Kensington is a rock band from Utrecht, Netherlands. The band was formed in 2005 and has released two EPs and two albums since then. Their first album Borders was released in 2010. Its follow-up, Vultures, came out in 2012. Current band members are singer/guitarist Eloi Youssef, singer/guitarist Casper Starreveld, bass player Jan Haker and drummer Niles Vandenberg
Early years (2005-2008)
Kensington was formed in 2005 by singer/guitarist Casper Starreveld, bass player Jan Haker and drummer Lucas Lenselink. Singer/guitarist Eloi Youssef joined the band in 2006. Kensington’s first official releases appear in 2007 on Stuck in a Day Records: two-song promo single An Introduction To… and the five-song Kensington EP. This self-produced EP was recorded in the Second Moon Studio of Dutch folk singer Hessel van der Kooij, on the island of Terschelling and was mixed and mastered by Martijn Groeneveld in the Mailmen Studios in Utrecht.
The Kensington EP received good reviews, from Dutch music platform MusicFromNL for example, which showers it with praise. “The band effortlessly combines different styles and moods into a comprehensive sound. The quartet from Utrecht show musical sophistication on this debut. These five songs exhibit Kensington’s prowess, originality and musicality. It is a well-produced, diverse and catchy record.”
The band played several shows in 2007 with Dutch touring showcase festival the Popronde, and as support for bands such as American indie rock band Movies With Heroes. They also appeared in TV shows on Dutch music channel TMF and in online and printed music magazines such as alternative pop platform 3VOOR12.
At the end of 2007, drummer Lucas Lenselink decided to leave the band. Lenselink felt that his own ambitions do not match those of his band mates anymore. He explained that a career in music is not what he envisions for himself and that he wanted to focus on finishing his studies at university.
After auditioning a couple of new drummers, Niles Vandenberg, former drummer of Griffin, joined Kensington in February 2008. Niles does share the ambitions of the rest of the band and is seen as “a great addition”.
Together with Niles, the band start working on their second EP. This EP, called Youth, was released on December 12, 2008 on Dutch indie label Snowstar Records. Youth received positive reviews from MusicFromNL, amongst others, which praises the inventiveness of the song structures and the professional-sounding production. The Youth EP generates attention from several record labels and the band eventually signs with Bladehammer/EMI. A label that shares the band’s high ambitions.
Dutch radio station 3FM included Kensington in its Serious Talent program. A program that aims to support local talent by providing air play on 3FM and by hosting shows around the country. In addition to this, Kensington were invited to be the support act for Razorlight, My Chemical Romance and The Wombats for their shows in the Netherlands.
In the summer of 2009, Kensington traveled to Leeds to start work on their second album with producer James Kenosha, in the studio of Kaiser Chiefs’s keyboardist Nick “Peanut” Baines. The album, titled Borders, comes out on July 17, 2010. The album was mastered by John Davis, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys as well.
Their first single “Youth” received regular airplay on 3FM, MTV and TMF, an hits the Dutch Single Top 100 charts at number 78. The band spent the rest of 2010 touring the Netherlands with pop punk band MakeBelieve and several support acts. The second single to come off Borders, “When It All Falls Down”, was released in November that year.
In January 2011 Kensington played a show on the showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag, where the band was noticed by promoters from Dutch prime time TV show De Wereld Draait Door. On January 19 the band appear on the show to play their single “Youth”. In February the band set out on its first tour as main headliner, the No Borders Tour. The tour was a success, with sold-out shows in Paradiso Amsterdam, Tivoli Utrecht and Rotown Rotterdam.
Another eight shows are added when single “Let Go” came out in March 2011. “Let Go” is a new song that was not on the initial release of Borders, but which is added to a re-release of the album which comes out in April 2011 in Digipak format. “Let Go” is chosen as 3FM’s Megahit for the second week of April, which means that the radio station will give the track a lot of extra airplay.
For the “Let Go” tour the band plays in venues such as 013 Tilburg and in the main hall of Paradiso Amsterdam as support for English pop group Scouting For Girls. Reviews for the shows are good and Kensington establishes itself as a solid live band.
