Dexter Krenal of Meat Loving Vegans
THIS is the second time I have interviewed Meat Loving Vegans’…
PHOTO CREDIT: Lou Smith
lead Dexter Krenal. The London-based band are one of my favourite ‘finds’ of the last couple of years and their album, Lost in Fiction, is a joy of deep songwriting and honest, punk-influenced vocals. The band are coming towards the end of their time together, so before the (sad and heartbreaking) final days: I was keen to catch up with Krenal and ask him about what the future holds and how it came into music. He – and the boys in the band – have great futures ahead and Meat Loving Vegans will play at my curated night (for Blogtober) at The Finsbury on the thirtieth of this month – they have their sophomore album to unleash in addition! Krenal is always loveable, honest and real when interviewing, so sit down and have a look – parental guidance advised in places!
Hey Dexter. How are you? How has your week been?
Good cheers, mate! Weirdly enough, I’ve got man-flu though – which I bloody had last time you interviewed me. You ain’t sending me lurgies through with these questions somehow are ya? (Maybe – Sam).
For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Dex: a slightly nutty, rough-around-the-edges twenty-five-year-old. The front-man of the London-formed, up-in-the-air jazzy Alternative-Rock band, Meat Loving Vegans. ‘ELLO!
Can you tell us about how Meat Loving Vegans came together? Did you guys bond instantly or was it a bit of a chore getting things gelled
It started by me writing and recording an album mostly on my tod (in a bedsit) in Lewisham, South London. I wanted a band to do it live – so put a feeler out to me mates and, voilà, M.L.V. was born.
Originally, you are from down Portsmouth way. The city gets a bad reputation. Do you think that is deserved and what was it like for an inspiring musician living down there?
Back down here now at the moment (‘coz my London life went down the swanny somewhat). Yeah, it’s a fuck*** shithole but it’s home.
Portsmouth is no stranger to lager louts; lairy sods wanting a ruck for no good reason; football hooligans and what have ya. They’re rough people, but good people.
If it were all flowers and beauty ’round here it’d be full of the likes (of that on) Hampstead Heath – AND WE DON’T WANT THAT! I actually think it’s banging for a musician down here to write/discover who they are – you don’t have the distractions or brutal price tag of London to pull you away from what ya really want to be doing.
What was the moment you realised you wanted to get into music? Was there a gig or band you saw that lit the spark?
I was brought up on council estates and all everyone did when I was a teenager was skive off, get into trouble; get pissed and what have ya which don’t get me wrong, I was no stranger to – but I wanted more than that. A mate of mine joined a band and did a local gig in a parish centre – which was hands-down the most exciting thing that happened to anyone ever. They only did one or two original songs but it didn’t matter. The lead singer could have been farting down the microphone for all I cared: it was loud and it was fun. It was definitely better than a slap on the botty for being a little sh*t and I wanted in!
A few years ago, you moved up Camden way. What was it like in comparison – I can imagine it is a part of London that suits you very well?
Fuck*** loved it mate. I moved up there four years ago and I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
My first place was a room on an estate across the road from Amy Winehouse’s gaff. Mates would see Pete Doherty strolling around or on the market stall he owned selling celebs’ fag butts and sh*t on the Chalk Farm Stables.
I met Noel Gallagher in a pub called Dublin Castle off the high street – live music ’round every corner.
I often ask people (who play and live in London) how important the city is with regards inspiration and subject matter. What does London mean to you, personally?
Its energy is undeniable and the city is an endless source of incredible inspiration and goings-on. London will always be close to my heart: it’s a place like no other. I’m also a bit bitter grapes about it at the moment – its other side is that of careerists, two-faced arseholes and insane living costs which is making it hard for decent art to survive. In my opinion, the best stuff comes from the gutter up and at the moment, unless you’re one of the yuppie, Portobello Road, my-dad-pays-for-my-rent-and-funded-my-E.P. type of thing, it’s a no-go. Let’s hope it’s saved before it’s too late.
