The Klezbians! Not the Kasabians!!
Being mistaken for the Kasabian may be a common occurrence for The Klezbians! But their genre of combining gypsy and Jewish beats cannot be confused as this truly unique band is creating a stir in the mainstream pool of music.
We talk to James Randell, trumpeter of The Klezbians! for an exclusive interview.
What was the reason for naming the band, The Klezbians! ? What made you decide to join/create The Klezbians!?
It was mainly, due to the reason that when we started our core module (at University), we had to have a name for the band to present our work to the rest of the group. We hadn’t had a name, we discussed it but hadn’t decided on it, until we were on the stage, they said what’s your name and somebody said the Klezbians as that was the name we had discussed. And from that, the people we presented to really thought it was memorable so yeah, we kept it as that.
What was the idea behind combining Jewish and Gypsy influences into the music?
All of that style of music we all really enjoyed playing as we all experienced it before starting the course. Before we started, we did some research into it, and was was full of foot tapping and we seemed to really engage with and love it. [Before you ask] no, nobody in the band is actually Jewish, we are just interested in the music and culture.
Would you rather play in smaller venues or bigger ones? Why?
It’s nice to play in smaller venues as there is a level of intimacy in the audience so you can interact more. It’s much more upbeat as you get to see people actually enjoy themselves. We like playing in the bigger venues as well, but it is nice to always do smaller places.
After being in the band for two years, what’s next for the band?
We have just been into the recording studio to record our first EP which is currently being sort of finalized. We have actually opened up a competition to get people in on the artwork to get some different results on what we think about ourselves. We are also thinking of going to go to festivals as well, at the moment, more sort of folk festivals.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Erm, that’s a really tricky one, I don’t know, it would be very good to get a traditional Jewish band or the Klezmatics.
What is it like being in a band of 12? Are there any conflicts?
Sometimes yeah, it’s surprising I thought there would be a lot more. It’s really good fun and everyone has a laugh. [I guess] it’s because we have become such close friends and it’s gone beyond just band mates and we hang out together. We are just good friends now really.
How often and for how long do you practice for?
When we are in University, we practice at least once a week for a few hours. When we are preparing for a big show, then maybe a bit more than that.
You are in the middle to end of releasing an EP album. What is it like behind producing an album?
It’s surprisingly difficult I thought it would be a lot easier just because the different things you have to consider such as copyrights all of those different things. once you scratch the surface, you have to upload it online, the production of the artwork and all of those things.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
I get nervous sometimes, I think we all just try and relax together and before a performance we try not to think too much into it. Once we sort of get on stage and do two to three songs and the audience has started to relax into the music all of the nerves disappear
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Definitely a few mistakes have happened and we just keep on going really. We never had anything so bad really that we had to stop the full set. We did a gig two weeks ago, where somebody actually fell over one of the monitors, but the band kept on playing.
What was it like to play at the Royal Albert Hall in London and at the Olympic Torch Relay?
It was really good fun. Once you get on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall it’s such a big space when it’s filled in there and the lights are on you you actually can’t see a lot of things but you can hear the audience after the performance it was just amazing. The Torch Relay that was just really great fun as there was so many people there who were there to celebrate anyway they were just in the mood to dance around and have fun.
What is your favourite thing to see in the audience while you are on stage?
Seeing just everybody just smiling really but just the whole thing, everybody can be dancing around and they are not happy or smiling, then you know, smiles are just good.
How do you balance your music with University and your social life?
It’s not that difficult, I mean all of our friends outside of the band are in music courses or if they are not, they love the band so they come to gigs. I think just having a sort of structure, we always have the rehearsals at the same time every week so then basically it becomes part of people’s time table as it were.
What advice would you give to those who want to start a band?
To don’t give up and enjoy the music and what you do even if its not the sort of stereotypical normal style of music and you really enjoy it, there will be people out there who will enjoy it as much as you do.