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New Music Friday: Kilamojo

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Northampton trio Kilamojo have a new single out, their first official release, entitled ‘Tock Tick’. New Boots spoke to frontman Alex Lillyman about the development to this point.

How long has Kilamojo been together now? You’re long-term mates, right?
Kilamojo has been going for around 3 to 4 years. We spent a long time just playing together and making music. We didn’t bother with social media or even telling anyone what we were doing for the first couple of years. We were all just buzzing off of the ideas and tunes that, for whatever reason, seemed to be coming together really easily. We’ve all known each other since we were kids. Drummer Phil and I played in our very first band together as teenagers with the exact same lineup! We were 13/14. Funnily enough the main riff in our tune ‘The Reinvention Of The Wolf’ came into existence then and hasn’t changed one bit since. My first meeting with Dio (Dom), our bassist, was when we were probably even younger; 11 or 12 maybe. I used to knock about with his older brother and went round to his house one afternoon and ended up mistakenly shooting Dio in the face with a BB gun!

And what bought you together, musically?
Our shared love of the same bands really; Zeppelin, The Stones, The Police, The Who, James Brown, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Motorhead, Flying Lotus, The Mars Volta, The Clash & Amanda Houston! The first incarnation of the band died when me and Phil left school and went our separate ways, and we didn’t end up getting back together again until around ten years later. I went off and did god knows how many jobs and got heavily into techno music, and Phil went to uni. About a decade passed since I saw them both again properly. Dio was sat around a mutual friend of ours noodling around playing Black Sabbath riffs on the bass. At that time I’d written some riffs and had a lot of song ideas, however no one to play them with. So I thought I’d ask Dio if he fancied getting together to see if we could make something of them. Shortly after that we needed a drummer and I thought I’d give Phil a buzz. He didn’t even ask for demos to listen to – he was immediately in. The next time I saw Phil was back in the exact same place I’d seen him last when we were 15 or so, in my Mum & Dads loft, where for some reason they allowed us to do our first few rehearsals. From there on in we became Kilamojo.

Tell us about ‘Tock Tick’.
We recorded it all in one day and all live. There are very few overdubs etc in there; in fact from memory I think there are two guitar ones which is laughable when you consider its pushing nine minutes. Its an incredibly simple song at its core: intro, verse, pre-chorus and chorus. We just chose to put a fucking ridiculous psychedelic section in the middle because it feels great and why not. We would describe ‘Tock Tick’ as an eight-minute odyssey that has no real intention, other than to take you somewhere. Think Sly & The Family Stone grooves, Sabbath-esque darkness, Sgt Pepper psychedelia – with a healthy dose of melody thrown in for good measure. The video is basically just us in our favourite place (our rehearsal space) playing the arse off of the thing.

You have quite an elaborate stage set-up, what ‘s the deal with that?
We get this a lot whenever we gig. It always seems to blow peoples minds how much shit we have when we turn up to gigs. We have a stage set-up for four people; however there’s only three of us. I cover the keys as well as guitar and vocals so I essentially cover two peoples worth of kit when we play live. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an old 1968 Vox Jaguar organ a few years back and had it shipped all the way from Detroit. The thing was an absolute wreck when I first received it. So much so that the first time I turned it on it blew the electrics in my house, and I had to get my brother, who luckily is a sparky, round to fix my house. My girlfriend was not pleased. Even though most people would be terrified for it to leave the house I thought it’d be great to write a tune especially for it so I could use it live and incorporate it into the live set up. So I did and creatively called it ‘Organ Song’….I’m sure it’ll have a proper name one day!

We’re very old fashioned in how we approach things. With regards to actual kit all of us use minimal pedals etc. and try to get the most out of our gear for each song. We do this by EQing with amps and tone-switches on guitars. Every song we seem to play is very different to the next, so constant tinkering is required live. Also, for us, the lack of effects forces us to write riffs/songs based on their melody and groove as apposed to the actual tone etc. If a riff sounds shit on an acoustic then chances are its a shit riff, however, if it sounds great on an acoustic then its gonna sound great on any guitar. The same applies to the bass in that sense. Me and Dio try to write counter melodies/riffs to one another as apposed to just bass lines that help push the rhythm. That way because there’s only three of us it adds so much more to the overall sound of Kilamojo.

You played with Band Of Skulls last year, how was that?
That was a pretty amazing experience, purely because of the fact that they personally chose us to play with them based on a self (and shoddily) produced demo EP that they heard. The actual gig itself was amazing and the guys in the band were lovely folks. The drummer they had with them at the time (Julian Dorio) has played with Josh Homme, The Whigs and Eagles Of Death Metal so that was an extra cherry on the cake. He was coincidentally the drummer with The Eagles Of Death Metal at The Bataclan when the terrorist attacks occurred. The gig overall was an amazing experience.

Last album you bought/streamed?
Alex: Hiatus Kaiyote Choose Your Weapon. Its got a song called ‘Shaolin Monk Mother Funk’ on it: whats not to like.
Dio: Beck, Bogert and Appice Beck, Bogert and Appice
Phil: Vulfpeck Mr Finish Line

What’s next for the band?
Hopefully more gigs, we just want to play live. Once ‘Tock Tick’ is out there we want to get back in the studio asap to record a follow-up, and just keep making the music we love. Our next hometown show is supporting Mellor at The Black Prince on Saturday June 16th.

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