Exploring ‘listening’ with Equal Echo, Brother Portrait & SE Dub Collective

In the lead up to our Brainchild 2017 launch party this Saturday, we wanted to share some of the inspirations and approaches of the amazing musicians who’ll be playing.

A subtle theme running through our programming for the festival this year is ‘listening’. Whether it’s listening to other musicians and MCs in jam sessions, or really listening to others in a discussion, it’s something that we wanted to explore, and we figured it would be a great starting point for our conversations here.

So read on to find out more about Brother Portrait, Equal Echo and SE Dub Collective‘s music in relation to listening in all its forms.

 

Hello, Brother Portrait.

Living in London, we’re inundated with noises all the time, both from the music world itself and from the pure hustle bustle of the city. Although not necessarily a problem in itself – the sounds of business which we are saturated with, in fact, can be a source of inspiration – we do need to develop ways to focus our ears and tune into the things which matter.

How much are you just hearing things, and how much are you really listening? How conscious are you of London’s sounds featuring in your work?

 “I feel I’m on the listening side of things. I am in conversation with – and am learning from – the things that I hear. In response, those sounds make their way into my work.”

 

What music are you listening to that is inspiring you the most right now?

“The patterns and meter of a few grime MCs. In particular – Novelist, President T, Manga, Mugen, Izzie Giggs, Capo Lee, Dapz … and many more besides. The scene is deepening and innovating by degrees, but if you’ve been following for a while you can sense the shift.”

How much has your ability to listen to other musicians in a composing or performing environment changed over the years?

“I’m more immersed in the making, sitting in session with producers and musicians. some years ago me and a couple friends; Jake, Nia and Josh started a jam session. We’d meet week in week out, improvising, teasing out songs, performing. I grew a lot from that setting”.

When you perform live, how much are you listening for the audience’s responses, and how much are you listening for everyone else you’re playing with? Does this change over time?”

“I listen and stay steady with who I’m playing with but there’s definitely a conversational aspect to my vocal delivery. A reaching out and a connection”.

 

Hello Equal Echo.

How much are you just hearing things, and how much are you really listening? How conscious are you of London’s sounds featuring in your work?

“We’re both generally daydreamers, so we’re quite creative when we try to capture what’s around us. It’s impossible to ignore the general hustle & bustle. But every now & then we hear a sound that we have to record! We recently sampled the musical garden at The Horniman Museum, we also regularly wander around Hector’s flat hunting for objects that sound good (shout out the Kenco coffee shakers!)”

Who in your life do you listen to the most?

“Family. The good bits & the bad bits!”

Us too! What music are you listening to that is inspiring you the most right now?

“A few bands/artists that we’ve been digging recently are… Skinshape, Khruangbin, Clutchy Hopkins, Jay Daniel, Dorothy Ashby, Alice Coltrane to name a few.”

How much has your ability to listen to other musicians in a composing or performing environment changed over the years?

“We’re very lucky to be surrounded by lots of amazingly talented musicians and as we develop as artists ourselves our appreciation grows with us.”

When you perform live, how much are you listening for the audience’s responses, and how much are you listening for everyone else you’re playing with? Does this change over time?

“So far the audience response has been great at our shows & the energy from them feeds into our performance. As it’s just the two of us on stage we’re constantly communicating with one another.”

Hey SE Dub Collective.

How much are you just hearing things, and how much are you really listening? How conscious are you of London’s sounds featuring in your work?

“I think when you’re living in one of the busiest cities in the world when you go to a gig you take the time to listen to someone’s creative process, it’s like mental downtime from the city.”

Who in your life do you listen to the most?

 “In SE dub there are 13 people’s musical influences to listen to, and by listening to each other is one of the ways we fuse the sounds of London together”.

What music are you listening to that is inspiring you the most right now?

“We are listening to and draw inspiration from: Mad professor, Twinkle Brothers and Jah Shakka!”

How much has your ability to listen to other musicians in a composing or performing environment changed over the years?

“We’re more attentive nowadays, so we can hear compositional and arrangement ideas more clearly. Also as we have played together as a collective and in other groups over many years so how we listen to each other and play together has gotten tighter”.

When you perform live, how much are you listening for the audience’s responses, and how much are you listening for everyone else you’re playing with? Does this change over time?”

“We pay attention to the vibe of the audience and get energy from them. We also feed each other energy and vibe as we play”.

Catch all these musicians play at our festival launch party this coming Saturday (11th March) at Hackney Showroom from 8pm. It’s going to be magic.

Last tickets remaining here

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