Meet AKadem – the Kentish band aiming to kick off a rock revolution

AKadem playing a set at Ellington Park

By James Bonthron

Teen band AKadem promise their “shows will be a rollercoaster” of genres as they hit the Kent music circuit.

The band, made up of six 17-year old students, debuted in May 2023 at Ellington Park’s May Fayre. They have gone on to play at various other venues around Kent, including Ashford, Faversham and Canterbury. Recently, the promising rock stars have played at Ramsgate’s East Kent Arms and the Queen’s Head.

AKadem is made up of Aston Steventon, Ethan Reed, Zach Holbrook, Beth Rich, Brooke Jacobs and Daisy King

The group -apart from Zach – met in a music class at The Canterbury Institute for the Performing Arts Sixth Form and, with the help of their teachers, are realising their shared dream.

Since then, the Kent musicians have become a tightly knit group.

Rehearsal: From left to right, Brooke, Aston, Ethan and Beth

Aston, from Ramsgate, is the drummer, while Faversham-based Ethan is the lead guitarist. The bass guitarist of the band is Beth, who lives in Canterbury.

The two singers are Brooke, from Faversham, and Daisy, from Whitstable. Brooke is also songwriter for the band. Last but not least is Ramsgate-based rhythm guitarist, Zach.

Each member has a slightly different reason for playing music.

Aston says that his love of music started young as he got his first drum kit at the tender age of two.

He said: “My dad put on the CD of Foo Fighters at Wembley and I started playing along. I had rhythm apparently.”

Ethan has a slightly different motivation. He said: “It’s just a bit of fun.”

That’s not to say he’s isn’t dedicated to music and he plans to study performance arts at university in London.

As well as being a talented guitarist, he’s also a great teacher. In fact, he taught Zach how to play the guitar and he has learnt the instrument very quickly, being performance ready after only having practised for around a month.

For Ethan, the guitar is the ultimate instrument. He said: “Once I started playing guitar, I loved it, more than any instrument that I’ve played before.”

Ethan’s guitar riffs and improvisations are inspired by the legendary Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame.

Brooke, on the other hand, is more influenced by her parents. She said: “My dad was a drummer and my mum was a theatre kid.”

Beth was originally a lot more sports-focused. So, while she’s in love with music now, being in a band wasn’t inevitable.

She said: “I came to school more sports focused and every Thursday we chose what to do and one year I chose music. I put myself on bass and I’ve continued since.”

As well as their instruments of choice, Beth and Brooke are also learning to play the drums.

Brooke says the band has been central to building confidence, adding: “How I am now compared to two years ago is completely different.”

So, what do the band play? Aston said: “We do mostly 60s through to modern day, 2010s to 2015,” while Ethan joked: “We can’t really play drill music, can we?”

Despite the variety, the band mostly plays rock music, ranging from folksy and soft rock to hard rock.

Although covering music from other bands, they try to make their performances special and have also started writing their own material.

Aston said: “We make them our own and we like to mix and blend songs. You aren’t going to come to our shows and listen to one genre. Our shows will be a rollercoaster.”

While their dream, like any band, is to make it big, for now they have a more grounded goal.

Aston said: “We’re all focused on having full time jobs and gigging.”

The summer house at the back of Aston’s Ramsgate home is their primary base of operations, and it’s where the band practise when they aren’t working hard recording in the studio.

Aston said: “We’ve put a lot of money into [the band]. For our first gig, we bought all the instruments and we rehearse every Monday evening. We’re practically in here all the time when we can be.”

Recently, they have been hard at work recording their first EP, with the title still to be decided.

So far, the band has recorded two songs at Messiah Riffs Audio studio in Margate with the EP expected to come out in the coming weeks.

Their new music will be released on YouTube, Deezer, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Their first two songs, “Take me there” and “Hurricane” are rock songs about going out and a messy relationship respectively, but their released EP will have a variety of genres on it.

This year will be important for AKadem, with plans to play at the May Fayre and Picnic in the Park in Ellington Park, as well as at the upcoming hop festival in Faversham.

Aston is very confident about the future of the band. He said: “We’re at the ideal age to do this. We’re getting into our adult years and since we started young, we will have enough time to do this.”

The band can be found on a range of social media platforms, or can be contacted via their email: [email protected]

Instagram: akademband

TikTok: akadem_band

Facebook: Akadembanduk