It was great to hear GP play ‘Space In Veda’ in all it’s glory on his show last week, that also featured our Podcast interviewee Tony Allen (see HERE) and now, star of Space and man behind the album of the year, Emanative tells all to Hectic as the album gets the recognition it deservers.
First up, lets get the bottom of the name and pronunciation of Emanative as some folks seem to have trouble getting it. “I came across the word a few times in various places, in books and stuff mainly. I liked the word and it seemed to have a spiritual feel to it. Many of my favourite DJs have mispronounced it e-man-a-tiv instead of em-uh-nayt-iv. Emanative means “to flow out from a point of origin”.
Nick’s recordings of the variations are quiet amusing, “for example Gilles Peterson says it both ways….perhaps depending on what kind of mood he’s in, chillaxed and laid back, or hyper jazz raver mode! Simon Harrison of Basic-Soul Radio knows exactly how to say it, but says it wrong just to wind me up….and also it’ll be in his wicked northern accent!! “E-man-a-tiv Spaaacebeeeats…proper good jazz I tell thee” (o.k. slight exaggeration, perhaps?!)”
The quality of the musicianship on the album is exceptional so Nick’s “Introducing” is as follows, “We’ve got Ben Hadwen on saxophones, flute, bass clarinet and gyaling, Jessica Lauren on rhodes, piano, analog synth’s and effects, Neville “Level” Malcolm on Upright Bass and I make up the . That’s the core band along with myself on drums and percussion. And then there’s Geoff Woolley (aka K-Scope) on piano, Jesse Reuben Wilson (Rhodes and Juno), Marc Rapson (Rhodes) and Jaro Barnik and Todd Simon both on Trumpet”.
So how did it all come together? “Both Ben and Jessica, I met on Myspace. Myspace Is the place! They were both very much into collaborating on something after hearing whatever early emanative rough tracks I had up on Myspace at the time? I had worked with Neville previously, but funnily enough, even before that I was given his number by another bassist, a mutual friend of ours called Claudio. I’d asked if he could recommend a good upright bass player! He couldn’t, so he gave me Nev’s number instead…ha ha! They have all been vital ingredients to the emanative ‘solar-sound-system’, Jessica is the chilli and spice, Ben the sauce, and me and (Level) Neville Malcolm are I’d imagine… the Garlic and Onions, well I guess i’d be the Garlic…”
“Which strangely reminds me of when my daughter Nicolette was about 8yrs old, she was telling us about some show she liked on T.V. she explained about time travel and described these robot monster things called “Onions…or something” we figured out she must’ve been talking about Dr Who and said “ahhh, you mean the Daleks?” she said “Yeah, that’s it …Garlic’s!!”
When it comes to vocalists, “Yes, I know. I’ve been spoilt for sure! Deborah Jordan was the first of the three that I worked with on this project, mainly because she instantly duplicated where I was coming from and also because she was also very much into it. She invited me to see her perform with Silhouette Brown which is where I first met her and Simon S. (Futuristica Music) and then we started working together soon after. The idea to involve Liz Elensky came the first time that Jessica played me the basic rough version of the single ‘When On Earth’ (simply called ‘When’ at that stage!) on her funky little honky tonk piano ’round at her place under her stairs. I knew instantly that Liz would be able to give it that clean soulful vibe of say, a Rotary Connection record or something. I’d obviously worked with my wife Liz on many projects prior to this, since we had first met including Stratospheric with Jesse Reuben Wilson (Positive Flow) as well as on many other live projects.”
“And I went to school with Heidi Vogel who is also a vocalist I’ve worked together with on various things over the years. I wrote ‘Wind, Sand And Stars’ with her in mind and then incorporated her cosmic spiritual backing vocals into my rework of ‘Velvet’ by Jos?© James.”
So, there’s a chance of some male vocalist for the next release? “I’ve been meaning to collaborate with Andre Espuit who has a definite Jon Lucien, Terry Callier vibe about him. I like Randolph Matthews and of course I was lucky enough to be able to re-work Jos?©’s Velvet’. I love his voice and where he’s coming from! Otherwise now that I think of it I would really have loved to have included someone like a Dwight Trible or Andy Bey on the album in an ideal world! Maybe even a Freddie McGreggor/Emanative soul reggae stylee collaboration?”
We love Mr. Trible and we can’t wait for the remixed timeless and classic track ‘Velvet’, which although as yet unreleased, has seen airplay worldwide from the likes of Michael Ruetten, Dom Servini and Gilles himself. This track as well as ‘Wind, Sand And Stars’ from the album, also feature Heidi Vogel fresh from her worldwide tour with the Cinematic Orchestra.
