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Interviews   

Kopek: a tribute to imperfection


Nothing new under the sun: more and more bands are trying to go back to what was the essence of music composition in the 70s, writing from jams, leaving imperfections in the performance and using music as a vessel to make messages pass. Kopek, an Irish hard rock trio, unknown until Century Media Records decided to sign them, embody this state of mind.

We talked to Brad Kinsella, who confirmed that, given the country’s often terrible weather, an Irishman can only become an artist.

« We’re very much inspired by people like The Beatles, John Lennon or Bob Marley: there was always a message in their songs. Nowadays, this idea of composing songs that way seems to be lost. Music is all about communication: that’s what we’re trying to bring back into music. »

Radio Metal: Despite your recent signature with Century Media Records and your musical influences, we don’t know much about your past. Can you tell us more about the band’s history ?

Brad Kinsella (bass)  Well, we’re long time friends: we started to experiment music and develop our craft by writing songs here and there and then we wanted to get better at our instruments. We thought Kopek was a very good name for the band because we liked its sound. We started writing songs 8 or 10 years ago together. We then travelled around the world and were lucky enough to get in touch with a great record label called Religion Music: we recorded the album White Collar Lies and toured in America. This year, we signed a contract with Century Media and White Collar Lies will be released all over Europe, so we’re very much excited.

Are there any songs on White Collar Lies which actually were written 10 years ago?

It’s a mixture. Most of the songs are new and were written within the studio. Other songs were composed a couple of months before the recording. A few of them were written years ago, but for the most part, all the stuff is new.

You declared in an interview about your signature with Century Media Records: « To find such passion in the music industry in this day and age is such a rare thing. ». It’s rare to hear such things about big record labels that have usually a negative image in the eyes of music fans !

Nowadays, you don’t really hear great bands because if a band doesn’t get big with its first album, record labels will not want to hear anything about it. A lot of our favourite artists were given the chance to develop their style and achieve their goals: that’s what we were referring to when we said that.

« Life is imperfect, so is nature. Music is a reflection of that, so it shouldn’t be perfect. »

How did you manage, being so young, to sign on such a prestigious label as Century Media?

I suppose we just got lucky. We had been playing together for 8 years, went to America and had some success over there so I think they just looked at that and thought it would be a good investment for them. As I’ve said, sometimes you have to be lucky. I hope we’ll continue like that : we’re in Germany where the fans’ reaction is great, and we can’t wait to play in France and in all Europe.

The album’s artwork shows a nuclear explosion rising from a suit. Can you tell us more about that concept?

The songs are just the reflections of what we talked about in our discussions or the rehearsals. I think that these things that we talk about are discussed by everyone: all around the world, people see the mistakes banks and politicians have made. All we’ve trying to do is to give a voice to ourselves and to the people around the world and hopefully inspire them.

Your song ‘Love Is Dead’ is on the Saw 3D soundtrack. Did it help you to get more noticed?

All these kind of things help. We’ve got some of our songs on different kind of TV programs or movies, so I don’t think that one particular song can be of a massive help: all these songs help each other to push the band in the right direction.

You guys are a trio: you write songs by jamming and improvising. That’s a kind of an old school way of playing rock. When we look at your influences, you seem to be very fond of the seventies and of how music was made spontaneously back then. Am I right?

Yes, very much so. It’s all about the spontaneity and the ideals or reasons people had to write songs. We’re very much inspired by people like The Beatles, John Lennon or Bob Marley: there was always a message in their songs. Nowadays, this idea of composing songs that way seems to be lost. Music is all about communication: that’s what we’re trying to bring back into music.

Can we expect some jam on stage?

Well, maybe not on this tour. At the moment, we’re just promoting our new record, so we’ll just play the songs of White Collar Lies and stay focused on the promotion. Next year probably, we’ll try to play some new stuff.

We can see more and more artists having this “back to the roots” approach about music. How do you explain that? Do you think that musicians have gone maybe too far in using technology and in their search of perfection?

I think so, yes: life is imperfect, so is nature. Music is a reflection of that, so it shouldn’t be perfect. It’s the same thing that happened during the eighties: everything was so pop-saturated that nothing had a real kind of sound. Then, Nirvana came along and changed everything. It is very refreshing to see that a lot of bands come back to this kind of musical approach.

« When you release an album and that people say to you that they have it, there’s a sort of spiritual relation between you and them, because you’ve found people who think and feel like you. »

You guys are from Ireland and in your biography you said that it rains 24/7 and that gives you a lot of time to write songs. Haven’t you thought of leaving Ireland to find a place where there is more sun and less rain?

Well, if we had done that, we couldn’t have written good songs! (laughs) We like the rain, you know!

You say Ireland produced a lot of good musicians because of that. Does this mean musicians need bad weather to be inspired? Isn’t the summer inspiring?

I think that dark weather and rain can push you to pursue your art a little bit more. The sun or a good weather can inspire you, but usually songs that touch your heart come from when you’re down. I think it is also the reason why Ireland has so many great artists in all kinds of art.

It is said in your biography that « music should be an escapism ». Does this mean that an artist is necessarily someone that has to feel like a stranger to this world?

Maybe. I think that an artist is always looking for a sort of comradery and you try to do that when you write a song. There’s always a feeling, an idea that you want to communicate. For example, when you release an album and that people say to you that they have it, there’s a sort of spiritual relation between you and them, because you’ve found people who think and feel like you. For us artists, it’s really important.

It is often said in France, and very jealously, that all Irish people are bastards because they can play three of four instruments: do you confirm that ? (laughs)

Well, no! I can play the guitar, some bass but I’m not a multi-instrumentalist. It is true that in irish folk music, people can play a lot of instruments, but I do think that in Europe, there are a lot of talents too: we’ve travelled in Europe for the last few weeks and met some really gifted musicians. I’ve never heard people saying what you’ve said, but I wouldn’t talk down about myself if I were you. I’m sure that there are a lot of talented people in France as well.

Interview conducted by phone on September, 25th, 2012
Transcription: Jean Martinez – Traduction(s) Net

Kopek’s official website: www.kopekofficial.com



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