The journey that Keemosabe have undertaken is one that outlines a disparity between the small suburban reality of where they grew up and the cosmopolitan lifestyle found in big cities, as is reflected through their music. Despite being a pop/rock outfit, best known for utilising energetic grooves combined with powerful riffs and pop melodies, Keemosabe came to be as part of the resurgence of experimental music in Manhatten over the last decade. Having originated from the humble shores of Italy’s Lake Maggiore, their journey to the great cosmopolis and subsequent return has provided an intriguing muse for them to musically explore a path of moving away from a big city to reconnect with nature. They are an experimental band of funk-rockers, who have a truly international musical background.
Brought together through their musical roots in rock, funk and blues, Sebastiano Vecchio (drums) met with Alberto Curtis (vocals, guitar) while both were studying for their Masters in Musical Performance at The Collective in New York, and working as jazz-fusion musicians between 2013-2016. The pair have since returned to their native Italy and built their own home studio in the woods of Northern Italy to begin work on their new project – Keemosabe. In partnering with Andrea Guarinoni (keyboards) – who had until then worked as a soundtrack and hip-hop producer, and Pino Muscatelli (bass) – a prevalent face of the Italian stoner-rock scene, the band was officially created.
“Exploring our inner universe is something that is getting lost in modern society – we want our music to guide the listener through a new search of the self across musical genres.”
While rehearsing the EP, Keemosabe found themselves at a stumbling block when it came to recording – as they were unable to cover all the expenses entailed with the process and buying new live gear. The group decided to set up a Kickstarter campaign, which yielded immediate results – reaching their target within a record time of 15 days thanks to donations from all over the world, which paved the way for them to be able to record the initial tracks at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
“Abbey Road was a life-changing experience. Entering those studios and realising that all your heroes created their masterpieces in those rooms, gives you the chills… Apart from the legend behind it, Abbey Road is still one of the best examples of quality and professionalism when it comes to recording music. We were also lucky enough to perform live in the legendary Studio One, and we are extremely thankful for this opportunity.”
Both their sound and vision reflect the fury and drama of the world’s largest cities, as exemplified by their video for ‘Out of the City‘ – a stunning homage to the slick, Euro-crime and poliziotteschi films of the 60s and 70s. This included the garments used throughout being accurately chosen in order to pay an honest tribute to this cinematic era. Pragmatically, the Fiat 500 being used for the chase scenes had flat tyres and was covered in mud as little as 2 hours before shooting began, which left Alberto and Sebastiano having to prepare the vehicle while the foot chase scenes were being filmed. That being said, the budget for the video totalled a mere £7 – with that being spent on the essential necessities, namely hairspray and cigarettes.
Breaking down the barriers between music, art and film, Keemosabe’s sound is suitably widescreen and has seen them perform everywhere from the small clubs near Lake Maggiore to legendary venues and festivals in New York, Milan and London. With live dates in Italy and England planned and their debut album nearing completion, 2019 is looking to be the year that Keemosabe becomes the soundtrack to your lives.