On the Radar – No 233: The LaFontaines may not be filed easily under either rock or rap, but that hasn’t stopped them being chosen to play the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park this weekend. Drummer Jamie Keenan tells Harris Brine about their steady rise.
If recognition were the proverbial mountain, then Motherwell’s The LaFontaines have, for the last five years, been steadily ascending gradients made even steeper by their mix of rap and pop melodies.
Support slots with Example and Twin Atlantic have been plateaus where the band could pause and admire the view, but they now appear to be carving out their own landscape, having been picked to headline the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s T in the Park.
The band- lead singer Kerr Okan, drummer Jamie Keenan, bassist John Gerard and guitarists Iain Findlay and Darren McCaughey – have also begun to draw accolades from the media, including the Guardian.
Admittedly, they have been guided by T in the Park organisers DF Concerts, as they are represented by the company’s Head of PR. Although some may be quick to shout favouritism, no-one could say The LaFontaines’ graft doesn’t merit some recognition.
Frontman Okan will be making an appearance at Balado for the third year in a row (the band played T Break in 2011 and the MC returned to guest during TeKlo‘s set last year) as they close the BBC Introducing Stage on the Sunday night.
We spoke to drummer Jamie Keenan ahead of their coveted T in the Park slot to shoot the breeze about supermodel girlfriends, unusual collaborations and how they’ll be celebrating the festival’s 20th year…
Hello. First off, you’re clashing with The Killers and David Guetta to close the festival. Why should Killers and Guetta fans ditch their plans and come and see The LaFontaines?
Well…we’re on closer to 7pm so we won’t clash with them!
You recently performed at the Miss Scotland Awards. Has Kerr (or for that matter, any of the band) procured a girlfriend?
I went home with three of them. The top three in fact. But I told them all that I didn’t have time for them because music is the only love for me. I hope they’ve all found happiness now wherever they are. This kitty needs to purr, the eagle must spread its wings.
The LaFontaines are most definitely a band ‘on the way up’. Given the difficulty in pigeon-holing your sound, has there ever been a time where you thought things were going nowhere?
Occasionally but I think that’s due to everything going so well that there’s sometimes a wee week or whatever where things quieten down but then you load up the old email and it’s gone mental again – we’re in a really nice position but we definitely don’t ever take it for granted!
You fuse together hip-hop and indie-rock in your music. This year there’s a contingency of hip hop artists at T in the Park as well as the usual indie bands. Are there any rappers you’ll be going to see?
Personally, on the indie side of things, I want to see Beady Eye because for so many years Liam Gallagher has voiced the people through his intelligent lyrical delivery and I don’t see why the new album would fail to be any different. He puts on one hell of a show. A real knee slapper. Snoop Dogg too, heard he’s awrite!
Keeping that in mind, what hip-hop artist and what band from this year’s line-up would you combine to create a sound like The LaFontaines?
Kendrick Lamar and the Proclaimers!
Finally, T in the Park is celebrating its 20th year. What’s essential on the rider for your celebrations?
We just need our best pals and rolls and sausage with a variety of condiments on the Monday morning!
The LaFontaines will headline T in the Park’s BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday night. More info can be found at www.tinthepark.com. Their new single ‘All She Knows’ will be released in September via LAB Records.
The LaFontaines also headline Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on August 16 as part of the Fringe. Tickets can be purchased are available from the venue website. Follow the band’s movements at www.thelafontaines.co.uk