In our recent interview with the Audio Doughnuts founder, we discovered that over the next 12 months they will be placing much more emphasis on their record label, as opposed to the events side of the brand. The mission statement is simple: simultaneously push dance and ‘grass roots’ music from up-and-coming artists. The recent Benin City releases and forthcoming LP, and the recently released debut 12″ (featured below) from Tuesday Born are a sure step in the right direction.
Both five-piece band Benin City, whose lead singer is LV affiliate Joshua Idehen, and Londoner Tuesday Born make forms of African-influenced, soulful electronica. Their respective sounds blend perfectly, making a collaboration of some description likely to be part of the AD plans. Similarly, this Vs. interview looked a great way to uncover what Tuesday Born, aka Garbiel Benn, and Benin City‘s front man Joshua Idehen have in common.
Tuesday Born interviewing Joshua Idehen:
As a lyricist, is there a piece of poetry that’s had a big influence on you? Or was there a J Dilla in poet form whose work changed your life?
WB Yates: He wishes for the cloths of heaven. And Dizzee Rascal. In fact, screw Yates; I haven’t heard that dude in Yonks. Dizzee’s first two albums. That’s me.
Have you seen the Flying Lotus film? If so what’s your take/interruption on it?
Flawless, really. I actually don’t have a take on it. I don’t think it needs to be unpacked, at least not by me. In my head I have an eloquent explanation for everything that happens in that video that would be ruined should they ever be worded. All I really can say is nothing that short has ever brought me close to tears by being beautiful. Apart from Penguins sneezing. 30secs. Waterworks. Guaranteed.
I personally take a lot of influence from the music of Africa as it has an unmatched vibrancy and energy – being from Benin yourself, do you feel the same?
My influences vary to be honest. I always got the hump when Benin City (during our formative years) used to be called an afro-funk band, when nothing we made was in any way afrobeat; few journos heard a couple foreign dialects and BLAM, we’re afrobeat. Music from Africa does have it’s uniqueness, much like music from everywhere else. I like Eurotrash. (I do not like Eurotrash). Besides, I’m in a band with three very non-African folk – Theo, Tom and Faye, and we wouldn’t make lovely music if I was like “IT BEGAAAAAAN IN AFRICA” all the time.
Do you think that a piece of music is a sum of its parts, or that one particular characteristic of it is more important that the other – ie lyrics, melody, bassline, vibe?
I think the music is only as good as its weakest bit, which is why I constantly rail on Theo to better his drumming. JOKES THEO IS THE BEST DRUMMER EVER DAVE GROHL EAT YOUR HEART OUT. I mean when I listen to music I don’t dissect it that way. Music is about every part pulling its bit. Or you having the best marketer and songbombing the radio.
What do you think about the bleakness of music within the charts today and Rita Aura’s outstanding lack of talent?
Funny, I was just taking about that! I don’t mind it, I don’t listen to it, if I was younger I would think it was the best music ever, and then I’d be sixty telling young folk how great music was back when ‘real’ talent like Rita Ora was doing her thing. The greatness of the internet is, unlike the past, you don’t have to engage with chart music. If you’re about the music, then google.
Are you up for doing a collaboration?
No. You smell.
Joshua interviewing Tuesday Born:
You have a strong African influence in your work(s). When did this start, and why in God’s name did you just pick up a guitar and do indie like the rest of England? It was the African lady bums that did it, wasnt it? Go on, say it was the African lady bums.
African lady bums are inspiring, for sure. Indie music and guitars aren’t inspiring. I always had a fascination with Africa and was exposed to bits of African music from early on – I remember driving to Crystal Palace swimming pool when I was in reception with one of Youssou N’Dour album’s on repeat and really loving it. ‘7 Seconds’ is still a tune to this day. Even before I was really listening to African music though (or went to Africa) I was making beats and naming them African names and imagining African vocals and drums on them.
I went to Ghana for 6 months when I was 18 and at that point my ears were really opened to the rhythm and form of Ghanaian music and culture. But what really caught me was the raw energy of the traditional and cultural music that they played. I would see big ensembles of drummers play together and it was like nothing I’d ever heard. I love how entwined music is within so many of the African countries cultures.
Explain your music process: do you work a lot with live musicians first or do you build the basics yourself and then get them in a room? Jam or composition?
I don’t work with other musicians (not yet) on my own stuff. My writing always starts on the piano/keyboard. That’s the blank canvas for all my ideas really. I then create the beat around that. I personally find that late at night is the most creative time for me.
I work with other musicians in Ghana on The Busy Twist stuff and that is all about getting them to vibe on our beats built in London.
When was the last piece of lyrics that meant something to you?
‘Get on the Northern line’ written by some random geezer. The lyrics really connected with me and really defined my headspace at the time. On the level though, that was a tune. To be perfectly honest with you Josh, I rarely hear new lyrics that I really connect with. I guess part of that is because that I am (and have always been) in awe of Bob Marley’s writing and his poetry within his songs, so in a sense, for me no-one will ever be able to top that. His lyrics relate to universal themes and make so much sense; his story telling is beautifully real.
If Rita Ora confessed to being a fan of your work and wanted to work with you, what would you say?
I’d of course appreciate her (as I would with anyone that liked what I do), but politely say no thanks to working with her! It’s funny I’m saying that about a singer whose had millions of views on YouTube and is probably using gold-plated Roc Nation cutlery right now. I’m sure she is a lovely girl though, as a musician I don’t relate to what she is doing. Its kind of soulless, as is most music in the charts at the moment. I heard some tune on Radio 1 today (the painter had it on) that basically went ‘I want to party, party, party and party oh yeah’ – that being the chorus. I thought really?
I’d much rather work with some unknown amazingly talented street musician from Ghana or Colombia rather than some glorified Brit-school singer.
Soon. When the time is right it will happen.
Tuesday Born’s single ‘Kwabena’/’A Minor Jam’ is now via Audio Doughnuts. Buy it here.