Friday, April 5, 2013

Interview - Joe Harris of Ikestra

I had the chance, following our review of Ikestra, to catch up with Joe Harris from Ikestra last week in a freezing Leeds!


Mark Beirne-Smith - The album has recently been described as‘genre-less’ is this how you would describe it?
Joe Harris – I don't know how to describe it! It's a mash up of our different influences and styles... I think the term 'genre-less' has been used because people can't put their finger on the strongest influence, maybe. It's also been called soul, funk, math funk, prog and jazz though so who knows?!

Mark Beirne-Smith – What were the influences for this album?
Joe Harris – There's 7 of us in the band with a huge range of influences! Everyone brings a different angle on things. For me personally: Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock (Crossings/Mwandishi/Sextant), Congotronics 2 (compilation of new Congolese music), Bitches Brew era Miles, Battles, Flying Lotus et al have been important influences. A lot of rhythmic influence came from learning bits of Hindustani classical music, as well as West African and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Mark Beirne-Smith – Is the project lead by one person or has a more collaborative approach been taken?
Joe Harris – I guess the original vision was mine and I started to bring it together, but everyone in the band has had an equal creative input and is expressing themselves.

Mark Beirne-Smith – When listening to the vocals they were very much integrated into the music, except on ‘Endure’ where they take a more prominent role, why was this?
Joe Harris - It just felt right for that song really. We all loved the part Anna wrote for it and wanted to bring it out as much as possible. Tim Thomas (album producer) was particularly keen on making a feature of the vocals in Endure and got it spot on! On other tunes, we wanted the vocals to be another texture to the music rather than a separate layer sat on top and Anna wrote a lot of her parts based on these concepts.

Mark Beirne-Smith – Where can the album be bought?
Joe Harris – Its available as CD, download and limited hand-numbered LP at Hopefully we will be getting some stock in Jumbo, Crash and Cafe Lento soon as well. And of course we have copies at gigs for sale.

Mark Beirne-Smith – Where are you gigging next with Ikestra?
Joe Harris -
Fri 5th April - Canteen, Bristol
Sunday 7th April - Hifi Club, Leeds
Sun 28th April - Brudenell, Leeds
Got a few more tbc so check our website for updates!

Mark Beirne-Smith – Are you involved in any other projects?
Joe Harris – I play in an acoustic band called Sandrani with Giuliano Modarelli on Guitar, Upneet Singh on Tabla and Vanessa Rani on vocals ( I also play in a 70's style dub/reggae band called Root One.

Mark Beirne-Smith – Do you like Marmalade?
Joe Harris – Yeah but I prefer jam!


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