Inspired by the likes of Arcade Fire, Kennan Moving Company is the brainchild of lead vocalist and guitar player Oliver Kennan. Having recruited David Tedeschi on drums, Bennett Miller on bass and David Luther on keys, the quartet set to work and have since gone on to create their own brand of fun, enjoyable music.
With a mini LP due out early next year and plenty of shows planned for the coming months, Oliver Keenan kindly agreed to this interview to chat inspirations, social media and dreams of playing Glastonbury.
PW: Sum up Kennan Moving Company for me.
Oliver Kennan: Kennan Moving Company is an NYC based indie rock & roll band which draws a lot of inspiration from blues, jazz, funk, and roots music alongside contemporary indie rock.
PW: How do you know each other?
OK: I met our drummer, David Tedeschi, through an EP I recorded with a former band and when I wanted to start my own band he was the first person I called. I sent him a few demos of songs I had been working on and he introduced me to our bassist Bennett Miller. We had a handful of rehearsals and then went into the studio to record our first EP. That was about a year and a half ago now.
PW: What do you think makes you different from all your other artistic counterparts?
OK: I think our mixture of influences is pretty unique. Some of our songs are very bluesy and rootsy, they could probably have been written by someone in the sixties or seventies. Some of our other music has a distinctly poppy, contemporary feel to it and I think the fact that we straddle those two vibes is what makes the project special.
PW: Who are your musical influences and how do they blend together to help inspire what you create?
OK: I listen to a lot of indie and alternative music. Lately it’s been a lot of Dan Deacon, Harriet, Margaret Glaspy, Lianne La Havas, and some John Fahey. The other guys are all pretty into jazz. Bennett loves Reggae and Dave is totally obsessed with Bon Iver.
PW: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what influences your writing?
OK: It ebbs and flows. Some songs just seem to write themselves and others take a lot of time and revision before they're done. Luckily life is strange and wonderful and there never seems to be a lack of things to sing about. Girls are great also, if you can't write about love or its absence in your life then you probably can't write about anything. Lately I've been trying to write about my personal experiences in a more straightforward way and with less metaphor.
PW: Which, in your opinion, is the greatest song ever written, and why?
OK: That's a terrible question! Anyway, I think that line of questioning - best song, best album, best band, etc. - is totally weather dependent. For instance, I am sitting on a metro north train at this very moment heading up-state for the holidays and I can tell you without a doubt that "If I'm Unworthy" by Blake Mills is the best song that I will listen to on this train ride, but the answer to that question will be different when I sit down for dinner tonight with my family and also when I'm eating breakfast tomorrow or out at a bar with my friends next week... But yeah, "If I'm Unworthy" by Blake Mills.
PW: You've played some impressive venues including Rockwood Music Hall, but if you had to choose one venue to play in, anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
OK: I think the Glastonbury Festival would have to be it. I've just wanted to go for so long and they always get the best line-ups.
PW: Could you pick the best show you've played to date?
OK: Our last show was actually really fun. We played at Pianos and my friend Sandflower sang "Good Times" by Chic with us, I had so much fun.
PW: You get to pick three bands or artists who can be living or dead that you can share a stage with. Who do you choose?
OK: Lake Street Dive - Rachel Price's voice is soo amazing and she's also super nice if you ever get a chance to meet her. Rubblebucket - Adam Dotson from Rubblebucket actually plays with us a lot and he's a great dude, but also they've just got the best energy. And finally, Blake Mills - I've just got a huge man-crush on Blake Mills, what can I say!?
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and would you agree it’s a necessity for bands and artists to be socially interactive today in order to build and attract an audience?
OK: I think that it's very useful for bands to be on social media, but hopefully not necessary. Then again, there are so many artists posting media on Facebook and Instagram that it can be very hard to cut through the noise. It’s kind of one of those can’t live with it, can't live without it type of things I guess.
PW: What are your plans for 2016? Any goals you want to achieve?
OK: We're going to be releasing a mini-LP at the beginning of 2016 and spending the rest of the year working on a proper full length debut. Definitely playing a lot of shows as well. We're really just trying to keep building up momentum and making cool stuff.
PW: Finally, where would you like to see yourselves three years from now and whose career would you most like to emulate?
OK: I would love to be touring, recording and releasing new music consistently. I think Arcade Fire have done a really good job of becoming a really popular band with trying to make pop songs. They just do their thing and I doubt they second guess it very much. It's hard to have that kind of confidence, but I think it's totally necessary if you want to do anything original.
Check out the video for the bands' latest track "Charades" below and to keep up to date with Keenan Moving Company, visit their website, follow them on Twitter or give them a like on Facebook. Their music is available on itunes.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RbXm24G19k&h=500