Leigh Kelly of LSK

Interview with Leigh Kelly of LSK (geddit!)

AD:Your first album was released in 1999...

LSK: Was it?

AD: Yep, and it had good reviews! What have you been up to since then?

LSK: Well, after the album I was a bit disheartened by the negativity that came about when the industry reared its ugly head. So I guess I 've been trying to fall back in love with music and making music. I ve been working on some of my sister, Reanna's stuff but mainly, I got myself a PC and the kit I needed, and set up a studio in a back room and started to bash out tunes again, you know.

AD: And the result is the new album Outlaw?!

LSK: Exactly!

AD: A lot has been said about the broad musical background that you grew up with. How much of that comes through conciously or unconciously in your own material?

LSK: Good Question!! Thats better than 'Der..What did you have for breakfast this mornin, Leigh?'! Well, I do what I'm feeling at the time. Sometimes its concious, sometimes unconcious. Basically I get in the studio and there always loads of old records and that around, so I get inspiration from all over the place.

AD: Aftermuch debate(see album reviews) Atomicduster gave the new album 'Outlaw' a 9/10...

LSK: Excellent, how much do I owe ya...

AD: We'll have to sort that out later mate(laughing)... but seriously, Outlaw has a very warm sound with more than a touch of soul and reggae. How and why did you choose to go with that kind of sound?

LSK: Every album I've ever done has had at least one reggae track on it. I'm a massive reggae head! I hooked up with the legendary sound system man himself, Mike Iration so a lot of the sound comes from that collaboration. You know, I have a lot more strings to my bow than just rhyming and singing. All my mates are always going on 'Fuck the record label man, do a reggae album, do a reggae album!' So we'll see!

AD: Well I'm looking forward to that if it happens!!

LSK:Yeah it would be cool!

AD: Lyrically 'Outlaw' is very positive and uplifting. Does that reflect your true attitude and personality?

LSK: Yeah, I mean, I'm a father now so I dont want to be putting advisory stickers on all my music, you know. But then again I contradict myself cos I'm always swearing around the house! But seriosly its easier to play the negative character. If I said to you now, 'play a bad guy' you could go straight in to it, but its harder to stand up and be positive and true to yourself!

AD: Along that line, you make some strong references to the state of the UK music industry today. Do you think its become too commercial?

LSK: You see, the attitude in the industry has become very conservative. Labels aren't going on hunches and signing artist on that basis. The artists should have the freedom to express themselves, but if you dont appeal to 16 to 25 year old females they're not that interested!! But I dont want to just sit back and moan about it! The punk bands of the late seventies and early eighties went out and did something about it and now there are kids out there making their own music in home studios, pressing their own records and getting their music out there on the internet! So the media has broken down now and there is that freedom to get out out there and do it! That way you escape all the backlash and mindfucks, its hard!

AD: The first single off the album is 'Rapstarr'...

LSK: Yeah! Notice its the most commercially friendly!!!!

AD: Mmmm...You mention a lot of the rap artists of the time. In your mind who is currently shaping the sound of urban music today?

LSK: Its difficult cos like I said theres a lot of kids out there making there own stuff but I like 'Invisble Circle', 'Genocide' and other good british hip hop artists. 'Roots Manuva' has got a really unique sound and is doing some good stuff now. See, we can rap english now but a lot of the beats are still very american. American rappers are still going on about the 'bling' and calling themselves 'niggers' and shit! You know their forefathers fought long and hard against that sort of thing! I saw Ice -T on the TV the other day saying how their parents were stuck in the ghettos and singing and writing about it cos it was their experience but today they have a choice you know!!! The bling bling thing, its just not about my life it doesnt relfect me!

AD: A bit of a cheesey question now, but I want to know whats in your CD player at the moment?

LSK: Macobee. He's an old sound system guy, yeah he's grey now but his new material!!! The lyrics are excellent if your in to your lyrics. One track in particular, Christmas Postponed. Also we've got Digabal Planets and Big Audio Dynamite in the tour bus at the moment.

AD: You have done a lot of touring in the past. Now that 'Outlaw' has been realeased do you have any plans to tour?

LSK: Yeah we' touring around at the moment and I will be doing the festivals and also the Corwall surf festival and we're hoping to tour Japan and Australia. Its not all confirmed yet but the ones that are are, July 5th in Leeds at the Hi Fi Club, and the 10th in London at Water Rats. August 7th we're at the Camden Jazz Cafe, then the 9th up to Leicester for Summer Sundae, then Liverpool on the 10th for the Eden Festival and back to London to Earls Court! So a busy schedule already!!

AD: Excellent, but after all that whats next for LSK?

LSK: Well, I'm touring with a live band at the moment and its wicked, so I want to do a live band album! I want to get the album out for the end of the year. And lots of collaborations, I've got some guys in the studio today that I'm working with.

AD: Well, I'm looking forward to it! I will be at the Summer Sundae in Leicester so I'll see you there mate. Take it easy!

LSK: Cheers, thanks Nic.

Interview and transcript by Nic Caesar


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