Interview With Reef - 21st April 2010
Photo Of Reef © Copyright TriggerReef split up back in 2003 and most people including the band thought that Reef were over for good but 7 years later Reef are back for a short greatest hits tour but could the come back be more permanent? We caught up with guitarist Kenwyn House to find out.

When Reef originally came to an end in 2003 did you think that Reef were over for good? And what was the reason for the split?
Obviously at the time I did, you can never predict the future but the way I was thinking and I guess everyone else was thinking was that it was over for good, however I think Dom thought we might get back together again, but I didn’t think we would, I thought that was a great journey in many ways. I was talking to my friend Jamie Morrision who up until recently was the drummer in The Noisettes and the same thing happened to them and they spent the last 5 years getting to the top and he has now left the band and it has gone all messy for them because what happens is management, record company’s get it wrong and work bands to hard together. I look back at it and think after our second album we spent too long in America after already touring the world and recording an album and that probably killed it a little bit for us because on our third record we were not interested in being around each other and not interested in making rock music we were more experimental, the experimental thing is good but if we had been tighter and closer our third album would of been better and we would of had more chance of staying together. Having said all that we were together for 10 years, we got together in 1993 and for a band releasing 4 or 5 albums in a 10 year period on the same label is really rare these days. There was tensions within the band, it’s like a family and there is always going to be tensions within a family. The reason we got back together is because musically the chemistry within the band has always been really strong, it’s not for the money, it’s because we want to do it and of course the money side of things is a bonus as there is nothing wrong with getting paid to do something you really love. The whole idea of reforming was started by our manager Tank, when we got in the rehearsal room we realised there weren’t many moment where we felt cringed, we looked at our music and realised we were pretty good, there were a few cringing moments, but it’s like if you look at photographs of you throughout your life you will have a couple of haircuts you didn’t like, I know I did, but it’s the same kind of thing in our band and it’s up to us if we want to play those songs again.

What have you all been doing for the past 6 or 7 years since Reef came to an end?
As little as possible (laughs)
Normal family life?
All of us have children, when Gary’s current pregnant girlfriend has her baby and the same for Jack we will have enough Reef kids for a football team, we can fill a strong team, even the girls. I have got one child, my relationship ended but I have decided that I want to be a father so I bought a house back down in Somerset and moved out of London and spent a lot of time with my son since we split up, I didn’t know what to do after Reef I didn’t know where to go I played with various people, I played in a band with Jamie from The Noisettes like I said for a short while, I am in another band at the moment I am in a writing partnership, we are a duo me and this women called Leah Rasmussen and the bands called The Bliss, I also play guitar for Dominic’s band The Black Swan Effect. I was lucky enough that thanks to a few hits I didn’t have to go and get a proper job, that would if fucking killed me.
So yeah that’s what I have been doing, but I have always been writing music so I have accumulated quite a lot of material over the years.

In November 2009 you announced that Reef were back, how did the reformation of Reef come about after so long apart as a band?
Every gig we have been playing we have been enjoying, we are really happy about being back. The way we came back was through Tank our old manager, I had been talking to him a lot and healed something there which was nice, Tank and Gary had a chat and I think pretty much everyone started talking to Tank and then Tank realised maybe this isn’t such a bad idea and everyone was ready for it again.

You have currently played 4 shows since reforming how have they been? And how does it feel to be back on stage as Reef after such a long time away?
Shows have been going really well, last night was storming in Birmingham, first gig was a warm up show in London.
That was it Monte Carlo wasn’t it?
Yeah, it was really good, we are really enjoying the shows, it feels great there is nothing more I can say.

How would you say the crowd at the shows have been? Is it made up of old skool Reef fans or would you say there is a whole new generation of teenagers who were too young to see you when you last toured?
There’s a mixture, there’s quite a lot of younger people.
So there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t of known you first time around?
Possibly, or they were very young first time around, it’s a mixture, our crowds always seem to be mixed, thankfully we are a rock band who have attracted a few girls as well, so it’s not just blokes in the audience and they are not just young and not just old, I would say the age range is between 50 and 15 which is a nice balance.

