Five minutes with All The People \\ Interview
Following a string of electronic hook-fuelled singles and support from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6music and Clash, All The People have released their debut album R-Together on 100 Billion Wires. The band – made up of vocalist Curtis Dennie and songwriting producers Ash Arnold and Si Arnold – is still in its infancy. But a family loss for the Arnold brothers signalled a change in direction for their debut album.
Ahead of All The People‘s appearance at The Alternative Escape as part of the Jazz Standard & QM Records stage, Ash talks to Tina Edwards.
\\ After releasing a few singles, we finally have your debut album. What’s been the philosophy behind your music to date?
Before starting the album we were mainly focused on creating a live dance sound that would captivate late night festival and club goers. We still do that but whilst recording the album we felt pulled emotionally towards the loss we felt when our Mum passed away and how it’s affected us since. Creatively it set the ball rolling to just make a record that we were happy with and could be proud of, trying not to focus on what others might expect from us. Throughout R-Together there is this sense of loss but also hope. It’s like this message to our Mum; it’s actually her on the cover of the record so it’s our dedication to her really.
\\ Lyrically you guys draw on some quite literal imagery: “burn a thousand love letters and read every one”. You guys seem to bare a lot on here.
The record is very personal. The creative process of making this record has really been a therapeutic exercise, unloading a lot of memories and emotions from our childhood. Its probably been a bit of a grieving process, it still feels raw and it’s almost a relief that its finally out. We can draw a line and move on. Some of the lyrics on the record are very literal, trying to just say it like it is (or how it was at that time ), although some are more subtle. The lyric mentioned is a reference to something quite dark in the aftermath of everything but it can be interpreted in different ways. Nadia Nair just nailed the intensity straight away .
\\ R-Together has take a more sparse, less hook-orientated turn from your singles Don’t Think and Falling. I mean it in a good way when I say it’s a slow burner and less immediate; multiple listens reveal something new. Has anything changed for you creatively?
We have always been into a wide range of music, we really wanted to make a record that sounded like a complete work and encompassed those broad influences. There are dance moments on the album but we wanted experiment with our songwriting. The whole process was very organic and really reflects our state of mind at the time of going into the studio.
\\ Arms Around You feels like a stand out track. Tell us about the tune and your collaborator.
Kathrin Deboer is an unbelievable talent (Kathrin was in the act Belleruche on Tru Thoughts and more recently vocalist with Max Cooper). It was quite weird meeting up for the first time; it was set up for us and we hadn’t met prior to the session, but it was a very lovely day – seemed like we’d known each other for years. We both opened up to each other like you would with your oldest friends and we’ve been very close ever since. She performed live with us a few times last year which was a blast. Simon brought the song to life whilst mixing the album, replacing the midi piano loop with Phil Manzanera‘s grand piano, played with the elegance and dynamic range that the song deserved.
\\ South London has a distinctive sound when you think of the instrumentalists and labels coming out of Peckham and Deptford; you don’t sound like anyone else coming out of that scene right now. Is that something you’ve thought about?
I don’t think we could really follow a trend even if we tried. Our roots are hinged in the metal and hip hop that we grew up with and we don’t want to sound watered down. The music comes out just as it does. Our love of electronica, dance, soul, psychedelia and jazz all play equal parts. Hopefully people will get it, we’ve just tried to be as honest as possible.
\\ We’re pumped to have you play our Alternative Escape showcase. What bands are you catching whilst you’re in town?
Thanks, we’re very excited too. We played a show earlier in the year with Blue Lab Beats who were very cool so it’s great to get to see them again. We’re just there for the Thursday so to be honest we’re looking forward to seeing all the acts lined up for the Jazz Standard & QM Records night and hanging out with you all!
Catch All The People at our free Alternative Escape show. No wristband needed.
JS | Tina Edwards