What Kinda Music Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes
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- 1What Kinda Music03:50
- 4Tidal Wave04:09
- 6The Real02:41
- 7Lift Off05:18
- 8I Did It For You04:01
- 9Last 10004:00
- 11Julie Mangos03:17
- 12Storm Before The Calm03:05
Info for What Kinda Music
“What Kinda Music” is an astonishing collaboration between two artists of very different disciplines, and one of the most unique and seamlessly original projects of its ilk to date. Moving fluidly through sleek electronica, avant-garde jazz, vintage hip hop and so much more, Misch and Dayes take you on a journey that is by turns surprising and spontaneous, heady and head spinning, and nothing less than compelling – a singular vision which fuses the DNA of both musicians with spectacular results, as can be seen in the title track, which comes backed by a gorgeously atmospheric video by XX.
Even though the fundamental bones of this project came together very quickly, its actual provenance stretches back much, much farther back, with the pair not only growing up in the same area of South East London, but Misch actually seeing Dayes play on drums in the school talent show for the first time when he was roughly 8 or 9. They both kept tabs on each other – Misch becoming a fan of Dayes’ act YussefKamaal, Dayes clocking his videos in 2014 – but it was only when they met at a launch party for Misch’s debut LP “Geography” in 2018 that the proverbial creative sparks began to fly. “As a musician you’re always looking for contemporaries who can push you and challenge you and make you better”, says Dayes. “I instantly felt that with Tom – he was such a gifted musician, and so prolific”. That summer they decided to go into the studio together, jam a little, and see what happens, with no other expectation placed upon it.
As it turns out, the music came fast and furiously. Two initial tracks were suddenly followed by a handful of others, and the pair found themselves contemplating what to do next. “Pretty soon, we knew that something was gelling”, Dayes says. “It didn’t feel like a one-off collaboration, it felt like a body of work”. What made the pair click, according to Misch and Dayes, were the exact same factors that meant it shouldn’t, by all rights, work. Misch says, “Yussef comes from a more experimental background, and he has a lot of loose, crazy ideas. I know how to write a catchy melody, but with interesting chords and have a good understanding of popular song forms, so I think I streamlined those ideas and made them accessible”. And certainly, in “What Kinda Music” you can sense the DNA of both musicians, but fusing so effortlessly and beautifully that it creates something else entirely, the appropriately named “Lift Off” sending goosebumps with its jazz flecked crescendo, and “Night Rider” hynotising with its deeply mesmeric grooves. “I have a love for harmony and chords”, Misch adds. “Working with someone like Yussef, who has such a gifted sense of rhythm allowed a perfect balance”.
Throughout the record, there is an utterly joyful feel of two musicians at the top of their game sparking off one another, picking up ideas and running with them – zigging where the other zags, ebbing where the other flows, with Misch producing the majority of the record and both having a hand in the overall sound and feel of the record.
“Working with Yussef has actually changed the way I work as a musician”, Misch muses. “He’s pushed me and unlocked a more experimental part of me that I hadn’t really allowed myself to explore before. I think we really did impact each other in a fundamental way”. Dayes is similarly effusive in his praise for Misch. “A musician like him, who’s at the top of his game, he doesn’t need to do this”, he raves. “He can just keep doing the same thing and why not? He’s killing it. The fact that he’s so humble, that he’s so curious about everything and open to collaboration, speaks a lot to him as an artist, because it’s not easy finding musicians who want to collaborate. Something always gets in the way, whether it’s ego or their team or whatever. But with Tom it felt like the intention was purely creative, and that’s what made it exciting”. In fact, Dayes says that the intentions of the record go even deeper than just music. “Both our parents who’d never met each other before, are now best friends as a result of this, they now see each other more than we do! I’d like to think, in some small way, that this album has a similar impact for people too – everything feels so divided these days, it would be nice for people to hear the record and hear two very different musicians coming together and realise it doesn’t have to be that way”.
Tom Misch, guitar
Yussef Dayes, drums
Rocco Palladino, bass
Freddie Gibbs, vocals, rap
Kaidi Akinnibi, saxophones
Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes
“Apparently, I have a sound , and people can hear it,” Tom Misch claims modestly. For someone with a cohesive and sprawling body of mellow beats behind him, he seems mildly bewildered that this is the case. “I try so many genres that it’s hard sometimes to pinpoint. I guess my sound is uplifting, soulful, funky — and happy more than it is sad.” It’s a perfect description of his debut album, due in 2018, which brings together low-slung hip-hop beats, glittering disco, and noodling jazz instrumentation in a way only Misch can.
