All the way from the English seaside town of Weston Super Mare, but now dividing their time between South London and Bristol, Cheekbone is a high energy indie-rock quintet. Influenced by The Libertines and The Strokes, Cheekbone have an infectious sound interspersed with melodic guitars, rich vocals and put-down lyrics. We had a chance to chat with Ernest Gorka (EG), Lou Raymond (LR), Stell Kousiounis (SK), Nick Joules (NJ) and Keenan Williams (KW) about their new single ‘Stranger’, bad habits and favourite smells.
OSR: How did you come up with the band name Cheekbone?
LR: My brother first thought of it. It’s a reference to a joke in The Mighty Boosh that he always had saved away as a decent band name. There were only two of us in the band at the time, so it wasn’t difficult to reach a consensus.
OSR: Were there any other band names up for consideration?
EG: We were never set on one name and it takes about 20 people to say the name is strong for us to believe it. If one says it ain’t then it’s out the window. Bunch of our mates said Cheekbone stood out, then again anything would up against ‘Cowboy Mouth’.
OSR: What can you tell us about your new single ‘Stranger’?
LR: I had the last line of the chorus and that just informed the rest of the song. We wanted there to be this interesting contrast throughout the track of these cruel, put-down lyrics sang in a major key over light bouncy guitar parts.
OSR: What was the writing and recording processes like?
KW: The song started for me around New Year’s. I was ’round Lou’s house with Stell and we recorded a demo version, but we had a lot come up with BBC and gigs and we put it on hold for a while. We were able to get together a couple of weeks before lockdown and we all recorded our parts. So, when lockdown hit I was really bored and wanted to make a start on it production-wise, with no intention of how we’d release it; I just wanted something to do. Nearing the end of production I was burnt out on it and couldn’t give it a proper mix, but the beauty of a band is you share the workload so Lou handled the mix.
OSR: I know it’s difficult for bands to get together at the moment, but can we expect a music video for ‘Stranger’?
NJ: It’s been really tough missing out on rehearsing and recording and even just not being able to hang out as friends, but it’s important to use this time off to our advantage. If it wasn’t for this lockdown ‘Stranger’ might have been a song we brushed under the carpet or sat on for a while, but, as it turns out, it has become one of our best songs and has been so well received already.
As a band, we like to utilise every platform available to us, so I would say a video wouldn’t be too far behind the official release of the single. I think it’s important to make the most of the tools available to us. We’re very lucky to have some really talented friends when it comes to filming/photography and it would be criminal not to use their talents to create another way for people to enjoy ‘Stranger’
OSR: What do you want people to take away from ‘Stranger’ and your music in general?
SK: I don’t think any two people would take away the same thing necessarily. Even us as the band probably have different thoughts about certain lyrics and that’s a cool thing. We’re here to write tunes that’ll last and can be translated through any walk of life, not some churned out tosh about house parties and gold chains.
OSR: Where do you want to be in five years?
EG: We want to be in a stable place with music and money, but most importantly we want to headline shows to people that choose to come see us and feel important being there. We want to become the next rock giants. It may sound very optimistic, but we do want to look back in 20 years and say, ‘fair play, we were the fucking ones that stood out and made people feel important!’
OSR: Describe our music in one word.
OSR: Many people are finding this lockdown difficult to manage from a physical and mental health perspective. How are you coping and do you have any advice for others on how to deal with this situation?
LR: Lockdown has halted a lot of musicians progress. There was definitely a feeling amongst the band that there was a momentum for us to capitalise on, but that’s now stalled. It’s like being in the middle of sex and some large bloke bursting in with a crowbar screaming at you to stop. We’re looking for the positives in every day and thinking about the little things that mean a lot.
OSR: What is your worst habit?
SK: I dunno if it’s a bad habit but I’ve never actually been wrong about anything in my entire life.
OSR: What is your favourite smell and why?
SK: Petrol stations. I could have that all day to be honest. There’s also this perfume that girls wear called ‘Black X5’. I’m not sure which one of those two scents I find more lethal.
OSR: What movie have you watched that you expected to be horrible but turned out to be rather good?
KW: A lot of the time it’s more that I dislike or misunderstand the film on first viewing, but the movie has something intriguing or unique to bring me back; then I start to try and understand the movie more. Blade Runner is definitely one of those movies for me. I think the movie is about so much more than it is on the surface and has timely themes that are still relevant today. Also, Vangelis Score is masterful!
OSR: Do you have an all time favourite song?
KW: ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground’ by The White Stripes really resonates with me. I don’t know if it’s the simplicity or the intense juxtaposition with verse and chorus. It feels loud, it feels raw and it feels honest. It’s so important to not fake anything with songs like that. I want the expression; I want to feel it all. I think that’s one of the many components that make the song good.
OSR: What are your plans for the future?
NJ: It’s become such a hard question. If you asked that three months ago you may have got a very specific answer. At the moment, I guess we just have to wait until the world goes back to some form of normality so that we can get back to where we left off. We plan to bring our music and the experience of a Cheekbone gig to every corner of the country and get our name out there. In the meantime, we just have to keep writing and recording new music and keep people interested until we can get back out there and do our thing.
OSR: Do you have message for our readers?
The Group: Keep your ears peeled for new music constantly as we want to move fast towards the top and the top is where we want to be. Take the journey with us!