While many may be familiar with the Brit Awards, Grammys and EMA’s there is a huge pool of talent that currently sits outside of the aforementioned nomination demographic.
The Unsigned Music Awards started in 2015 and casts it’s beam away from well known chart-toppers and firmly in the direction of unsigned artists. At GIGsoup we’ve always made a point of giving our readership an insight into the latest and greatest music from unsigned artists and it’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to talk to a few of the acts up for nomination at this years awards ceremony.
Today we’re concentrating on the ‘Best Electronic / Dance Act’ category and Southampton duo UHURU.
UHURU are Conor Daniel and Rob Jones, a electronic duo generating smooth synth sounds, heavy bass lines and dramatic drops. Catchy vocal melodies & hook lines combined with guitar & synth, blend together to deliver a dance-set with real power and punch. U H U R U (pronounced ‘oo-hoo-roo’ ) is a Swahili word and means freedom.
GIGsoup spoke Connor Daniel (Producer / Singer Songwriter) from the duo…
Tell us all about yourselves?
Well, Rob & I were at Taunton’s College together and I formed UHURU. Originally we were a 5-piece band with 3 of our mates from the same college. Our second ever gig was the ‘Holi One Colour Festival’ to a crowd of 2,000 people in Southampton and they loved us so the Holi One organisers took us on tour with the Festival all over the UK, Dublin and Paris. We performed to crowds of between 3,000 – 17,000 people, the biggest being Wembley Park, London. It was very surreal! Last year the band all went off to different Universities and as Rob and I were both at ACM, I recreated our live set to be performed by just the 2 of us being a duo and our first gig was only in March this year! We then auditioned for a slot to play at Rob Da Bank’s ‘Common People Festival’ in Southampton and out of 120 bands that applied, we were only one in 6 that actually got to perform at the Festival in May.
How does it feel to be nominated?
Very excited and grateful just being a nominee! Apparently over 3,000 artists entered so we’re honoured to be 1 of the 4 chosen in the ‘electronic and dance music’ category.
Describe your style? What are you influences?
I was raised on Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Earth Wind & Fire but growing up I fell in love with Hip Hop: Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West & Kendrick Lamar. Now see describing our style, is a little tricky to answer! All the bass aspects of our music is, stylistically, Hip Hop. For example: trap drums, 808’s, and heavy synth bass’ feature heavily in most of our tracks especially in the drops. The other half of our sound is my take on RnB and Pop using smooth vocal melodies, bright synth chords and a fair few love songs! This description resonates perfectly in regard to our latest (unreleased) material that we’re planning to drop in our forthcoming EP
How did you get into electronic music?
My brother got me FL Studio when I was 14 and I started making dubstep remixes back then! I uploaded them to youtube and was fascinated when I started getting a lot of views – 10,000, 50,000, 500,000 and one track now has over 800,000! Six years on, they still get played and the last time I checked, my page had over 1.9 million views!
What comes first? Always the baseline? A sample?
Chords! Then I produce the instrumental, then melody and lyrics. Being a producer and singer songwriter it’s usually always the same with me! Having said that though, lately, I’ve been honing in on my songwriting and have actually come up with lyrics first!
Which part of producing a track is the most challenging? Mastering? Structure? Knowing when it’s done?
I believe a track is never actually ‘done’ and I could easily carry on ‘adding and tweaking’ it endlessly so, knowing when to stop is definitely the most challenging!
Who would you nominate your category?
That’s a tough one; all 3 of the other nominees are excellent choices but if you pushed me, I’d have to go with ‘Majik’. They’re so ambient and I love the space they create. We would also like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you the UMA’s for such an amazing opportunity for all of us unsigned artists.
If you could be playing anywhere in the world in 12 months time, where would it be?
Trying to choose between Glastonbury and Coachella and I can’t – So both!!
Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?
That would have to be Kanye West ‘ThroughThe Wire’. He recorded it with his mouth wired shut after a life-threatening car accident but the emotion that he managed to convey through his story-telling matched with the Chaka Khan sample, hits me in the feels every time. The man is pure genius.