Newly Minted Members of the ‘Weirdo Workshop’, Kes The Band Has A New Sound & A Timely New Single
Since the inception of the new label, Weirdo Workshop, formed by Grammy nominated production legends Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly, collectively known as Louis York, the label has gained the mainstream recognition to match its musical clout. Having worked with artists such Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears and now the world renowned, Kes The Band, the label is spearheading into the future. For Kes The Band with their 10-year track record of musical success as a soca band, one might question why they would sign to a new label like Weirdo Workshop. When I first found out, I was puzzled but then I started to ponder.
If never privy to the versatility that Kes the Band brings to music with their island influences, including calypso and reggae with a touch of R&B and rock elements, you’d think they’re weird too. The band from Trinidad & Tobago is the perfect fit for Weirdo Workshop, particularly as the first act signed to the label.
They’re far from real weirdo’s. I’d opt for musical geniuses, committed to pushing the envelope and experimenting with various genres and sounds. Comprised of three brothers, Kees, Hans and Jon Dieffenthaller and longtime friend Riad Boochoon, KES got their start in 2005 with their first album Three Baldheads and a Dread, featuring classics such as “Stay With Me”.
While the melodic Carnival party tunes have been Kes’ claim to fame, it should come as no surprise to real fans when they hear this new album, Window to the World, a collective of R&B, Rock, Soul, Reggae and Calypso tunes. Led by the single, “Major” the album is set to be released at the top of 2017.
Listen to the single, “Major” from KES the Band below:
Born to a mother who is a classically trained singer provided them the knowledge of instruments and choir. Having a Dad who sponsored Calypso concerts instilled that love for traditional soca music. Not to mention growing up in Trinidad didn’t limit their sound bugs at all, considering their love of Rock music.
We make world music, of course with island influences. Our sound is defined as more than pop. -KES
So what’s up with Kes since they’ve signed to Weirdo Workshop? Find out what’s in store for the 4-man crew and what they’ve got to say to those that prefer them as a soca act.
Parlé Mag: You guys have been around for some time having remained relevant- tell me what’s the secret sauce behind Kes’ success?
KES: Seeming as we all individually bring something different to the table musically, we’ve stayed true to our beliefs- that music has no limits. Good songs are good songs and we infuse our Trini background with our love of Rock and R&B to make people feel good. It’s all about the vibes.
KES is not a total soca act.
Parlé Mag: Speaking of categorization, KES’s music has been defined as Island Pop- how do you feel about that title?
KES: Island Pop doesn’t totally define our sound. We make world music, of course with island influences. Our sound is defined as more than pop.
Parlé Mag: Let’s take it back a little, how did you guys get started?
KES: Born in South Trinidad, we were kids and loved drums. In 1999, my brothers and I competed against each other in a cover band competition. They were in a Rock band and I an R&B/Soul band. After we both lost we got together and started making music.
Parlé Mag: What’s a session like with Kes in the studio?
KES: As free and natural as possible. Before we start recording we get together to just vibe and chat and let ideas flow then we starting playing with the range of my voice and everything that makes sense.
Parlé Mag: So when you say free and natural, is any ganga present?
KES: There’s a little puff puff pass. (laughs)
Parlé Mag: I have a story for you guys. I’ve saw you perform twice before: Soca on de Hill in Barbados 22014 and at the Howard Theatre in DC last October. During the Howard Theatre set, many including myself were not pleased with the lack of soca and the heavy pop. What do you have to say to fans that prefer Soca Kes over Pop Kes?
KES: (chuckles) I would say you love part of me, because that’s not all of me.
Parlé Mag: Let’s talk about “Body Talk” for a minute. How’d that collabo with Singer, Songwriter Chris Hierro come about?
KES: We’ve always wanted to make a Latin inspired song because Reggaeton is so similar to Soca. We met Chris Hierro, awesome guy from Dominican Republic and we started vibing. We knew we didn’t want the record to be too soca or too Spanish, so we infused both sounds and it came out to be great. This record was an example of us stepping into our own shoes and pushing it out into the world. These last two years, we’ve been developing tons of new material.
Parlé Mag: I’ve heard a lot of 70s Soul & R&B, a Temptations like sound in your new set of music. Am I on to something?
KES: Yes, the objective is to get current and new fans to understand the concept of the feel good gospel of music. We see no barriers when it comes to music. Good songs are good songs.
Parlé Mag: In your 10 year plus career, what has been the most defining moment
KES: Not to sound cliché, but the gradual success we’ve gained and being able to sustain it and stay versatile, having worked with folks like John Legend, Rihanna.
Parlé Mag: What do you guys have planned for the remainder of 2016?
KES: We’ll be in Jamaica for Dream Weekend, London, St Vincent and Miami Carnival. Stay tuned, Kes will be in a city near you.
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