In the summer of 2011 a great majority of Kink FM listeners vote for Kensington to become ‘National Festival Ambassador of 2011’. This title includes a slot on Serbia’s EXIT Festival, one of the larger European summer festivals. The band get invited to play on Java Rockin’land in Indonesia as well. During their stay in Indonesia the band played two shows on the festival and a show at the Erasmushuis, the Dutch cultural centre in Jakarta.
On October 11, 2011 Borders was released in the U.S. and Canada, on Zip Records, an indie record label from San Francisco, and the record also becomes available world-wide on iTunes. To celebrate appearance of Borders for the American market the band release a video for “Let Go”. Footage for the video was shot by young British director and editor Daniel Burnett during the band’s stay in Indonesia and at several shows of the Let Go tour.
On October 25 “We Are The Young” was released, the first single to come off the yet to be recorded second album. “We Are The Young” was recorded in Niels Zuiderhoek’s YouGuysMusic studios in Berlin and mixed by Cenzo Townshend in London. Kensington spent the remainder of 2011 working on their second album with producer Niels Zuiderhoek in several recording sessions. Early November the band were invited to come to New York City, where they did some promotional work for Zip Records and played a show in the Cutting Room, a new music venue in Manhattan.
The band also did some radio interviews for college radio stations “The Atlantic Tunnel” and “East Village Radio” and appear in Cognac Wellerlane’s TV show for The Long Island Exchange. In December, Kensington were back in the Netherlands for a couple of shows where they premiere songs from their new album.
Kensington used the first months of 2012 to perfect their second album, Vultures. The band had planned a tour in February and March but postponed it to April, so as to be able to work on the songs some more, and to give the fans the chance to listen to the album before the start of the tour. Eventually, it proved to be impossible to release the album before the start of the tour, but the band organises some dressing room listening sessions for a select group of fans, who get the chance to hear some of the album tracks before everyone else. The band takes advantage of the all but sold out shows in Effenaar Eindhoven, Hedon Zwolle, Tivoli Utrecht and Melkweg Amsterdam to test-run the new material.
April 6, 2012 saw the release of the second single from Vultures, “Send Me Away”, on Universal Music. The songs gets picked up by radio station 3FM straightaway, which puts it on regular rotation.
The band are awarded two nominations in the 2012 3FM Awards. They are nominated for the “Serious Talent Award”, which is awarded by a jury, and in the category of “Best Artist Rock”, which is based on fan-votes.
Vultures is released on May 11, 2012. The album was co-produced by Kensington and Niels Zuiderhoek, mixed by Cenzo Townshend, famous for his work with bands such as Editors, Snow Patrol and U2. Vultures is mastered in New York by Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound. Dutch music magazine OOR call Vultures “the best Dutch album of 2012” and other media praise the international sound of the album.
On July 10, 2012 the band released a third single, “No Way Out”, which starred in its video, Hollywood actor Michael Koltes and Brazilian supermodel Ana Araújo. The video was filmed in London in June and produced by Juriaan and Boris Booij, Dutch film-makers stationed in London.
Kensington played several music festivals during the summer of 2012, such as the Indian Summer Festival. The band spent the remainder of the year touring the country in what is their biggest tour to date. The Vultures club tour has 18 dates, almost half of which sell out well in advance, including hometown venue Tivoli Utrecht.
On November 20, the band announced that Vultures will be released in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea. The international version was released January 11, 2013 on Universal Music. This version of the album included a new song that was not on the initial release of Vultures. “Home Again” featured in the Jack Wolfskin winter campaign commercial, but demand for the song got so high that it was decided that the “Home Again” would be released as a single as well. During the last show of the “Vultures Tour” in Tivoli Utrecht the band filmed a video for “Home Again. This video was directed and edited by Boris Booij.
Kensington kick-started the year 2013 with eleven shows at the Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival and a short 5-stop sold-out tour in the Netherlands in March and April. The band also played shows with Two Door Cinema Club and Dutch rockband Kane. The band played several big festivals this summer amongst which are Pinkpop and Zwarte Cross in the Netherlands, Sziget in Hungaria, Stonerock in Germany and Openair Gampel in Switzerland.
In August 2014 they released the album Rivals.
Read more about Kensington at their official website.