With 90s nostalgia sweeping the country, there’s probably no better time than now to present a band whose music constantly references the decade. Just ask Kudu Blue, a Brighton-based five-piece blending a flawless variety of genres from trip-hop and electronica right through to turn-of-the-millennium garage. You may have already heard their brilliant remixes of Yumi And The Weather’s Must I Wait or Angel Haze’s Battle Cry, but the fivesome are readying themselves to embark on a new direction, putting together their own collection of carefully designed melodies with a number of original tracks.
Having already released debut single Bones and its follow-up Fallin’ Away last year, the band has played Brighton’s best underground music venues extensively over the past six months. Fresh from releasing their third single, Vicinity (premiered on Pigeons and Planes) in March, we chat with lead guitarist and backing vocalist Dale Jones about what brought them together, and their plans for the future.
Rising from the ashes of lo-fi indie outfit Forestears (in which bandmates Dale, drummer Creeda Kirkham and keyboardist Owen Crouch were previously members), Kudu Blue originally formed back in 2013 when the trio called upon childhood and university friends Tom Peterson and Clementine Douglas to join them on bass and lead vocals respectively. Though individual projects halted the band’s development initially, they ended the following year on a high, filming live performances for Brighton label Small Print. A slot supporting Bipolar Sunshine followed, and then momentum began to pick up. A lot. Since then, Jones admits, it’s all been a bit ‘go’ – but they appreciate the time they’ve had to prepare. “It’s like we were in pre-production for about six months, but then we’re quite picky and particular – we wanted to make sure we were ready.”
The acclaim they’ve received amongst their fans with their first three singles make it clear they’ve been on the right track. While listeners waiting for an EP release any time soon will be disappointed, Jones is insistent it’s what’s best for the music. “I think most people can listen to the first track of an EP and then kind of ignore the rest of it, so we obviously want to avoid that. We decided releasing a single around every three months would give each individual track its own kind of merit instead; its own chance to shine.” Of course, listeners could get impatient with this perfectionist attitude, but the guitarist remains confident with their choices when we point this out. “Luckily we’ve got management to kick us up the arse and reassure us that what we have is good enough. We’re certainly our own worst enemies in that respect, but it’s definitely paid off so far.”
Fortunately, he’s not wrong. Despite such an assortment of influences ranging from Owen’s background in the trip-hop motherland of Bristol and Clem’s upbringing on R&B and garage to Tom and Creeda’s hip-hop devotion, each member individually compliments the others – creating an electrifying shared sound: Kudu Blue. “I think the mess of all of our influences makes [our sound] what it is,” adds the guitarist.
While their focus remains on their own work for the moment, Jones hints that the band could return to remixes eventually. “The remixes were something that Tom and Owen were doing before we formed the full band line-up, but they were just taking so long – we just want to write our own music now. We might revisit them in the future, though.”
With a stint at Secret Garden Party booked for the summer, 2016 might just be the year that Kudu Blue receive the recognition they deserve.