KAV (Kav Blaggers/Kav Sandhu) is a musician who hails from Leicester. Starting off his career as the resident DJ at The Charlotte in his home-town, KAV met and toured with industry greats such as Mani from Primal Scream from an early age, with his band A.K.A Weave. At 21, he was signed by Guigsy ex-Oasis bass player who took the group to record at the legendary Rockfield Studios.  In 2004, KAV split his band up then moved to London where he founded ‘Getloaded’ club nights. The night saw DJ Sets from; Tony Wilson, Howard Marks , Clint Boon , Peter Hook, Annie Mac ,Steve Lamacq , Carl Barat , Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, & The Beta Band with Shaun Keaveney (BBC 6 Music/ XFM) and Shaun Ryder as resident DJ’s. It sparked the resurgence of nights in London with band and celebrity guest DJ’s.

From the success of GETLOADED, KAV went on to start ‘Getloaded In The Park’ with London Superclub Turnmills MD Danny Newman. For the inaugural event in 2004 KAV helped reform Happy Mondays with Shaun Ryder. The band served as the headliners for the festival and Kav joined the Mondays on guitar he also assisted in recruiting new group members alongside founders Shaun, Bez & Gaz Whelan. KAV then began to record and co-write the latest Mondays album ‘Unkle Dysfunktional’ which also features Ry Cooder and LA rapper Mickey Avalon. He also co-wrote the title track for the film GOAL! Playground Superstar released on Oasis‘s Big Brother Recordings. KAV toured the World with the Mondays for nearly 4 years playing festivals such as: V-Fest , Fuji Rock and Coachella. He shared line-ups with artists such as Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses, The Strokes and The Raconteurs. KAV parted-ways with Happy Mondays after V-fest in 2007 to pursue his solo project. That same summer, he guested on guitar with Norway’s DATAROCK at Reading, Leeds festivals and various live shows.

KAV launched his self-titled project in April 2008 and his debut release was met with much critical acclaim. In the past 18 months, KAV has based himself  between London/Los Angeles and has been working on his album with Eastern Conference Champions front man Josh Ostrander and long-term child hood friend Jim Portas.
In November 2010, KAV released his Debut US & Canadian Material – in the form of ‘The Mr Nice EP’. The EP featured namesake Welsh author Howard Marks AKA ‘Mr. Nice’ who Kav describes as one of his great friends. Howard Marks described the track as ‘The best tribute that has been made to me’. As of late Kav has been back in the studio recording new material as well just launched his own Record label Electric Dirt Junkie Records. FAULT caught up with Kav this week to ask what we can expect from his band and new label in 2011.

FAULT: KAV it’s been another non-stop year for you. How did you find the time between all your various projects to write new material?

 It’s something I love to do, I love to express myself creatively & have done ever since I can remember, not to sound all out there or anything! If you enjoy something so much, you can always find time somehow. Sometimes I will write a song in 10 minutes, the full verse and choruses etc, because it just comes to me in a flash. So no matter how busy I am I have time for a good few 10 minute flashes in my day.
I have had a lot more time so far this year this year because we’ve purposely not gone crazy with the tours and gigs from the start of January. We’ve allowed a little time to breathe, & develop the behind the scenes stuff that goes into a band. This has allowed me a little time to write and experiment without having a gig the next day. I usually just need a guitar, but If I don’t have that, I write in my head/ rant into my dictaphone or computer – ideas, chords & lyrics. Sometimes I’ll wake up at 4am, jump out of bed and I’ll grab the nearest guitar and record the song.

FAULT: What has been the source of inspiration for your latest work?

It’s the same as always I guess. I’m an observer in all meanings & contexts of the word. I feel strongly and passionately about a lot of things and express my self in my music. I’m a fan of the story, as well as the idea of trying to create pictures for the mind. There is no real planning, but that’s how it works out. I love to create characters based on real people. I also like to use my imagination a lot. I write about experiences, situations & even hidden politics at times. Really just my take on the World.

FAULT: Has your approach to song writing changed over time?

It’s developed for sure and it changes in different situations. When I was writing with The Mondays it was very different than writing for myself. I have changed things and learnt so much over the last few years. But recently I have gone back to where I started when I was 15.  Just let it out &  don’t think about it.   It comes from the inside, that little creative part of you that goes a lot deeper than on the outside.  That little voice, your instinct. Everyone has it but not a lot of people use it. I use it with my writing and truly feel alive if I’m getting everything out of myself. That way I always mean what I’m doing! I very quickly fall out of love with songs I have written in a more conventional or planned way, because I feel like I faked it. I feel a weird vibe inside, like something isn’t right.

FAULT: Where have you been recording your new material?

Recently I’ve retreated back to where it all started in my hometown of Leicester. I like to spend the start of every year back in Leicester planning and getting everything ready for the year ahead. There I’m not distracted by the bright lights of the big city. I get perspective & a serious dose of reality being back. I have a recording set up at home, so I record all my songs there as demos. I also get the dictaphone out for moments of quick inspiration. I’m due in the studio with Josh Ostrander (Eastern Conference Champions) anytime soon back in LA.
FAULT: Your latest song is a collaboration with London-based band Marner Brown. How did that come about?

Ok well the song we recorded has a funny history. It’s now called Sonic Soul Lovin, but it started off as a kind of Breaks/ Hip Hop / Rock track called ‘Sit Back’ in one of my early bands A.K.A WEAVE. The band split up so it didn’t really see the light of day. Shaun Ryder use to tour with us before I joined the Mondays and he loved it! So when I was in The Mondays and we were recording the new album he wanted to record it for the Mondays record, it was around the time we did the track ‘Playground Superstar’ for the GOAL Soundtrack.  It never happened in the end because we had a new producer come in, Sunny Levine at the end of the recording and his vision of the sound was a little different, plus we had so many other songs we had done with him and Gaz Whelan. So I swept it under the carpet.

