Aaron Keylock – Interview, October 2016

There is an awful lot of buzz around Aaron Keylock. Kerrang! declared him the “New Solo Superstar” in the 2015 Fresh Blood List, whereas  Metal Hammer wrote in 2014: “It’s ludicrous that someone as talented as Aaron Keylock is a mere 16 years old but if anyone can shred like Gary Moore, this young buck can.” Total Guitar called him one of 2016s ‘Ones to Watch’ after seeing him at Dot to Dot saying they “caught his set and we walked away with our brain thoroughly melted”

And things just appear to be growing bigger and better for the Oxford based rock guitarist. Fresh from supporting the legendary Wilko Johnson at the beginning of October, he is now on the road with Joanne Shaw Taylor during her current 17 date UK tour before heading off to play with The Planet Rock Roadstars. Oh yeah, then there is the small matter of getting ready for the release of his debut album Cut Against The Grain which is out on Provogue Records on January 20th, 2017.

“It feels great to be spoken of in such terms, but I have been touring and working hard at it since I was 11. It’s all sort of come together in the last couple of years, really,” Aaron explained ahead of setting up for the gig at The Chester Live Rooms. “It’s great that people I respect have been so receptive and genuinely helpful. It’s really nice that these guys put out a hand for you. It keeps you upbeat and keeps making you want to go and work harder. It keeps you pretty grounded as well; keeps you looking upwards and forwards. You have highs and lows doing this, so I guess it is what keeps you motivated. I’ve always been one to look for the next step rather than looking back at what’s gone.”

Not too shoddy for a young man who grew up listening to rock stations and trying to get the Jimmy Page bits right before heading off to primary school. “My dad used to play in a few bands and things, but I think he gave it up before I was born. I grew up listening to 70s rock though, more classic. Things like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Lynyrd Skynyrd. That’s what influenced me really and what got me into wanting to play guitar, so although my family isn’t musical in the sense of performing there was always music on in the house and it’s what got me into playing.”

Aaron Keylock is just 18, yet already has a track record that some older artists would kill for. He’s supported the likes of Blackberry Smoke, The Answer, The Cadillac Three and Dan Patlansky amongst others. He’s also appeared at an impressive array of festivals such as Dot to Dot and Ramblin’ Man.  Yet at aged just 12, he was arguing with club doormen who wouldn’t let him into venues he was booked to play. Then at 13 he met somebody who was all too familiar with the problems facing the youngster.

“I was playing blues venues at the age of 12 with bands I’d put together. What would happen was that I’d get in to play my set, then I’d leave the venue to put my kit away and the doorman, who had probably changed shift from earlier on, wouldn’t let me back in again. Looking back it was pretty funny I guess, but at the time it was annoying. Then at 13 I was fortunate enough to meet Joe Bonamassa, who’s had similar thing happen to him at a similar age. It was great that he looked back and remembered exactly what it was like.”

“I’ve met him since on a few occasion and he was great with me that first time. He’s even taken me up on stage and let me play his guitars, which is pretty cool. He’s also given me advice; telling me to do gigs that make sense rather than to try and play every night and burn myself out. ‘You have to do things that help your career’, he said. I’m really glad I listened at around the same time I was really starting to look for management.”

Aaron plays live with Jordan Maycock on bass and Sonny Miller Greaves on drums. Three weeks into this major schedule and life on the road seems to suit them.”Yeah, we’re at that stage now where things are starting to get nice and tight in the band. We try to never play the same set twice, so that keeps things fresh which is always good too. This is also the first proper run of gigs we’ve had and I’m really enjoying myself.”

All of which, of course, is part of gearing up for the launch of A Cut Against The Grain in January. “It’s my first album so it’s all a bit new but it’s all good too. I’m really happy with it and really enjoyed making it. Now I just can’t wait to get it out there. It was penned about three years ago now and has grown on the road, so it’ll be great when it’s finally released.”

“A lot of the waiting has been down to the right elements coming together. Things like finding the right producer and finding the slots in our mutual schedules. It is stuff like that which takes up the time.”

So what comes first when writing, the music or the melody? “For me it varies. I’m always taking notes of either phrases or a lyric will jump into my head, which normally pinpoints whatever’s happening around me at a particular time. So writing is something that comes to me in bits and pieces, rather than me actually sitting down to write something specific.”

Aaron Keylock: Cut Against The Grain
Aaron Keylock: Cut Against The Grain

A Cut Against The Grain has been produced by Fabrizio Grossi who has previously worked with Alice Cooper, Dave Navarro and Slash. “To be honest, before we hooked up I didn’t know a great deal about him,” Aaron laughed.  “When his name came up, I was talking to a couple of producers at the time. I then met Fab over Skype and we just sort of clicked. We had the same kind of ideas for the album and knew what made sense and what didn’t. Plus his schedule was in time with ours. Then of course there’s his ability to bring out a sound in artists like Alice Cooper that speaks for itself. The way he captures the personality of the people he’s worked with is amazing.”

So what can people expect from the album when it is finally released? “It has a lot of the tags that influenced me, obviously, but it also has a sound that I hope is quite different to anything else.  At the end of the day, I’ve been growing up in the 21st century and it kind of represents where I am in 2016. I’ve tried to make it as honest and real as I possibly could. It’s just an honest Rock ‘n’ Roll album, really, and I hope people enjoy it.”

So the gig is looming – as is the rest of the tour – what can audiences expect from Aaron Keylock?  “As I said earlier, we try not to play the same set twice so I’m not entirely sure what we’re going to be playing until we set up. Whatever it is though, songs from the album will be the predominant ones, except we tend to jam things out a lot more when we’re on stage. We like to have a bit of fun with things. I try to be as energetic as possible to get that nice raw feeling.  I think we as a band have a lot of fun and I hope the audiences we’ll be playing for do too.”


Aaron Keylock A Cut Against The Grain is relased on January 22nd through Provogue.

For More Information: http://www.aaronkeylock.com


Tour Dates:


Sat 22nd Oct Southport, The Atkinson w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Sun 23rd Oct Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Wed 26th Oct Leeds, Brudenell Social Club w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Thu 27th Oct Stockton-On-Tees, ARC, w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Fri 28th Oct Dunfermline, Carnegie Hall w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Sat 29th Oct Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Mon 31st Oct Bury, The Met w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Wed 2nd Nov Southampton, The Brook w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Thu 3rd Nov Brighton, Komedia w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Fri 4th Nov Harpenden, Public Halls w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Sat 5th Nov Budry St Edmunds, The Apex w/Joanne Shaw Taylor
Wed 16thNov Southampton, Talking Heads w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Thu 17th Nov Brighton, The Haunt w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 18th Nov Cardiff, The Globe w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 19th Nov Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Mon 21st Nov Nottingham, The Bodega Social Club w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Tue 22ndNov Wolverhampton, The Robin w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 23rdNov Bristol, The Tunnels w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 25th Nov York, Fibbers w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 26 Nov Crewe, The Box w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sun 27th Nov Norwich, Waterfront w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Mon 28thNov Sheffield, The Greystones w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 30thNov Newcastle, The Cluny w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Thu 1st Dec Glasgow, O2 ABC w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 2nd Dec Edinburgh, The Mash House w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 3rd Dec Manchester, The Deaf Institute w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 7th Dec London, O2 Academy Islington w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)






About Chris High

%d bloggers like this: