Keston Cobblers Club

Camp Wildfire:

There’s something simply unmistakable about Keston Cobblers Club. When the band play, it’s a captivating and engaging experience. Frequently blurring the artist/audience divide by performing from the floor or whipping the crowd into a dancing frenzy; visiting far-flung venues at their fans’ request; assembling a 60-strong amateur ‘Cobblers orchestra’ with total strangers; chartering an old Routemaster bus to launch their EP in the way it should be experienced (on the move); and now, organising this summer’s Camp Wildfire festival - with 50s-style forest adventures and artistry by day, music and hedonism by night – as a way of fully immersing the audience in the spirit of their brand new ‘Wildfire’ album. All of this is to say: you don’t just listen to Keston Cobblers Club. You’re involved.

Formed in 2009 by siblings Matthew and Julia Lowe, and childhood friend Tom Sweet, Keston Cobblers Club spent their first couple of years releasing demos and cutting their teeth on the London live circuit, playing every venue that would have them. With a few line-up changes to iron out, they were joined by tuba extraordinaire Bethan Ecclestone and drummer Harry Stasinopoulos and in 2012 they recorded their first album, ‘One, For Words’ quietly releasing it as a digital download. Since then they’ve released two further EPs, ‘A Scene of Plenty’ and last year’s ‘A Pocket Guide to Escaping’, all the while building an extremely loyal fan base and picking up a wealth of impressive industry support, including BBC radio stalwarts Dermot O’Leary, Steve Lamacq and Bob Harris.

They’ve played some of the UK’s biggest festivals, sold out their own headline tours and even provided the music for advertising campaigns for Burberry and Mornflake, plus creating all the music for stand-up Ross Noble’s ‘Sit Down Tour’ film. Their music can often be heard on TV shows from ‘Hairy Bikers’ to ‘Countryfile’ and comedian and Radio 4 presenter Arthur Smith even incorporated a Cobblers’ song into his Edinburgh Fringe show.

Having set the stage and prepped their audience, the band are now gearing up to release their brand new album, ‘Wildfire’ - combining the infectious spirit that’s already won them a legion of fans with a sound that looks to a wider musical horizon and a bigger lyrical sky than their home-grown rustic roots. Triggered by teenage obsessions with British power pop and Glaswegian indie dreamers, the stunning 12-track collection is a sonic journey of sounds – building on the band’s bedrock of urgent anthems, thumped drums, sweet strums and tuba, with 90s synth hooks, huge orchestral waves and choral arrangements which they describe as “a blanket of voices.”

“We wouldn’t call it a huge change in direction,” says lead female Julia. “More an evolution. There’s a signature Cobbler’s recipe that we’ll always follow. That’s strong vocal harmonies, powerful drum beats, and hooky melodies and these are all still here. But the instrumentation has grown, that’s the biggest difference. Anyone that already knows our music will still be able to hear that Cobbler’s sound.”

Written by Matthew and Julia, the album was recorded part in a Devonshire cottage, and partly in the living room of their long-suffering parents’ house in Kent. Largely produced by the band themselves, they also engaged the producing services of Joe Dickinson, Ben Jackson and Austen Jux-Chandler on several tracks. Joe in particular spent two weeks in the cottage with the band, helping to bring continuity across a collection of songs that were written in very different and distinct ways. Says Julia, “Matt’s like some kind of genius when he writes; he can practically sneeze out a fully-formed song that’s already complete with all the different instrumental lines, harmonies and melodies. When I write, I tend to start with just a seed of an idea, often coming from a raw emotional place that I then have to sculpt and hone over time.”

Beyond the music, Keston Cobblers Club are also known for the ingenious artwork and creatives that accompany all their releases and tours. Each single brings with it a new video that’s a triumph of imagination over budget. The sleeve for one EP transformed into a papercraft trainset (with a stop-motion animated film on how to make it.) Loyal followers of the group can own a convincing looking Cobblers Passport, collecting ink stamps, setlists and Polaroids of shows attended. And because they’re fans themselves, the band created a website with the sole aim of lobbying Fleetwood Mac to let them open for their UK tour. Consisting of a charmingly persuasive flow-chart (‘our super-dooper tuba player Bethan can play the whole of ‘Tusk’ on her tuba!”), the ingenious design couldn’t help but delight those who saw it (including Music Week, who featured the campaign) – even if sadly Stevie Nicks has yet to call.

And then there’s the aforementioned Camp Wildfire, the 1950's-style camp and swing ‘Adventure Questival’ in a secret Kent forest location. “We wanted to create something a bit different, that isn’t just about the music. Wildfire is about being free and unrestricted and this is what we want the festival to represent,” says Julia, who’s organising the whole thing with experienced festival organiser Lee Denny (LeeFest). Whilst most details are still under wraps, the website promises a bustling adventure camp full of expeditions, bushcraft, artistry, engineering, and adventure sports by day. And as darkness falls, a hedonistic Wildfire of music and festivity…

“We always try and think of inventive and interesting ways to celebrate our releases and wanted to launch the album in a way that would embody the sound of the music.”

This inventiveness is who they are and it’s in everything they do. And most of all it’s at the heart of their music.

Keston Cobblers Club new album, ‘Wildfire’ is out June 15. Camp Wildfire is June 19-21.


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Keston Cobblers Club


Release Date: 06/19/2015 · Format: CD/LP(+CD)/DIGITAL · Cat-No: GRCD 844

On June 19th one of the UK’s best kept secrets, the brilliant pop-folk 5-piece Keston Cobblers Club release their anticipated new album – ‘ Wildfire ’, out on Glitterhouse Records . Triggered by teenage obsessions with British...
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Keston Cobblers Club