When you mention GP, the big break came from BBC Radio One D.J. Gilles Peterson who after hearing the track ‘Turn Your Lights On’ which features Flying Lotus collaborator Ahu on vocals, announced “I love that tune, I love that tune!!”. He then subsequently released it on his own label Brownswood Recordings, on the eminent Brownswood Bubblers 3 compilation. Both single releases ‘Petite Plan?®te’ and ‘When On Eart’h have also seen his support on Radio One and other shows.
“I was very happy that Gilles was feeling that track, and Ahu did a great job on it! Never mind hip-hop beats and jazz vocals…we went jazz beats and hip-hop vocals. I’ll never forget working on this one with Jessica in her studio and then hearing Ben’s horn parts. It was like listening to Bobby Hutcherson’s ‘Montara’ (Oh yes!, we love that one) or that Milt Jackson track ‘Enchanted Lady for the first time…loved it!”
Of course, FLY and Nick first got to know each other with the 3-D project that’s now on the back burner. Nick says, “My attention is focused on Emanative for now at least. The whole 3-D thing came about originally due to me and my dad working out some joint drum solo’s years ago where we’d do a Santana track or something of our own creation and go mental on the beats with two kits, and then it lead to us including my brother and tons of percussion and subsequently recording/performing in L.A.” For more on 3-D see here and Dad in this instance is Woody Woodmansey (he of Bowie’s Spiders From Mars).
“My Dad’s an amazing drummer, very ‘feel oriented and he was a big influence on me. The early Bowie stuff he was part of is classic without a doubt, there were some heavy concepts in that era, when you listen to tracks like ‘The Supermen’ and ‘Wide Eyed Boy From Freecloud’ or “Starman”, it was out there!! He was a Spider from Mars and i’m Emanative Spacebeats. We’re definitely both into sci-fi and arty b-movies and stuff, but he’s not much into jazz! We got him into some stuff on Ninja Tunes and some of 4-Hero’s more experimental beats, as long as it’s not too “Aquarius” style music! (which is how he describes Minnie Ripperton and the like). He loves anything with interesting beats and I’m sure he has some other big ideas up his sleeve.”
And Nick’s earlier listening was “Not so much glam really, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendix definitely! The Spiders From Mars were from Yorkshire and very down to earth. They used to walk around hand in hand completely taking the mickey when Bowie would take them to a gay bar or something. My dad was more into John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell and of course Ginger Baker, which you can hear a bit more earlier on, on albums like The Man Who Sold The World. We had a lovely basement studio when I was a kid, with a nice kit always just sitting there. I could come and go with it as I pleased. It was definitely encouraged, but not enforced. A perfect balance. Cheers Dad!”
The interest in jazz came about in the early 90′s, he explains, “Well obviously it was tough. How do you rebel against a rock n’ roll family? You get into jazz don’t ya! “No son of mine will listen to that jazz rubbish under MY roof!” Nah, i’m joking. I loved hip-hop first and foremost, so I sought out the original breaks from those tracks and inevitably got well into soul and funk but never expected I’d get into jazz? At first it was a gradual thing, jazzy loops and samples and stuff, but then Pharoah Sanders and Oliver Nelson, the Impulse stuff in particular. I was even lucky enough to get a couple of drum lessons with Chick Corea back in ’94, you know like how to play a basic bossa etc (I’m not really a true jazzer though!)”
Wow! I could be here all day with that but when/how did Emanative become a producer? “I’d obviously been playing drums and percussion with and for many artists and projects over the years and I always loved it, but I guess I had an urge for a more creative input! After our Stratospheric project became defunct, Jesse Wilson was a great help with giving me a few tips here and there or engineering the odd recording session in his studio for me, then I simply got some software and started messing around sampling up my live beats. I created some really mad stuff very quickly early on, and I remember getting a very early and dodgy Emanative demo in to the hands of G.P. at the launch party of his Gilles Peterson In Africa compilation on Ether. I pray that nobody ever digs that stuff up…well, it might be quite funny actually? But maybe not! I wasn’t instantly comfortable with the producer hat, but I’ve grown to love it. I’ve had to learn a lot. But it’s quite something when a real producer like Jessica Lauren digs what you’re doing and when Ben Hadwen asks you to mix a track for him. I guess in general I was getting bored of hearing ultra polished, sound designer style productions, and I wanted to hear something a bit more scruffy, and that’s where I came in…”
That’s odd as “scruffy” is not what I think of Space as it’s clearly inspired by “the spiritual soul and jazz from the late 60′s and early 70′s, underground hip-hop, Sun Ra (not so much for the wacked out aspect, more for the spacey conceptual and philosophical slant), Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, all things eastern, books like Illusions by Richard Bach and the works of French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exup?©ry. So the album isn’t only referring to ‘outer space’ but also to one’s own universe, you, and your own SPACE. Musically the idea was to do anything and everything that I wanted to do, and make it integrate in the same way that a good eclectic compilation does, and join the dots by using the same musicians and instruments. It was really Ben and Jessica that urged me to use all the different styles of tracks I’d been working on, so we’re all responsible for the direction we’ve taken with it, and I know we’re all happy with that aspect of it.”
