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Kerosec : Alternative To The Alternative

By EA Poorman

Fort Wayne Reader

2015-08-06


Kerosec are on a mission. They're on a mission to keep 90s alternative rock alive and well in the Fort. Kerosec lead singer, guitarist, and namesake Tom Kerosec puts 110% in what he does. He croons like Matthew Bellamy, slithers like Maynard James Keenan, and bludgeons like Corey Taylor, and with a backing band that includes Les Lesser on guitar, Matt Ragatz on bass, and David "d." Deverell on drums, they let the music do the talking.
I recently sat down with Tom Kerosec and talked about the band and how he got started making music.

EAP: So tell me how Kerosec come about? Did it start with just you writing songs for yourself, then building a band around that?

Kerosec: I have been writing and recording music as simply Tom Kerosec for some 10 years. Most of the songs we play currently are songs I had written during that time but have been given their twist by the guys in the band. This line-up consisting of myself, Tom Kerosec(guitar/vocals), Les Lesser(guitar/backup vocals), Matt Ragatz(Bass), and David “d.” Deverell(Drums) came together in May 2014. Les and I had been friends from way back, as well as classmates in IPFW’s classical guitar and music tech programs. We ran into each other by chance and began jamming together. After a short time we put ads out for a drummer. We found David who knew Matt, and after our first few minutes of playing together we knew we had something. We decided to call the project Kerosec because I had already released some things under the name, making it easier to build our platform.

EAP: 90s alternative seems to be a big influence on the sound of Kerosec. Who are some of the bands that got you excited to play music initially, then eventually want to write and perform? Who informs the current musical style of Kerosec?

Kerosec: Nirvana was by far and away the first band that inspired me to write and perform. From there I have expanded my interest to many different forms of music from classical to jazz to classic rock. But that 90’s sound is home to me. I find myself most inspired by groups that came from that era like Nine Inch Nails and Muse. Les has an affinity for the 90’s punk revival, Matt is a 90’s metal-head and David most enjoys the late 80’s early 90’s underground scene. So it is safe to say we take much inspiration from that time.

EAP: Let's talk about the EP you recently released. With the songs, how complete were they prior to recording? Did the other guys help to mold the songs into what they ended up being? Or did they remain pretty much the same as when you initially wrote them?

Kerosec: The songs were mostly complete. 4 of the 6 on the EP are songs I had released previously, but the guys had made their mark on. They are essentially the same composition fundamentally, but the arrangement may have changed, or someone added a new riff or fill. In the future, the writing process promises to be more collaborative.

EAP: I checked out the Reverbnation page prior to sending the questions and I wanted to ask you about a couple of the blog posts. One stated you were taking the band in a more pop direction at one point. Then another stated a more electronic direction. Are either of these still options for the Kerosec sound?

Kerosec: Musical diversity is extremely important to me. When I went more “pop”, which was the 2012 3 song EP Onward & Upward (re-released on iTunes 2014), it was a change from the 6 to 7 minute somber songs I had been writing. I was going for something new, and all 3 songs are still in our set list. In late 2013, going “electronic”, I released Static on iTunes which was a 6 song EP that I did completely on my own. None of these songs have made it to the Kerosec set list yet, but I suspect one or two will when it is re-mastered and re-released (2016). For now it is still available to stream on the Tom Kerosec Soundcloud page. However, my 2014 iTunes released full-length Sonder the source of most of our current set list, contained electronic elements that we are beginning to incorporate into our live show.

EAP: How often does Kerosec play out live? What's a Kerosec show like?

Kerosec: We have been consistently playing somewhere an average of once a month. Our live show is our main focus. We rehearse 3 days a week, and when we are not doing that we are practicing fundamentals on our own time. Musicianship is important, not only for obvious reasons, but also so we can focus on our showmanship. We love to bring the energy. But, if you catch us on the right day we may have an acoustic with us and bring it down a bit. Live shows are what we live for and we love to keep people guessing and excited.

EAP: What's your opinion of the Fort Wayne music scene? Are you guys close with any other bands? Is there a camaraderie among the groups?

Kerosec: There is absolutely a camaraderie in the Fort Wayne scene! Admittedly, it took a bit of elbow grease to get on the radar, but since this group came together we have been shown an abundance of love from other groups. Controller got us our first show in July of 2014 and we have continued to play shows with them ever since. Plumdingo invited us to a few of the open jam’s they hosted at The A & O Sweetshop, and have been a big help behind the scenes. We’ve also made good friends with The Kickbacks who we’ve played several shows with now as well. It is a wonderful and vibrant scene.

EAP: What's in store for Kerosec for the rest of the year? A new full-length?

Kerosec: The rest of this year will see a slow-down in live shows as we go into the studio to record our first full-length. In the mean-time we will also be shooting music videos and putting together a video series that contains behind the scenes footage and our silly creative musings called T.K.T.V. Otherwise we will be planning the framework for 2016.

Keep up with everything Kerosec on their facebook page. They’ll be at Rock the Plaza on August 29th and at September we have the 26th at O’Sullivan’s with Controller on September 26. Go see them, and snag their E.P. as well.

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