Sean Kemp Provides A Little Human Kindness For Those With An Open Heart

Sean Kemp's new single is titled 'All The Same'. Sean Kemp's new single is titled 'All The Same'. Image © Lilla Berry

Adelaide musician Sean Kemp has been quiet the past year or so on the release front.

After dropping his nostalgia-drenched single 'Smile' at the start of 2021, it wasn't till last month that Kemp followed up with his next release 'All The Same'.

An emotionally-charged song rooted in cultural equality after Sean had a first-hand encounter with a racist individual, he hopes the track can provide an injection of human kindness for those who hear it.

While his music career has been somewhat dormant (he's also been working on new material for his side project Surviving Sharks), Sean has spent the last year looking after himself: body and mind.

A new fitness regime and change of diet has seen Kemp lose upwards of 40kgs, which has result in him training for his very first half-marathon.

Ahead of a support show in Adelaide with '80s rockers 1927, Sean sits down for an in-depth chat about 'All The Same', his fitness goals as well as sharing a few tasty recipes.



G'day mate; how have you been since we last chatted to you last year?
Hello there. Well, considering how the entertainment industry had been decimated, dissected and left in complete ruin, pretty good.

It's been such a trying time for anyone that has any type of involvement on any level in the music and entertainment biz. I really feel for those that have lost work or had to completely change careers due to the pandemic.

For myself, I have been lucky to still be able to work and sustain a living which I am really grateful for. But, now that restrictions and capacity has eased, I can feel that the entertainment industry has emerged from the forced hibernation and we are going to be A-OK.

It's so pleasing and to see everyone back at work doing what they do, seriously warms the heart.

Your new song is titled 'All The Same' and was inspired by cultural equality; the country (and the world) are in a turbulent period of social upheaval and your song provides a platform for folks who have love in their hearts an attitude to embrace ("Talk louder than the heavy hearts that beat at you.") Change is slow and takes time, but each step is vitally important, right?
Without divulging too much I had an experience with someone who encapsulated every level of evil when it came to racism. It affected me to the core.

People that express this hate when they have absolutely no reason to, are what makes life at times so frustrating – and scary.

Being a big Beatles fan I am all about peace and love – well, as I've gotten older this has become even more so. It upsets me that people project this type of attitude towards other humans because. We are all the same. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly.

The process of bringing the song together; did you co-write it with your brother Drew and Kirsten Glover, like your previous release 'Smile'?
With songwriting it'll always start with me. I'll flesh out heaps of ideas on the guitar – based on a feeling or something I have heard that kind of rattles me in a positive way and then build a song around that.

When I'm ready I'll take this idea to Drew and we can then look at structure and whether the song needs any special attention. Sort of like a production line, I'll then start developing the lyrics and harmonies with Kirsten. She's extremely great at making a song flow and lyrically tie everything together so it's a finished story.

Usually I am 'ok' at an initial idea but Kirsten will then add her magic to it.

Was it a song that came together quickly or was it brought to life across many sessions and different variations?
This particular song was a hybrid of various finger-picking on the acoustic I was practicing at the time and from that the song was born.

In the recording I actually didn't use a pick to mellow it out so much more. It was huge removal from what we normally do which is include drums and keys etc.

Due to the subject and nature it was just the best move to make 'All The Same' completely soft, acoustic. Saying this I did miss also laying down drums, so will get back on that in the next recording I do which should be very soon with some luck.



You recorded and produced the track with Ian Miller; how were those sessions?
We really enjoyed that experience. Was very quick and it all came together well.

Ian had come to a show or two and I have known him since high school. I think working with me was a bit of change to what he'd normally work on but Ian is very diverse and open in his creative ideas, so he made this process easy and fluid.

When can we expect the next Sean Kemp solo release? Is an album/ EP still something you have on the horizon?
Think the best thing to do is just keep working on singles. I have started writing songs that are definite contenders for the next release.

I'm very transparent in the fact that I work with a different producer and creatives for every project I pursue. I do value every producer I work with and learn something from all. What I am finding is every producer has their own take on my songs and I really appreciate that because they've put care into the project and the end result is always a positive one.

You also drum in another project, Surviving Sharks; any news out of that camp you wish to share?
Yes. As most people know drums are my main instrument and that's the instrument I've performed with the most, and still do.

Surviving Sharks is a cool little project my brother and I have had for a few years and we also have our mate Josh Biggs plays bass. Drew and I have been slowly working away behind the scenes recording demoes and basically choosing those songs that will eventually end up in the studio.

The main aim here is to eventually record and produce everything ourselves. Bit by bit we have constantly upgraded our gear to the point the demo recordings are up to the standard where we can really be inspired by what is being written.

Surviving Sharks has always been a heavy, riff-based act and the sound has even progressed to heavier. On the gig front with Surviving Sharks, it's not a massive priority even though we love to rock live!

Last gig we did was with the Choirboys and that was awesome as I got to have a chat to Mark Gable about the Alberts label and AC/DC.



