Ex-Kenickie members Emmy-Kate Montrose and Marie du Santiago have been talking to The Maker about their previous band's split - and their new group, Rosita. The pair claim to have been "busier than ever" since Kenickie's untimely demise, onstage at London's LA2 in October last year, and hope to release their first material as a duo at the end of April. "We've done loads of demos already," said Emmy-Kate. "After Kenickie split, we could've gone away and been lazy, but instead we decided to get up on Monday morning and work out what we were going to do. And we just got together and started writing songs. There were so many ideas coming out, it was unbelievable." The new material features Marie - who sang several Kenickie songs - as lead singer on most tracks. She also plays guitar, while Emmy-Kate plays bass and will also contribute vocals. The band features various other musicians ("friends, not session types"), but Marie and Emmy-Kate will be the only permanent members.
"I don't think Rosita sound like Kenickie," said Marie. "There's bound to be a common thread, because we're the same people, but the sound is very different. We're still a guitar band, but we're no longer playing them in that 'bash someone over the head' way. We sound much nicer, but not in a wet girlie way."
Rosita have already been offered several record deals, but have yet to sign a contract. "We've had loads of interest, but we're trying to keep it down until everything's perfect," said Emmy-Kate. "We know we'll get a lot of attention when we do comeback, and a lot of people will want us to be rubbish, so we've got to make sure everything's right." "We're approaching everything with a lot of caution," agreed Marie. "Last time, we did end up on the wrong record label."
Despite that (and Marie's claim that "Some of the advice we received was the biggest pile of pigswill I've ever heard from human mouths") the duo deny that problems with Kenickie's label, EMI, led to the demise of the band. "That's been completely overplayed," said Marie. "All that stuff about how the big nasty company forced us to do things...that's not what happened. The only thing they ever did that we were violently opposed to was the re-release of 'Punka'. Apart from that, they let us do what we liked, more or less. I'm sure if they really wanted to oppress us and make us have hits, they wouldn't have let us do the 'Get In!' album, cos that wasn't commercial at all." "I won't have Kenickie being thought of as victims," fumed Emmy-Kate. "We decided to sign to a major label and we knew that for that to work we had to sell records. If we'd stayed on Slampt [their first label], we'd have split up ages ago cos we'd have gone off to university. Yes, towards the end, it went a bit wrong, because everyone we knew had left the company, but at the end of the day, bands only split up because the people in that band don't want to be in the band with those people any more."
Despite that last comment, Marie and Emmy-Kate deny any bad blood between them and Kenickie's other members Lauren Laverne and Johnny X, who have their own new project, Chris. "Everyone wants us to slag each other off," said Emmy-Kate. "But it's not going to happen. Obviously, since the split our relationships with them have changed - they're in Sunderland and we're in London. But there's no reason for there to be, cos we split before we got to that stage. I think they'll do really well, cos they're both really talented." "We still keep in touch," stressed Marie. "But it's a bit like when you split up with someone you've been going out with: you remember all the reasons why you went out with them in the first place, but you don't want to get back together. You need a while to let the dust settle." The girls did admit some mixed feelings about their shambolic final appearance. "It was a funny gig," said Emmy-Kate. "Like one of our early shows, not because we were drunk, but because we just didn't play very well. Some people said, 'Oh you really let yourselves down, it was a shambles, your last gig should've been really brilliant', but I think it was the only way we could've done it." However, there are no regrets about the split itself. "people sometimes come up to us at out club [Club Shimmy, alternate Thursdays at The Clinic on Gerard Street, London] and it's like someone's died. They'll say, 'I'm so sorry', and we'll be like, 'Why? We're happier than we've been for ages, we're really busy...We're fine, thanks."