Aaron Keylock Interview // Discussing the Strive for Applause
Subba-Cultcha grab half and hour with seventeen-year old blues maestro, Aaron Keylock.
Substantially younger than the majority of his genre compatriots, Keylock isn’t your stereotypical blues artist. His age, softly spoken manner, and frequent performances at metal festivals definitely wouldn’t be considered the norm. But that’s usually when things start to get exciting.
Subba-Cultcha: You’ve a busy summer ahead with your name featuring on lots of festival bills. Is there one you’re particularly excited about? Aaron Keylock: To be honest with you I’m looking forward to it all! But to play at Download is a dream of mine. Plus it’ll be the first time I’ll have been there.
SC: On the subject of playing a festival predominantly based around heavier music, how was it performing at Bloodstock last year? As a blues artist did you find the audience were accepting of something new, or was it in any way intimidating? AK: I wouldn’t say it was intimidating, but it was definitely a bit strange. My simple thought was to get out there and show them what I can do, and hopefully they’d like it. At the end of the day you've just got to think that good music is good music.
SC: It’s unusual for someone of your age to be both into and to write blues music. What was your inspiration? AK: My dad was really into his music, particularly Southern rock. I guess I was just listening to that growing up – stuff like Skynnard, Robert Johnson, the Stones – and liked it! I started learning the guitar at eight or so, and that was the music I learned.
SC: What was the impetus behind wanting a career in music? AK: I guess it’s the excitement of live shows. I’ve been playing since I was young, jamming in groups since the age of eleven and then playing in local pubs around Oxfordshire since twelve. I've always loved it, and I want to stop doing it!
SC: What are your standout moments from your short career so far? AK: It’s always nice to play abroad, to go and see a part of the world you haven’t before and perform to a different crowd. I played my first show in France aged thirteen, and then have recently just been to Germany. To play music for my job is a dream, I really appreciate being able to do it.
SC: What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt from your time on the road? AK: I don’t think there’s anything in particular, but playing more shows helps you improve the overall output. At festivals or support slots, you need to win people over. Just get your name out and really work for it. It starts off with a few claps here and there, so you need to try and build the applause after each song you play.
SC: As someone who’s been touring since your early teens, what does your average day on the road consist of? AK: Lots of driving and sleeping! You spend a lot of time sitting backstage at venues, effectively waiting twenty-three hours a day to play a one-hour show. Just practising and occasionally trying to write new music.
SC: What’s your process for writing music? Is it something you do on your own? AK: Yeah, I always look to write by myself. I can never plan to sit down and write songs – I just think of lyrics or riffs occasionally that I’ll jot down and come back to. You have lots of time on the road to build new songs up based on ideas that you have.
SC: As a young, upcoming musician, what is it about your fledgling career that excites you the most? AK: To simply keep improving as a musician and as a performer. To get better through natural progression without forcing anything. That’s what it’s all about.
SC: So how would you like to see yourself develop in the next five years? AK: I’ll like to be known as a musician who didn’t change for any trends. My favourite performers are those who stayed individual - Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, Blackfoot – and that’s what I’d like to try and do. More details on Aaron Keylock can be found via his
site or his
Facebook page. Photo credits to Classic Rock.