Keeps is an indie rock band based out of New York City. The band is composed of three members; Elie Zeitlin, lead vocals and guitar, Alessandro Spreafico, vocals and bass, and Joe Livingston, vocals and drums. Elie was born in Colorado, but raised in Seattle. Joe is originally from Miami, Florida, and Ale is from Como, Italy.
So how did this transcontinental triplet get started? According to Elie, it all started with his college Physiology professor, guitarist Nafeez Zawahir, who “was somewhat of a rock-star” himself. He liked Elie’s music and was interested in jamming with him. Zawahir “got his long time drummer, Joe, to come sit in and check out some” of their songs. “Within minutes,” Elie says, “I knew Joe was in.” Zawahir went to Bar Tano, a local pub in Brooklyn, a few months later after introducing Joe and Elie, only to notice Ale enjoying a burger inside. For some serendipitous reason, still to be adequately explained, this professor approached Ale and they began to discuss music. Ale says “the band needed a bassist and I needed a band. We tried to play once together. We fell in love with each other.” According to Elie, “the next week, Keeps was born.” Joe had this to say about that day: “Ale was trying to describe his startup business Contaminate” at the bar, “promoting international artists and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying or exactly what it was that he did, but we all clicked and that’s the important part.” He quickly followed up, “Now I get it [Ale’s startup idea that is].” It is clear that from the very beginning they knew that they wanted to form a band together. If you are wondering how they came up with the name Keeps, so are they; “We honestly cannot remember.” And their style is as fluid as their name. They do not categorize themselves as playing one specific genre of music. Ale, for one, grew up “with Brit pop and classic rock.” Joe describes their style as more “independent melodic rock with a driving beat.” Eli says that he is the “offspring of a Russian concert pianist and an American guitarist.” In all, they say their style is, simply, “whatever that is.”
Their fashion styles are each just as unique as the way they describe their style of music. Elie is the utilitarian, liking clothes that fit well and look good. Ale defines himself as “100% Brooklyner (but not hipster…please).” Joe describes himself as a “Jeans and T-shirt type of musician; [he] can rock [his] black tux jacket with just about anything.” He also adds that he “Grew up listening and playing shows with US and UK punk bands. Now [he’s] starting to buy those same underground band T-shirts all over again, 20 years later.”
Ale normally does his shopping in Italy, but he will be the first to admit it is a “funny thing, [he] always ends up buying American labels.” While he has a unique style served well by European boutiques, he does not think you necessarily have to go far to find creative looks. He Ale believes that “you can find very interesting things in big clothing store chains if you know how to pick.” Otherwise [he] prefers small boutique stores of young designers. Joe shops in independent stores in Williamsburg, as well as the Lower East Side. He likes Century 21 and says that “Europeans love it. If you dig, you shall find! Great prices for high end clothing.” Joe’s favorite labels are D&G Sunglasses, and only Italian. The added accessory of something small like a good pair of sunglasses is a key part of Joe’s look. He also says that he has quite a large Ray Ban collection. “[He] likes Penguin for the slim fit, and the odd limited edition clothes found at some of the big stores…
When asked to give some insight as to how their personal fashion styles are expressed through their music, they offer an important perspective: “It’s a shame that the identity of the music can be tied into the artist’s clothing as much as the notes being played.” Very true. Though these musicians are style icons, it is important to lend their art the independent evaluation due to any band. And while they agree that “image is [often] more important than music,” they hope that their image finds them through their music, instead of the other way
Of course there is only one way to find out what the musical image really is. Check out their concert at Bitter End in New York City on August 23rd!