The founding member of British acid jazz group The Brand New Heavies, talks to Benita Adesuyan ahead of their live gig at Barasti.
The Brand New Heavies started out in the eighties, how do you feel the acid jazz scene has changed?
The game has changed a lot, primarily in the way people are buying music and accessing music. That hasn’t only affected our kind of music; it has affected all kinds of music. It’s just been a bit of a learning curve for bands that have been around for a while, it takes longer to adapt. But actually, all the technology and social media has been great – it’s a really nice way to reach your fans in a much more direct way. Before, the only time you used to see your fans was at gigs.
Are you very active on social media?
You have to be if you’re working hard trying to make a living in this industry. If you don’t you’re an idiot really.
Do you still buy vinyl?
Of course, and I always buy a physical copy if I really like something. I would normally have it digitally first and if it is something I’d want to keep for the rest of my life, I would probably go and buy both, but I’m not a purist when it comes to how I get music. I just have to have it.
What was the last song you downloaded?
The last download I made was the new De La Soul single that they did with J Dilla.
You’ve always got different vocalists performing with the band. Which singers and band members will be performing at Barasti?
We’ve found an incredible young lady called Dawn Joseph who is a great writer and an amazing performer. She’s a lot of fun to have on board. She brings great energy to what we do and you tend to thrive off the people you work with, so we’ve really been blowing the socks out of our shows for the last year. We’re having a lot of fun with that and are really looking forward to bringing that to the crowd in Dubai.
If you could have any vocalist join your band for one special gig, dead or alive, who would you have?
I like all the greats really – James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin. There are so many great artists out there and some new ones as well. Music is really on the up right now but I think a lot of people are really frustrated with the deluge of bland commercial pop music out there.
What’s next for you? Any new albums you can let us know about?
It’s top secret right now because we haven’t released anything from it yet. But it’s going to be out in the summer. I’m quite excited about getting it out there. It’s always exciting because you spend a long time developing these things and you can’t wait to get it out to the world.
The Brand New Heavies at Barasti Beach Bar, Friday 28 March, 11pm-3am. Free. www.platinumlist.net