By: Chantel Ouellet
Image Courtesy of The Kents
The Kents released their second EP Within Waves (2017) on October 13, 2017. The band is already a favourite here at the newspaper as we have been following them since their performance at Hart House’s Stages to opening for The Elwins roughly a year ago. After listening to Within Waves we had quite a few questions about their new sound, upcoming launch party and what it’s like becoming a “real band”. Be sure to check out their launch party for their EP Within Waves at The Horseshoe Tavern on November 17th, 2017.
the newspaper: So, you just had your new EP Within Waves (2017) come out. What has the response been like?
Warren Frank: It’s been pretty great. I think we were a little unsure of how it would be because we tried to use this piece as a transition from our first EP to set up the LP that we want to write. This one is not just straight forward pop, while our first EP definitely was. So we were unsure how people would take it when they had their palette set to the pop.It’s been great and most people have rallied to where we want them to be and have realized that it’s a maturation of sorts.
tn: This EP heads in a different direction from the previous rather poppy EP Waking (2016). Are you going to keep changing? Where is your sound headed?
WF: I think that we always want to be changing. We always want to developing new things. I think that it’s because we are so new to being a ‘real band’ that the change is necessary. It is discovering what we really want to write and what we really want to make. I think the next work will be more in line with the second EP but I am hoping that it still progresses.
tn: You say that you’re relatively new to being a “real band”, can you tell me a little bit more about your evolution and what that means?
WF: Technically, we are not that new because we met in a guitar class in high school. We’ve known each other for a really long time. We don’t count that as a real band because it was a school project. We did acoustic covers and that’s the way it was for a few years. We all went to different universities and we would come back each summer and jam. We thought we were a band but we weren’t.
tn: So it wasn’t a business sort of band, it was just a band?
WF: yeah exactly. We had one recorded song for like three years. It was much just friends that hung out and we played our high school prom.
tn: That’s amazing. That’s so “classic small town”.
WF: It is. That’s what it was. It was small town fun. Then as we entered our last year of university we were all just writing more and more. It was just like now is the time. If there was ever a time in your life where you could try being a band it is this time.
tn: How did you go from people who were interested in music and playing music into an actual band? How did you go from hanging out and playing your prom to booking actual shows? What was that like? How were you feeling during that time?
WF: It is a really long learning process. I think the key to growing as a band is that you have a filter that is always expanding. So when we were younger, just playing a bar was like the coolest thing. The first summer that we ever played any bars we played twice. We played the Red Dog in Peterborough and we played The Horseshoe [Tavern in Toronto]. It was cool and at the time it was like, “no way! we are playing the Horseshoe Tavern this is sick.” It was a like a Tuesday night and we were so bad but you’re not really in touch with that. So you have all these moments progressing where each time it feels like momentous.
It’s this learning curve of understanding that we have a couple songs, we have some covers that sound ok, so let’s just Facebook inbox and email any place we can think of. And then you get a show, right. It’s just this grand learning process.
tn: And then it rolls from there…
WF: Yeah, and I think as long as you can stay on top of not thinking whatever you are doing is the best. So enjoying it and embracing it but a couple months after The Horseshoe gig reflecting and asking “what wasn’t great about that?”, “what could we do better?”. In retrospect, that was a stage where I didn’t play guitar or move. I would just stand with the mic but I thought it was sick and it wasn’t. I was like some Liam Gallagher just stand there but not cool like him.
tn: So, what’s next? What are you guys aiming for from here?
WF: Our EP release show is a week today at Horseshoe Tavern. Our first EP release was there. Our next goal is to start touring the states. Just looking at other bands at our level and what bands we aspire to be like were doing at our level I think being Canadian band and playing in states is so essential. We really want to tour and it’s just adding those extra cities and having as many stops as we can cram in.
tn: Speaking of your upcoming show, what can we expect from the launch party?
WF: We’ve been tailoring the set. We are going to play all of the new EP, some of the old one and some new songs that we are just trying to get as road played as we can so that when we go into the studio we have a handle of how they feel. We are super excited. It’s different when it’s your release show in a city that’s very important to you where you’ve grown a ton. To just be there and celebrating with people who have been there with you from the very beginning is always a different kind of night, in a very good way.
tn: Changing gears a bit—you have said that this album was more collaborative than your past EP. What does that songwriting look like? How does it come together?
WF: Basically, we try and prioritize song writing all the time. At this stage in the game, while we are all pretty young, we all have part time jobs but it’s guaranteed that we’ll be together two days a week. In that time we are practicing but then we want to bringing forth ideas and writing every week. Just creating really good songs. Basically, it will come from one of us coming with an idea, so you do have to spend some time on your own and try and come up with ideas. So Freddy will have a guitar part or I’ll have a melody or Luke will have a, well Luke writes on guitar even though he plays bass. So it’s always one of us bringing an idea and then we ask what parts of that do we like and how can we play to our strengths to make that happen? It’s still something we are learning how to do but I feel like we are getting into a good rhythm. So then we have a first draft and just chip away at it. Sometime it just feels right and sometimes we have to work at it for like six months before it will eventually happen.
On the EP, we holed up in this cottage in Quebec to get the finishing writing sessions done. That’s where we wrote “Low Light” and in that week, that song was conceived and created. It was not a prior idea. “From The Start” had been around for like seven months and it was only in that week that we were able to finish it and add the ending bridge. That one took a long time.
tn: How did you balance going to school and having this creative pursuit? Did it go hand in hand or was it in conflict?
WF: It’s different for each of us. Fred went to Queen’s and Kingston is like where he discovered music for real. When first started university we weren’t really in a band, we had a band back home. We had the freedom to go off and develop on our own. That allowed us to grow separately. It was being away that kind of inspired us to try writing some songs. Fred was in a band and some school projects and had a band in the Kingston scene. I had a couple roommates I would jam with and that’s how I started writing songs. Just being at university. I wrote a lot of songs just sitting on a bed with an acoustic guitar. That helped me to grow and to start to write melodies. It was really our last year, last year and a half of university where we really started playing shows and we were The Kents. The first time we played “something about her” was at a Ryerson show. We recorded our first EP during our last Reading Week.
tn: Finally, how did you come up with the name The Kents?
FW: We were originally Luke and The Good Men that was our original.
tn: aha, ok so you are going to have to explain that first now and then we can move forward to your current name.
FW: Ya, so Grade eleven guitar class project where you have to cover different songs from different eras, right? So the first week we went up in front of the class and the teacher asked us our band name. So I said “Luke and The Good Men”. Luke is our bassist, so we just rolled with that and it was just jokes. But then people kept coming up to me and saying “Luke, how’s it going?” and I would say “I’m not Luke, that’s Luke.” This was when we were younger and we realized we had to switch our name, so Kent. Kent is a street in Lindsay. So it’s a reference or an homage to our home.
This piece has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/the-newspaper-x-the-kents/.