“Beats that threaten to entrance your soul, riffs that will rake you from the flames of hell to the rapture of heaven.” This is Villains of Vaudeville. Come take a ride inside the mind of the ring leader of Villains Of Vaudeville, Kenny Kweens. It's an appropriate way to celebrate the coming of Halloween with the highly anticipated new single and music video called “The Devil Is Waiting” to be released Tuesday, October 30th "Devil's Night".
Kenny talked to Viva Glam about séances, sacrifices and the voices in his head.
What are some of the things that inspire your music?
Inspirations come from everywhere. It could be something you have experienced personally or a situation you may have been in or a relationship or a story that was told to you or a book you have read or maybe a movie you've seen or even a piece of art. I'm from the dirty south and we like things with a little flair and edge. The city of New Orleans and the culture is deeply rooted inside of me, so that has always inspired me, I love it there and I think it can be seen and heard in Villains Of Vaudeville.
Describe your creative process.
It all starts with a seance and a sacrifice of course. Once we all gather our hands together and the dead spirits start to rise into our souls, the creativity starts to flow out like cheap syrup on hot cakes. Just kidding. There really isn't a formula. If you ask anyone, they may say the same thing. An idea may come from a lyric or the title of the song, because I really think it's important to have interesting titles for songs, so sometimes things are built around that or sometimes it can start with a guitar riff or a beat and you go that route. However it comes, it comes. I tend to write in a very abstract way. Words can be powerful and I like to try to be very visual and colorful with my lyrics, but not so apparent. Some of the songs on the new Villains Of Vaudeville record will have a double meaning weaving in and out through-out. I want the listener to either have to dig a little deeper to see the meaning, rather than it being on the surface. A lot of my favorite artists or writers do the same thing. I personally like to think and I also appreciate someone who has put a lot of thought into something. When things are too story-lined or spelled out, it's too easy. Sometimes the best part of an illusion is the confusion.
How do you stay creative and deal with writer’s block?
I love to be creative in any way, not just with music. I like all kinds of art. I've always been that way. I can't help it. I love getting my hands dirty and taking on projects even if I fail miserably and make a god awful mess, it's still fun to try. I also appreciate others that are too. It's very interesting to me to watch or learn how or even why someone does something a certain way and their creativity can sometimes inspire me as well. As far as writer's block, I'm sure everyone has writer's block at some point. I will sometimes step away from whatever it is I'm working on for a while and maybe read something on the subject or being a very visual person like I said before, sometimes I will look at photos or artwork or whatever and that can spark something too, but staying actively creative and working in a creative environment helps the mind. On Villains Of Vaudeville I have a great producer/mentor/musician/songwriter partner/friend that I work with name Tracy Swider. He pushed me to start this project, so this is all his fault by the way, so blame him. We usually bounce ideas back and forth off of each other and that usually gets the rock rolling.
How different is it from the music you have done before?
Well, I guess it's heavier. It has some synth stuff throughout and of course I'm singing on it, but some of the same elements are there. I think there may be more of a method to the madness or a thread to it all through-out and what I mean by that is that it's more theatrical, not only with the physical imagery, but with the music and lyrics as well and they both go hand in hand.
What are some of the challenges of starting a project like this?
There has been a lot of stress along the way and a lot of challenges. There is the challenge of making a lot of decisions. The trick to making a lot of decisions is to make the right ones. Easier said than done, but you have to trust your gut and go with it. Not only am I involved with the music, writing, mixing etc., but I have to over see the photos, the videos, the artwork, the website and all that goes with and into all of that. I'm use to having record companies and management help, but in today's world of music, it is very D.I.Y. (meaning Do It Yourself). The good thing is I have a lot good friends that are so talented and have help me along the way, they know who they are and I'd like to take this time to thank them. "I get by with a little help from my friends."
Villains of Vaudeville are the voices in your head. Where are these voices coming from?
That would be a better question asked to my therapist. I think we all have thoughts or "voices" in our heads guiding us to do what we do good, bad or otherwise. Your inner voice comes from within of course. It's all about being who you really are deep down inside. So those "voices" or thoughts have made me who I am and helped create the Villains Of Vaudeville. On the Villains CD there will be an intro that kinda plays on that idea. If you listen carefully you will be able to hear, "the devil made me do it..." I've always loved that saying.
Do you think your fans will accept the change and embrace your new endeavor?
You always want people to enjoy what you do as much as you enjoy doing it. And I've always said without the fans you are nothing and both those statements are true and I still believe that. With Villains Of Vaudeville I created this for me first. I wanted to do something I thought would be a great creative outlet and cool to do. So I don't know who will accept or embrace it and not to sound wrong, but I don't care. At the end of the day I really only have to answer to me, so if I dig it, that's all that really matters. I'm doing this because I want to, not because I have to or need to, and I know that could be read wrong and probably will, but it's not meant to be. I can't and have never really worried about what other people think. If you do, you can lose who you are. I walk, talk, eat, drink, wear and like what I want to, because that's who I am. As far as the Villains go, all I can do is run it up the flag pole and see who salutes it. With that being said, salute!
What kind of exciting things can your fans expect to see from The Villains Of Vaudeville in the future?
Our first single and video "The Devil Is Waiting" will be released on "Devil's Night" Tuesday October 30th, 2012. The video was directed, filmed and edited by the dark and brillant mind of Disspain. The most exciting news is that Villains Of Vaudeville will release the full length CD in early 2013 (No release date was available at this time) and they can expect that CD to be one of the very best of 2013. I am really proud of it. Along with the release there will be another video and single, with more to follow. Also, look for new VOV merchandise and tour dates and all that jive. I also want to take this time to tell everyone to go to our facebook page and give us a like. Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to THEVOVTV on YouTube.
What are your biggest passions, challenges, and hopes in life?
Life has become my biggest passion. We are only here for a short time, so live it up the best you can. With life come challenges and we all have them everyday, I'm no different than anyone else, but my biggest challenge would be myself. I'm a perfectionist, so I drive myself crazy. I challenge myself everyday at everything I do and my hope is to never lose hope.
(All the photos courtesy of Kenny Kweens)