XSRock News

Q & A With Josh Austin From Kesem

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows, or announcements?

Josh: We have our first album coming out on September 24, it was supposed to have vinyl-ready by then, but you know, the big boys had to press x copies of records you could get for 10 bucks in special edition record store day vinyl…

XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?

Josh: over 3 years, we are all friends that were in different bands that fell apart, and we decided to get together and try something new.

XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?

Josh: I have always wanted to be in a prog type band, Jay got a new guitar and stated on Facebook he wanted to start a prog band and i jumped at the opportunity.  Originally we had a singer from Israel who named the band, but she ended up moving back to Israel and i took over on vocals.

XS ROCK: What is your music background?

Josh:  I started with clarinet then went to bass clarinet in middle school and our teacher was Matt McKagan who is brothers with Duff McKagan.  Then started playing guitar. 

XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?

Josh: atmosphere, 60’s/70’s music mixed with math rock and heavy newer sounds, landscapes, stories and escapism.

XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)

Josh: keep writing better and better music, try to continually outdo ourselves and keep making better songs.

XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?

Josh: I would really like to write a timeless song.  Something like Starless from King Crimson.

XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

Josh: They are both a lot of fun, but I will always prefer writing and recording new songs.  Live so many things can go wrong, recording you can just start over and record over the mistakes, I also really like the creative process and hearing everything come together.

XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Josh: the newest album is about stealing a spaceship, traveling through space in isolation (sort of like being in lockdown for a year) and finding a new world to start over again.  It mostly is influenced by living in 2021 and the future is not the future we all thought it would be by now, whether it was blade runner, logans run, or some bad ass 70s style sci-fy movie, the future is just kind of meh.

XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

Josh: we had a show in Palmdale where i dislocated my shoulder while we were setting up for sound check, i went to ER, got it popped back in and made it back to the venue to join the band on stage to play along with a saxophonist that opened the show to create some improv songs.  

XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?

Josh: Yes and no, luckily they pushed me to have a backup job.  It’s always been a dream to have music be the main source of income, but I’m sure we would be hurting after the last year.

XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Josh; We haven’t played Let’s Go yet live, but it’s my favorite to play from the new album, that one, and When the Stars Cave In and From Distant Moons.

XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

Josh: King Crimson whom I just saw, I like how well they play their songs and how they do go off on improv or maybe practiced jam songs.  It makes the songs fun.

XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

Josh: I would love to go on tour with the swans, the last era with Thor, not whatever they turned into now.  

XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

Josh: Right now it’s our latest album, I have been screaming in punk and metal bands for years and this is the first time I just went with singing, it was nerve wracking and i felt like there wasn’t enough power in it, but after hearing it all come together i’m super happy with how it came out.

XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

Josh: well, right now we all have day jobs since this isn’t going to pay the bills.  I do work on mobile video games at the moment to pay the bills and it can be rewarding in the same creative way.

XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

Josh: As a bass player, i’m trying to capture the sounds that Chris Squire made.  I have a 2×15 cabinet and a combo amp, the combo amp is for effects and for a more treble sound whereas the 2×15 is just for low end bass sounds so the low end isn’t sacrificed.  

XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?

Josh: I’m not even sure what the scene is now, we had a few not that long ago, but since a lot of the places we loved to play at closed, it’s now all over the place.  Maybe someday our new sounds will fit in a scene, but we have just been keeping our heads down, writing/recording, not really paying attention.

XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

Josh: For my day job, I have done some interesting stuff, like voice over sessions with samuel jackson, dan akryod, and lot’s more.  

XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?

Josh: We sound like a band from the 60s/70s psychedelic music mixed with some modern sounds like math rock and heavy atmosphere.

XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

Josh: Our new album Post-Terra is coming out 9/24, vinyl should be coming soon.

XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock! 

Josh: Thank you!  Appreciate the interest!

Josh Austin – Bass, Vocals, 12 String Acoustic Guitar
Ben Daniel – Keys, Trumpet, Vocals, Mellophone, Bells, Woodblock
Jay Howard – Guitar, Sampler, Synth
Scott Werren – Drums, Djembe


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KESEM23
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kesemband
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kesemband
Bandcamp: https://kesem23.bandcamp.com/releases

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About the author

Bobby Caughron

Bobby Caughron is a music journalist and Editor-In-Chief for XS ROCK. He began a life-long fan of hard rock and metal music after hearing KISS as a kid. He is still an avid fan of the 80s metal scene and continues to discover and write about new music in all rock genres today.

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