If Misch seems surprised, it’s because his fanbase has developed naturally. He never set out with any grand plan when he began making beats, and uploading roughly three tracks a week to Soundcloud at 16. “ I prefer a more organic approach to making music, but also to building a fanbase,” he reflects. “I don’t want a big push on my music as I don’t want to be as big as possible.” And yet, he’s rapidly become one of the U.K.’s most exciting emerging new artists, gaining 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and playing a sold-out tour of the U.K., U.S. and Europe in 2016. Collaborating with a clutch of fellow trailblazers like Novelist, Loyle Carner, and Zak Abel, he’s accumulated a total of 75 million streams across all platforms to date — and it all started in his bedroom.
Misch’s earliest introduction to music came via his artistic family, including his psychiatrist father, a passionate violinist, who would take him to concerts and the opera as a child. He sang in a choir at school, and picked up the violin himself at the age of four. When one of his older sisters took up guitar and later abandoned it, nine-year-old Misch inherited the instrument, and taught himself to play Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Nirvana songs. Today, he also plays bass, banjo, and a smattering of keys.
It was one of his sister’s boyfriends who introduced him to the music of J Dilla at 15, and from then on, Misch was hooked. He took up Music Technology at school the following year, and began learning how to create his own “really chilled out, boom-bap kind of ‘90s hip-hop” on Logic Pro. “When I wasn’t at school, I’d be making beats,” he says. “It was just what I did.” As he began sharing his tunes on Soundcloud, he found the response was overwhelming. “You put songs out and you build a fanbase — it’s kind of addictive.”
A collaboration with his sister Laura, on the jazz-inflected “Follow,” was a major turning point for both siblings after it was uploaded to influencer YouTube channel Majestic Casual. The track features Laura on sax and Tom on beats and vocals, intertwined to mesmeric effect. “That was the point where I was like, okay, maybe I could do this as a career,” Misch reflects. “Suddenly it had 100,000 plays.” Shortly afterward, Soulection co-founder Joe Kay commented on one of Misch’s productions on Soundcloud, asking the teenage prodigy to guest on his radio show.
Soon afterward, in 2014, Misch contributed to Soulection’s White Label series, weaving together obscure jazz samples, guitar, and vocals to create the perfect summer listen (including the dreamy fan favourite “The Journey”). His Beat Tape series collected the best of his hip-hop instrumentals, the 5 Day Mischon project featured collaborations with grime MC Novelist and singer-songwriter Zak Abel, and his 2016 Reverie EP brought the official release of Misch’s most sophisticated songs to date. As well as soulful singers Carmody and Jordan Rakei, he struck up a collaborative relationship with fellow south Londoner Loyle Carner, whose mellow bars flow over Misch’s productions like a breeze on a hot day. Both artists form part of the much-hyped scene of singer-songwriters emerging from south east London, including King Krule and Cosmo Pyke. Each has a DIY mindset and a brooding, poetic approach to lyricism that weaves them loosely together. “There’s definitely a certain sound,” reflects Misch. “Everyone’s music in south London is really chilled. It reflects the vibe of this part of London — it’s laid back.”
Misch has lived in south London all his life, and he loves it so much that his new single, “South of the River,” is dedicated to it. “I much prefer the general vibe of south London,” he says. “I love this area, Peckham, Dulwich, Forest Hill. Singing that line — You should come south of the river — it just felt really good.” With its string arrangements mirroring disco synth stabs and a funky bassline, it’s an irresistible bop that nods clearly to Misch’s danceable new direction.
One of the biggest influences on Misch’s sound has long been jazz. With a degree in jazz guitar, Misch is an avid listener of Robert Glasper, Roy Hargrove, Cory Henry, and jazz-influenced songwriters like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. “It’s kind of a warm feeling, when you hear a certain chord progression,” he explains.
In the making of his debut album, he’s also been drawing on inspiration from disco, house, and techno, discovered through the portal of producers like Kaytranada and Motor City Drum Ensemble. The euphoric feel of 1970s and ‘80s disco (think Earth Wind and Fire or Gwen McCrae), and the thump of nightclubs like Fabric or Corsica, inspired him to bring more movement into his songs. “I want people to dance at my live shows, I want to bring more energy,” he says. “When you’re in a club and you can feel the bass...I want people to have that experience.”
Misch’s sound is true to its roots — he still makes his tracks in the same bedroom studio in his parents’ house, and his mum produces his artwork. (“ Her work is very DIY, just like my music, and feels homespun,” he explains.) But he’s never afraid to explore new territory. “I think it’s really important to make music that hasn’t been made before,” he says. “I’m trying to work out what my sound is, and pursuing that.” Fans might think they know his style, but Misch is a restless experimentalist, keen to spend endless hours honing his craft. One of his favorite new songs is a “Brazilian-sounding” jam that reflects how deeply he feels about his work. As he puts it: “It’s about how you can’t take away my love for music. I’ll always have that.”
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