Interviews: The Keystones

We have had the opportunity to interview the Alternative Rock band The Keystones from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or came out just like that?

This is actually a funny story! We were drinking in my parents' basement — we must have been 19, 20 at most — and thinking about what to call our rock group which, at that point, had played exactly zero shows. We'd thought up some horrible names... at my darkest hour I suggested naming us after a guitar chord, and if we'd done that I'm sure our musical careers would've died then and there. Fortunately, while we were thinking, I was flipping an old prop camera in my hands, and when I caught it, it was there: emblazoned on the side of its casing was the word 'Keystone.' I said: "Hey guys, what about The Keystones?" And the rest is pretty much history.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Whenever I think about genres, I get scared. We're definitely a rock group, but our discography moves from pop-rock to alternative to indie to grunge. And this latest release is something else entirely! I think the binding thing is that all of us have found common ground in rock. Our parents listened to it, it makes sense to us, and we want to see more of it in mainstream music. It's like that lame inspirational poster everyone had in their fourth grade classroom: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Well, Matt and I have known each other since... he was born 22 years ago, so I guess I've known him for more than two decades, but that kind of comes with being brothers and all. And Eddie and I knew each other because I dated his sister when I was 14. We still laugh about it. But the cool thing is that we more or less grew up together, and I think that shows up in everything we do (in fact, our single '2010' is about our respective childhoods). Jake we met in college, and he's been a wonderful addition to our group. Feels like we've known him forever, too!

4. Each band member's favourite band?

Jack (Vocals + Guitar): The Strokes

Matt (Vocals + Bass): Twin Peaks

Eddie (Drums): Kid Kapichi

Jake (Lead Guitar): Walk the Moon

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

I have a problem with writing love songs. It's the first thing that always comes to mind when I'm writing: the people I've cared deeply about romantically, platonically or otherwise. Sometimes I'm ashamed of it ("I should write a song about politics, or injustice, or climate change!")... but if Taylor Swift and John Mayer can make a career on forlorn romance, then there's hope for us, too. I'm mostly joking, but I think the greatest inspiration for me comes from mining the deepest relationships in my life and looking for the universal. Things that all of us can relate to, think about, sing our hearts out to until we're ragged and torn. We're looking to expand our message in our upcoming EP, so look for that when it comes out!

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig was actually where we played our first gig: Club 400 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where the electric guitar was born. The venue was actually once owned by Les Paul's parents! And it was for an awesome cause — there had previously been a tragic event at a Christmas parade in town, and all the bands that played at that gig were raising money for those impacted. It was really cool to be a part of that.

7. Where would you like to act?

Jack: This is the part where I say "Madison Square Garden"

Matt: The Troubadour in West Hollywood

Eddie: The UK

Jake: Broadway 

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Jack: Barns Courtney

Matt: Wallows

Eddie: The Strokes (lol)

Jake: Weathers

9. Whom not?

We're not out to make any enemies... that said, I don't think Blake Shelton really fits our style.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Jack: I still do, and I'm a front man! Here's the thing: you're never going to not be scared. Being scared is your body's way of telling you that what you're doing is worth doing. Would you be scared to meet your idols? To ask someone on a date? To apologize to a friend who matters? If you're scared, you should get excited, because that means you're doing something important. And the best part is, once you fall into that excitement and just go for it, the fear washes away.

Matt: Yeah, I used to with a lot of things, not just music. My best advice to get over it is to remember this - a show is a performance, and people come for the live nature of it. Things will go wrong, stuff will get messy, but it’ll be a blast - and if you’re uptight and in your head on stage, it’s not going to be nearly as fun for you or the audience. Jam out, have a good time, and people will dig it.

Eddie: Big time. On our first big show at The Rave (Milwaukee), I remember getting out there in front of everyone and feeling like I couldn’t remember how to play drums for a few minutes. The best way to get over it is to run out there like everyone knows you & have fun.

Jake: Definitely at first! I think the best thing is to know that everyone expects different performers to have a unique presence on stage, so just be yourself and be confident in whatever that is!

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Jack: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Run The Jewels, Dan Auerbach, Declan McKenna, The Snuts... I get less inspired by music styles, and more by people. I'm an obsessive reader, so once I like someone I'll read every interview they've ever given to see how their brain works.

Matt: I’ve been inspired by a lot of bands, but not just musically. Sometimes you just see a certain artist and they just seem like a cool person, and you want to be more like them. I love wallows’ music, but I also think Dylan minette seems like a really cool guy. Same thing with bands like catfish and the bottlemen, kid kapichi, twin peaks, and a whole mess of others. 

Eddie: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood

Jake: walk the moon, green day, vinyl theatre

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

I know that once Matt was in another band where a guy at the bar offered him a full pineapple. That was pretty weird.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Jack: We actually have a personal group chat for our closest fans; it's called the "Keystoners." So you could say we're pretty close. I've seen some of these people drive three hours to come to a gig, and others have started mosh pits to our chillest songs. They're good fucking people, and that's about as succinct as I can put it.

Matt: Our fans are great, without them we’re just 4 dudes jamming in a basement. Seriously though, they’re amazing - we love shouting them out at shows and hanging with them afterwards. Some of our best memories as a band have been with our fans, and I wouldn’t want that to change in any way. Eddie: Love them - they’re the best supporters and are extremely solid with us. I really appreciate all everyone does for us!

Jake: they’re the absolute best, they’ll drive and make a trip out of it just to see us perform. they share our music with their friends, buy merch, and are just positive towards everything we do along this journey.

14. What do you think of our site?

Terrible! It's a sham! A farce! A sorry excuse for a publication! Kidding... but could you imagine? It's an awesome place, and seems like a community where tons of great musicians are getting exposed to your audience. We love what you're doing. We're really grateful to be on your site, and can't thank you enough for caring about musicians enough to want to know what they think about things. We'll buy you a fucking beer if we see you in person.

15. Something to add?

To anyone reading, if you haven't already, follow The Keystones on Spotify, and check out our new song, Over It. it'd mean the world to us!

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