Watch the video for Hollywood, the latest single by The Kenneths, and you’ll find yourself travelling, with the London punk trio in tow, down what appears to be a human throat. Then feel a sense of unease when you realise you’re sliding down the lining of someone’s large intestine, like some horrific fairground slide.
“It’s a real colonoscopy,” says vocalist/guitarist Josh Weller. “The whole video cost 700 quid and we had to buy stock footage of a colonoscopy, so to spend the majority of that on some images of an arsehole is quite funny. The hard part about making that video was finding colonoscopy footage of a clean arsehole, because a lot of the footage that you’ll find of the inside of bums is stuff people have put on the internet because it’s unhealthy. And we didn’t want it to be gross – we wanted it to be funny.”
Interestingly, while the song is a bit less brash and abrasive than the material the band – completed by bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Aicha Djidjelli – have released since forming in January 2015, but it’s no less full of the typical punk snarl and forthright attitude that permeates their other songs. Yet while the band have released EPs previously, they see this new one – Double N, produced by Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson – as a more of an official start for the band.
“Our first EP, K,” explains Weller, “was just our demos. But thank fuck we put it out, because through that demo we got Warped Tour. We just put out on iTunes and somehow [Warped head honcho] Kevin Lyman heard it, and so we made a second EP, E, because we knew we were doing Warped and we put it out when we were on that tour so we’d have something to sell. So technically this is our third EP, but I think we all kind of see it as out first proper one. Not that we don’t like the songs on those other EPs, because we do. We love them.”
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If you think you recognise Weller’s name, that’s because not only is he the host of the well-regarded Excitable Boy podcast, but prior to starting The Kenneths, had some success as a solo artist in around 2008-9, touring and playing with the likes Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine and Paloma Faith, skirting around the edges of that scene but never fully being a part of it.
“I moved to London when I was 18,” he says. “I drove up to London in my little Peugeot 306 and had a box of stuff and an acoustic guitar. That was really all I had so I just went out and played every gig that I could with that guitar, so I kind of by accident became a solo artist. Five years later I was listening to all my songs and just hated all of them. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just thought I might as well do exactly what I want to do.”
That, it turned out was play hard, fast, loud and infectious punk music, songs that fall somewhere between The Clash, the Ramones and early Green Day.
“I grew up listening to punk rock music,” says Weller, “and that was the first major thing I ever cared about, so it was a really organic thing to start this band. We just wanted to do something that’s honest to who we are. What we want to be really good at is writing catchy songs and just playing them really fast. And this has already eclipsed anything I did as a solo artist. It’s so much more fun and so much more honest. And I think that’s an important lesson that I’ve learned – if you do what is honest, no matter what it is, it’ll probably – hopefully – work out. I spent a long time trying to make music that I thought people wanted to hear, rather than what I wanted to hear.”
The Kenneths will release their Double N EP on September 30. For more information, visit the band’s website.