (combined with live shows in his performances). He himself has more albums on the way.

Kenny mantra for music is fun. “Our community of musicians would like to maintain that anybody can do what we do. If you have fun, you'll have a happy life. If you are happy, you make everybody around you happy. If everybody is happy, you'll become a landmark of good times for them and so you'll become a social landmark. It's about planning for good things.”

HARSHINI VAKKALANKA

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