Tonight you are playing the Academy in Bristol, what can we expect? Any new songs or surprises or maybe a slight greatest hits show?
There’s not going to be any new material, but there are some songs that we have dug up such as b-sides, we are playing quite a lot of tunes tonight and it is a greatest hits but it is a greatest hits of what we want to play

How did you go about choosing the set list for the tour and is the set list the same for every show?
It’s like the England squad, know what I’m saying?
Most of it stays the same but a couple of songs change every night?
Yeah, we use the odd substitute every day

Matthew P is supporting you on tour, was he handpicked by yourself to support and how have the crowds been taking to him?
We chose him, yeah he have wrote some pretty good songs and it seems to be going really well for him
I checked him out on My Space a few days ago and liked what was on there.
Yeah he’s good, I’m a big fan of folky stuff as wellI like Nick Drake and John Martin, I really like my acoustic stuff, I love that kind of thing as well as my rock

You have been announced for Glastonbury and Isle Of White festival, are you looking forward to getting back playing festivals again? And can we expect to see you playing at any other festivals across the UK?Y
Yeah we are going to be at Isle Of White, Cornbury and Glastonbury so far confirmed, our agent Paul Bolton is currently in the process of trying to get more, Gary and Jack have decided to have kids at the festival stage of the year so we have to take some time off so they can have their kids and they obviously want to be around for the birth of their children so we need to take some time off for that, we would of probably been doing more festivals otherwise
Is there any chance of you doing something like Download?
Download is actually happening the same day as one of the other festivals that we are doing
Same day as the Isle Of White isn’t it?
Yeah that’s it
You could play a different day.
Maybe we will, who knows.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from your time in Reef?
I have quite a lot of random things that have happened but some of them I couldn’t ever tell you as they are either too embarrassing or to incriminating and I don’t want my son to hear.
Anything clean?
If you have ever seen Spinal Tap then everything in Spinal Tap is real, like stereotypes on the whole 90% of the time are true, like when you come across a arty funkin or a hello Cleveland situation or Stonehenge is coming down from the sky you find yourself laughing to yourself, there’s plenty of that in this business.

What would you say your favourite Reef song is?
I really enjoy a couple off our first album, I really think ‘choose to Live’ is a really strong song and I really enjoy playing it like as it has a slight psychedelic feeling to it and an element of improvisation that we go off on live, we structure everything pretty much but we allow for little windows for the gig to go off on a tangent and that’s the one that can go off in any tangent. I also love the song ‘Replenish’ from the album ‘Replenish’, I am also very proud of ‘Consideration’.

MySpace seems to be a big tool in the music industry these days with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a MySpace site, what are your opinions on MySpace as a tool in the music industry?
I think it is just the way it is, it’s mainly industry people who go on and have a look at it, no one really knows where the industry is going at the moment and I am really glad that I am in an established band with a name because I look at it now that I have my own project, it’s great I have been in a successful band because it has gave me a bit of a leg up and I have an understanding of the industry as well. It’s very difficult these days with the whole downloaded and the implosion of the music industry as we have known it, in one way it is a good thing but in another way I can see that it is a real bad thing because it doesn’t affect Metallica, Bon Jovi, shikira, Jay Z and people like that but it fucking affects little knobby no mates who could be the next Jay Z or Metallica but no one is ever going to find out because there is no money put into it, unless you are a trust fund kid or born into a rich family I can just see middle class people making music because how are you going to get found. The money Sony music spent on Reef in the early days was on tour support and putting people with us like front of house, they paid for us to go on tour for a whole year before we released an album, just petrol alone for that must of come to £20,000 - £30,000, then you had to pay for the guitar tech, the front of house guy and they must of come in at £400 a night as well, that’s what it costs to do this so if we want music then you have to pay for it and I think it’s a fucking shame that people think that music is not worth anything, people think everything else in life is worth something but music isn’t, but music takes your heart your sole your fucking mind and all your money to make and it is only affecting the little newcomers, if it was affecting everyone it wouldn’t bother me so much.

What do you think the future holds for Reef? Can we expect some new music and future tours?
We are just taking it as it comes for now but we are enjoying it and whilst we enjoy it we will still do it and as far as new material goes never say never, we are not planning jet we haven’t jammed and we all have our own bands and projects as well but like I said never say never, we have wrote good music in the past so I wouldn’t rule it out but we haven’t ruled it in either.

One last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a Zebra and a Giraffe which one would you be and why?
I think I would be a Zebra.
I think having a really long neck would really piss me off every time I wanted to go for a drink.
Yeah it would take you a while.
Yeah it would take me a while and I thinking running around like a horse would be quite fun, I think I will go for stripes over spots.

Thanks for your time; do you have a message for your fans reading this?
It’s good to be back, see you at the festivals.

Interview by Trigger
 Band Members

Gary Stringer (Vocals)
Kenwyn House (Guitars)
Jack Bessant (Bass)
Dominic Greensmith (Drums)
 Latest Releases
Reef - Together
Release Date - 2003
1. Give me your love
2. Good feeling
3. Naked
4. Weird
5. Place your hands
6. Come back brighter
7. Consideration
8. Yer old
9. I've got something to say
10. Set the record straight
11. Lucky number
12. Stone for your love
13. Talk to me
14. Just dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in)
 Band Related Links
Reef Myspace