KIERAN ROBERTSON: SCOTLAND'S NEXT SHOOTING STAR INTERVIEWED
The name Kieran Robertson may not be immediately recognizable to you yet, but this young "rock star in the making" already has a large fan base across Europe as well as in his native Scotland. While most people his age are playing computer games, trying to find a job, spending the day studying or just dreaming about what they want to do in life, Kieran is already working towards his goal of a career as a world class musician.
Kieran is the next shooting star from Scotland and has already amassed a great wealth of experience through recording and live performances including appearances on stage at Glasgow's famous Cathouse nightclub and live dates throughout Germany. He's already drawing a lot of attention, especially with the press in Scotland and Germany. With his debut album all ready to go, Kieran took time out of his busy schedule to speak exclusively to MetalTalk.
CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK SUMMATION OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
"I started off playing music really young, when every other kid wanted to be a superhero or spaceman, I wanted to be Paul Stanley! I guess I was the weird kid. To me it was just normal though, since my Mum and Dad and all their friends where into classic rock and I guess I just thought they were all cooler than my "friends" at the time. I then just started forming bands and found a really cool company called Loud n' Proud (a youth charity in Scotland that is at the forefront of the development of young musicians), who put kids like me into bands and got them playing shows. This really helped move me forward and got me to play some amazing venues in Glasgow and London.
"Then I started to try to form heavier more "out there" bands, with the makeup, but it was really hard to find people who were into that, and telling guys they have to wear makeup isn't exactly the easiest thing (laughs)! I did finally find a good bunch of guys who helped me to get picked up by my management company, and some of those guys are still in my band today."
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YOUR MUM AND DAD HAVE BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE OF YOU, HAVEN'T THEY?
"Yeah, my Mum and Dad have been great. They have always encouraged me to dress the way I want and not care what anyone else thinks. They have been really cool with everything, from the tattoos to the nail polish. Sometimes I feel bad, because there are things that a mother doesn't exactly want to see her son doing but she is pretty cool in understanding that it is just for the art or the image."
IS IT TRUE THAT YOU STARTED PLAYING GUITAR AGED SIX YEARS OLD?
"Well, that's when I got my first classical one, yes. I've been jamming on my dads old Yamaha for as long as I can remember but when I got my first electric guitar I was hooked. I had an old Yamaha electric guitar with a tiny Marshall practice amp that I would take great pride in ignoring the neighbours with!"
WHAT ARE YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
"I know this is the answer that everyone gives, but I really do like a mix or everything. In terms of what I tend to write personally, my music comes out of artists like Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Mötley Crüe and Gary Numan. I also love acoustic stuff like Leonard Cohen and Bill Blood and then there's more Gothic orientated acts like Sisters Of Mercy and Type O Negative, but one of my favourite bands of all time is (US Alternative rock band) Red House Painters. I don't really like happy music, I guess that just comes with the whole Goth thing (laughs)!"
YOU'VE JUST COMPLETED WORK ON YOUR DEBUT SOLO ALBUM – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?
"I feel great about it! I'm really proud of it because I really worked my ass off and put everything I had into it. Some of the songs are a few years old so it was awesome to finally get them recorded and listen to the finished thing. It's great to compare the final version of the songs to the original demos and see how far they've come on. I love recording as well so the process was really good, and recording it over in Berlin really let me get away from all my distractions and really focus on the music."
ARE THE SONGS WRITTEN SOLEY BY YOURSELF OR DO YOU HAVE A WRITING PARTNER?
"All the songs are written by me. I write the guitar, bass, vocals, synth and try my best to program the drums. If the session musicians I work with change their parts slightly, I tend not to mind if it sounds better, but at the end of the day I get final say. I am still trying to fully understand the drums, so any help I get in that department is greatly appreciated. More recently I've been really enjoying experimenting with some synths and other weird electronic sounds."
WHAT ARE YOUR LYRICAL THEMES/INSPIRATIONS?
"I have the absolute worst luck in the in world when it comes to the opposite sex. It's like an ongoing joke amongst my friends, the band and anyone who knows me! I'll meet a girl and be like 'guys, I swear this one isn't crazy, she seems really sweet and cute and...', then soon after we find out she is Norman Bates, so I'm never really stuck for stories of things to write about. I guess I'm just attracted to crazy girls. I had a lot of trouble when I was younger and having to deal with being different and not really having any friends has always had an effect on me and given me lots to write about. I love movies as well, so I really take inspiration from anything."
