Exclusive: Kees Backstage
  Cori Baynes
October 2014

For all you Kes the Band fans, you can look out for a new and improved sound for Carnival 2015 as the band celebrates its 10 year anniversary. 

Paradise Pulse recently caught up with Kes the Band lead vocalist, Kees Dieffenthaller at the Eat Drink and Jazz All Inclusive event held on October 05 at the San Fernando Hill, where he divulged some of the band's upcoming plans. 

"2015 is really about promoting the family that is Kes the Band and promoting band life. We are one of the few bands in the Caribbean that is a band of brothers and we want to celebrate that," he explained. 

"Expect big things. Expect amazing music and newer heights. Carnival is one thing but the full year for us normally a different situation. A lot will come to fruition for 2015."

"We are working on new music, new material, new levels. Something outside the norm and higher heights all the time every time."

"We always try to improve our sound and our music and bring it closer to where we see it."

In an exclusive sit down interview immediately after his performance onstage, Kees, who gave Paradise Pulse a sneak peak of his 2015 tune 'Million', said he came to the realization that the time had come for himself and other artistes to build the music industry as a whole.

Kees gives Paradise Pulse an exclusive sneak peak of one of his 2015 songs

"I want to see improvements in the industry so a lot of our concentrations next year and this year are on working with younger people and making sure certain standards are met even if it is just by leading by example."

"We are concentrating on making the industry something that is sustainable, something that is world standard. I think Trinidad is becoming a hub for music right now and the attention is here but I don't think the general knowledge of how the business is run outside is here yet."

"It needs to reach on a grassroots level just as in Jamaica and just as everywhere else that has been dealing with music on a world level. We need to step into those shoes a bit more."

According to Kees, Carnival is really an amazing time for all soca artistes because it is one of the best times for them to make their statements, leave their marks and carve their names on the entertainment and musical landscape.

"It's an interesting time for soca. The sound of Carnival is going to change and evolve so expect that from Kes the Band as well."

Performance after performance, Kees displays an energy onstage that is paralleled by few and yet he still remains humble and always makes time for his adoring fans. 

So how does he do it? How does the dreadlocked soca heartthrob prepare for the stage lights?

"Sometimes I just let it happen but as Carnival is coming up and it's very intense, I try to get in shape, I try to get my mind in shape as well too." he explained with a laugh.

Kees performs before his fans at the recent 'Eat Drink and Jazz' All Inclusive event

"I try to have my quiet time before stage. People are surprised at how quiet I am off stage because it's a level of focus and focusing your energy as well." 

"On that stage it's a lot. You're really giving out your heart and you're giving out your soul. I really love my fans so I really want to give them everything. I take that pretty seriously and relax and take my time and meditate a little bit."

Whilst kudos can be given to Kees and others like him who give of themselves for the satisfaction of the fans, the sad reality is that the music industry can sometimes be a cutthroat, "dog eat dog" environment where every man is for himself. 

Speaking candidly on the topic, Kees lamented, "What is lacking in the music industry is an industry. We need an industry and what an industry is is really a unified effort and a unified front and people use the words 'love' and 'unity' quite loosely."

"I think that we need serious love and unity right now. The older generations have done a lot but where it lacked, it lacked in unity and I am urging the younger ones coming up to change what has not been done." 

"The only thing that's lacking is not talent, it's not even technology because we have access to everything in and around the world. It is actually right now just dependent on how well we work with each other and that needs to happen on a bigger level."

"We look at other industries, Reggae and Dancehall come together and do their thing. We as Soca people need to come together and do our thing so that anywhere we go around the world we're unified and sounding good and are one movement," he ended. 

And as if to give testament to that statement, a mere four hours after the interview, Kees boarded a plane to St Marten and then to Miami to continue repping T&T and flying the red, white and black for the world to see. 

© Paradise Pulse - Online Magazine Trinidad and Tobago

By: Cori Baynes | FEATURES | October 2014

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