Ephemerals star has risen steadily since they broke onto the scene a couple of years ago with their critically acclaimed Hype Machine #1 debut album – nothing is easy. They’ve established themselves both at home and on the continent with the combination of a tireless tour schedule and prolific writing periods that sees them having completed album number 3 in as many years.
As before a new album once again sees them refresh their sound with a new set of influences and direction. Always unafraid to push the boundaries of their craft, this release unashamedly emanates Jazz, Afrobeat and Psychedelia which galvanises the Soul and R&B that remains at the heart of the band.
Answers from Jimi Needles (Ephemerals, Drums)
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Big inspirations for “Egg Tooth“ come from spiritual jazz like Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders but with a Beatles approach to playing, songwriting and recording. There was a bigger emphasis on doing it this way on the new album, and as you can probably hear the sound is a lot more defined, a lot more mature. Compared to previous albums, each player in the band brings their own style (and indeed inspiration) to the table and was encouraged into our music, whereas Egg Tooth, it was more „This is the sound we should be aiming for, let’s hit it!“.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Myself & Nic, who writes everything in Ephemerals and plays guitar, went head to head at a university talent competition. I entered as a DJ doing a scratch routine, and Nic looped some acoustic guitars and sang. Because he was doing what was popular (back in 2007), everyone
was doing what he was doing which is why he won the contest. We became friends, and we formed a band which bought together guitars, MPC drum machines, turntables and even a limited brass section. We would have university house parties, and then amongst all the mess we would try and record tracks. The band sounded awful, but this is when we began
to home our craft and realise this was what we wanted to do, even a number of years later when Ephemerals were formed and recorded Nothin Is Easy, I’d only been playing the drums for about three years. Making music is a constant learning process.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty
James Brown’s Funky People
The Mars Volta – Deloused At The Comatorium
Soweto Kinch – The New Emancipation
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
GREAT COFFEE and AMAZING SHOWS. Our Chasin Ghosts tour a year or so back was amazing, and the Berlin crowd was a definite highlight for us.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I live in a town called Chatham, and it’s boring. So probably the train station.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Become a Chess Grandmaster. I’m pretty good. Or a chef.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Tammi Terrell & Marvin Gaye – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (The Reflex Re-Edit) – it’s a beautiful and authentic nod to the original. Great one for the DJs out there.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d like to see the band collaborate with or become the live backing
band for some hip hop artists. We often welcome guest MCs up if we
know them, we did this at Glastonbury last year and it was a lot of
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Beatboxer Dub FX, groundbreaking. I have never been so entertained at a show, ever.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
The specific era of technology is important. We all use vintage amps and vintage drums for instance, not because all soul and jazz guys do, because they genuinely are the best sounding. In the studio, we record to tape, not only for the best sound but also for the pressure of getting it right as a team – tracks always sound better when it’s one take. Why bother if you do it on a computer and you can edit mistakes (sometimes amazing mistakes and happy accidents) because that’s not truthful, and there is no band out there that isn’t 100% polished! As we get older, we get better at nailing it in 2 or 3 takes. Coffee is also very important to our creative process.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I’m the only one living off music in my family. They have no idea what it really involves. But all of our families are proud that we get to go out and try to be successful. They know we are doing what we love.