Credit: Kudu Blue
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Credit: Kudu Blue
Unlikely as it might sound, Kudu Blue were booked for their first gig before they'd even formed. While this doesn’t necessarily prove the non-linearity of space-time, the Brighton four-piece undoubtedly do encompass influences from across both time and space. From 90s trip-hop & sound system culture, all the way through to Buddhist chanting, and back around to old skool hip-hop & R&B. Collectively it combines to bring on a new wave of progressive UK dance, epitomised with their forthcoming ‘Auras’ EP, and a sound that has already won them fans including BBC Radio 1, NME, Wonderland and Pigeons & Planes.
Owen (keys), Tom (bass), Creeda (rhythms) and Clem (vocals) entirely self-recorded and produced the EP, using a home studio that they moved between their various homes. ‘Auras’, its first single, swims in swirling ambience, ghostly chords and delicate melodies, Clem’s impassioned vocals of longing sealing its wistful allure. ‘Mountain Song’ soars like its name suggests, a groovy drum break switching to four four as Clem’s powerful range is accentuated by deep, swelling bass. ‘Ice Tea’ flavours house with a bitter-sweet trancey lead and ‘The Blue’ drops to the depth of the ocean, its icy melody and heavily reverbed snare enveloping lyrics of love.
It was Tom and Owen, friends and music makers since their childhood growing up in Brighton, who were offered the aforementioned gig. Recruiting Creeda, who had played in another of Owen’s bands, and Clem, who had sung with a group the duo had produced, completed Kudu Blue.
Behind their outwardly cohesive sound, each brings a distinct style. The band’s self confessed ‘producer nerd’, Bristol-born Owen once sat on the knee of Massive Attack's Daddy G as a toddler. A love of sound design and electronic music has seen him travel the world, himself now a musician working with children, who he calls ‘the most brutally honest audience.’ An ethnomusicologist completing his masters at SOAS, Tom adds the experience of playing in diverse bands, from South-African jazz to Senegalese desert blues, an influence on his subby bass tone.
Growing up around the sounds of Motown and classic dance, Creeda discovered his own main source of musical inspiration via hip hop, in particular The Roots’ drummers Chad Smith and Questlove. Working as a full-time drummer has honed his skills, while making his style infinitely malleable to different sounds. Clem, meanwhile, born in Birmingham, and of English, Irish and Jamaican heritage, spent her early years in a variety of countries. Back in England, her Dad worked as a reggae DJ, so songwriting and singing came naturally before she was even into her teens.
Like Clem’s Dad who once lugged his records and speakers onto buses, Kudu Blue are taking their future into their own hands. Driven by talent, curiosity and an unyielding can-do attitude, Kudu Blue give you a refreshing snap shot of dance music in the UK in 2019, a back to basics postcard from the underground club scene.