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Kero One Give thanks to the early believers Summer is coming early this year. A wave of warm weather from San Francisco in the form of Kero One's sophomore release 'Early Believers' has invaded our continental climate. For those who missed his debut 'Windmills Of The Soul' three years ago, released in the spring of his career, or those who didn't know that he's also web designer, graph artist, label owner (Plug Music) or that he toured the whole world already, here's an introduction.

In your opinion, what's thebiggest difference between your previous album 'Windmills' and your recent release 'Early Believers'?

I think my previous album is more laid-back and chill. This new album is similar but I brought in more up-tempo tracks, introduced more Latin rhythms, a little more soul, and a lot more analog vintage gear and instruments. In other words, this album is like 'Windmills' but I pushed everything a bit more with what was already there. Also, after I made 'Windmills' I wanted to do so more with it musically but I couldn't fit it all on to 12 tracks. With 'Early Believers', I was able to craft out my creative vision.

This album goes indeed a lot further than your previous effort, from pop to bossa nova to jazz and soul and back...do you think at one point you won't be making hip-hop all of a sudden and stop rappin even?

Yes, it's possible. I just love music as long as there is soul, funk, or Latin rhythms. I may go more into producing and deejaying but who knows. I'll go where the wind blows me.

Your music is very 'optimistic', even more on this album than on every previous release of yours, do you agree?

I've heard that comparison. For me this is an optimistic time. With everything going on in the world these days, with the economy, crisis overseas, you can either talk shit and get depressed or you can keep your head up and move forward. I'm all about keeping my chin up and apparently it came across in my music.

How did you get to work with Finland's own Stevie Wonder Tuomo?

I found out about him through some friends in Japan. I immediately fell in love with his album. He plays, writes, and sings.

Do you hope that by featuring on your album they will be 'discovered' by other people, a bigger crowd even?

Yes absolutely, the crowd that Ben and Tuomo run in is a tad different than Kero One fans. But I believe these guys are amazing singers and when others hear them, I'm sure they'll agree.

Your breakthrough was in Japan...

It happened so quickly. It was back in 2003, I just wanted to make my own 12" record. I didn't understand how to make vinyl or music distribution so I learned on my own. 50 copies were eventually distributed around the world, and one landed in a tiny record store in Tokyo. A few weeks later, it was found by a Japanese DJ who played it at a club that night and received dozens of inquires, including a label representative named Yusuke at Reverve Records who immediately contacted me and asked for 3,000 copies of the record.

Do you feel like you are recognized more in Japan than in your own home country?

Yes, to some extent. There are still plenty of people who don't know me in Japan or the States but things have been changing with this new release. I had old high school alumni's hitting me up after 15 years that they saw me on internet or TV or somewhere.

How was touring in Europe?

Europe was fresh. It was my first time there so everything was more exciting. I especially enjoyed France and Poland.

As you did everything by yourself, from making music to promoting, what did you do to organize yourself as good as possible, what does it take to be a good DIY-artist?

The hardest part of being a DIY-artist is staying on top of your priorities and not saying yes to everything. That's when you over exert yourself which is something I have done plenty of times.

You play music with a rice shaker. Huh?

A rice shaker is a jerry rigged shaker. At some points I didn't have a shaker so I put some rice in a container and recorded it as a shaker. I only used a rice shaker on 'Windmills', on this album I used real shakers. (laughs)

What's the first rap record you bought?

LL Cool J - 'Radio'.

What's the last album(s) you uploaded unto your iPod?

Othello and DJ Yajra's upcoming album.

What's next for Kero One?

A whole lot of touring. I plan to work on more projects as well.

Shout-outs?

Peace to platform8470. Thanks to all the fans for their support of Plug label and Kero One music!

Peace.

 

POSTED 04|01|2009
conducted by cpf

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