After throwing down at their recent Stage 48 show in NYC, Tortured Soul gave us their take on the evening and also offered us some bits on what's next!
Giant Step: Congratulations on a great night at Stage 48 in NYC earlier this month! What was your highlight of the evening?
John-Christian Urich: Well NYC is my home town (I was born and raised in Manhattan). With all the constant talk about how NYC isn't what it used to be, it was good to see that that isn't true if you know the right party to go to. Some old school heads are indeed still around holding down the fort, and coming out to get down on the dance floor (with many new I might add!) and support soulful house and live music.
Giant Step: How was it to share the stage with DJ Spinna? Each collaboration brings about a unique energy - anything in particular that moves you about this synergy?
John-Christian Urich: What is great about Spinna is that he approaches each production he's involved in as its own special creation. The remixes he has done with us start from scratch. He doesn't just throw a vocal over some pre-programmed beats and see what happens; he crafts a remix.
The same can be said about the music he chooses to play at a live show. What he decides to play for a Tortured Soul event is different than what he'll do for one of his other nights. He discussed with us beforehand what we were going to play, what tempo we wanted to start at and various other details, which helped to make the night a better collaboration for us, and a more special night for the audience.
For a band that formed in 2011 and released their first album less than a year ago, Hiatus Kaiyote has enjoyed a whirlwind of accomplishments in a remarkably short period of time: a backstage serenade of their own song “Nakamarra” by Erykah Badu at SXSW; a long and forceful reiteration of support from ?uestlove at his party at Brooklyn Bowl; a sold-out show at their debut performance in New York City.
Hiatus Kaiyote, comprised of Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender, is also a perfect example of the limited utility of the “genre” in characterizing an album’s sound or capturing its integrity. But nonetheless, the sources of inspiration for their music are unmistakable. “Atari” takes cues from Flying Lotus’s fractal spidering of digital sounds. The keyboard section on “Jekyll” draws inspiration from Fela Kuti and afrobeat. The woozy space sounds of “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” are reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s latest album, New Amerykah Part 2. And Nai Palm herself sounds like a blend of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse.
Their inaugural performance at LPR was also remarkable for the depth and loyalty of the fan base they’ve already amassed. Here’s what some fans had to say of last night’s show:
Naikhoba Munabi: “The power of the performance was in the immersive experience. It felt like performance art. Each song individually carries its own weight, but the concert felt like a complete feast as opposed to just one ingredient or one meal. Also, sonically, their tones are extremely well refined so that no one artist is the star of the band. All four of them complimented each other so well and fit together seamlessly. When you listen to their music, it consumes you; I felt like I was a part of it.”
We caught up with Hiatus Kaiyote just before their NYC debut tomorrow at LPR. Get to know where they came from, where they're going, and what they'd fit in their pockets from Australia to bring to us if they could. Details on the March 22 show on our event page.
Giant Step: We are too excited for your performance on the 22nd. How does it feel to be amidst your US debut?
Hiatus Kaiyote: The response we have had so far in the US has totally blown us away. To come all the way across the other side of the world and to receive so much love and support for what you do is mindblowing. Especially when we are so early in our journey as a band. So far, Austin, DC and Chicago have been very very good to us.
GS: You've got some heavy hitters swooning over you. What was it like when you found out you'd won Erykah and Questlove's favor?
HK: It was pretty ridiculous. It totally goes without saying that we have absolute mountains of respect for both those artists. It's an incredible honor to be supported by musicians who have such an impact on the way we play and what we create. It's also daunting and overwhelming at times to process that kind of thing. I mean, we are very critical of what we do, which is an important part of developing artistically, but I know none of us feel like we are on that level. It's been a fast two years since we've been together, and there is so far for us to go before we reach that height of artistry. But we'll keep doing what we do and hope that others will join us on our sonic endeavors, even if we are raw as fuck occasionally.