Keston Cobblers finding their feet and their sound
PUBLISHED: 10:03 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:03 25 January 2013
Using the pennies left to him by his late father, a struggling cobbler bought himself a fiddle and inadvertently started a folk legend - Keston Cobblers' Club.
His business struggled but he would play music to cheer himself up and, as time passed, villagers would come from all around to hear his tunes.
The cobbler is long gone but, more than two centuries later, his memory is continued in name by a group of twenty-somethings looking for their banjos, tubas and accordions to be heard across the airwaves.
A band founded by siblings Julia, 28, and Matthew Lowe, 24, Keston Cobblers’ Club’s origins are firmly rooted in Bromley and their sound is one that was influenced over years but developed almost overnight.
“When we got together about four years ago it was more indie rock,” says Matthew. “We’ve since turned more to ukuleles and accordions, it’s been a progression.
“We used to try to stay away from the stuff our mum and dad listened to, but we’ve ended up switching to that and it happened in just a couple of weeks.”
The sounds of Simon and Garfunkel filled their childhood home and are today combined with recent acts including Bon Iver and Beirut in creating the Cobblers’ sound.
Having released their first album, One, for Words, last summer the group have received praise from high-profile DJs including Bob Harris and Steve Lamacq, who invited the band to Maida Vale for a BBC Introducing session.
“It’s so nice to have a music legend championing us,” said Julia. “Maida Vale was amazing, we actually played in the same room as Nirvana.
“The session felt great because we record so much at home, so to get into a studio like that set up by Steve Lamacq, it was just brilliant.”
Having attended Keston Primary School with fellow band member Tom Sweet, Julia and Matthew met drummer Harry Stasinopoulos at Ravens Wood School in Oakley Road, Bromley.
Tuba playing Bethan Ecclestone, from Stafford, was the only band member from outside the borough, chosen because of her Royal College of Music education.
The siblings describe the band as “close knit” with friends regularly helping out at gigs and with videos.
Matthew said: “A lot of our stuff is DIY, so we have always had help from friends and even family – our dad helps with the sound production.
“Even if we make it massive and have huge budgets, I’d want to keep it that way.”
A graphic designer by trade, Julia has kept her day job, but Matthew recently quit his office 9-to-5 and is now focusing on writing new tracks.
The band are looking to tour the country in 2013 to play for their growing UK fanbase.
Though music is becoming a full time job, the brother and sister are still coming to terms with the “crazy” notion that being in a band can be a profession.
Matthew added: “A friend told us just to enjoy it and take it all in.
“I won’t be treating any part of it as a chore.”
n To listen to the band see www.bromleytimes.co.uk and to find upcoming gigs, visit www.kestoncobblersclub.com.