Then we started playing it with our side project Sonic Audio, which we split up due to Mondays commitments. After I’d launched my solo project ‘KAV’ Jim my drummer started going on at me about playing it as part of this band, so we did. We were playing with The Marner boys a lot at the time, they would just jump up on stage with us and play it live. The song had really developed but in a weird way it had stepped back in time and found it’s home in pure rock n’ roll. Every time we played it, It would go off! I remember it really kicking off at ‘This Feeling’ in London once and that was just an acoustic version. Anyway we invited the Marner boys Fiachara, Aaron and Wildgoose into the Fortress Studios in London with us to record a live version and luckily we captured the energy. It was amazing. Both bands were practically living in the Fortress at the time, so it was completely natural & a great vibe. We were also lucky Martin Pickering was there to capture it. The track was recorded nearly two years ago but it’s taken some time to release.
After The Blaggers N’ Liars EP we disappeared from the releasing scene a bit. We were gigging all the time and we had recorded 30 songs, but from a releasing point of view we were off the radar. This was just because we were stuck in the mentality that we could only release if we could follow a process & pay for big companies to work on the marketing and radio, costing thousands of pounds, which we were struggling to afford.
Then a few months ago, I just finally came to my senses and realized,who cares about this process. I’ve got rid of all the blocks and stopped listening to the advice of people who say you have to follow a rule book. This isn’t why I do it & that is the exact opposite of what music should be. I want to record my songs and release them and play gigs and get my music to my fans.
When I got out to the States it was as if I took this big breath of air. All the bands were so much more independent, especially in LA.  My personal experience was the was the scene seemed much smaller. Everyone constantly released material independently because they wanted to and they didn’t really follow a strict pattern. This independent music scene inspired me once again and cleared the way for what I’m doing today.  It’s funny because the outside World probably wouldn’t have that vision of LA. They just see the glamorous/ corporate side. Yeah it’s corporate, and you do have all the big companies there, but the independent scene is incredible and it has it’s own power. I loved the way some of my friends in LA went about putting out their music and ‘not being part of the machine’ as they put it.

FAULT: You recently started up your own record label, what made you decide to get into that side of the business?

Well the funny thing is I’ve always been involved in projects like this from the get go. Whatever it takes to get my music out there, I stick with the same beliefs I always have.
I always remember what Tony Wilson said to me (late Tony Wilson legendary Factory records boss who wrote the film 24 hr Party People & discovered Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays ) after we did the first ‘Getloaded In The Park’ festival. It was a huge amount of work, 30+ bands on 3 stages and everything else that went with it & it was also my first gig with the Mondays. I’d just walked off stage & Tony was the first person who came up to me.  He put his hand on my shoulder and he said “Kav, I know you put on all this just to show everyone what a good musician you are” & he smiled with approval. That meant the world to me. Don’t take that the wrong way I’m not bigging myself up here, but that’s what he said to me and it never leaves me. He was one of the only people to truly understand why I do everything I do, and to understand the underlying mission behind it all. My belief has always been, why leave it to everyone else, when you can get involved, get your hands dirty, take it on, give it a go & make it happen!
At the age of 16, I started my first label with a grant from the Arts Council of England and released an album, got my band on tour up and down the country distributed our CDs’s to every indie store in the UK by travelling on trains from the North of Scotland to Cornwall. But it worked! The band toured, and this then set the foundations for everything I believed in. Understanding that constant hard work is what is needed & if you a get a tiny bit of luck along the way it’s a bonus.
So that’s why I’ve found my true self again and enjoy pretty much every process of being in music and doing something I love. This now gives me a great platform to try on some different hats like before and release all my different musical projects without any red tape.  Some people think I’m just a musician who plays and loves a party. That’s not the truth and never has been. Don’t get me wrong, the party is great but it’s way down the list. I love what I do & the music. So making the music happen and getting it out there is always the priority.

FAULT: Do you have plans to sign any specific artists at this point?

I have plans yes but it’s not going to happen yet, I’m just getting the people who can run the label sorted, the people I can truly believe in. We will then see how it goes with my album etc. and then, yeah! we have some interesting stuff we really want to work on. There are bands that mirror our belief of pure hard work and determination with good focus and an amazing sound.

FAULT: What can fans expect from KAV in 2011?

 Just getting the engine warmed up! We have another two new singles on the way! We’ve also donated one of our tracks to The ‘Save The Torriano’ album (the Torriano is our favorite pub in London) which features Pete Doherty and Peter Wolf amongst many others. We will follow this up with ‘The Shake It Like You Hate It EP’. The album will be out after the summer. We will probably also get be getting another EP and few more singles out as well now we are in this mind-set.
We’re also planning the launch of our new LA night where we will be playing as the resident band, this is planned for the next few months. Once we’re back in the US we’ll be concentrating on playing some gigs on the West Coast of the US, surrounding a lot of recording & working on some film stuff. We also have some UK and European dates pencilled in, so we will probably do a few before the summer and then a big tour before December. We will mainly be touring the US and Canada from late August towards the end of the year, to keep on spreading the word!
FAULT: Who would you like to work with on future projects?
Keith Richards, and Izzy Stradlin & Ronnie Wood would be cool! I sent Izzy the stuff & told me ‘this shit is hot Kav’! That was the best email I ever got. Jesse Rogg, that guy is a magician! He mixed the Mr Nice track we did with Howard Marks. Also just keep working with everyone I’m working with now.

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Nothing, but I bet you’ve heard that before.
Photo Credit – Amy Brammall