Success‘ is a funny concept… In its rawest, most pure form, it is entirely relative, and this was the subject KEN mode chose to approach their new album with, aptly titled ‘Success‘.

Both sonically and lyrically, a shift has been made from the classic spitting of metallic hardcore tinged vitriol to a more raw indie aesthetic.

On ‘SuccessKEN mode pay tribute to where they’ve come from, saluting both their Canadian Prairie roots and a time when they first started to care about making music. This was a time when the burgeoning ‘grunge’ and Touch & Go / Dischord scenes of the late 80’s and early 90s, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, the Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu were warping their teenage minds.

Lyrically, the band’s fascination with comedy spirals around classical western concepts of ‘success’ – from employment, sex, marriage, religion, socioeconomic standing, and the perceptions people have of how they, and those around them, fit into the world.

Armed with this mantra, KEN mode enlisted the services of legendary engineer Steve Albini to capture the material in a fully analog session, bringing to fruition the most raw and direct effort they have ever put forth.

Success‘ is out now via Season Of Mist. You can purchase on CD and Vinyl now via Nerve Gas [Here].

This week the band had a crack at our Hotseat questions. Give the album a stream below whilst having a read.


Name : Jesse Matthewson + Shane Matthewson + Scott Hamilton
Band : KEN mode
Job In Band : Vocals/Guitar + Drums + Bass
Website Address :
Hometown : Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Hometown is best known for : Hogs
Best venue in your hometown : The Dribblespoon Cafe
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Hatebreed & the Weakerthans tour 2001.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : When KEN mode opened for Fred Penner & the Weakerthans
How did the band first come to exist? I met my brother Shane at a Weakerthans show in Winnipeg, and we’ve been playing together ever since.
How long has the band been going? 14-16 years.
Is there an interesting story behind the name? It was the mantra that Atticus Finch espoused to get into the right psychological mindset before he’d go to trial in the book ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. He was getting into ‘Kill Everyone Now’ mode while defending Boo Radley in the book. KEN mode all the time.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… The band’s most recent music release is the CD/LP ‘Success’, which was recorded by pop producer Steve Albini. We have a book of tasteful nude photographs of the band members entitled ‘Nipples’ that will be released later this year on recently revived Boner Records.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Playing with the Weakerthans.
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? Seeing the Weakerthans live for the first time made us want to play music.
Any band, album, or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Chico Leverette, The Swinging Tigers, Ron and Bill, Nick and the Jaguars, Debbie Dean, Eugene Remus, Sublime, and Everlast.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? KEN mode, dub-step.
Most prized music related item you own? A First Act guitar from Walmart.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Researching classic Nebraskan boudoir photography for our follow-up to ‘Nipples’ (tentatively titled ‘Nipples II’), raising lizards and birds, and visiting our grandparents.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Emails from promoters, frantically cancelling shows.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Stifling sexual depression.
Any item you seem to always forget to take on tour? Merchandise. All of it.
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? One million dollars, and a full paper copy of the most up to date IFRIS publication.
Got a favourite place you’ve toured… and why? On one of our first tours we found a whistle that got us to giant land, and it was our favourite place to tour thus far. We haven’t been able to make it back.
Got a favourite venue you’ve played… and why? Sex World in Minneapolis, MN, because there was a giant robotic penis in that venue.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Any show attended by less than 5 people.
Any pre-show rituals? Transcendental meditation, rubbing, and hydration.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Honestly, we don’t do a lot of touring because we make a steady living off of record royalties.
Last song you listened to? ‘Face’ by Christian Death for Bassist, ‘Marbles’ by Single Mothers by Jesse, and ‘Mother’ by single Danzig for Shane.
Last album you picked up? 500 copies of KEN mode’s ‘Success’
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? Scott: Mudhoney, Vertigo, Steel Poll Bathtub, Jesse: We Are Hex, Conduct, White Lung, Shane: I don’t listen to music really
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? We Are Hex, Conduct, Child Bite, the Moas.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? UFC 190 on August 1, followed by a full North American tour in Sept/Oct/Nov.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Danzig – I. Why? Upper body strength, wolves, and being wee and having muscles.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Danzig, because he would hate doing it SO much, and we know he wouldn’t do a good job (possibly as a retaliation for what we did to his album).
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Tiny Tim, Beethoven (and the Beethoven band), Jesus Christ superstar – as originally performed by JC and his super S’s.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? We need to make it to Dark Land before this game is over.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Funny you should ask, but RUSH recently announced that they were retiring from touring, and we have been anointed their replacement, and are presently in the legal process of rebranding as RUSH Canada (21361 Manitoba Ltd.)
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Bands that would bring fans out, like Metallica, Weezer, and the Weakerthans.
Got any final words? Please check out ‘Success’ for more hilarious noise. And don’t do what Donny Don’t does.

1. Blessed
2. These Tight Jeans
3. The Owl…
4. I Just Liked Fire
5. Management Control
6. A Passive Disaster
7. Failing At Fun Since 1981
8. A Catalog Of Small Disappointments
9. Dead Actors