Musicscan: How does your band feel about having melodic and catchy emo/screamo-post-hardcore-punk-rock-pop-whatever-mixed sounds become one of the “new” things in music? What makes Kenai stand out from your artistic point of view?
Kenai: With the new record we just wanted to create something that was both heavy and catchy/melodic. We're all fans of such a wide spectrum of music that it made sense to meld together different styles and take all our influences and mash them all together to create something we felt was unique to the UK scene, and if people think it sounds new and fresh to them then that's great and exactly what we wanted. As a lot of the album was written almost 2 years ago now, we sometimes forget that our familiarity with the songs is not shared with a new listener and it's important that we don't overlook that to some people, the songs are brand new.
Musicscan: Do you still remember when you wrote your first song and what it felt like and how it feels like now when you finish a song? How has your relationship to music changed over years, tours and releases?
Kenai: I think my relationship with music has most definitely changed over the years. I think it's the same as everything else, you learn more and more as you go along and you develop at your instrument and writing, just as long as you can keep your mind open to new things. I've always been highly influenced by so much music and I think through that and of having my own 'journey' with music, I have in a way become dependent of music. It sounds stupid but in a way you grow up with it. It's like a best friend.
Musicscan: What are you looking for in a song? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define such a perfect song?
Kenai: I think songs should be written as a means of saying something that you want to say. I love the idea that you can write something that means something to you and at the same time, a listener is free to make their own meaning for the song and have their own relationship with it. Music for me is the most powerful thing, it can make you relive a past memory or moment in your life, make you feel any emotion and inspire you, and each of those things can make a good song an incredible one. With a new song, I'll listen to it and if it makes me feel something then usually I've found what i'm looking for.
Musicscan: Do you think modern information technology will inevitably change not only the way music is listened to but also how it is written? Some bands seem to focus only on strong singles nowadays…
Kenai: With the internet, anyone can find pretty music any music they want and listen to it free of charge, obviously that changes the way that people enjoy music in a massive way. I think music has already for years been written sometimes as a money-making object. You only have to listen to the charts anywhere that you are to know that singles are released to make money. It wouldn't be feesable to just sell albums but I know of a lot of people who only really listen to chart music and the singles that are produced, and therefore so many great songs from albums go unnoticed.
Musicscan: Do you think it is reasonable to assume that the concept of an album will soon be a thing of the past and people will solely listen to certain songs? Will the songwriting and the music change as well because of that?
Kenai: I think already in very commercial mainstream music, people know mainly the singles that are released off of albums and I think it's been that way for years already so I see no change. I think artists will always record albums, if they didn't then choice of music within certain artists would be very limited. Who wants to listen to the same songs over and over?!
Musicscan: Where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? With Hail The Escapist you turned even more poppy I would say…
Kenai: I believe that if a band progresses in a 'good' or 'bad' way is always going to be down to the personal opinion of the fan or listener and their own taste. If a band takes a new path or a new twist then there are always bound to be old fans that are turned off of the idea, and an artist will always pick up new fans with whichever path they take. I don't think artists should be pressured with drawing a line because it should be up to the artist to create what they want. I see that you sometimes have to please fans and all that stuff but at the end of the day if I were a painter or a sculptor, I couldn't put heart into something that I didn't believe in and I think with music it should be exactly the same.
Musicscan: In general: Do you think there are still genuinely new sounds to be discovered or can modern forward thinking crossover-rock-music basically be said to be a recombination of already existing forms and elements?
Kenai: I try to think of music as a big melding pot, as long as different things are thrown together then we'll have new music. In regards to whether this new music will be 'original' or not is another question which is harder to answer. I think as the world and the societies within it continue to develop, so will music. As things change, time goes on and people will have different influences and things in the world around them to make music with and sing about.
Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their songs should sound like after the recording. Listening to Hail The Escapist right now. Would you say that this was a successful mission or would you even say that the band was able to surprise itself?
Kenai: We went through the pre-production phase months before we went to record the album for real. We had already figured out everything imaginable before we got to the studio so apart from the quality change from demo to real thing, we knew what the songs were going to sound like as we'd spent so much time on them already and didn't really have much time to experiment once we were in the studio due to lack of time.
Musicscan: With the direction of Kenai heading a certain way and fans growing with you over the years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
Kenai: I think if fans read into lyrics they'll be able to create their own version of a meaning from them. On the album I don't think the lyrics are too obvious regarding what they're about or what they mean but that's the beauty of being able to have your own spin on the music, I think it's a positive thing. The theme of escapism and wanting things to change in your life and the way that you are with yourself is very present within the songs and I think that is very to pick up on.
Musicscan: You guys have been around for some time now. What is behind bands longevity? What fuels the fire and keeps you guys interested in the music you create?
Kenai: I think the key to the longevity of Kenai as a band is the fact that we are a group of individuals that are always striving to push forward with our passion. All of us have been involved in music for at least the last 5 years of our life and being in a band is something that all of us have wanted to be involved in for a long time. I think the prospect of us being able to shape careers in music always keeps our 'heads in the game' and leaves us wanting to do more and more for the band. To do this we need to keep everything fresh for both ourselves and fans.
Musicscan: What makes Kenai special to you? How would you describe the essence of the band?
Kenai: When you've put so much time and effort into something like a band, you do get very attatched to the other people involved and the music that you create together. Being able to express yourself through song is an amazing thing and I'm lucky to be gifted enough to do so. The times that I have on tours, shows and even in the practice room are always full of laughs and good times, and i'm happy to say that's without fail!