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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

SubVersion Stop 8: Edenheight interview

I conducted a short interview with Ev of Edenheight ahead of their perfomance at Bossaphonik, on the 10th July 2009.

Many thanks for your words Ev. Are you looking forward to The Cellar on Friday?
I look forward to all of our gigs. The band are too, as our performances are never the same twice. When we played at The Cellar last summer we had an impromptu moment where we decided to switch drummer and percussionist around mid-song during an afrobeat number, resulting in a massive percussion duel, which was a buzz for everyone on stage and off. The crowd were really receptive in Oxford too, which always helps us do our job with a smile.

Do you want your music to draw people into the deeper states of reflection, to communicate information about sound, colour, planetary movements, DNA, ethnic bodies, or any of the above?

"Just picking up a musical instrument is a political statement" - David Byrne. As for the lyrics you've picked up on, I can only say that Madlox is free to write what he feels and we're happy to empower his perspective. Everyone has a role, and he's the MC.

Your track "Triptych" bestows the vocal "I dare you to open your mind." Do you work with your emotions as a strength rather than trying to fight against them?

Like I said, I'm not the MC. I'm the producer/director. I know that we are a predominantly live band, with an emphasis on percussive energy and swing, and that the emotional input on everyones part throughout a performance is in all aspects a positive one. The choice made to involve an MC was implemented as we wanted to commit to a contemporary rhythmic style rather than edging towards a pastiche funk sound.

Right. Living in Oxford, I get to hear a broad palette of sounds via gigging. Harold Budd visited in 2007, while at November's Audioscope festival I experienced Boxcutter remixing his hypnotic "Gave Dub" with "Fieldtrip", and a shower of amen breaks. Do you think your location influences your footing in Funk music, and are there pleasures beyond the genre that you enjoy seeing out?

There is definitely a vibrant live music scene in Bristol, which includes all the styles you can imagine. The inner city also produces many dance music innovations which I believe can be largely attributed to the innovation and musical fervour of Carribean culture. The carnival sound systems have played earliest host to home produced sounds including Breaks through Jungle and Drum & Bass to Dubstep. People have talked about a 'Bristol sound', which if anything has probably been labelled 'dark' or 'edgy'. In our experience, there have been times where our sound has been misunderstood by crowds out of town, and we've discussed the possibility that maybe some towns have a different vibe to others. The vibe in Bristol may verge towards agression and angst at times. Perceived in context it's seen as an act of impunity against oppression, and human nature shines through.

What inspires you all to make music?

Life, love, and music.

You're all at various ages, culture is wide open to be sampled, and commodities, in the information age, don't always last forever. What do you value utmost in these climes, is your vision staying consistent, and what do you predict from it changing in the future?

My vision is still 20/20. People always want a piece of something good, but if they can't produce their own ideas eventually they'll dry up. Tap into the key energy of the constituent parts to form a real band, so that the energy flow is generated not borrowed. Then you have the creative well at the heart of any project. People might steal the water from time to time, but if it's good water, eventually the well gets the credit.

As producers, do you translate specific ideas from other artforms into musical ideas, such as films, radio or television?

I'd say it's probable, since we all absorb these forms on a daily basis. Specific ones though, not as yet. Maybe soon.

Technology has advanced society so much over the last 30 years. Before then, computers were for the rich only, mobile phones didn't exist and television was terrestrial. Now there's total overchoice. I remember reading a Knowledge Magazine article with Klute who said the same thing. His subject matter was his latest album at the time - "No-One's Listening Anymore." Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

Well I wasn't listening when it was said, but then I'm not sure I would have been before I had a mobile either. The overload of media has also shown that self-publishing doesn't always produce the best quality too!

Sure. All I know is that I'm safer when I go out, I can communicate with a whole community of like-minded (and lesser so) individuals on web forums, and I can choose to switch off the box (to the level where I no longer watch or have a television). Whether overchoice helps is debatable - people can spend more time deciding now, which could impair judgement on their wider life. Where music is concerned the effects are tenfold; anyone can make a demo CD cheaply, which is healthy for sending to media outlets. MySpace has revolutionised the A&R procedure of getting music signed - see the Arctic Monkeys and their blowing up from the MySpace public. What would it take to plant the seed inside yourselves for wished mass exposure?

The industry is changing. Mass marketing is still required for mass exposure, so a major deal or investors are required to achieve that end, but product placement has dwindled and 360 deals have been born. Arctic Monkeys and such benefit from the fact that youth culture moves quickly and buys readily. Why do you think the vast majority of major artists are signed under 25?

MySpace is easier for demo distribution, but without marketing it would never propel a band alone. I watched the number of hits of a friends' band (who made the papers for all the wrong reasons recently) see their MySpace hits go through the roof, but they didn't sell any more albums. They had loads illegally downloaded however, and their gigs sell out.

It would be nice if all the people who'd like our music could find it easily, but we don't have millions to invest in production and such to get across the radio / TV hurdle so we just keep playing in the good small venues and try to produce a couple of tunes for ourselves as a matter of course.

One final question: your list of players and collaborators is fairly vast for a funk-orientated group. Do you find it daunting recording in the studio with various ordinations, or do you draw inspiration from the melding of styles from your constituent parts?

It's never daunting until the live recording stages are finished and the post production begins. The collective that we have become are now functioning as 3 different groups - Manfredi Funk Initiative (the hammond Funk 4tet featured on Craig Charles Funk and Soul show, BBC Radio6 recently), The SubVersions, believe it or not, (A rare groove 7 piece, purely live), and Edenheight, who are appearing as a 9 piece at Bossaphonik on Friday. The additional guests that we invite in are all there because we respect their work and abilities, and decide we'd like to produce some work together. It's all an interesting process for everyone involved.

Thanks from all at SubVersion Ev. Hoping to catch you on Friday.

Edenheight: MySpace

Edenheight: Official website
The Cellar: MySpace

1 comment:

  1. Edenheight's debut single, for readers of this 2009 article, came in 2011 with "Peaceboy" (the vinyl you can see at the top). It's a great release, go and give it a listen! :)