Kenwyn House is best known as the energetic and charismatic guitarist for Reef, the Indie rock band that soared to success during the Britpop revolution with their single Naked being used on a Sony MiniDisc advert. Despite being born in Nottingham, later moved to Street with his parents; not far from East Pennard where Paul Winterhart grew up. Winterhart was formerly the drummer in psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker, who at the height of their career had a UK Number One album and five top 10 singles.
The duo have known each others for around 25 years since meeting in Strode College in Street, where they jammed together with student musicians and played in local bands, although this is the first time they've played together in quite a long time. This opportunity came about when Ken heard from a mutual acquaintance that Paul was free from his commitments with Kula Shaker. Ken says "Paul's playing is fantastic and perfect for our songs. I can't really imagine doing this without him".
Also onboard for this new venture is vocalist Leah Rasmussen, Kenwyn's partner who decided to get together musically following an impromptu and drunken Christmas Day jam. Leah grew up in Wales in an indie and rock environment but spent much of her career in dance music, with various release on labels including Bedrock and Renaissance, but she has now returned to her roots.
Leah said "We'd been working on our own individual projects and never really thought about working together.... but after jamming and realizing how well it worked, the obvious next step seemed to be to start writing together. We haven't looked back since then really."
Kenwyn added "it was quite a thing to realize that the voice and song writing partner I had been looking for was right under my nose!"
The final piece of the Goldray puzzle is Berlin born bassist Sinah (pronounced Xena) Blohberger, a session musician who as well as being a wizard bassist plays keys and also adds backing vocals. She was the first bassist auditioned, but it seemed that other commitments may prevent her joining. Things changed and the line-up was complete.
In the songwriting process Ken writes the guitar while Leah comes up with vocals and melodies, before they finish the songs together. The band is currently mixing their first single "Don't Walk Away" which is due to be released on 24th October, with an album (co-produced with Clive Martin who produced Reef's debut album Replenish) due to follow in spring 2012.
Musically the band is quite different to both Reef and Kula Shaker and has been described as "a syncopated rock beast in a tradition that runs from The Doors and Led Zeppelin to The Black Keys". I'd say there is certainly a late-60s, early-70s retro vibe to both the sound and the image, in places melodic undertones, catchy guitar hooks and emotive pop sensibilities are overlaid with lilting, beautifully haunting vocals, while in others there is more of a stripped down garage feel with jangly guitars and clattering drums. There are plenty of unique and refreshing sounds to this band and enough subtle nuances and variation to their songs to leave you wanting more.
If you fancy catching Goldray live, they have a gig on the Thekla in Bristol on Thursday 8th September (doors open at 7pm and the band is due on stage at 8.45pm). The Thekla's a great venue on a boat, and this will be their closest local gig for the foreseeable future.