The Community Chest are set to unveil their third release, the EP Concrete with a launch show at Grumpy’s Music Bar in Mount Lawley this Friday, September 13. After originally forming in 2010 as a solo endeavour by Tursntyle frontman Adem Kerimofski, aka Adem K, the project found a life of its own that has now grown to include more personnel, a style that has moved away from guitar to be more drum and synth based, yet still retaining their DIY ethos. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Kerimofski to learn the colourful story behind the group and the EP, complete with tales of the Roman Empire, European travel and an “obsession” with synthesisers.

For those not familiar with The Community Chest how did the band start out?

I released a solo album called The Community Chest in 2010 and after experimenting with backing tracks and doing solo shows which worked well for a while, particularly after I got a live drummer, my friend Laurie suggested I put a band together to play the album songs so I asked him to join. I then asked Peter and Dee (Kerimofski’s wife) from one of my side projects called When The Sky Fell to end that project and join The Community Chest and so that’s how everyone came together. I was hoping for a massive commune-type band but the timing wasn’t right so it ended up being the five of us.

The synths and drums are certainly more central to these songs than on previous releases, was that a deliberate approach or something that came by itself while writing or recording?

This was definitely deliberate. I have often felt many of my recordings have sounded a bit mushy, with the percussive elements not standing out enough. I’ve also been listening to stuff like Frankie Cosmos and Charlie Hilton where the guitars are supporting instruments and it’s the percussion and vocals that dominate. Drums are also the thing that physically move people; keeps heads nodding. And I’m obsessed with synthesizers so they will always be up in the mix. We work really hard on those.

There’s not just one but two songs about the Roman invasion of Britain here. That’s such a niche topic I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s some kind of record! What brought that on?

I read a lot so I always have some sort of obsession going. I went to the UK to mix the Turnstyle album in 2015 and became obsessed with the Roman Empire and particularly their rather benign entry to Britain betraying the violence that came later. Visiting ruins and reading contemporary accounts inspired those songs. It was a well-documented time when you consider that the nation fell back to illiteracy after the Romans and the Dark Ages ensued.

Having toured Germany and Spain recently, I also got an insight into how those nations were affected by the Roman spread. I struggle a lot with lyrics so parlaying my interests into the lyrics helps me write them. I could talk about Romans all day actually.

And how about the themes and ideas that have been covered lyrically across the release in general? It’s all quite colourful with a lot stuff about travel, and geography? Were there a few real life experiences that inspired it?

Yes, actually all the lyrics on this release are personal experiences be it my interests or my direct experience. At the same time I try and make them ambiguous enough to work as word play. I don’t expect people to identify with the lyrics and I’ve never been that sort of writer but I hope the marriage of the music and words work as an enjoyable listening experience. That’s all I hope for when a song is finished.

If someone comes up to me and say they like a lyric or relate to a line then that’s a bonus. I think if someone listens to Reflections Through Corrugations which is the second track and put themselves into the shoes of the forgotten or used lead character then they may get a feeling but I personally prefer it when the melody carries the feeling and it’s not explicit in the lyrics.

And yet it’s quite flatly named Concrete… it’s intriguing as to why that title seemed to sum it up?

I was showing the band some examples of artwork I liked when we were talking about the front cover and I found a mid-century housing ad with ‘Concrete’ written on it. Laurie suggested it from that and we slept on it for a week. We all liked the permanence of what concrete is and it also has links to Ancient Rome. Also there’s the Ricardo Bofill buildings on the front cover of the EP which has those defined edges like our music. Everything has its place and fits.

Who else is joining you at the launch and what kind of night can we look forward to?

We have Hannah from Psychotic Reactions playing solo and we are fans of hers. There’s also Pastel Suburbs who don’t have a Facebook page but they do have awesome post punk/pop songs sung by Sean Gorman from Salary, but delivered very unlike his singing in Salary. They have done some recording and I hope they release it soon. Finally we have Thee Gold Blooms who we have been trying to sync our calendar with for a while. Basically the theme of the night is melody and keeping it pretty fun and up. Our set will have ups and downs in tempo and mood but we’re always a bit heavier and rocking when we play live. Just a comfy, safe space for people to hang and feel at ease. No heavy philosophy!

And looking further afield, what’s next for The Community Chest in the rest of 2019 and beyond? Any more shows or new music in the pipeline we can look out for?

No confirmed shows to announce but Peter and I will be doing a duo show at the Aja Bar in Tokyo in late October. We have two songs that will come out over the summer – possibly as a 7”. They didn’t quite fit thematically and stylistically on Concrete so they’ll have their own day in the sun then.

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