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The Review - MUSIC - grooves with RóISíN GADELRAB
Published: 19 November 2009
The hard-working Fearless Vampire Killers
The hard-working Fearless Vampire Killers
Vampires’ bite at the big time

Purple Turtle

MOULIN Rouge was written for these boys. Fearless Vampire Killers wear make-up, dress in neo-Victorian clothes, sleep in the same bed and are living the poverty-stricken bohemian artist lifestyle.
Four of the five share two double beds in a cramped two-bed flat in Finsbury Park, roughing it as aspiring rock bands should for their art.
And they work damn hard at it.
They launch single I Am Gonna Leave You at the Purple Turtle, Camden, on November 30.
The Suffolk schoolfriends – Laurence ­Beveridge, Kier Kemp, Shane Sumner, Drew Woolnough and Luke Fairhead – all 20, grew up in an idyllic part of the country, a “sheltered childhood”.
“We’ve had a brilliant childhood,” says joint frontman Kier. “None of us are rich but we grew up in a sheltered part of the country. We didn’t see a lot of bad things. We’re law-abiding ­citizens. I once got stopped by the police when I was eight for not having lights on my bike – does that count?”
They reluctantly gave up home comforts for the bright lights of the city and moved to Stroud Green Road.
They spend every spare non-working, non-studying second grafting away at their musical careers. They run a monthly night at Tommy Flynn’s in Camden, where they play, book guest acts and DJs all for 50p. They do their own marketing, flyering, putting up posters, watching bands, making contacts and getting to know all the right ­people. Kier also ­doubles as manager.
At home, they all write songs, try not to annoy their neighbours too much with rehearsals and basically think of nothing other than being rock stars.
Kier says: “When you’re in a band you can’t just do it as a ­hobby. If you’re serious you need to do it all the time. We’re getting a good following. Every member writes songs. We have to pander to everyone’s egos. ­Laurence is most ­prolific. We bring our songs to the band and all add and take things out. By the time it’s been absorbed by the band they blend in.”
Living together “can be tense”, he says, adding: “It does get stressful sometimes and there are arguments as with any group.”
The band’s name is taken from the 1967 Roman Polanski film. “It shows our gothic side,” says Kier. “We like the heavier side of things as well as pop, and the more theatrical side.
“I’m a fan of Bowie, Elton John and Queen. One of my favourite movies is Moulin Rouge. Live, we make our show as ­theatrical as we can, with audience participation. We dress up, we want to look good but kind of smart. We’re largely inspired by the turn-of-the-century France, late-1800s bohemian ideas, short waistcoats, a bit of the old eyeliner, eyeshadow.
“I hate bands that look like they’ve come off the street and walked on stage. You have to be a bit of an icon, more than the run-of-the-mill ­person. You’ve got to be a rock star. We’re intent on world domination.”
Fearless Vampire Killers’ single launch with support from Zebedy Rays, Purple Turtle, Camden, November 30, £5.

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