Friday, 03 June 2011 08:55

Wired in #15: Lack of Afro

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Lack of Afro's music sounds like you're listening to one great soul band and it's hard to believe there's actually only one man behind it. Adam Gibbons is a talented multi instrumentalist who plays with samples from 60s and 70s soul music to create a fascinating new, dancy sound. His first two albums "Press On" and "My Groove your Move" have been quite a big success and give reason to be excited for his new CD coming out this September!

E&M: What is it like playing in a one man band?

LOA: Well it is both a blessing and a curse in many ways. Because 'Lack of Afro' is my thing, I don't have to run decisions past other band members or anything, so the whole 'band diplomacy' aspect that can be such a problem doesn't really come in to what I do. However, the flipside to that is that I miss the regular interaction with other musicians. The creative spark that comes from like-minded musicians playing in a room is hard to replicate on my own. I just play various things on different instruments and see what happens.

E&M: Your music has elements of soul and jazz from the 60s and 70s. When did you first become fascinated by this kind of music?

LOA: There was always soul music playing in the house when I was a kid - stuff like Stax, Atlantic & Motown etc. My dad is a big soul fan and always has been, so I guess it was ingrained in me from an early age. I started playing the saxophone when I was eleven, so was listening to jazz a lot too. I got into funk when I was at universtity - The New Mastersounds were playing at a small bar and a friend of mine said we should check them out. I had begun to listen to more funk-based stuff like DJ Shadow beforehand, and seeing The New Mastersounds kind of joined the dots for me and it became obvious where guys like Shadow got their samples from.

E&M: When you write a new song, what role does remixing play and what parts do you play yourself?

LOA: It really does vary. I'm fortunate in that I can play a few instruments - I don't profess to be proficient at any of them, but I know enough to be able to overdub certain parts in order to make a track. Normally a Lack of Afro track starts with a sample, and that will often trigger another idea. I'll then build on that, laying various instruments down and seeing what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I'll take out the sample and be left with something new, other times the sample will stay in. I love remixing - the pressure is off when I remix really. As a remixer you don't have to come up with the original idea, so instead you concentrate on creating something new out of something thats already there. That's what I love.

E&M: Your first album from 2007 was already highly acclaimed by the press. Did you feel any sort of pressure when working on My Groove Your Move?

LOA: Of course. I had no idea that "Press On" would do as well as it did, genuinely no idea at all. I didn't know what to expect as the whole process was new to me - I just wrote the record as I saw it. I definitely felt the pressure with "My Groove Your Move", especially because I was moving away from the whole 'funk' aspect that had been so prevalent on "Press On", and I was afraid that the new direction would alienate a lot of the people who had bought the first one. In the end the album turned out well, people dug it and I'm very proud of it.

E&M: So would you say your music has evolved in a certain way? 

LOA: Yeah I'd say so. With "My Groove Your Move", I definitely did not want to make "Press On: Part 2". A lot of people wanted me to do that, but that album was what it was and I love it, but what's the point of saying it all again? It's been said. I believe in developing as an artist - making the same album again and again would be the most boring thing in the world for me. I listen to a lot of music, all kinds, not just funk. There's a lot of music to come from me and it will surprise a lot of people. You'll see the beginnings of it in the next album.

E&M: You worked with a bunch of different musicians on your second album. Is there someone you'd love to work with for your new album? 

LOA: Well the third album is all done and is due for release in September. It has a few different vocalists on it. People will have to wait to find out who, but they are all incredibly talented folks. Actually, one of them is an MC called Wax who has just signed to Def Jam Records in the US. He's something else, an amazingly talented cat. He appears on a track with his brother Herbal T, who is also totally amazing. Together they blow the track apart - I'm very excited for poeple to hear that!

E&M: You were in Moscow and in California recently. What importance does travelling have for you and how does it affect your music? 

LOA: Travelling is great. Well, the waiting around at airports isn't great - that's shit, but meeting different people, hearing what sort of music they're into, and seeing what makes different dancefloors go mental means a lot to me. It's important to keep things fresh and there's no better way to do it than travelling.

E&M: I saw that you've already played gigs all over Europe. What was your most memorable show?

LOA: Ah man, trying to remember all the shows I've done is hard! One recently stands out though - I played at the Cult Club in Moscow. It was minus 17 degrees outside, but inside I played to one of the most enthusiastic crowds I've ever played to. It was awesome and makes such a difference as a DJ. It's what its all about.

E&M: And finally, what does Europe mean to you? 

LOA: I don't think a lot people realise how lucky they are to live in Europe - to be able to experience such different cultures, climates and music all within the space of a couple of hours on a plane is truly fantastic. You couldn't do that if you lived in America for example - you would have to travel for far longer. Europeans are very blessed in that way, and I love it!

E&M: Thanks for the interview! I'm looking forward to your next album in September. 

For more about Lack of Afro check out facebook

Last modified on Friday, 03 June 2011 18:10

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