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This Is Northern New South Wales

Music & Goosebumps – An Interview with Vernas Keep

  • Music


VK – Hello

CG – Yeah G’day mate it’s David, how are you going

VK – Dave, Eben, how are you mate

CG – That was going to be my first question, how do you pronounce your name

VK – Eeeban. E B E N

CG – Eben with an E, great. All settled, ready?

VK – Yeah mate, just chillin’ on the deck at home

CG – I’ve never see you guys play live, which I’m hoping to change, soon.

VK – Well we’ve got a show coming up this weekend

CG – Cool. Well, I know you’ve got fans and followers locally of course, but could you give us a bit of a history on the band?

VK – Well Kyle (Kyle Lionhart) and I first met a few years back now, and we just decided to start something together. I started playing with him and on his solo stuff as well, and we had a few different drummers that came on board and we just started writing these bigger tunes and we just realised we were so much more than Kyle Lionhart itself, so it was being this sort of collaborative project. Then our guitarist got on board, we brought him to put in some crazy leads and some awesome atmospheric guitar stuff; then a few drummers later and we settled with Joe and it’s just evolved from there hey, it’s kind of a collaboration between all of us really. Kyle kept doing his solo stuff as well, and this just went off on a different tangent, so we decided we needed to call it something.

CG – Your name is Vernas Keep – What’s the significance, where did that come from?

VK – It was kind of like, let’s make up a band name because band names are hard to come by these days. It was more Kyle’s camp. He had a thing for the word Vernas, he just really liked it. Someone handed him a numerology book and he tried different combinations of words and Vernas Keep is what ‘sat’. In the end, according to this numerology book in terms of things like success and destiny it scored quite highly. Post that, Vernas is an old latin word for springtime, and that came after we realised that vernas was springtime and then keep, the last fortress of springtime, but that wasn’t our intention when we came up with it.

CG – This might be a bit of a tricky question, but what would you say you guys are about? Is there something definitive about Vernas Keep as a band that would really stand out, and you would say is definitive about you?

VK – Ohh that is a tricky question really. In terms of what we creative, I dunno, I guess as an artist and as musicians you really like to inspire you always like to connect with people. If you can connect with people and they can relate to the stories you’re telling through the music and the emotions you’re trying to make people feel… it’s hard, as one sentence or a few words it’s hard to say… we’re aiming for that big stunt, we are aiming for that big stage, we’ve written songs that will translate to that bigger stage and perform well in a large arena, that’s definitely a muso’s dream. But yeah, it’s about inspiring and connecting with people and it’s about the sound. Music is a universal language and all that.

CG – Tricky question, you did good. The band is in the midst of a tour, is that correct?

VK – Yeah, we’ve been doing a bit of a run along the east coast along this point. We did it off the back of the record release on August 11. We’ve only done the digital release at this point, we haven’t done CD’s, we’re still deciding whether CDs are redundant in this day and age. I come from an old school camp, but it’s kind of a weird generation now where it’s all about digital MP3 players and all that. It’s not to say we won’t press a record, we’ll just see how much traction this record is going to get. It’s been going really well, we’ve been well received in all our shows; we’ve done Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast and in between.

CG – To date, on the tour, has there been a standout moment or a show that have really struck you guys and reached you more than any other?

VK – Definitely in Sydney, Frankie’s pizza is always a good venue to play at. It’s always a good response, and we’ve had a lot of people that came to see us that saw us at Fall’s Festival at the beginning of the year. That was kind of the kicker for us, it kind put us on the map and it made people aware of who we were. We’ve had a lot of people who came to the show on the strength of seeing us at Falls, Frankie’s has been a good one for that. Frankie’s is kind of cool, it’s like Cheers, they have a pizza bar out front and then you go out back into this big long old school band room out back. They have an usher that pulls the curtain out when the band’s about to start. In terms of gigs, that’s our favourite venue to play in Sydney.

CG – You have the EP launch this weekend, is that the last show on tour?

VK – We’re doing the Quicksilver Boardrider’s on Friday night, and then our hometown show at The Northern on Saturday. We have Garrett Kato, he’s sort of like a Canadian sort of crooner, singer-songwriter local dude. He’s got some really tasty stuff, with his band on before us, and then Luke Morris as well he’s playing, he’s doing the opening set on the night. He’s a cool sort of surfer folk kind of dude, he’s got some really tasty tunes.

CG – Yeah I know those dudes.

VK – yeah it’s cool, I’ve been here for 15 years or so, and there’s this camaraderie amongst all the muso’s in a way that I haven’t seen before. It’s really cool, everyone’s friends and helps everyone out and lends gear, so it’s the perfect way for us to do a show this weekend; a couple of guys in bands who are all our friends anyway, it’s a way to sort of celebrate the record.

CG – Is this your first home town show since the release

VK – Yes! Absolutely.

CG – So it’ll be a good one?

VK – We’ve had a bit of time to groom it around the country, get a bit further afield. The record’s doing well, we’re getting reports back, people are grabbing the record from Europe, America, South America, Canada, we’re doing numbers over the world so we must be connecting with people.

CG – Yeah that’s excellent. That must be really encouraging?

VK – Well yeah, it’s really humbling for us. It’s an indication we must be doing something right, we’re connecting with people. That’s the hardest thing in this industry. We’re just four blokes who just thought we’d get in there and just play some music and see what happens, and now it’s starting to connect and these little things are starting to happen. It’s all baby steps and what not, but it’s all about the goosebumps really. Back to that question really, what we’re all about, that’s it really. Its all about the music and goosebumps.

CG – That’s great. We’re naming this interview Music & Goosebumps.

VK – Hahaha.

CG – Okay so, after this, after the tour wraps up, what are you guys up to for the next six months as a band?

VK – We’ll be having a bit of studio time, we’ve had this EP we recorded 12 months ago, we’ve kind of been sitting on it waiting for a time where it was timely for everyone, a time where we could back it up with a bit of a run with everyone’s schedules. So yeah, in that interim we’ve written a whole bunch of new tunes that we’ll be playing at live shows so we’re keen to get into the studio and record a couple of those. We’ll be doing some live studio sessions kind of thing, some of that. We got invited to play at Australian Music Week which is that conference similar to BigSound but in Sydney, in November. We can showcase with a bunch of other breaking bands and meet who’s who in the Australian music industry, so we were stoked to get a space there, that could be huge. It’s all about getting an opportunity to be playing in front of people really, we seem to be connecting when we do so we just want the opportunities. If we get to play a few festivals and a few bigger shows when time goes on, that’d be awesome for us.

So yeah, a little bit of time taken off touring in the interim after this tour and we’ll pick off again in November, maybe do Sydney and Melbourne and that sort of thing, do another little run.

CG – Ok, awesome, great thanks Eben.

VK – Okay, cool.

Versa Keep are playing Friday night at Quiksilver Boardriders in Coolangatta – Free Entry
Saturday night they will be launching their debut EP, playing their home show at The Northern Byron Bay Free Entry, along with Garret Kato band and also Luke Morris band.
Next Saturday night 12th September they are playing down at The Pacific Hotel in Yamba also Free Entry.

IMG_5233 Vernas Keep live IMG_5419