We’ve had a pretty hectic weekend charging around London and Leeds but we’ve finally found time to sit down and get the next two MakeItGood x FatKidOnFire features lined up. The second feature (along with its superb accompanying mix) will drop at some point this evening – but if you need that mix now you can find it on the FKOF Soundcloud account!
It’s quite fitting we’re up in Leeds writing this post. Today’s first MIG x FKOF feature sees us sitting down with Ruby from Leeds’ superb Submotion Orchestra. These guys have been making big waves since they first appeared back in 2009, with support from Radio 1’s Gilles Peterson and festival slots at Bestival, Outlook and Latitude to name but a few. Their debut EP was truly superb and their follow up debut album, ‘Finest Hour’ was even better! Keep up to date with Submotion Orchestra via Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud and their website. It’s an honour to feature these guys here on FKOF – so we hope you enjoy what Ruby (and the rest of the band) had to say!
Who/ what is Submotion Orchestra? We are a 7 piece live dubstep band based in Leeds. The band is Ruby Wood (vocals), Taz Modi (keys), Si ‘Bobby’ Beddoe (trumpet/ flugel/ laptop), Danny Templemen (percussion), Chris ‘Fatty’ Hargreaves (bass), Tommy Evans (drums) and Dom ‘Ruckspin’ Howard (Sound design and fx).
How long have you all been performing together? The band was formed in early 2009. The idea originally came from Tommy and Dom, who first thought to collaborate after meeting at a project held at York Minster. Dom who was already an established artist and producer under the name of Ruckspin and Tommy, an exceptional musician and band leader, handpicked the rest of us from Leeds’ thriving music scene.
How long were you all working on your debut album ‘Finest Hour’ for? We’ve been working on the debut album since the very first rehearsal! ‘Finest Hour‘ was actually the first song Tommy ever brought to the table for the band to learn. It’s crazy how 2 and a half years later it is the title track of our debut album! Every song that we’ve worked on since then has contributed in someway or another to the album.
What is the music scene like in Leeds? Leeds’ music scene is amazing! Truly! It’s probably one of the best scenes outside of London for diversity. There are lots of great music venues in and around the city including places like The Hifi Club, the legendary Wardrobe and Sela which always has live music on every night of the week. Leeds has an incredible scene of brilliant musicians living in it, and thanks to Leeds College of Music there’s always a constant turnover of new, talented players gracing the scene every year.
Do you all collectively write the tracks or does it vary? Initially, the band adapted live versions of songs Tommy had written and tracks that Dom had created –songs like ‘Sunshine‘ and ‘All Night‘. Recently, we have been working more collectively to write by turning improvised jams at rehearsals into new songs.
What music are you all listening to at the moment? The beauty of our band is that everyone listens to a lot of different music and we all bring influences from many different places. Here are 10 tunes are getting a lot of play right now:
- SBTRKT – Pharaohs and Wildfire
- Yaw – Where would You Be
- Donny Hathaway – Misty
- Billy Holiday – Stormy Weather
- Massive Attack – Paradise Circus (Breakage Remix)
- Everything Everything – Schooling
- Ruckspin – Jibber
- Bobby Caldwell – Open Your Eyes
- Gentleman’s Dub Club – High Grade
- Quite Sane – Short Stories.
Any new gigs we can look forward to? We are doing a UK and European tour throughout October/ November 2011 (the full tour details are on our website). We’re also releasing our next single ‘Always’ in October, which we will be promoting on tour. We’re busy working on our new album at the moment too, as well as building a new pool of songs which we are testing in front of audiences now.
Any advice to upcoming producers? Keep making stuff. Try out new things. Record your friends and experiment with processing. Read production magazines like ‘Computer Music‘ or ‘Sound on Sound‘ and try out the techniques they talk about. Find out what works for you and keep being creative.
Look at labels you would like to release on and custom-build tracks for them. Listen to music and break it down in your head into each constituent part. Listen for frequency range and stereo field. Invest in a good computer, good software and good monitor speakers. Try and acoustically treat your working environment or seek some advice from professionals.
For those of you who have yet to grab the album, peep the full stream below. It’s a perfect mix of Ruby’s chilled Corinne Bailey Rae-esque vocals and music reminiscent of Zero 7’s golden days. Well worth parting ways with just £10 to support this awesome band from Leeds! You can purchase ‘Finest Hour’ directly from the band here (via Paypal) or here (via iTunes).
If you have any thoughts on what Submotion Orchestra have had to say, or anything else you’ve seen – maybe you’ve got someone to recommend to FKOF or seen something you think we’d like? Get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.