Keto is the musical moniker of Nottingham-based lo-fi folk songstress Leah Sanderson. Currently on tour with Julia Jacklin, Keto recently shared her wonderful new single, Superstar. A wistful slice of world-weary folk, Superstar combines Leah’s rich-folky vocal, with gently plucked acoustic notes and waves of atmospheric strings, bringing to mind the likes of Meg Baird or Vashti Bunyan. Lyrically it paints pictures, inviting the listener to a world of darkened skies and hazy, troubled memories, leaving the details open to be interpreted as you choose, like an impressionist painter, Keto invites you to fill in your own blanks.
Superstar is the follow-up to last year’s EP, What We Do, a record that showcases Keto’s ability to write hypnotic slices of maudlin, minimal, downbeat folk. Keto’s songwriting is not so much in the tradition of her fellow English songwriters, but tapping into the shadowy recesses of traditional American music occupied by the likes of Bill Callahan, Marissa Nadler or Alela Diane.
Today Keto takes some time out from life on the road to answer our questions, discussing her future plans, the inspiration behind Superstar, and her desire to collaborate with Mark Kozelek.
FTR: For those who don’t know, who/what is Keto?
Keto is Leah Sanderson from Nottingham, sometimes joined by band mates Rob and Midds.
It’s the first of a few releases happening this year. I think it’s quite an understated track where it’s quite important to listen to the lyrics and come to your own conclusions.
FTR: You’re out on tour with Julia Jacklin, how has the reaction been? Are these your biggest shows so far? It’s been great, the crowds have been so attentive and Julia and her band are really lovely. Every show has been sold out so far.
FTR: What can you tell us about Nottingham music scene? Anyone we should be listening to?
In Nottingham a few of my favourite musicians are Daudi Matsiko, Gallery 47 and The Most Ugly Child.
FTR: Who are your musical influences?
I listen to all kinds of bands and artists, I love music so that’s a given really. I don’t directly take influence from anyone or anything in particular it was more that when I started playing gigs people would say you sound like….then I’d check them out.
FTR: Have you always played instruments? Did you grow up in a musical environment?
My younger brother encouraged me to start playing guitar.
FTR: Would you consider working with other musicians? Do you have any dream collaborations?
I work with a violinist and keys player at the moment, and I’m looking to experiment more, I don’t think you should ever put conscious limits on your sound and I’d quite like to collaborate with Mark Kozelek haha.
FTR: The lyrics to Superstar seem to be quite sceptical about fame (“it comes and goes with the changing tide”), do you worry about how you would react if you found fame?The song is not about fame in that sense. I’ve not really thought about it, I’m not really that way inclined.
FTR: What are your plans beyond this single? Is there an album on the way? More tour dates?
There’s certainly more on the way.