Point of Brew: Keeskea


A coffee break with Vanessa Marousopoulos of Sleep Club (drums) and Keeskea.

How do you take your coffee?

I either have a long black with one sugar or a soy mocha. That’s all I do.

What’s the foodstuff or beverage that you relate to the most?

I relate to ramen. Nice ramen—not the two-minute noodles. I really love the vegetarian ramen that’s available at places like Miso Happi in West End and Hai Hai in Paddington.

Is there any form or way that you like to write in?

I only seem to write songs in the midst of emotion breakdowns, which is good because the song is birthed from these really intense feelings. There’s not really any thought process like “I want this song to sound like this”, it just comes out. Every time I try and write to a form, or if I wake up and think “I’m going to write a song today”, it doesn’t work and I don’t feel it. I’m sometimes jealous of people who can do it. I will usually just get home one day and realise this is the moment and then start writing.

Is there any period in your own life that you take inspiration from?

I take a lot of inspiration from my childhood and my parents and grandparents. Keeskea is my grandparents’ last name, which explains why everyone says it differently! I draw a lot of inspiration from the nostalgic feeling of childhood, rather than any concrete memories. The songs I write are about things that are happening in the present day, but I take bits from my childhood to tell the story in a dreamy, surrealist perspective.

If you could start a band with any other group of musicians, who would they be and what would they play?

I’ve been thinking about this so much! I’ve been listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers lately and she is one of those artists that I listen to and think: “If there are people like this making music out there, should I just quit now?”. She’s incredible. I’d have her on baritone guitar and vocals. Then probably Emily Sprague from Florist.

I’m already so lucky to play with Olivia Bolin, who plays violin and keys in Keeskea. She’d have to be in there because she plays so beautifully and I love strings. Then I’d have two more string players to accompany Olivia. One of them would have to be Rob Moose from Phoebe Bridgers’ band. He’s quite unconventional in the way he plays and I really love that. I would get Chris Bolton, the guitarist from a Melbourne band called Seagull to play something—probably guitar. Now I have three guitarists and no bass. Bass is a myth—no, I’m kidding! Georgia Harvey, who plays bass in Seagull and her own project Yffer would play bass. And I would play drums.

What are you listening to right now?

A lot of Pheobe Bridgers and Snail Mail, who are heaps of fun because I love pop music so much. The guitar parts in their songs are really interesting but essentially the songs are just straight-forward pop and it’s so good. I’ve also been revisiting Warpaint a lot recently. Told Slant are another band I’m listening to now and I think they have the same drummer as Florist. They’re really cool because they double track the drums so it’s the same tracks panned left and right, and he accents the snares differently in the left and right tracks which is interesting. I’ve been listening to The Mountain Goats a lot recently because my boyfriend really loves them.

Do you find you do your best work at night or day?

I’m such a night owl. The day time is not for me at all. I just switch off during the day and don’t want to do anything and I just wander around. But as soon as it hits around 8pm I suddenly get really inspired and want to write and read and go to classes at uni even though they’re not on! Night time for sure.

What’s the weirdest dream that you’ve had?

I have so many weird and bad dreams. I have a dream journal- is that an art form? I think I’ve been having obvious stress-induced dreams because recently I had a dream about quitting my job and I woke up crying. In the dream I quit and then I thought “oh fuck, what am I doing, I need money to live”, and I woke up crying not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. It was really intense. You know how it is.

What’s the hardest decision you’ve made today?

I’m going to say the hardest was whether I should have crumpets or Weet-Bix for breakfast. I chose Weet-Bix. We don’t have a toaster at the moment and I didn’t want to use the sandwich press because that’d be weird for crumpets. That being my hardest decision is probably a pretty big indication of how good today has been so far.

What do you think Brisbane could do better to help the arts?

I think there is a really great number of artists in this city. The only thing is that you have to really look for a lot of them, which sucks because it shouldn’t be that hard to find people doing things. I found that I didn’t know what was happening in the music scene in Brisbane until I was heavily involved in it. Before I was playing in bands, I wanted to go see a lot of music but I didn’t know where to go.

I think what Brisbane is doing well are the little projects and publications that are helping to support and lift up emerging artists, which is so great. There’s also a thing called the Ether Sessions, which is an all-donation based community project where people are paid properly. They do their sessions at Common House on Wickham Street in the Valley.

Listen to Keeskea’s new single Forfeit on Spotify here.

Tom Jordan