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DozenQ – Andrew Crayford & The Kosmos

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Andrew Crayford was born in Islington, London, England. He formed his first band Summer Buzz as vocalist rhythm guitar with best friends Ken Yeomans, Michael Fraser and Kurt Ferdinand. The band played a handful of gigs before Crayford and Yeomans left to become a songwriting and production team until 2003, before deciding to pursue solo projects. In 2007 Crayford formed band The Kosmos, of which he is lead singer, lyricist and guitarist. Shortly after the debut album Unplugged, released through digital distribution, the band’s 1960s influenced powerpop indie sound was recognised by US based label Harvest Music in 2008, featuring the song So In Love on the cd compilation Dig Music Vol. 1. In 2010, Harvest Music invited Crayford to their roster of artistes. In the same year, the promo video for So In Love, directed by Alberto Bona, was featured at the Portobello Film Festival.

Band (this changes as things flow)
Andrew Crayford
– vocals, guitar
Chris Ormiston – bass guitar, vocals
Ben Scrivener – guitar, vocals
Harpal Mudhar – drums, percussion

01. How did you get started in music?

I got started in music from listening to my two older brothers records from the late 70s and early 80s, a wide mix of everything from Punk, Two-tone, Mod revival, Soul. I was inspired mainly by bands like The Jam, The Specials and The Beat to start writing my own songs.

02. Where did your direction come from?

It came from discovering bands like The Kinks, Small Faces, Beatles through Paul Weller and The Jam, and getting into Northern Soul & Motown. The Two-Tone movement also really appealed to me as it reflected my own experience of growing up in a multi-cultural environment. I formed my first band with my 3 best mates, 2 of whom were of Afro-Caribbean descent, one English, and myself. We played covers of bands like The Jam, The Clash, The Specials, The Beat, The Police and alot of Motown stuff.

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

My major influences were Paul Weller, Steve Marriot, Ray Davies, John Lennon, Terry Hall, Dave Wakeling and alot of Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

I despise all these svengali type producers that have come into the music industry and corrupted it with their airbrushed karaoke acts, Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller and all their crappy shows which are just big adverts for them to make millions at the expense of their acts and the public.

I also despise the new wave of public school educated entertainers that have infested both the music industry and comedy circuit, who at best display a modicum of talent, but will get the opportunities simply because their parents happen to be well connected, or because of the people they network with. This is what is killing the entertainments industry and why the public has lost respect for artists. Mumford and Sons are one of the worst culprits.

04. What inspires you to make your current type of songs?

I think there is a real need for artists to reflect the society they live in and be bold enough to make political statements in their songs,they don’t have to be extreme views, just enough to make people think and see that there are alternatives to our celebrity obsessed culture.

I wrote a song called ‘Dumbed Down’ which reflects the fact that most people these days believe everything they read in the papers and watch on TV,the truth is that everything is manipulated by people like Rupert Murdoch who have an agenda, and use clever PR & Spin Doctors to portray lies as truth!

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

Anyone coming to see us now will be instantly hooked by the uplifting, contagious hooks of songs like ‘Vampires’, ‘So In Love’ and ‘Deluded’. they are played with passion and sincerity, the songs are so good most people think we are a covers band, without wishing to sound arrogant they are a testament to my years of learning the craft of song-wrting from the original legends like John Lennon, Ray Davies, Steve Marriot and Paul Weller.

06. How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

I usually begin my songs finding some kind of guitar riff, or having a hook-line in my head. I will then try to work out the melody and expand or edit the words to fit the melody. My themes are again personal to me or about people I’ve met, and sometimes about past relationships. A song like ‘Vampires’ was inspired by the drug dealers that hang around outside Camden Town underground station, I combined that idea with a Clash type riff and tried to give it a bit of humour as it was quite a dark subject.

#‘Anything you need, pills, coke or weed?
And the Vampires they hang onto your pyjamas
And your shirt-tails…
And the Vampires only want to
Feast on entrails and your karma’#

07. How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

My music has evolved simply by going out and playing live, and becoming more confident that people really enjoy what I do. To have belief in yourself is the biggest challenge for any artist. When you first start performing you don’t really know how to entertain and be comfortable onstage, once you learn to project yourself and perform with conviction, the audience will believe in you.

08. What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

My biggest challenge much like many other artists is to get the recognition and support from the music industry, and to keep going even when you experience setbacks. The music industry is a cut-throat business where no one is going to do you any favours because you are talented, the charts of today are not a reflection of great music, they are a reflection of great marketing and hype.

All unsigned artists will struggle with this challenge as they do not have the resources to get their music heard on radio or music video channels. The public do not understand that record labels pay alot of money to radio stations, music pluggers and TV companies to play their artist’s music, they are all businesses and don’t play it because they like it… that is the idealistic view the general public have of the music industry, it is akin to brainwashing, but any new act has to be branded into the public consciousness as like any other product, the public don’t trust anything new.

09. Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We only play one cover at the moment, “Message To You Rudy’ the ska and Specials classic which we recorded for ‘Specialized – A Modern Take On Specials Classics’ in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust. It is very hard to pick just one song, as I would love to do so many, at the moment I think ‘Harder They Come’ by Jimmy Cliff is one I’d like to do as it’s such an uplifting song of courage in the face of adversity, something everyone can relate to.

10. Where did you envisage being in five years time?

I would like to be touring all around the world and learning from other musicians and songwriters to just keep a fresh outlook on the whole creative process. I enjoy meeting people of all different cultures, and it was one of the reasons that inspired me to become a musician to have that opportunity.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

There are many artists I’d like to record with, Steve Winwood would be amazing, Paul Weller, Alicia Keys, Lianne La Havas, Roger Daltrey, Ray Davies, Prince, Jimmy Cliff, Bill Withers, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, the list is too long! Hehe…

12. What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

We will be doing more fundraising gigs for Specialized in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust and will be performing at The Specials Hyde Park pre-gig party at Rhythm Factory, Sunday Aug 12th.

We are also waiting for a remix of my song ‘So In Love’ to be finalized by multiple Grammy award winner James ‘Bonzai’ Caruso’, which will be released on Flick-knife Records later this year. We will also release another song ‘In Between’ on the Specialized2 label, where some of the profits will go to The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Links
Facebook
Myspace
Wikipedia/Andrew Crayford


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