We’re hopeless romantics trying our best not to fall down a hole

By Beverley Knight

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We know it’s only rock and roll, but The Kabins like it. Why is the genre of music still so popular to this day? The five-piece band from Devon is here to tell you. Felix Randall, drums, is up first, stating rock and roll has a genuine attitude. “It reinvents itself and has meaning, but you can dance to it, and it’s fun.” Alex Turner, rhythm guitarist, adds, “It has an excitement that draws people in.”

Rock music can be a taboo topic when it’s not fashionable. Elliott Plance, lead guitar, thinks it sticks around as artists put real thought into writing songs and playing instruments. “That’s why rock will overtake the charts and always demolish boring pop music,” he says. Todd Gilronan, lead vocals, predicts a resurgence soon. “Rock will always speak to us in a different way than processed pop.”

Back in the beginning, Todd and Elliott jammed at university during the pandemic, and a tight bond brought the vision they had to make something of it. After recruiting bass guitarist Freddie Clarke and Felix, the first lineup of The Kabins was ready. However, they didn’t feel complete until Alex came on board. Freddie says, “There’s so much manufactured music dominating the mainstream charts. It’s one of the main reasons to start a band.” There was a desire to make authentic music that connects with listeners.”

Their sound takes little pieces from all their musical interests. Whether rock, punk, jazz or shoegaze, The Kabins feed off sharing grooves. Todd says, “There’s all sorts of influences going on. I’d like to think it permeates into our music.” At times, the diversity brings challenges. Felix says, “We all have very different tastes, and sometimes fitting them together is challenging. Ultimately, it’s worth it.” They emulate their favourite artists but have no obvious traces of them in what they make. “It gives our music a unique edge that rock fans are both missing and searching for,” says Elliot.

Growing up in the same part of Devon was foreign to places like Manchester or Liverpool. Big city artists often encapsulate their local music scenes. In little villages and towns, you have to search that little bit harder for inspiration. Felix says, “Devon is interesting as I feel like we had a sense of freedom in our upbringing, more than other parts of the UK. Freddie adds, “Where you grow up does shape you to an extent, but people our age face similar issues and pressures, no matter where they live.”

Although they’re fiercely proud of it, the band’s location has been a bit of a struggle so far. It’s costly to travel to cities like Birmingham and London. Nothing will stop them though, as they always find a way. Alex says, “Another battle so far has been building our foundations in the live music scene. Being DIY means dealing with it all while trying to get recognition in a noisy industry. Luckily, we’ve met other like-minded young bands. We’re all helping each other out.”

The Kabins’ songs speak to anyone struggling to find their way. “We’re hopeless romantics trying our best not to fall down a hole or inevitably embarrass ourselves,” says Elliot. Their music is for those who want to make something of themselves, other dreamers. Todd says, “We have songs about anger, frustration and wild nights out, and some songs are more emotional. Take your pick.”

Who Am I To Dream? is a song about wanting to achieve or get something back that you once had. It starts as a tale of lost love, but the overriding meaning applies to anything. “It’s about trusting in the bad and good times on your journey and the fact that we’re all entitled to a dream every once in a while,” says Todd. Alex shares the lyrics, Look at me, who am I to dream? “We strive to be the best we can, persevere and give music our all. But who are we to think that? So, we might as well do it anyway.”

It’s the best feeling when the band feels the love from anyone who likes their music, especially friends and family. A milestone was the crowd belting out their tune Warm Up back to them at the Devon Music Awards. “It gives us purpose and motivation to reach as many music fans as possible who get us,” says Alex.

Todd is also grateful when he hears people singing their lyrics at the top of their lungs. “We’ve been lucky to play festivals with big names. However, there’s a feeling you can’t quite describe when your audience sings your songs and truly enjoy themselves.” It’s such a high when the five see it working out in front of their eyes. Elliot adds, “Todd was nearly crying when we were backstage with the Lightening Seeds at a festival last summer. That was a huge and surreal moment.”

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Cover photo by Mc Digitography