The idea of more than one or two people around me at all times gives me literal hives. So that is where this back and forth with Living Infinity started because I had to know how they manage nine members. Yes, nine people who come together to deliver the best that soul, jazz, and hip-hop has to offer. It sounds like a wild ride, but they’ve found a way to balance everyone’s best assets on their new album, EP 01. Each song a new chapter in a story, Living Infinity have a number of tales to tell. So continue reading to see what they reveal in this one.
Kendra: As someone who is the definition of a hermit, I can’t even imagine working day to day with eight other people. Especially creatively. How does one find balance with nine minds working at the same time?
Living Infinity: Of course, it can be difficult! With nine people come nine different mind states, schedules, egos, and opinions. When we’re in the rehearsal room, or the studio and our drummer Samson starts the count-in, we unite in a common cause. We trust each other’s abilities and talents and allow everyone to take their place within the project. There’s something special about people coming together which immediately makes up for the challenges and setbacks that inevitably arise from having so many people involved.
Kendra: Your overall sound is like a seven-layer dip with each one of you bringing a new flavor to the mix. Is the songwriting process always the same with every song?
Living Infinity: There’s some variation but, generally speaking, it usually goes along these lines. We start with some lyrics and the idea for the song as well as it’s message. We then start the pre-production creating a beat, recording all instruments one by one, all from home. Once a basic version of the song is finished we meet up in a rehearsal space and play it a couple of times. That allows us to get a feel for how the song sounds live and make changes to the arrangement and keep doing that until we’re all happy.
The next step is to record in the studio. We try to get the most out of the fact that we play together as a band, so we’ve been recording to two-inch tapes, like in the good old days. After that, we add some extra elements, harmonies, overdubs, effects and other finishing touches. And voilà…!
Kendra: Take “Underground” for example. What came first, the lyrics or the instrumentation?
Living Infinity: “Underground” is quite special because when Uniqueness and Owais first met, the fact that both had written verses about being on the underground during rush hour was certainly one of the things they bonded over. When Uniqueness first started Living Infinity, working with an Italian producer at the time (this was before we decided to become a full band), “Underground” was released under its original name “Submersed” and sounded very different (if you’re curious it’s still available on our YouTube channel!).
To create “Underground” Uniqueness combined his two verses into one and Owais added his verse which was partially written and previously unreleased. We then created the music from scratch with the intention of taking the listener into the carriage – the bass drum, for example, sounds a lot like a train running on its tracks and when we wrote the music that’s what we started with.
Kendra: We have to stay on “Underground” because I just finished up a part-time gig that had me doing the traditional commute thing and I got really sad thinking this was normal for too many people. Did a typical 9-5 inspire you guys to pen this one?
Living Infinity: Yeah, I think we’ve all been there. Uniqueness was regularly commuting when he wrote his lyrics and Owais is working 9-5 to this day. What inspired us to write the song is twofold. It’s the paradoxical predicament of being on a train during rush hour: being together yet separate, moving but staying still. It’s the most normal thing but for some reason never stops being awkward.. (Why do we do it to ourselves?)
On the other hand, we wanted to address the fact that most people follow a life path that seems to be convenient and safe, following what everyone else is doing. The underground train during rush hour seemed like a perfect metaphor to represent that.
Kendra: So EP 01 is like a book. Each song a chapter about self-discovery and whatnot. In your own life, what chapter would you say you were on?
Living Infinity: Our idea was to tell the story of finding oneself as an individual and discovering one’s potential. This is an ongoing process with its ups and downs, its ecstasies and pitfalls. Each song is about a different aspect of what we went (or are still going) through. EP 01 only features four chapters of the full story. The remaining five chapters will be released in EP 02. Eventually we will release the album with all nine chapters in the chronological order they belong in.
One of the cool things (we think) of the project is that the themes we address in the songs can be recurring during various phases in life. The chapter that describes our current state best would be the last one we recorded, a song called PTSD, which is both a conclusion of the project and an outlook into the future. However, you’ll have to wait for EP 02 to be able to hear that one!
Kendra: With new music comes new shows. Are there any shows on the horizon for you guys this summer?
Living Infinity: Being completely self-produced comes at its costs so we’re currently concentrating on finalizing EP 02 and the album. Our formation went through some changes between EP 01 and EP 02. So we’ve decided to wait until the latter has dropped to bring the project live. We are planning on filming a live studio session. Hopefully, one way or another, you’ll be able to see us perform soon!