Interview: Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones
Image Courtesy of Chords and Candles

Aiden Quinn runs the excellent UK based site Chords and Candles and recently got the chance to chat with Kevin Jones, ex member of Cherbourg and co-creator (with Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett) of the Communion night and record label. Jones opened up to Aiden on all things Communion and folk music. This interview was originally printed here (go and show C&C some love!).

Aiden Quinn: How did you come up with the concept for the Communion label and what inspired the name?
Kevin Jones: Ben, Ian and I wanted to set up a night where we could showcase our favourite bands and provide a platform for developing artists and friends. We wanted to make it friendly and inclusive, to have a community feel, hence Communion. Also it’s on a Sunday which tied in nicely.
AQ: How do you go about selecting all the different acts that you have?
KJ: Various sources, friends tipping us off, people approaching us with demos. Any way we can really.
AQ: Who are you actually working with at the moment?
KJ: I’m working on lots of stuff at the moment: the Communion Christmas Party, Marcus Foster’s Album recording and SXSW mainly.
AQ: Have you met any people that have really surprised you, as individuals and as artists?
KJ: Kill it Kid certainly pack a pretty serious punch which you wouldn’t have necessarily expected from meeting them!
AQ: If you had to choose three of your acts that you see big things happening for in the near future, which are your personal favourites and why?
KJ: Marcus Foster, Matt Corby and Andrew Davie – all very talented singers and songwriters.
AQ: What are the best and worst things about heading a label?
KJ: It’s stressful and I’m lucky if I get an afternoon off a week, but It’s also the most rewarding job I could think of.
AQ: Do you still have time to work on your own musical projects or do you see yourself taking a more managerial role?
KJ: I’m still working on a few things of my own. Watch this space!
AQ: If you could sign up any bands that you currently don’t have on your books whom would you like to work with?
KJ: I’d love to have signed Everything Everything and Dry the River.
AQ: Most of the acts involved with Communion are male. Is there any particular reason for this, or is that just the way it kind of happened?
KJ: Next year they are mainly female! There’s no agenda there, obviously, it’s just the way things happen.
AQ: Most of the artists you work with are in the folk/blues kind of genre, why do you think that so many younger performers are falling into this style of music?
KJ: It’s fashionable. You imitate what you hear on the radio and at gigs. Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale and Mumford and Sons paved the way for the rest.
AQ: There has definitely been a shift in styles, from young people doing punchy poppy music to a softer and more acoustic style, thinking more about what they are writing and taking their time to develop. Do you think that this is something that we are going to see for a while? or do you see signs of it already evolving into something different?
KJ: It will evolve of course. I predict it will become more electric and progressive next year.
AQ: What would you say are the main aims of the Communion label? What message are you trying to put out to people?
KJ: We’re just trying to promote good musicians and honest songwriting. “Real” music if that doesn’t sound too contrived.
AQ: What advice would you give to young musicians, bands and singer/songwriters who are just starting out and wanting to become involved in the whole folk/blues scene and wanting to get involved with Communion itself?
KJ: Work on your songs. Keep writing, it’s a craft. “That will do” won’t get you anywhere. And say yes to everything until you get to a certain point, and then start saying no to almost everything.
AQ: Communion is a relatively young venture, how long exactly has it been going? And how do you see it progressing and developing in the future?
KJ: The night has been going for 3 years or so in London, the regionals a little less, and the label about a year. The plan is keep going!
AQ: I’ve seen you take an active role with some of the performers, playing bass for Matt Corby for example, is this something you do a lot? Does it help with the bonding process and getting to know the artists? Because communion seems to be like a family more than just a bunch of musicians.
KJ: Yeah it really does. People bond through playing music and there’s a mutual respect between us as label/artists and the artists we sign, develop or produce.
AQ: For Communion fans like myself who like to try and help out, is there any advice you would give to us? What’s the best way for us to help out with communion? Do you ever take on volunteers to sell merchandise and EP’s at gigs or is that something arranged with the individual artists?
KJ: The best way is simply tell your friends about us, and come to shows and buy records! It’s how we are able to keep doing what we are doing.
AQ: As well as Communion in the UK, there is also Communion in Australia; do you have plans to take it to anywhere else in the future? World domination perhaps?
KJ: We’re looking to set up a few more in Australia and looking at one in New York too.

For the full interview and other great musical content check out Chords and Candles

1 Comment

  1. January 9, 2011 at 10:31

    […] as Lovett talks about Communion’s plans for Australia. This interview follows one from our chat with the other face of Communion Kevin […]

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