Interview: K.A.B

Dec 11 2023

K.A.B have just released their anticipated debut album, ‘Pause/Reflect’. Louder Than The Music chatted with the man behind the band, visionary musician Kevin Button, to find out more about their music - and in the process we stumble upon some exclusive news about their plans for the future!

Tell us a little bit about K.A.B and what people can expect from you?

We’re an alternative rock band from Coventry who blend a bunch of catchy hooks alongside some heavy riffs. You can expect wailing guitars, intricate instrumentation, melancholic melodies, and some story-driven progressive rock thrown in for good measure. Think Pink Floyd meets Muse or Biffy Clyro meets Steven Wilson. Lyrically, we delve into themes of self-discovery, transformation, self-awareness, unwavering adherence, and thought-provoking social commentary.

You've just released your debut album 'Pause/Reflect', what was the inspiration behind this release?

Pause/Reflect was birthed out of a venture into amateur songwriting during my downtime from working as a worship director. I had written rough song/riff ideas in the past but this felt organic and intentional - like the start of something significant. Out of this spirit of experimentation, my musical identity, creative and recording processes began unfolding and with that, the songs for Pause/Reflect slowly came together.

I tend to wear my influences on my sleeve and yet I think Pause/Reflect is unique to me and my musical identity. Nevertheless, I am sure if you listen closely, you will naturally hear attributes from the likes of Steven Wilson, Biffy Clyro, Muse, Porcupine Tree, Metallica and Devin Townsend. Perhaps not for everyone but quintessentially unique I think.

Do you have a favourite track on the album?

‘The Prisoners voyage’ is my favourite. It’s the centrepiece of the album and I am beyond happy with how it turned out. The song's narrative draws inspiration from the biblical tale of Paul and the shipwreck in Acts 27 and 28. A prisoner faces imminent execution as he is held captive on a ship commanded by an authoritative captain. When confronted by a tempest, the crew struggles to control the vessel, while the prisoner remains composed despite the chaos. To everyone's surprise, the prisoner shares a dream where an angel foretells more storms, asserting that survival lies in trusting the prisoner's leadership. As a second storm approaches, the crew reluctantly follows the prisoner's instructions, leading to their survival on a desolate island. Despite initial gratitude, some crew members waver in their faith, but the captain defends the prisoner. After repairing the ship, they face another storm, this time prepared and united under the prisoner and the captain's leadership. Ultimately, the prisoner willingly walks towards his execution, embodying strength and purpose, leaving the crew and captain transformed. The story prompts reflection on the true identity of the prisoner-whether it is the individual himself, the captain, or the entire crew, challenging perceptions of destiny and purpose.

K.A.B is the brainchild of Kevin, but who else worked on this album?

A plethora of exceptionally talented people, that’s who haha! There is Matt Cotterill (Speak, Brother member) who mixed the album, and performed additional editing and supplementary vocal engineering, and John Paul ‘JP’ Braddock who mastered the album. Then we have Tibz Adeniyi, Cherise Cheney, Eleanor HG, and Joshua Manley on backing vocals. Joel Julian, Sheridan White, Rick Taylor all lend their talents from Vamoosery (the other band I am part of).

Then there is Rowan Aldridge on Bass + Backing vocals who is a permanent member of the K.A.B team, my oldest friend James Cheney performing numerous guitar and vocal contributions, John Griffiths on drums and Nicola Nicholson on Rhodes, Synthesiser, Pads, Piano, Organ, and Strings.

Are you going to be performing these tracks live next year?

Absolutely! We’ve been performing them live in 2023 already but feel ready to take the music further afield next year starting with a gig at the hmv empire in Coventry on Friday 5th January at 7pm. Free entry too! Unique ticket link:

What is your songwriting process, and are you constantly writing songs or do you put aside time to write songs specifically for an album?

Good question yet a tough one to answer. I actually studied a version of this question for my final dissertation piece for my Masters. My creative process is highly stream-of consciousness; if I overthink it, I tend to get stuck. My process relies more on instinct than on a formula. Although I set aside time to write songs and consider specific contexts, the planning stops there. Over-planning or overthinking tends to yield forced and inauthentic results for me. Ultimately, I find it crucial to step aside and let the music do the talking. Nearly every riff, melody, and lyrical idea for "Pause/Reflect" emerged from that organic process, and I'm wary of altering it too much.

Which well known song do you really wish you'd written, and why?

Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd comes to mind. I think the phrase ‘comfortably numb’ itself communicates so much let alone the epic music and guitar solos that surrounds. It’s a tragic and sad song yet so vulnerable, authentic, and impactful.

Do you have any advice from your own experience for any bands just starting out?

I feel like I am still just starting out and I turn 30 next year! Yikes. But absolutely I would encourage you, the artist or band to simply keep going. If you truly know that you are called to create music and communicate your heart to the world then you will have a unique voice that no other person on this earth could possibly match! So spend time crafting YOUR sound and don’t rush the process. People are drawn to authenticity so don’t worry so much about matching trends - rather focus on who you the artist are and who God says you are and develop your sound from there. Finally DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. It’s far too easy to get disheartened by the music industry, social media etc but just don’t go there in your mindset. Stay focussed. Stay confident.

We heard a rumour that K.A.B may already be thinking about a follow-up album - what more can you tell us about that?

That rumour would be true and here is an exclusive for you! The upcoming album will be titled “Question/Fight”. If Pause/Reflect mostly concerns our protagonist in the early days of their faith, and how their world-view shifts, the follow-up will explore the inevitable questions that arise for those of us who have been in the faith for a while, whilst navigating through life's myriad challenging circumstances. Whether it's questioning the reasons behind specific adversities or reassessing theological positions, it's crucial to bring these questions out into the light.

Christians often tend to keep these awkward or difficult questions locked away, but I've come to realise that this approach only fosters anxiety, resentment, and unhealthy habits over time. Sharing our questions in a wise and supportive environment is important. However, for me, these questions, whether answered or not, must lead to a commitment to fight for what we believe in and refuse to let it go despite life's challenges - fighting to maintain obedience, faith and trust in God.

So, the album might lean towards a heavier, more chaotic feel, but by the end, the music is sure to exude an anthemic, strong nature. I often tell myself that my songs aren't autobiographical, but perhaps that's not entirely true...haha.

If your next album could feature a collab with any famous artist, past or present, who would you pick and why?

Steven Wilson - absolutely. I resonate deeply with his approach to music. While collaborating with him might be a distant dream, I'm currently exploring another exciting possibility. I am probably saying too much at this stage in case it doesn’t happen, but I'm keen on having Derek Sherinian contribute keys to a 13-minute song I've been crafting. Derek, an exceptional keyboardist known for his work with Dream Theater, Black Country Communion, Kiss, and more, often extends his services to perform on other peoples work through social media. It's something I'm seriously considering once I have the full demo finalised.

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