Interview with The Kleejoss Band
We had the chance to catch up with The Kleejoss Band on the eve of their album release day, to find out about how it all began, who inspires them and the impression they want to leave on their fans.
Inside The Setlist: How long have you all known each other? And, how did you meet?
The Kleejoss Band: Well, I think I met Joss around 2012. He had a cover band with my wife’s cousin and they invited me over every once in a while to play bass. Andres and Nacho come from Joss’ village and, were fans of the band ever since we started. Andres played with us sometimes on stage, as a guest artist at some of our Christmas shows and, every time we would play in his home town. When we needed a new guitar player we thought he would be the best replacement. At the time, we also needed a bass player and, Andrés and Nacho were already playing together trying to start their own band. So, we called them and offered them the gig. I guess they thought we were good guys to tour and record with, as they accepted our offer haha. One thing led to another, and I like to think of The Kleejoss Band as the result of common coincidences.
When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Joss and I started making music together as The Kleejoss Band in 2013. As I said, we were in a cover band but we wanted to create our own material. Joss sent an S.O.S message to the band’s chat to see if anyone was interested in participating in a new project and I was the only one who replied. We started as a two piece, but we soon realized that we needed a few more members. Anyway, we can say that was the starting point.
We wanted to make songs, record albums and tour. The idea was to be and feel like a REAL band, it was something more than a pass-time hobby. We took every aspect of the band as professional as we could with the few resources we had. We wanted to feel proud of our work and create music people wanted to listen to.
Which famous musicians do you admire? And, why?
I suppose there are too many to mention. We are fans first and then, musicians. We collect records, go to shows, buy rock t-shirts, merchandise etc…To put it in a nutshell, I would say we love rock and roll classics, 60’s, 70’s, 90’s music, and some 80’s stuff is really cool too. Southern rock, folk, blues, stoner and grunge. There are a lot cool bands nowadays too! To be honest, we like good songs played by good artists and, it has to be something we can believe in. We do not like electronic, reggaeton, radio formula shit, DJ's….that shit ain’t real music anyway.
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
We try to learn from great musicians, but I think we have learn more about what it really means to tour and, to be in a band from the bands we have played with. We pay attention to the way people work. We learned a lot from being out tour with The Sheepdogs and from the Spanish band Los Deltonos (a must listen band!!). We also learn from mistakes and every time we go to a show, we take note of the things we like and the things we don’t. Now with new technology and the internet you can see and listen to yourself playing shows and, we can analyse our performances to see how our shows can be improved.
In all honesty, I think I’ve learnt most of my guitar playing from Malcolm Young, J. Robbins, Neil Young, Mike Campbell, Jon Auer and Mike McCready. Joss has learnt from the John Bonham and Steve Gorman territory with his drumming. Andrés is a classic blues player and Nacho loves 90’s stuff.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
I remember pretending to play guitar with a tennis racket as a child; my first show covering Nirvana’s “About a Girl” with some high school friends when I was 14 and, Stuff like that. I have had the pleasure of opening with different projects for artists, who I really admire such as, Hot Water Music, At The Drive-In, The Sheepdogs. I got to play some songs with Los Deltonos at a show in my hometown, The awesome shows like our last one in Rocksound in Barcelona, or Salason, or Torreperogil….we’ve had a blast, so far and we feel so blessed.
I must add, recording our latest album in Guitar Town Studios with Hendrik Rover will definitely be something memorable because of how it was done and the cool vibe we got there. I guess all of us relate music to very positive moments in our life or, people; otherwise we would have given up.
We like good songs played by good artists, and it has to be something we can believe in.......
Were you influenced by old records & tapes? If so, which ones?
I started buying albums with my own money when I was around 10 years old. There was a Beach Boys greatest hits album I really liked, some Elton John stuff as well. But when I was young I was more into looking forward and didn’t pay much attention to what had been done before my time or where the music I liked then came from. It is now in my 40’s that I really enjoyed looking back and learning from those sources. I love The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, CCR…you know, all those big names.
Who are your favourite musicians?
Who can give a straightforward answer to that question? That changes every month, sometimes every week. I have a tendency to get obsessed with albums and songs and play them over and over again for a while, until I get addicted to some new stuff. I’ll give you a few names that will always be there but ask me again some time to see how many albums I have added since haha. I love Amorica (The Black Crowes), Full Moon Fever (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers), Back In Black (AC/DC), Ragged Glory (Neil Young and Crazy Horse), Vitalogy (Pearl Jam), There’s Nothing Left To Lose (Foo Fighters), Who’s Next (The Who), For Your Own Special Sweetheart (Jawbox), Frosting on the Beater (The Posies),The Whippoorwill (Blackberry Smoke) and Let me add Something More Than Free by Jason Isbell.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Everything usually starts with a guitar riff that I show to Joss. If he gives me a thumbs up, we get together and write the song as close as we can to the final version in terms of structure and basic notes. When the draft is good enough, we show it to the rest of the band. They add their arrangements and we make any changes together, if we think we need to. Longer choruses, shorter bridges, change that G for a D, and then I write the lyrics. In terms of topics, I look around the world and give my version of it. Social relationships or problems, love, hate, desperation, happiness…you know, universal stuff. The most difficult thing for me is to write lyrics which are not too obvious or too cryptic to be understood. (see? now I’m thinking about Rocket From the Crypt, so fucking good!). That’s the difficult balance.
If our topics will change in the future, I don’t know…they probably will if the world does.
How do you balance your music with other obligations - friends, family?
That’s the hardest part. There are things you have to give up such as, time with friends and family. We don’t have as much as we’d like to. Organising the bands calendar sometimes can feel like trying to find the needle in the haystack. We have hours to make up at work and we probably work harder, so that no boss can throw our dedication to music back in our faces. It is like, we’re jugglers having five or six objects in the air and trying to not drop anything.
If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
I’d love them to say, “I was at that show and they fucking rocked that night!”
El Secreto - Guitar Town Recordings Sessions Vol 1 is available now via all platforms
For band info and updates, please head over to their Facebook page.