“There are definitely plans for the live show, the launch party however isn’t a live gig but will simply be a celebration of the album’s release. Expect a night of tracks from the album, with perhaps some other Emanative productions, as well as spacey selections by DJ’s Simon S (who’s responsible for bringing this album out on his excellent Futuristica Music label) and Mr. Beatnick (a fellow space traveler whom I met on a Moonship Journey along with Max Cole and Planet Rescue (Yep, that was a good ‘un) When the band is ready to go, myspace is the place for all the details.”
I was thinking of Paroah Sanders at the Big Chill this year, “Yeah man, those albums like Karma, Thembi and of course Jewels Of Thought are big albums for me. ‘Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah’ is a personal favourite without a doubt. (Idris Muhammad on drums on that one!)
All whilst reflecting on Impulse! artwork of the 70s, the artwork for Space; “Gene Pendon from Heavyweight Production House did the front cover piece, it’s called ‘Low Motion’ (which is also where I took the songs title from, check www.hvw8.com to see the wicked stuff they do. I first came across their work in Straight No Chaser Magazine ages ago and was totally blown away and inspired [Not forgetting HVW8 Music Is My Art]. Carrie May did the piece on the back of the album which was also the main art for the ‘When On Earth’ 7″. She’ll also be working on another piece for the next release which I’m quite excited about. And the Soul-Pilot on the inside cover was done by my friend Zoran Peshich who I apprenticed with for two years doing space murals in some very nice places in and around London, everywhere from Covent Garden penthouse flats to exclusive membership only clubs! Did a massive meditation room with stars, planets and Buddhas! Maybe I should do the Emanative studio something like that?”
That’s sounds “out there” and what else is on the horizon? “Keep your eyes peeled for some remixes, of and from Emanative. My remix of one of the many cool Simon S projects – Jazz Chronicle’s is forthcoming, as is K-Scope’s ‘Fall Into You’ featuring Deborah Jordan (Emanative’s Sambasonic Re-Funk) which is due for release on 4Lux on (see review HERE). I’m really into what the guys did on these. I recorded the drums for ‘Fall Into You’ in the same session as ‘When On Earth’, to analog tape, very nice. I first worked with Gee (K-Scope) in 95 when he was working at Rev-Co Records where he engineered an album I was playing drums and percussion on. This was also the first time I worked with Jesse of Positive Flow, as it was for his debut album ‘Travels Through The Ultravibe Spectrum’. Then a little while ago I played drums for Gee’s remix of Alessandro Oliveiro’s ‘Higher Skies‘ feat’ Heidi Vogel. He engineered several key sessions for Space too, like those with (Level) Neville Malcolm ‘The Nevigator’ or ‘Celestial Nevigations’ as I’ve dubbed him, and the vocal sessions with my lovely wife Liz Elensky. There will be some remixes of tracks from the album from the likes of Tony Nwachukwu, Marc Rapson and Jazz Chronicles.”
We thank Nick for all the time he spent with us on this one and he ends with his own “thank yous”, “Well yeah, I’ve gotta just say that this album has been all about a bunch of great musicians and vocalists getting together and co-creating with me on my productions, in and around this space concept. Everyone’s put in a lot and I’m very happy that it’s worked out like it has! I’ve made some real good friends.”
Album review HERE, Space out now!
www.myspace.com/emanative Launch Party 21.5.09 @ Green And Red, 51 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Kev Beadle – Solar Radio Show : 26.05.09
K-Scope feat. Deborah Jordan – ‘Fall Into You (Emanative Sambasonic Remix)
Gilles Peterson :: 04 June 2009 :: Tony Allen Interview
Emanative – ‘Space In Veda’ (Futuristica Music)
Emanative – In Space And On Earth
By Gerry Hectic on June 7, 2009
This entry is filed under Europe: Features and tagged Africa, Big Chill, Brownswood, compilation, Deborah Jordan, Dom Servini, Dr, Dwight Trible, Emanative, Flying Lotus, funk, Gilles Peterson, house, jazz, Jordan, London, Marc Rapson, Mr. Beatnick, Pharoah Sanders, podcast, reggae, rock, soul, Straight No Chaser, Sun Ra, Terry Callier, Tony Allen.