The cards aligned and with performance at the center of their initial union of sounds, respair was born. However, a little (big) something went down a few years ago that left them sprinkled about. We talked about how they managed to reconnect after two years to deliver a world of hues to the world with their single, “Colours.” We talked about the lead single off their upcoming release, ‘The Original Colour of the Sun,’ private pre-show moments, and more like the importance of stage presence in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Was it music that initially brought you four together?
respair: Yes, collectively we all share a love for music and the deep desire to create something that makes people feel a range of emotions through sound. We met through playing on London’s music scene – and some of the band’s momentous moments that helped us become one have been at London music events, from Touching Bass to The Jazz Cafe.
Kendra: As for your sound, marrying jazz and electronic – was this always the foundation for the band or was it just what came to be once you started to play together and flesh out ideas?
respair: I think the foundation of our sound has always been fusion, a melting pot of genres. Four of us have diverse tastes and backgrounds – modern jazz, classical training, soulful vocals, electronic music and it’s this eclectic palette that we bring to our compositions. Most important for us though is not to conform to any specific style but to convey a particular state, an emotion, and to take our audience on a spiritual journey. We explore and experiment with the many facets of jazz and electronic music – but it’s that journey and story that matters the most so sometimes we refer to ourselves as psychedelic jazz.
Kendra: It all came together and we can hear that on your latest single, “Colours.” You’ve noted how this song is this “moment of introspection,” and over the past few years, we’ve had a lot of time for that. Whether we wanted to or not. Was this a song created during the thick of the global chaos or is this more a song done in hindsight?
respair: “Colours” was written in the thick of uncertainty. We had the initial version of the song written just as the pandemic hit and we completed it when we were coming out of the second lockdown and had to find ourselves again – which required collective introspection and vulnerability with each other. We have been geographically dispersed for nearly two years during the pandemic and “Colours” was the first song that we returned to when we finally got together again – it was the long-needed momentum that got us back on the respair journey.
Kendra: “Colours” will be on your upcoming EP, ‘The Original Colour of the Sun.’ Were there any songs that you were working on that didn’t quite come together as you wanted in time for this record that you agreed to put on the back burner to perhaps release down the line?
respair: To be honest, it was a challenge finalizing the track list for our debut EP because we have at least two hours of material written that we are extremely excited about. As a performing band we often start with creating songs for live performance; however, recording and producing a song is a journey of its own – and for this EP we chose the songs for this process that could create their own story. It took us almost 6 months and a number of studio sessions to transform those three songs into the fragile, intimate worlds that we are inviting our listeners to. And we of course want to be on that journey with all of our songs down the line.
Kendra: Being in London, if you had to compare the overall aesthetic of ‘The Original Colour of the Sun’ to a spot that only locals frequent, which spot would it be and why?
respair: Hackney Marshes! There is freedom and serenity, but also mystery – they are close and familiar yet at the same time somewhat magical. Marshes were also where a lot of music gatherings happened during the pandemic and walking at night you could hear distant sounds of electronic music and dimmed lights – one of our ideas for the music video for the song was actually an outdoor small-scale rave, people being blissfully free and dancing to exaltation in nature.
Kendra: So respair is known for something that I think makes or breaks an artist and that is having a great live show. You know, it’s one thing to be able to record in a studio with all the bells and whistles but if you’re not a great live performer…well, how far can you go?
respair: Thank you. Live performance is how we actually started and how we built a lot of the sound and connection within the band. Performance is a wonderful medium. It allows us to emote, express ourselves and connect with people. It’s the most valuable feedback you can get and the most magical feeling when you can get a room full of people to move as one, to join us in a hypnotic state, and let the silence after the music finishes to be fully heard. I believe that we can go as far as we allow ourselves to go.
Kendra: With that, what do you think are some common elements that all great live performers innately share?
respair: This is hard to put into words because it’s more about the feeling and emotion when you know that you are witnessing something great. There are a lot of technically brilliant performers but to make the live experience truly memorable something spiritually transcendent has to happen on stage. The stage for us is our safe space.
Kendra: Time for a side note – We’d love to know when you perform, do you have any sort of lucky charms you take with you on stage, or do you have any sort of pre-show traditions you do to ensure you have a great show?
respair: We have a pre-show tradition, we always have a private moment. I’d love to tell you more about the private moment but then it wouldn’t be private!
No honestly, we have a group hug and remind ourselves to let go and be present in the moment and to be free, it’s that moment of calm and quiet before the show that allows us to find our centre get out there, and fully express ourselves.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘The Original Colour of the Sun’ out later this year, what else can the world expect as we focus on spring and soon enough, summer?
respair: We will be releasing two more singles from the EP in March and April – and an amazing music video for “Hostage” shot on location with the band (it will surprise you!) We are then looking to plunge ourselves into live performances aiming for some festival appearances over the summer and a busy gigging schedule for the year ahead – but also we are planning to be back in the studio in the coming months to record some more of our material so that we can follow our EP with some more songs later in the year. Reverberate with us and watch this space!