Sunday, 2 October 2011

Filthy Kicks Interview

1) Your sound is a mash up of rap, breaks, drum n bass, synths, drums, gypsy violin & alluring female vocals. Collectively do you share a passion for all of these genres? Or are you gelling each others tastes to form the finished product?

I think it’s more of the latter. We all have a hugely varying taste in music. Personally I (Darren – synth / programming) listen to a lot of drum and bass and hip hop, but I grew up on 60s music, studied classical guitar and soak up world music as well. Ibrahim (DJ / MC) DJs a lot of electro and breaks and the Beats Boy is a funk man. Roland has spent years recording film soundtracks and opera, Violeta studies classical violin and Jana is a classically trained vocalist who has a healthy respect for dirty beats and bass. This mix of styles and influences definitely contributes to the varied sound of the band.

2) Considering the multi-cultural society of Britain today and popular music like Reggae initially being brought over in the 60's by the Jamaican immigrants. Are you hoping to open the minds of the younger (or even older generations) who are unfamiliar or have limited knowledge of the Klezmer music sound?

I guess although that’s a part of what we do, we’re really just setting out to make music that people can dance to. Often with bands that set out to update ‘world music’, it seems the traditional aspect of the music comes first, with the modern styles coming almost as an afterthought. For a Filthy Kicks tune to work, we try to really make the styles blend - beats and dirty synths that you’d expect to hear in a club in 2009 as well as modal violin melodies. In many ways if we can make someone who already appreciates folk tunes dance like a maniac to dirty drum and bass, then I’d consider that more of a success.

3) You’re advertising yourselves as live group. So I guess you're using hardware rather than software, as well as many organic instruments. Are any of you classically trained? Or is it more a case of being self-taught on the synthetic/percussion and passed down from parent to sibling on the strings?

We actually combine hardware and software in our live performances. I think we’re up to a count of 3 Macs for the live set-up so far… But essentially we’re combining that sound with the liveness of the drums, violin and vocals. Plus everything is performed by us – there are no loops or samples in the backing. Two-thirds of the band have had formal classical training. I think that comes through most with Violeta (violin) and Jana (vocals) who have both been to music college. Ro and I have also had classical training, but when we’re making dirty squelch noises on a synth, it’s much more about simplicity and filth.

4) Are there any album releases or gigs planned for the near future?

We’re booking gigs all over London at the moment, and will be touring the rest of the country in a few months. The next gig date will be headlining a massive Club Neurotica Valentine’s party somewhere in London. The location is so secret even we don’t know where we’re playing yet… Check our Myspace page for details of tickets for that and future gigs. As regards the album, we’ve spent a few months writing and rehearsing, and yes, now it’s definitely time to get the album ready. No firm date yet, but we have the Crave EP on Myspace as a taster. We’re hoping to have another few tracks soon, and will let you know when the album’s ready to go.

5) Which artists are impressing you recently?

The Apples – crazy hip hop / funk / turntablist crew from NY and Tel Aviv
Mud Sun – UK / Canada hip hop collabo – conscious party music
Low – beautiful down-tempo soundscapes from the US
Chase and Status – D’n’b / dubstep with basslines to die for
SKC – Hungarian euphoric drum and bass producer
K’naan – Somalian rapper now in the US
Edit – Glitch hop with ridiculously filthy basslines
Plus old favourites like Portishead, Reprazent, Prodigy, Cinematic Orchestra, The Roots, and on and on and on

6) Which artists inspired you most in forming your sound?

I think it was people like Nitin Sawhney and Talvin Singh, and also Asian Dub Foundation I guess, who were pushing the boundaries of the Asian sounds. They showed people years ago that it was possible to fuse the old and the new in inspirational and dance-friendly ways. Other bands like Oi Va Voi have been an influence along the way. Really though the major influence has been live dance music – drum and bass, breaks, hip hop. Bands like London Electricity, The Cinematic Orchestra or The Bays, who have taken the dance music template and created something new and exciting in a live context.

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