Lost in Fiction was the debut album from Meat Loving Vegans – an album I loved. Looking back at the album: what was the reaction like to it and any particular songs that stick in your heart?
Goodbye Granda will always stick with me – no way that’d ever get on radio ‘cos it’s too full-on but it weren’t (sic.) made for that.
That is a goodbye note to my beloved grandad: right from the heart that is and I’m insanely proud of it.
In terms of reception, it took a while but getting there! You Ain’t No Dog – a political song I wrote with my mate Ben Toon – got played on the radio a little while back and they liked it enough to let us do a live show on Express F.M. (on the twenty-ninth of this month off the back of it).
Can we expect a second album from you guys or any new songs this year?
Yup. Another full L.P. in the works right now. God knows when it’ll be done but it’ll get finished, even if it kills me. Too much has happened in the making of it for it to sit on the shelf – it looks like it’ll be the end of the year. It’s intense.
I know you (like me) have a love for real and gritty artists like Oasis and Jamie T. You seen the Oasis documentary yet? What was your opinion of Jamie T’s latest record?
Nah. Missed the Oasis doc. so I’ll have to catch that on D.V.D. (which I was fuck*** livid about!). Didn’t realise it was just for one day! Can’t wait to see it, though: them sods from Burnage in Manchester gave a generation of working-class young’uns hope and that’s fuck*** special; I don’t care what anyone says about them. And, as with Jamie T’s new album, I went to see him play it live on tour at the Portsmouth Guildhall the other week – was a banging gig (what I can remember of it).
In terms of your own songwriting and creations: do you write from experience or fiction when penning a new track? What kind of thins motivate you to put pen to paper?
Always experience. ALWAYS. I can’t write about make believe bulls*it and don’t see why I’d ever want to.
“I DON’T BELIEVE ILLUSION ‘COS TOO MUCH IS REAL!” in the words of John Lydon – and damn right he is.
Anything that gets me in the gut – good, bad or otherwise – is what makes me put the pen to paper. Music’s all about communicating with people, so you’d better have something worth saying.
Even though Meat Loving Vegans have had to cancel a few gigs lately: you guys have any plans to perform any more dates this year?
Yeah, the day after the Express F.M. radio show on the twenty-ninth we’re doing this festival called Blogtober at The Finsbury in London (the day after).
The way it’s looking, that may or may not be the last thing we do as Meat Loving Vegans (so don’t miss it!).
PHOTO CREDIT: Lou Smith
It has been a big year for you and the band. Any especially fond memories and moments that will live on for you?
Yeah. I’m living on my keyboard player and old drummer’s floor and writing music working on this album like a fuck*** madmen. All got a bit nutty though and the memories of lugging amps on the tube can suck a fart right out of my fuck*** bumhole.
One thing that impresses me about you is how down-to-earth and D.I.Y. you are. The music seems home-made and you have a cheeky personality. Do you think too much of today’s music is fake and personality-free? What are your opinions on today’s crop?
Couldn’t agree with that statement more! Even so-called ‘rough-around-the-edges’ artists like Jake Bugg don’t write their own fuck*** songs nowadays. He’s got a co-writer. It’s all so sanitised; it’s criminal. Saying that: forming in the gutters late at night are labels like Trashmouth (in South London) releasing real raucous shit. Out of darkness comes light.
Any new or particularly great bands or artists you think we should check out right now?
I know the last few months have been quite turbulent and you’ve overcome some obstacles. What are your hopes and aims for the next few years with regards music and your personal aims?
Soul search; find my voice and get back out there big-time.
I’m gonna keep my head down and focus until the time is right – but when I’m ready, it’s gonna be full-on.
Until then, I’m gonna re-master an album’s worth of songs from my old Alt./Hip-Hop/Rock band Urban Disturbance – that’ll be done real soon. Then, finish off this album with the Meat Loving Vegans by the end of the year.
Finally, and for being a good egg, you can name any song you like; I’ll play it here…
Heard this the other day and it blew me away. Only just got into Radiohead after my mate Ben has hounded me with ‘em for years
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