|Past members||Lucas Lenselink|
Kensington is a rock band from Utrecht, Netherlands. Formed in 2005, the band has since released two EPs and three studio albums: Borders (2010), Vultures (2012) and Rivals (2014). The band consists of singer/guitarist Eloi Youssef, singer/guitarist Casper Starreveld, bassist Jan Haker and drummer Niles Vandenberg.
Early years (2005–2008)
Kensington was formed in 2005 by singer/guitarist Casper Starreveld, bass player Jan Haker and drummer Lucas Lenselink. Singer/guitarist Eloi Youssef joined the band in 2006. Kensington's first official releases appear in 2007 on Stuck in a Day Records: two-song promo single An Introduction To... and the five-song Kensington EP. This self-produced EP was recorded in the Second Moon Studio of Dutch folk singer Hessel van der Kooij, on the island of Terschelling and was mixed and mastered by Martijn Groeneveld in the Mailmen Studios in Utrecht. The Kensington EP received good reviews, from Dutch music platform MusicFromNL for example, which showers it with praise. "The band effortlessly combines different styles and moods into a comprehensive sound. (...) The quartet from Utrecht show musical sophistication on this debut. These five songs exhibit Kensington's prowess, originality and musicality. It is a well-produced, diverse and catchy record." The band played several shows in 2007 with Dutch touring showcase festival the Popronde, and as support for bands such as American indie rock band Movies With Heroes. They also appeared in TV shows on Dutch music channel TMF and in online and printed music magazines such as alternative pop platform 3VOOR12.
At the end of 2007, drummer Lucas Lenselink decided to leave the band. Lenselink felt that his own ambitions do not match those of his band mates anymore. He explained that a career in music is not what he envisions for himself and that he wanted to focus on finishing his studies at university. After auditioning a couple of new drummers, Niles Vandenberg, former drummer of Griffin, joined Kensington in February 2008. Niles does share the ambitions of the rest of the band and is seen as "a great addition".
Together with Niles, the band start working on their second EP. The EP, titled Youth, was released on 12 December 2008 on Dutch indie label Snowstar Records. Youth received positive reviews from MusicFromNL, amongst others, which praises the inventiveness of the song structures and the professional-sounding production. The Youth EP generates attention from several record labels and the band eventually signs with EMI|Bladehammer/EMI. A label that shares the band's high ambitions.
Dutch radio station 3FM included Kensington in its Serious Talent program. A program that aims to support local talent by providing air play on 3FM and by hosting shows around the country. In addition to this, Kensington were invited to be the support act for Razorlight, My Chemical Romance and The Wombats for their shows in the Netherlands.
In the summer of 2009, Kensington traveled to Leeds to start work on their second album with producer James Kenosha, in the studio of Kaiser Chiefs's keyboardist Nick Baines. The album, titled Borders, comes out on July 17, 2010. The album was mastered by John Davis, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys as well. Their first single "Youth" received regular airplay on 3FM, MTV and TMF, and entered the Dutch Single Top 100 chart at number 78. The band spent the rest of 2010 touring the Netherlands with pop punk band MakeBelieve and several support acts. The second single to come off Borders, "When It All Falls Down", was released in November that year.
In January 2011 Kensington played a show on the showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag, where the band was noticed by promoters from Dutch prime time TV show De Wereld Draait Door. On January 19 the band appear on the show to play their single "Youth". In February the band set out on its first tour as main headliner, the No Borders Tour. The tour was a success, with sold-out shows in Paradiso Amsterdam, Tivoli Utrecht and Rotown Rotterdam.
Another eight shows were added when single "Let Go" came out in March 2011. "Let Go" was a new song which wasn't included on the initial release of Borders, but added to an April 2011 re-release of the album in Digipak format. "Let Go" was chosen as 3FM's Megahit for the second week of April, which meant that the radio station gave the track extra airplay. For the "Let Go" tour, the band played in venues such as 013 Tilburg and in the main hall of Paradiso Amsterdam as support for English pop group Scouting For Girls. Reviews for the shows were good, and Kensington established itself as a solid live band.
In the summer of 2011 a great majority of Kink FM listeners vote for Kensington to become 'National Festival Ambassador of 2011'. This title includes a slot on Serbia's EXIT Festival, one of the larger European summer festivals. The band get invited to play on Java Rockin'land in Indonesia as well. During their stay in Indonesia the band played two shows on the festival and a show at the Erasmushuis, the Dutch cultural centre in Jakarta.
