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The Man With No Shadow, Indeed

When the name Kav Sandhu is mentioned, two words immediately enter the mind, Happy Mondays. It is, however, with a great degree of reluctance that I even mention that. Anyone who knows the story of how the Leicester rocker helped reform the iconic band, and has since listened to his debut album The Man With No Shadow will think those words no more, now, there is only KAV. The aptly named album signals Sandhu has well and truly moved out of the Monday’s shadow, and is ready to take his place atop the indie rock podium. Our first taste of KAV’s unrelenting rock N’ roll was way back in 2008 with the EP Blaggers N’ Liars, and it’s safe to say; we have certainly not waited in vain.

Early comparisons to musical legends The Rolling Stones alongside more contemporary bands such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are not without merit, as KAV’s music possesses the same voracious power and raw guitar riffs as these

bands, to which any modern rocker would have difficulty distancing themselves. Perhaps in 2008 these would have been fair comparisons, when KAV was still in its infancy, however to do so now would be banal, not quite inaccurate, but rather incomplete. The Man With No Shadow is the thunderous jumpstart that has been long overdue in this stagnating indie scene.

The album wastes no time easing itself in, instead the boisterous opening track Dance in a Panic swiftly boots the listener on the rock N’ roll ride of the year. The Englishman’s guitar skills have never been in question, but the seemingly effortless talent heard in his vocals from the offset truly announces Kav Sandhu as a born frontman. As the album goes on, each track becomes more infectious than the last; and none would seem out of place blaring out of the Glastonbury’s pyramid stage. The album’s title track is simply massive; an excellent piece with some emphatic guitar that shows KAV is ready to take the trials of going solo head on.

One of the more emotive tracks of the album, and my personal favourite, is Soul Kid, in which we hear “I’ve been waiting on something to blow your mind”, well KAV, that wait is over.

The Man With No Shadow is available to buy now on iTunes and is set to become one of the must have albums of the year, and with rumours afloat of a possible UK tour in the near future, KAV is undoubtedly set for new heights.

I managed to catch up with KAV and get his thoughts on the upcoming album;

First of all congratulations on your first solo album, how does it feel taking centre stage?

Thanks man, appreciate it! Yeah it’s something I’ve done for a while so it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about. I’ve always been a singer/guitar player – ever since I was 14 and my singer didn’t show up to practice in one of my first bands. It does feel liberating to finally release the record & be happy with it. Just knowing I’ve been honest and true about everything I’ve put on the album, feels good.

You’ve been in LA for a while now; do you think living in America has had an effect on your music? How different is the music scene out there to what you were used to in the U.K?

The LA scene is pretty small. The most important thing for me is it’s a very DIY music scene. It’s not about signing record deals to major labels and the weird obsession that a band is only ‘something’ when it’s been signed to a major. The music industry has moved on, as it has done many times before- like in early the days of Sub Pop and Factory – & LA seems to have embraced that. There are so many great indie labels here, plus bands release their own records, tour & gig & there seems to be room for all types of music and scenes. They just function and do everything for themselves because they have access to all these amazing platforms. People set up their own labels and get on with it. Importantly there are lots of active music fans in this city who go out to see gigs – it’s something that’s just part of the culture of the city.

I feel at home and the city is good to me. They dig my kinda rock n’ roll generally. You have to be good Live, as the bar is set really high, which is great. You are always improving and testing yourself. You know when you play a night that all the bands you’re playing with will be pretty good!

The city also had a massive influence on some of the topics of my songs. The album process has been a bit of a journey so I’ve been influenced by so many experiences and sounds, old and new. Most of my songs are about personal experiences & I think as a writer you’re always influenced by your surroundings. I wrote a lot of tracks for this album here.

I also took over Kasabian’s old studio in Leicester to finish the record. It was great as it has a really great vibe. I actually needed to go home and live in my hometown for a few months & remember what it was like to play for the first time – not to care about anything except the music. That was probably one of the best times in the whole making of the album – going back to zero. I think I wrote some my best stuff there.

There’s no messing about with this album, it’s pure rock n’ roll, what was in your head when you were making it?

Pure madness! Ups and Downs, moments of clarity, moments that just didn’t make sense. It was a real day and night process. There were so many great moments and positive vibes & also dark moments. So I think the songs represent the constant struggle between both. I think most people go through these moments in their everyday lives & it was no different with making this album.

That’s why it took as long as it did. I couldn’t bullshit myself first of all, or I would have driven myself crazy. Every lyric had to mean something and every guitar note had to be played with heart n’ soul, passion & emotion I guess. Everything had to be played with feeling! And it was.

The buzz in the studio, especially the latter sessions was unreal. You were just bouncing of the walls the vibe was great! It was all about the music which was what I was searching for. When I finally found that vibe, it was a great feeling. The songs came quick, I just wrote them within anything between 15 mins to an hour. Then we recorded them. So the vibe was natural, fresh. The ideas, topics lyrics etc were are always in my head so it was just a matter of getting them out.

So Free Spirit is going to be the next single, when should we expect to start hearing over here?

I think it’s already getting played. Jim Gellately played it on his Amazing radio show today and it’s been picking up airplay up and down the UK.

I saw the trailer for Decoding Annie Parker, which features Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. What did you think when you heard that your track (Dance In A Panic) was playing over an, admittedly bizarre, scene with one of the biggest actors in TV right now?

Yeah it was funny man. I thought he looked cool as fk in that scene & his moves suited the track down to a tee.

Finally, who are your favourite bands at the moment? Any new discoveries that you’d recommend?

I like a band called Bonfire Beach who are touring with The Dandy Warhols at the moment. There seem to be a lot of cool female fronted bands coming out of the LA scene right now…. So many great bands out there, I’ll have to do you a playlist.

Download the 15 song album for £7.99 /$9.99 here

Review & Interview by Kyle Neary