The Kendall Connection: MN2S Interview | Social Media | MN2S

The Kendall Connection are one of the UK’s most exciting blues-rock groups, fronted by singer, songwriter and guitarist Nick Kendall. After partnering with the outfit to promote their new music and upcoming tour dates, we sat down to hear about their unique sound, upcoming performances and their background in the music industry.

Can you tell us something about how The Kendall Connection got together?

After working as a full time session guitarist for the last decade I wanted to get back to my roots of writing and performing my own music. I knew the music direction I was going in and it was just about finding the right musicians to be a part of the creative process, as I wanted the project to have more of a band vibe to it rather than going out as a solo artist. So at the end of 2016 I started putting The Kendall Connection together.

In terms of the members, we all met playingtogether on shows in London’s West End. Tom and I first played together on WeWill Rock You where we also met Steve, and Greg, and I spent a couple of yearstogether playing in the Jersey Boys band. We’ve ended up playing together overthe years with various artists and on shows such as Rock of Ages, SunnyAfternoon, Tina, Kinky Boots etc. We all came together as a band quiteorganically, as we were all at the point where we had been playing music in asession capacity for a while and were just hungry to play something of our ownfor the pure love of it.

How would you describe The Kendall Connection sound?

Our music is grounded in blues-rock but has hints of jazz, funk and country elements thrown in. The songs allow us the freedom to express ourselves through improvisation and solos while still connecting with the everyday man. My goal as a writer was to bridge the gap between so called ‘musicians’ music, and songs where melody and lyrics are king.

You will be performing at London’s iconic 100 Club in January. How does it feel to play a show at a historic venue like this?

We’re very excited to be playing the 100 Club in January! Having met, formed and built our own careers in the city, it’s going to be great to be doing our own thing in town! The 100 Club is great because it’s a large enough room to turn up the volume and rock out, while still being small enough to have that intimate club gig feel to it, so there should be a real buzzing energy on the night. We’ve also largely been a studio band up until now, creating and defining our sound, so it’s going to be really good to start getting the band out live.

“Meeting and working closely with The Who’s Pete Townshend, and getting to chat with him about Hendrix – one of my biggest guitar heroes! – was a thrill.”

Individually you all play as session musicians for other bands as well TKC, who have you most enjoyed working with?

(Nick) Rather than a specific artist or show there are a few special moments that stick out in my mind. Meeting and working closely with The Who’s Pete Townshend, and getting to chat with him about Hendrix – one of my biggest guitar heroes! – was a thrill. Another one is playing Bohemian Rhapsody with Brian May at the We Will Rock You London 8th Anniversary. Hearing my guitar alongside Brian May’s on that song was quite a moment! Playing with 10cc is a gig I feel very privileged to do, and touring with Gordon Giltrap and performing School’s Out with Alice Cooper and the Rock of Ages band are another couple of memories that really stand out for me. I’m very grateful for all the gigs and shows I’ve been a part of and for getting to work with fantastic musicians and people along the way.

(Greg) A lot of my work is playing in theatre shows like Hamilton, Book Of Mormon, Come From Away, and Jersey Boys to name a few. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from this type of work, as you really have to be on top of your game, but my real passion is playing onstage in front of the crowd. Nothing beats the intense buzz you get from that direct connection with the audience.

(Steve) I’ve had some great gigs over the years working with Adele and also with Petula Clark. I get a kick out of playing for live TV, on shows like the X Factor. I really enjoy the challenge, as it’s fairly fast paced and you never quite know what you’ll be expected to play.

“Nothing beats the intense buzz you get from that direct connection with the audience.”

(Tom) Getting to work on different shows in London is such an incredible job. It forces you to get a grasp of a wide variety genres and you get to meet and work with so many amazing people. Each one demands a different skill set so it keeps you on your toes too. I think the concert that I got the biggest buzz from recently was playing for a Michael Giacchino concert at the Royal Albert Hall. He’s written so many incredible soundtracks and I got to thrash along to a full symphony orchestra and choir with a rocking rhythm section. Never a dull day!

How do these additional collaborations inform your work as a group?

One of the things we’ve taken most from working with other artists, especially those legends who have been there and done it all, is that it really inspires us to be reminded that they were once where we are as a band, albeit in a different kind of music industry, but no less faced challenges to break through and succeed. All your experiences as a musician make you who you are and therefore show up in everything you do.

“All your experiences as a musician make you who you are and therefore show up in everything you do.”

Could you describe your creative process in terms of song writing?

(Tom) We’ve found a process that seems to work well for us up to this point. Nick has the song written to the point where you can sit down with a guitar a play it through as a whole, or sometimes the main song is there but the solo sections are yet to be created.

(Nick) I generally create a guide track and then get together with Greg and Tom in the studio and workshop and refine drum and bass parts. Once that’s done Steve and I meet and do the same for the keys. Sometimes there is already a very clear keys part from the guide track, and other times I just have an idea of what it’ll be and we throw ideas around on the day and workshop it until it’s right. All the parts you hear on our recordings were recorded on the day that we first worked out the parts.

We’ve found you get a much more spontaneous and exciting energy by capturing something at the time it’s created, rather than rehearsing, perfecting and refining things, and then only recording later. 90% of all the guitars and vocals are from the original guide tracks as we felt that when we replaced them later they lost a little bit of the off the cuff magic. We record drums and bass at Tom’s studio, Steve wherever we can track him down, and then all guitars vocals, mixing and post-production happens at Nick’s studio.

What do you feel influences your music the most?

Life as a whole. What’s going on in our world at thetime, what we’re practicing and working on musically, and what albums orartists we’ve been listening to and taken inspiration from, both currently andpreviously.

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