On 11 October 2011, Borders was released in the U.S. and Canada throught Zip Records, an indie record label from San Francisco. The record also became available worldwide on iTunes. To celebrate the release of Borders in North America, the band released a video for "Let Go". Footage for the video was shot by young British director and editor Daniel Burnett during the band's stay in Indonesia and at several shows of the Let Go tour.
On 25 October 2011, the band released "We Are the Young", the first single off the upcoming second studio album. The song was recorded in producer Niels Zuiderhoek's YouGuysMusic studios in Berlin and mixed by Cenzo Townshend in London. Kensington spent the rest of 2011 working on their second album with Zuiderhoek in several recording sessions. In early November, they were invited to New York City, where they did some promotional work for Zip Records and played a show in the Cutting Room, a music venue in Manhattan. The band also did some radio interviews for college radio stations "The Atlantic Tunnel" and "East Village Radio", and appeared in Cognac Wellerlane's TV show The Long Island Exchange. In December, Kensington were back in the Netherlands for a couple of shows where they premiere songs from their new album.
Kensington used the first months of 2012 to perfect their second album, Vultures. The band had planned a tour in February and March but postponed it to April, so as to be able to work on the songs some more, and to give the fans the chance to listen to the album before the start of the tour. Eventually, it proved to be impossible to release the album before the start of the tour, but the band organises some dressing room listening sessions for a select group of fans, who get the chance to hear some of the album tracks before everyone else. The band takes advantage of the all but sold out shows in Effenaar Eindhoven, Hedon Zwolle, Tivoli Utrecht and Melkweg Amsterdam to test-run the new material.
April 6, 2012 saw the release of the second single from Vultures, "Send Me Away", on Universal Music. The songs got picked up by radio station 3FM straightaway, which put it on regular rotation.
The band received two nominations at the 2012 3FM Awards in the categories "Serious Talent Award", which is awarded by a jury, and "Best Artist Rock", which is based on fan votes.
Vultures was released on May 11, 2012. The album was co-produced by Kensington and Niels Zuiderhoek, mixed by Cenzo Townshend, famous for his work with bands such as Editors, Snow Patrol and U2. Vultures is mastered in New York by Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound. Dutch music magazine OOR call Vultures "the best Dutch album of 2012" and other media praise the international sound of the album.
On July 10, 2012 the band released a third single, "No Way Out", which starred in its video, Hollywood actor Michael Koltes and Brazilian supermodel Ana Araújo. The video was filmed in London in June and produced by Juriaan and Boris Booij, Dutch film-makers stationed in London.
Kensington played several music festivals during the summer of 2012, such as the Indian Summer Festival. The band spent the remainder of the year touring the country in what is their biggest tour to date. The Vultures club tour has 18 dates, almost half of which sell out well in advance, including hometown venue Tivoli Utrecht.
On 20 November, the band announced that Vultures would be released in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea. The international version was released on 11 January 2013 through Universal Music. It included a previously unreleased song titled "Home Again", which featured in the Jack Wolfskin winter campaign commercial. The song became popular, and eventually was also released as a single. During the last show of the Vultures Tour in Tivoli Utrecht, the band filmed a video for "Home Again". It was directed and edited by Boris Booij.
Kensington kick-started the year 2013 with eleven shows at the Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival and a short 5-stop sold-out tour in the Netherlands in March and April. The band also played shows with Two Door Cinema Club and Dutch rockband Kane. The band played several big festivals this summer amongst which are Pinkpop and Zwarte Cross in the Netherlands, Sziget in Hungary, Stonerock in Germany and Openair Gampel in Switzerland.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
| NLD|| BEL|
- Kensington (2007)
- Youth (2008)
|Single||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"When It All Falls Down"||2011||—||—||—||—|
|"We Are the Young"||—||—||—||—||Vultures|
|"Send Me Away"||2012||—||—||—||—|
|"No Way Out"||—||—||—||—|
|"Don't Look Back"||—||39||—||—|
|"Home Again"||2013||40||11||33||63||Vultures (International Edition)|
|"All for Nothing"||51||24||35||47|