Photo: Milton Stille

Dead Quiet’s Kevin Keegan Has An Off-Stage Obsession With Rap Music

The heavy rock outfit changes gears to talk about rap music before unleashing their new album, Truth And Ruin.

Dead Quiet frontman Kevin Keegan is sitting on the couch in his East Vancouver apartment petting his affectionate and furry housemate, Cat Stevens, while headbanging to the first single from his band’s new album, Truth and Ruin. The song, appropriately titled “Atoned Deaf,” is chock-full of lightning-fast riffs and Keegan’s signature wail, making this smoked out sampling of stoner rock and the following seven tracks an excellent addition to the band’s already crushing discography.   

Dead Quiet have built their reputation around making a lot of noise in the heavy rock scene, riffing on influences from classic heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Judas Priest, mixed with more contemporary riff-rock. The quartet cranks out hooks ripe for thrashing in 2020’s virtual mosh pit, and their new album is no exception. However, it’s rap and hip-hop that has dominated Keegan’s playlist preferences lately. He’s been finding inspiration in a music style far different from the heavy music he and his bandmates craft so effortlessly.

“I’ve had a spot in my heart for hip-hop since I started listening to music when I was eight or nine. It’s always been in my life but got overshadowed by the rock-based music of my adolescence and young adult life,” he says. “Recently though, there has been a massive resurgence of hip-hop in my daily musical consumption. Maybe because I’m bored of what’s happening in rock and heavy metal at the moment, or maybe it’s because there have been a handful of artists that have re-stoked the fires.”

We asked the charismatic crooner for a look at the  hip-hop records that have been accompanying him everywhere he goes. 

Dr. Dre – 2001

This record is by no means new, but it always finds its way back into my rotation because it’s a near-perfect record. Dre’s production is flawless, and the barrage of guests keeps the record from ever feeling stale. You know I’m really drunk when I throw this on and dance uncontrollably, making anyone in the room very uncomfortable.

Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

I got into Kendrick’s discography in an odd order. I started with his second album, To Pimp a Butterfly, which I absolutely loved, went to Damn, and then about a year later, finally sat down with his debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city. I’m not sure why I ignored it for so long, but I was enthralled when I heard it. Even in his youth, there’s so much wisdom in Kendrick’s storytelling. His insights are that of someone who has been through a lot, and you can’t help but be compelled. As a songwriter and lyricist, I hear the passion and conviction that I can only hope to convey the way he does.

Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown was recommended to me by a good friend, and I have been obsessed ever since. This record is so weird and dirty; I’ve never heard anything like it. The production sounds like it was meant to enjoy and was made on a cocktail of drugs. There’s nothing conventional about the beats or samples, they’re weird and hard to wrap your head around at first, but they work perfectly with Danny’s vocal approach. His high-pitched, frantic attack gives me anxiety in the best way possible. It feels like someone who struggles with demons but, at the same time, parties with them. This album is my kind of nightmare, weird but also intoxicating.

 Run the Jewels – 2

This one might seem obvious to everyone. I feel like cis white males everywhere gravitate towards RTJ more than most rap and hip-hop these days. I’d never seen so many punk and metal kids from the suburbs at a rap show when these guys came through Vancouver a few years ago. So be it though, they’re fucking incredible. The balance of political and personal themes rounds these guys out and keeps the content varied and relevant. From political banger “Close Your Eyes,” featuring one of my all-time favourites, Zack de la Rocha, to “Love Again,” which walks you through some seriously gratuitous sexual activities; RTJ forces you to take into account all facets of existence.

Flatbush Zombies – Vacation In Hell

This record is really refreshing. It has the grit of the 90s classics I grew up with like Eazy-E, Gravediggaz, and Ice Cube that made me want to chain smoke doobies as a young man. These guys diss mumble rappers and talk about taking loads of acid. It’s just a fun record, and the production reminds me of a heavy doom record, sonic kick drum and low end that you feel in your nutsack.

Dead Quiet’s Truth And Ruin is available now on Artoffact Records