The past year or so you decided to take better care of your body/ mind with a new diet and outlook on life losing 40kgs (congrats on that mega milestone); and now you're training for a half marathon at the end of May. That's some inspiring accomplishments – is it one of your better life decisions you've made?
Thank you! Well, it was just something I had to do as my mental and physical health went south.

I'd been in therapy for nearly eight months, which was tough as I still had to work full time and keep my head above water. Luckily, I have a very supportive workplace. Then I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic which frightened the sh.t out of me!

Coupled with weighing 'a lot', I knew it was time to do something to make a change. Creatively it was also draining me and I was in a fog.

So I started portioning my meals and cut out ALL alcohol, most sugar, most carbs and lived a keto lifestyle. On top of this my workouts went next level. Boxing, running, spin classes and weight training.

It was interesting around this time, and I can't give all the details but something happened to me which was life changing through a story that was told to me almost accidentally and this story had never been told to anyone else, before. An energy had been exchanged. I know this sounds odd but it did occur.

A week later I started jogging after 27 years of not doing it. Week by week my distance increased and now I am about to run my first half marathon – something I NEVER dreamt I would ever say or do for that matter.

On top of this I have incorporated yoga and meditation for my overactive central nervous system, which has quietened my brain somewhat. I still have to watch how much caffeine I consume and still lead a balanced diet – and no alcohol. Just water, green tea and maybe one coffee a day (but a weak one).

For those also looking to improve their own well-being/ health, any pointers you can share?
First step is to get a blood test and have an honest discussion with a general practitioner. That way it'll indicate how much your body can handle.

It's all well and good to have a plan and a goal, but it's more important to know how you will test yourself physically. I am lucky I can run and thank my body for that with gratitude every day.

Running is very meditative and you can just get in the zone. Maybe I should start a running group for musicians that just want to run? Might be hard getting late night giggers out of bed at 7am to hit the path.


The last time we chatted, you were fully engrossed in cooking tutorials and growing your own veggies... how has that progressed?
Yeah I still binge on cooking tutorials, absolutely, every second day I'm after a good, healthy recipe.

When I cooked before I wasn't paying attention to portioning but now I just make little meals and am content with that. When your body goes through so much change, it reacts to change and that also includes digestion. So, I steer away from really spicy stuff or food that may have sugar content etc.

Still growing vegetables for sure. At the moment I'm preparing for a winter harvest but will mainly focus soon on herbs that I can use for cooking on a regular basis. The veggie garden compliments my bonsai nursery and it's been raining this week in Adelaide, so the bonsai love that sort of attention from the colder elements.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us?
A butternut squash. Everyone likes a nice, healthy vegetarian meal. Add a piece of wholemeal bread with goats cheese. Desert would be strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and some low-fat protein passionfruit yoghurt.

There's an easy chicken curry I like to make. You add red onion and tomatoes to make a paste, add in some garlic and ginger. Add in half cup of water and some low fat coconut cream. Then add chicken thighs (cut) and then one tablespoon of garam masala, curry powder and chilli powder.

Now here's the trick. Cook this for 25-30 minutes on low heat (so chicken is cooked through) and then put in a microwave safe bowl to cool down. Place in the fridge and eat it not the next day, but the day after. Thank me later, you're welcome.

You mentioned you've discovered 'some awesome new bands in Adelaide and also older bands that still inspire me'; who have you been getting into of late?
Adelaide is such a unique place. There are lots of bands I really, really like. The Vains are amazing. Small club, big club they have that x-factor and are all great players.

It's been many years but I still absolutely adore Lazaro's Dog. There's honestly no one quite like 'em. They rock, they're hilarious and have excellent songs. World beaters.



Power v Crows (or other)? And can either squad turn around their early season poor form?
Crows are re-building. They will be a good team in a few years. Crows have some quality players that are showing signs of greatness. Port are relying on the older guns in the team to get through each week. I feel they'll maybe end up like the Crows have last two years, just struggling in contests and not having the depth to be a really great football team.

Tell ya what though, I have been to one Showdown and never again, not my vibe. The one I attended a massive brawl broke out right on the final siren and it was like feeding time at the zoo. Maybe it's calmed down now because people are just more courteous and polite after what we've been through last two years. I hope so 'cause kindness is the answer.

What's the one chore you dislike the most?
Good question and a difficult one to answer because I am incredibly domestic! Not to the point of being a 'neat-freak' but I do like to know where every single thing is.

If I had to pick one chore it'd be maybe washing my floorboards. Cleaning the toilet is also not the most fun chore to do but has to been done. I pay more attention to household hygiene these days that's for certain.

If you had to live in a city abroad, where would you choose and why?
Another great question. Well, I do love America. Was going back there in 2020 and had some shows pending in LA and Las Vegas, so if I had to choose a city I feel that Las Vegas would suit my lifestyle because of the entertainment.

I work in the recruitment field so maybe recruiting staff for casinos and having my own musical residency somewhere. I could call it 'The Boy From South Australia' and sing songs about the malls balls, frog cakes, churches, Willzy, Humphrey B Bear, Fat Cat, Crows, Port Adelaide and the Adelaide legend Johnny Haysman!

Sean Kemp supports 1927 at Norwood Concert Hall (Adelaide) 3 June.

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