Kelvin Jones seemed to get spotlight attention over night with the song Call You Home and it is worth taking notice of this UK-based singer and songwriter and his newly released debut album Stop The Moment. AMBY met the young artist at a tour stop in Denmark and we had brought a handful of questions with us. Follow along on our festive chat about meeting charismatic fans, aiming to perform at nontraditional settings, collecting fancy pennyboards, thoughts on vinyls and emotional responses to the work of Johnny Marr.
AMBY: We are happy that you could set some time off and have a chat with AMBY today. Thank you.
Kelvin: Oh absolutely. I am doing nothing else.
AMBY: You just released your debut album and I was wondering what sort of things have given you inspiration for the songs there?
Kelvin: I wish that I could be a more complex 21 year old, and could say I was writing about the World and politics, but about 60-70% of it is just about girls and love.. And you know, there is nothing to be ashamed about there. It is just like what I am going through and so that’s what I wrote about. It is a bunch of love songs and just about being a 21 year old being a 21 year old.
AMBY: So what has inspired you to go for this style and sound in the songs?
Kelvin: I was very, very obsessed with having the album being all organic with having everything real. So we got real drums, real keys. Everything have been recorded properly. It is just because I have been listening to those Motown, Blues and Soul records and I was like I wanna do something like that and in a way that works in 2016. So yea, that was kind of the influences I have had there. Bluesy and a bit soulful.
AMBY: You have also done some off-stage performances. I have checked the photos on your Instagram page and it seems like you have played at train stations and tram rides. What is the deal with that?
Kelvin: [laughs] Yea. That is what happens when you play a lot on stage and get to think well what else can I do. How else can I make this interesting. So we did this gig on a tram that was moving and I had to try balance while I was playing and half the audience was behind me. It was crazy, but it was like so much fun. I will do more of that stuff for sure.
AMBY: [laughs] Nice. I saw some videos saying that you have recorded songs at a train station and then went back there to do the same a couples of years later as well. I think that sounds cool, but I can’t remember how it went really.
Kelvin: What happened is that about two years ago I guess I recorded a cover of the song ”I Need A Dollar” by Adam Black. I went down to this train station in Pourthmouth in England at about 3AM where it was freezing cold and I was just like okay I want to play some guitar. I am gonna do that. So I recorded this song and I put it on YouTube. A lot of people really liked it and it kinda the way a lot of people first heard me. Then two years from that I thought things had kind of moved on really well and I thought that let’s see if I can go back and re-record that and see how things have changed. Still enjoyed doing that.
AMBY: What sort of difference did you feel now 2 years later?
Kelvin: 2 years ago I went there like 3AM and it was freezing cold without really knowing how to play the song and I played it for an hour I think and I recorded it like 50 times and I chose the second one. It always end up that way, you know. This time I went back and I realized that I am better at this. I have improved in two years time. I can sing better and it is more comfortable and there were people there and I was like whatever I am just gonna play the song. It was really more comfortable second time around.
AMBY: It seems like you have played for a lot of people both off-stage like that and on stage, so what have been the most memorable fan encounter?
Kelvin: Oh, here is a funny one actually. So on this tour with James Morrison while being back in England, I had went to sign autographs and so this lady just comes up behind me and just starts rubbing my back and she doesn’t say anything. No hello or whatever… I was like talking to somebody else and she just starts rubbing my back and I think it is one of my friends because that is the weirdest thing. I turn around and it is just a lady. We look at each other and I go like oookay, this is kind of fun, so for a good 10 minutes I did like autographs and met people and got pictures taken, while I was getting my back rubbed. So that was probably the most fun way to do it. I would do it every night if possible.
AMBY and Kelvin: [laughs]
AMBY: So was it like more weird, awkward, or just cozy?
Kelvin: Because she was so comfortable with herself it made it okay, you know. She was like I am rubbing your back, this is what is happening, you deal with it.
AMBY: That is pretty memorable. Let’s talk penny boards. I noticed on your Instagram page that you have posted photos of those things and are kind of starting a collection. So what is your favorite design for them?
Kelvin: I pick pennyboards the same way I pick carpets. I go very vintage and many colors. For me simple is bad with a penny board, because it is already a ridiculous thing. For those who don’t know, then a penny board is this tiny skateboard that you can barely stand on. So it is already a ridiculous idea.
AMBY: It looks cute…
Kelvin: It is cute and it works, you know. A great way to get around, but it is like when you already got something ridiculous like this then why make it just black. Like just go crazy entirely. So I do love like multicolored crazy pennyboards.
AMBY: How many do you have? I noticed that you have at least two.
Kelvin: I am on 6 or 7 now. Yea, it is a problem. It is definitely a problem. I do need to see somebody. It has come to a point where it is no longer cute and I just need to like stop.
AMBY and Kelvin: [laughs]
AMBY: Yea I do have kind of the same thing, just with vinyl and so…
Kelvin: No way. Vinyl are so… I have bought some, but my generation kind of buys more music on iTunes, Spotify and whatever there. For me it was a big thing when I bought a CD and I was like I got a CD. The first one was with The Police and I was like this is an actual thing I can hold. It was like woah, I can actually look inside and read about who made it. These things that you don’t get from buying a file online. That was when it clicked for me what it must be with a vinyl. When they made one for my album I was like ”Look at the size of this thing! This is what artwork is supposed to look like”.. I do get that.. I just can’t hear the different that well just yet.
AMBY: Well I think it is more like a crunchy sound in the good way.
Kelvin: Yea, so I understand what happens scientifically, but when listening to it I am like ”My ears are not good enough to tell the difference.. I am not sure”. So for now I am sticking with CDs.
AMBY and Kelvin: [laughs]
AMBY: Just keep going with it, and you can tell later on..
Kelvin: Keep going and one day.
AMBY: Then, what have been your best stage moment?
Kelvin: Aw, man. It is getting increasingly tough to answer that question. At first it was like obviously I did this show and there it was, but now I have done so many shows so… If I go for a recent one maybe that will be easier to tell. I recently played the biggest show yet, in front of 5500 people at Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam.
AMBY: I see. It is such a great music hall.
Kelvin: It was twice as special experience for me to play there as my favorite artist, Johnny Marr, has played there as well and it was like the first time I have played the same venue he has. I got into music so I could stand on a stage and now I could stand on the stage he stood on last year. So that was a special moment.
AMBY: Yea, that is nice. There is a special feel about something like that. To round up the chat now I was wondering which three words you think can best sum up this year for you?
Kelvin: This year have been all about 1. Touring, because I have only been home for about a week this year all together. Just been on the road.. and this is going to sound cheesy, but 2. Happiness, because all I have wanted to do is touring. Recording was cool and good fun, but it is all about getting on stage and play. I finally got to do that this year. That is a pretty big one. Then the last thing I will say is 3. Guitars. More precisely it will be Strat guitars. Johnny Marr just switched to PRS guitars, and that hurt me very much.
AMBY: [laughs] So we also have a kind of sting out for Johnny right here?
Kelvin: Completely. He has no idea.
AMBY and Kelvin: [laughs]
Thank you Kelvin Jones, for giving us your answers!
Interview and Photos by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets