Kes Returns Fearless and Free on First Studio Album In 10 Years ‘Man With No Door’

The alluring sounds of soca are infectious and unmistakable. It’s freedom encased within a spicy Caribbean note. The brass, the riddim section, the lyrical prowess, and double—entendres can’t get any sweeter. Kes the Band, aka Kes, is one of the most energetic and beloved soca bands on the scene delivering the goods. From the melodic delivery of “Hello” (which has become the most streamed soca song released in the last decade thanks to 70 million plus streams) to the Trinidadian sentimental track “Savannah Grass,” Kes has delivered track after track of classic and unforgettable soca grooves and anthems—and there’s so much more to come. Their new studio album, Man With No Door on Ineffable Records, is their first studio album in ten years and continues to build upon their legacy and mission: to share soca around the world and educate the masses by bridging genres.

A creative shift with different musical genres

Lead singer Kees Dieffenthaller (aka Kes) has never been shy about meshing various musical influences and genres into his music. We’ve been privy to hearing rock, dancehall, pop, EDM—you name it, he’s experimented with it fearlessly. Man With No Door isn’t any different in that manner. Still, you can feel a creative shift and departure from previous albums. “I think with other albums I’ve had, I didn’t necessarily have the variety of music on this level,” says Kes. 

“I feel like over [the] time, I’ve honed into what my sound is and what I enjoy. I think it’s most probably a clearer picture and idea coming into focus. This album is a great introduction of the next chapter of me creatively as well. I will take you on a journey and bring you in different spaces. We’re going to move as if we don’t have a door—no doors between genres. I feel that even though people are accustomed to us doing different stuff, this will be a step even further because I’m in a different creative space. Each track is impactful, while being different.

Dancehall and R&B with the essence of soca

Kes’ sentiment emanates throughout the 16-track album. Fan favourite “Jolene” delves into the customary smooth R&B/groovy delivery that we’ve come to love, “Miracle” featuring Tano brings the romantic emotion of a love song to the road, “Yes Please” comes through with a sexy bubble and jam vibe with more of a pop infusion, the conscious and incredible “Rise Up” featuring Queen Omega is a whole other side to Kes we haven’t heard; lastly, Kes featuring Busy Signal and Haitian DJ and producer Michaël Brun (Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Victoria Monét, Buju Banton) apply pressure with the old school influenced dancehall track, “Honeycomb.” As different as these songs may sound, their inner core, soul and essence are all soca-infused.   

What Kes learned about himself artistically is that there is a space where all music can come together. He found the balance to mix R&B, rock, etc. with soca, where previously, he felt it was more of a difficult path. “It felt weird to some people. We’ve done it a bit more seamlessly on this one. There are a lot of lovely junctions (laughs). Like on “Banga” you can hear Afrobeat and reggaeton. “Miracle,” even though it’s a power soca tune, it’s like an intimate love song at the same time. Nobody has ever heard me sing a song like “Rise Up,” and that probably will be a surprise in many ways. All of this represents different aspects of who I am. We’re complex human beings (laughs), and this album sort of reflects me in all of these ways,” says Kes.

Creating fearlessly in a new space

During the album’s listening session, Kes discussed the meaning behind the title, sharing how he met a man who had no door for more than 15 years. The man met many people and lived fearless and free. That was the aura he wanted to emulate. Kes wanted to recreate that space, a fearless and creatively free place. That’s clearly the case here on Man With No Door. Kes openly merges the timeless with the new in his way. From heavy and infectious basslines, intense brass, classic 90s soca sounds, a touch of calypso, call and response, African riddims, old school reggae riddims (the Hot This Year riddim)—it’s a cold pot of genres well-seasoned and plated for the most delightful dish.

“I think there are a lot of things that we did, as Caribbean people; we’re so creative, and then we move on to something else,” says Kes. “And sometimes we really hit a sweet spot. I also wanted to bring back some of that to Soca and Dancehall. There’s a lot of dance in dancehall that we sometimes overlook. Because we come from soca, I wanted to bring back a dance type of dancehall music. So when you hear the touch of dancehall on our album, you’ll want to dance, you know what I mean? (Laughs) I’m bringing it back to the 90s and the 80s—the sweet times, I would say.”     

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