DID YOU WANT TO BE A SOLO ARTIST OR ARE YOU LOOKING TO BE PART OF A BAND?
"I never thought being a solo artist was even an idea! I still don't really think of myself as a solo artist. It's more like Marilyn Manson in the way that although it's my name, I always have a band behind me. To be honest I don't know what I'd do without my boys. The good thing about all my band is that we're all very much into the rock n' roll lifestyle and all get into far too much trouble together (laughs)!"
YOU HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL MANAGER – HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT AS OPPOSED TO A UK BASED MANAGEMENT TEAM?
"My management team at Mordhorst Music are amazing. It's really great as I've gotten to know lots of people and I've also made lots of connections in the UK through the guys in (Glasgow based) Shock City Productions who help me out in this neck of the woods. My management team in Germany really help push me out there (in Europe) and in the US, as I don't have many connections out there. They've done so many amazing things for me and really brought me on as an artist. It's really hard for me to switch off sometimes though and my manager is constantly telling me to relax and take it easy (laughs). I'm so used to doing absolutely everything that taking a step back and letting other people take over is really difficult for me – but I'm learning!"
HAVE YOU GOT A TOUR LINED UP YET?
"We have played over In Berlin and Glasgow so far, and have some really exciting stuff planned that I cannot discuss yet. But I can announce that I am playing the Bring Back Rock Radio Bash at The Garage in Glasgow which is being headlined by Gun. My band and I are also playing our own headline show at Glasgow's Cathouse nightclub in December with very special guests, local up and coming rockers, Stoneface, who I know have featured in MetalTalk already."
DO YOU HAVE ANY PRE-GIG RITUALS BEFORE GOING ON STAGE?
"I am a very strong believer in getting pumped up and excited before the show. My vocal coach tends to do some warm ups with me about two hours before the show, and then I like about an hour myself to get into the zone, get dressed, do my makeup and listen to music and try to get into the mindset. It is a lot harder for me to switch off the rock star mode than it is to switch it on (laughs)."
ARE THERE ANY CITIES/VENUES YOU PARTICULARLY WANT TO PLAY?
"The world, man! I would love to play Los Angeles, I spent some time over there in summer and just completely fell in love with the place. I saw John Corrabi perform the self-titled album he did with Mötley Crüe in its entirety at The Whiskey and was mega fanboyed! I've actually hung out with John a few times since then, all the Dead Daisies guys are awesome. I also spent some time when in LA at Gary Numan's home – him and his wife Gemma are some of the nicest people I have ever met and have had the pleasure of knowing."
HOW DO YOU THINK SOCIAL MEDIA HAS HELPED YOUR PROFILE?
"More than I would even like to think about! (laughs). If it wasn't for Facebook and YouTube, I wouldn't have been able to do half of the stuff I've already done. Plus, where else would I post all my topless photos!"
REALISTICALLY, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE MUSICALLY?
"I want to be the biggest band in the world."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TELEVISION TALENT SHOWS?
"As much as I understand the need for them, in the car crash TV sense. I still struggle to understand how music, art and talent can be judged – what I find beautiful, you might be repulsed by. I remember getting thrown out of music class for arguing with the teacher about this. We were told to bring in out favourite songs, so all of his best pupils brought it classical masterpieces, apart from a boy who brought in and played ‘Cowboys From Hell' by Pantera. The teacher was laughing and saying how it wasn't music and he didn't like my comment about how the fact that the band had millions of fans worldwide and he has spent his entire life in a school. Art cannot be judged, merely interpreted."
WHAT SONGS DO YOU WISH YOU'D WRITTEN?
"Oh that's easy, it'd have to be 'Happy Birthday' (laughs), I would be mega rich (with all the royalty cheques)!"
IF IT HAD ALL NEVER HAPPENED – WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING NOW?
"Probably hunting down people from my school who told me I would never amount to anything and building my very own Saw traps for them! Seriously, though, I don't know what I'd be doing. I guess I would still be trying to do what I'm doing now. There is no other option for me."
SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
Total World Domination! (laughs)
You see the official video for the track ‘Secret Lover' here:
You can see Kieran Robertson live here:
Friday 9th September – The Garage, Glasgow (supporting Gun)
Friday 9th December – The Cathouse, Glasgow (Headline Show)
Kieran's debut album, provisionally titled 'Secrets Of Succubi', is scheduled to be released later in 2016.
With thanks to Kieran Robertson for his time, his manager Holger Mordhorst (of Mordhorst Music, Band Management & Production) as well as Kieran's parents, Gordon and Helen Robertson.