Stacked up in the hallway of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis' North London home are roughly fourteen guitars. To the left is a room with a late '40s RCA pre-amp studded with big Bakelite dials, reel-to-reel machines and all manner of post-war vintage equipment. There's also a big room of rubble where Lewis, 15, is building a studio for his sibling rock 'n' roll band with his dad. The middle child to his sisters Kitty, 13 and Daisy, 18, he's a fully pompadoured teenage rocker, fully conversant in rare rock 'n' roll, a DJ of 78' records and owner of a homemade amp and lapsteel guitar. His sisters are equally immersed. Kitty, the ukelele maestro is currently turning her bedroom into a tiki lounge and Daisy's mixing a nascent career as a photographer to jam with her sibs. In short, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are a throughbred sensation, playing 40's/50's rockabilly and swing, country and western, Hawaiian and rock 'n' roll with a verve, skill and energy that connects them back to the far past and the super-shiny future. Through steely Marconi BBC mics, of course.
Between them, the trio play guitar, piano, banjo, lapsteel guitar, harmonica, double bass, ukulele, trombone and accordion, swapping instruments between songs at their super-energetic live shows. It's a set-up that has wowed audiences when they played with The Pipettes, The Concretes and The Cuban Brothers and worked a treat when they supported Coldcut at Cargo. 'There were some rudeboys in the audience.' says Kitty. 'They couldn't stop themselves from dancing . Whatever the crowd, they always seem to like it.'
Single 'Mean Son Of A Gun', recorded in their back room, is a Johnny Horton song, a honky tonk and rockabilly singer from the late '50s who died in a car crash in 1960. 'We've always listened to Elvis,' says Daisy, 'but he's only the tip of the iceberg. We're really into this music, the rhythm, the energy and we've been gigging this song for a while.' It was a natural choice for them, and a wildly energetic follow-up to their first single, 'Honolulu Rock and Roll', which was the first release on Resonance FM-linked label, Oof!
'We play old music but we're playing it now,' says Lewis. 'You can't just strum. You have to do it with fire.' For them, it's heroes like Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Johnny Cash, Wynonie 'Mr Blues' Harris and Roy Brown who are on iPod rotation, although Daisy professes to like some current artists and points out the significance of the Ray Charles tune that underpins 'whasis name, Kanye West's' 'Gold Digger'.
The band started when they visited the Come Down and Meet The Folks Sunday afternoon country and rockabilly stop-off at the Golden Lion pub with, err, their folks. Big Steve of the Arlenes, who ran the event, asked Lewis to come and play banjo with him and Kitty joined them on drums. The second time they played, Daisy took her place on accordion. After playing intermittently at the pub, the trio decided they needed two more members and hauled ma and pa into the set up on double bass and guitar respectively. 'They didn't want to do it at first,' says Daisy, 'and mum couldn't even play double bass but we needed her to do it so we told her she had to learn.' The gig offers started to come thick and fast and the band ended up playing alongside Radio One Blue Room DJ Rob Da Bank. Suitably wowed, he offered them a session on his show and eventually signed them to his Sunday Best imprint. Over the summer they'll be playing Lovebox, Bestival and making the most of the school-free time to record some new material. 'We like to record at home' says Lewis, ' because we like the energy of the early records and we're trying to recreate the same studio set-up in our back room.'
Slick up your fringe and pull on a vintage shirt: welcome to the rockin' world of Kitty, Daisy & Lewis.