King Creosote is the name used for current solo releases of the Scottish musician Kenny Anderson.
Formerly lead singer of Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra and Khartoum Heroes,
he's a prolific songwriter, many of his songs having been released
across just under 40 albums in ten years. Most of these are CD-R
releases on his own Fence Records label.
After "KC Rules OK" in 2005, "Bombshell", released last year, shows all the talent of this brilliant musician.
Interview with Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote:
S: How and when did all begin
My dad's an accordion player - from a very early age I remember him
setting out as the sun set, and then I'd be woken up at crazy o'clock
to raucous laughter from downstairs. When he asked me if I wanted to
learn the accordion, I replied "I most certainly do, father, for having
been woken up at all hours this past 5 years by your drunken
debauchery, it is all I dream about!" I was 7 years old, and an
obnoxious little shit. I then realised I had no love for traditional
scottish music and spent hours playing minor chords with both hands. At
the age of 13 I discovered music by "the jam", "adam and the ants",
"dexy's midnight runners" and "blondie", and my accordion went into its
case. At 18 I "learned" the electric bass, and at 22 the acoustic
guitar. At 23 I had my own bluegrass busking band, and was back playing
the accordion. I love the accordion. I love my dad for persevering with
is your stage name coming from?
I started my own record label after a disastrous fling with a small
scottish record label based near Glasgow. I called my label "Fence",
and it was meant to be a home for my solo project. "What could I put
out on a label called Fence?" ... well, I remember my dad would paint
our garden fence at the end of every summer with a paint-like substance
called "creosote" - it is banned now - and he would often ask me to
help him. I usually did as i loved the smell of it. If you got it on
your skin, and then hopped into the bath, it stung like billy-o.
Anyway, I thought I'd put "creosote" on my label Fence. I wrote down
"King Creosote" without thinking, and it stuck.
S: What are the positive and
negative sides of being a musician in Scotland?
You know the saying "large fish in a small pond", yes? Scotland is a
small country, and most of the population live in the central belt, so
it's not a bad place to build a following. We are also a proud and
nationalistic race, and tend to get behind our own. We are also a race
easily tempted by foreigns climes, and so there are entrepreneurial
scots in exile all over the world who tend to be more scottish than
those left behind. But enough of the negatives ... i'm joking of
course! There are no negatives. In fact there's a potential worldwide
audience ... all wearing kilts!
you feel anxious before a show?
Sometimes, yes. Some venues have a tangible fear built into the very
masonry. I used to think having friends or relatives in the audience
made me nervous, but then 4 or 5 years ago friends and relatives made
up my entire audience, so I got over that particular fear. Now I'm most
nervous wearing the kilt.
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
Other than my dad, it was a friend from school, Ralph Hasselgren, who
got me into songwriting when we were in our 1st year at university.
He's a good guitarist, but better at artificial intelligence, and
therefore wealthy now. The busking band I mentioned? Well, the original
banjo player Eric (from the village of pommiers, near Soissons)
reminded me just how cool and versatile an accordion can be. My little
brother Iain has learned every acoustic stringed instrument this past
15 years, and this has kept me on my musical toes, whereas 10 or so
years ago my little brother Gordon (singer with "The Aliens") let me
hear his own home recordings, and that inspired me to create songs and
therefore records no matter the limitations of recording equipment.
There's a whole collective of musicians and songwriters associated with
Fence now, and it's their support this past decade that has most
influenced my attitudes towards music as a carreer. Kept me keeping on
too. I just re-read that and feel a bit nauseous.
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought ?
hmmm ... not really. It might've been a Kate Bush album called "Sensual
S: Do you think the emotion is
different between a song in English and in a different language?
probably not - it's hard to tell though ... I can understand a little
French, but that's it. In a lot of songs the original idea somehow gets
lost amidst trends and styles and the drive for it to become playlisted
on the radio - I bet that's true in all languages.
S: How could you define the
music of King Creosote?
wooden songs hidden beneath layers and layers of preservative
S: Do you agree with
Victor Hugo who said : "Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad" ?
S: When you write a song you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand ?
heart filtered thru brain hindered by hand.
S: What is your favorite song of
King Creosote and why?
this changes all the time, but something like "Missionary" or "Klutz" -
I'm very proud of the lyrics.
S: As musician, what's your
feeling about Internet?
weighing up all the pros and cons, and remembering how it used to be to
play in a band in the late 80s, I'd have to say "vile".
S: Can you describe what is a
typical King Creosote's day?
there are several - promotional days, touring days, recording days,
accounting and budgeting days. But right now, I'm gearing up for
another week in the recording studio and trying to write new songs, or
at least lyrics. This is my excuse for getting up late, building a coal
fire in the living room, reading historical fiction, playing zelda's
wind waker and walking or cycling when the wind direction allows - all
in the name of inspiration naturally.
S: What are your hobbies aside
I'm still looking ...
S: Are you venturesome person?
especially - most of my "deeds of derring do" are done when under the
S: Who is your "Favourite Girl" ?
my daughter Beth. She's 9 years old now, and calls herself "Kid
there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?
Wasps. Ex girlfriends. HM revenue and customs. Cities.
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music ?
standing on the singing sands on the island of eigg as the sun starts
to go down to the left of rhum. Red sun, blue sea, white sand.
our website is dedicated to Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say
some words about them?
I have the same electric guitar as James Dean Bradfield. Unfortunately,
I do not have his talent with it.
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden".
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
"Coast On By" by King Creosote and king biscuit time. The next one
might well be "Sensual World" by Kate Bush now that i've been reminded
S: Can you tell me the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
I'm a big fan of "Les Negresses Vertes" - I only have the album "Mlah
Mlah" on cassette, but I love it and it is all but worn out. I've tried
in vain to find this album on cd, but I refuse to use "the internet".
S: And say something in French?
en y va?
S: What are your plans for the
starting tomorrow I have 2 weeks in which to finish the next King
Creosote long player.
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
daughter Beth and her attempts to avoid my accordion lessons.
MANY thanks to King Creosote for the interview!
More informations about King Creosote:
- on his site:
- on his Myspace: