It’s time to Do Or Die for the return of Kassassin Street at Victorious Festival

Kassassin Street at the Wedgewood Room. s''Picture: Paul Windsor
Kassassin Street at the Wedgewood Room. s''Picture: Paul Windsor
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To borrow the title of one of their former singles, there’s been little so far in 2017 except for Radio Silence from local favourites Kassassin Street.

The Southsea-based five-piece sold out The Wedgewood Rooms last November on the first night of their England-wide tour. Armed with a bunch of swaggering techno and psych-infused indie rockers, the band had been making some serious headway beyond their hometown.

But since then they’ve gone to ground, only breaking cover to play at the Common People festival over in Southampton back in May.

Bassist Tom Wells says: ‘We’ve spent the whole year writing an album. We’re over half-way. Actually, I’m going to be optimistic and say we’re nearly there.

‘Common People was really good. At Common People we tried to play all new stuff and used it as a trial run for those songs – and to get out of the studio. Victorious is going to be something similar. It’s nice to be out playing but it is going to be interesting at the weekend.

‘It’s exciting for us because we’ve worked all year on this up to now, and I don’t think we’re planning to play any more shows this year, either.’

However, Tom says that should change in 2018, ‘then hopefully we’ll be gigging everywhere to all and sundry.’

Playing on their home turf again – where you can guarantee that the lyrics to older songs such as Centre Straight Atom or Royal Handkerchief Ballet will be sung back to them word perfect – the group has been trying to work out the setlist for Victorious.

‘We’re having a “How much can we fit into a half-hour set?” debate right now. You’re secretly hoping that some other bands drop out so you can play a bit longer,’ Tom laughs, possibly only half joking. ‘We’ve tried to squeeze as much in as we possibly can – lots of new stuff. It’s going to be a teaser for the new album.’

So will the new material see the birth of Kassassin Street 2.0?

It’s been good knowing that we’ve got Victorious coming up because we’ve had to rehearse and that’s meant the new songs have got stronger and tighter

Tom Wells

‘I think there’s quite a lot of change, it’s obviously the same line-up and it sounds like us, we haven’t gone skiffle or reggae or something.

‘We’ve been writing and recording at the same time, doing things around at each others’ houses – a very DIY kind of thing, it’s just been exciting to go back and do it ourselves again without any outside interference. Even our manager hasn’t heard it yet, he keeps badgering me to send him stuff, and I’m always telling him, “It’s not quite ready yet, come to the gig.” We’re better at gigs anyway!

‘I always think we’re good at the live bit, it’s trying to get the records as good as the live show. Hopefully if we control it all ourselves, it will come out with the energy of the live show.

‘We’ve been rehearsing lots because some of these songs we hadn’t even played as a band yet.

‘It’s been good knowing that we’ve got Victorious coming up because we’ve had to rehearse and that’s meant the songs have got stronger and tighter.’

Kassassin Street

Castle Stage

Sunday, August 27, 3pm