When I was going through my favourite Brighton based music of the last twelve months, there was one band who stood head and shoulders above the rest for me personally. A band who I got a bit evangelical about and told everyone I knew they had to listen to, including my friends from outside of Brighton. That band were Momotaro, who at the end of last year had a few demos up on Soundcloud and had given away the fantastic dubby Reverie in return for signing up to their mailing list, yet managed to come out with a fully formed album on the first of February this year. Second Side featured much improved versions of some of those demos that we’d already heard as well as tracks which they’d been refining live, where despite sounding electronic most of the instruments are played live making them considerably more engaging than someone with their head down behind a laptop. The addition of a bassist and a visual artist to their line up later in the year as well as the continual evolution of their electronic post trip hop sound has turned things up another notch, and with a new EP due imminently 2015 could be a very good year indeed for Momotaro.
A few weeks ago we chatted to Momotaro about their debut album Second Side, and since then it hasn’t left our stereo. This weekend they’ve put the whole thing up to hear on Soundcloud, which you can hear below. If you like it (and we think you will), then you can support the band buy buying it via their website.
Momotaro release their debut album Second Side on 1st February. I caught up with Peppi, Rosie and Dave to talk about their first full length long player.
Over the course of last year Momotaro put up around half a dozen tracks onto Soundcloud – all now removed – which form the backbone of the album. What appears on the record are re-recorded versions of these, showing a Second Side to the songs, hence the album name. “When we first started to write music together we were writing a song every single week, we were so excited by it. We were never really doing things by the book and we literally churned them out and I think that helped us develop.” said Peppi, “We would write a song, learn it, then when we’d play it we’d come away from the gig thinking it could be so much better and that led to the newer versions of the older songs.”
It’s not just the songs that have evolved over the past twelve months – the way that the band work has changed too: “At the beginning we didn’t have what we have now, where we have ideas as a trio. Before someone would throw an idea into the pot but we wouldn’t know what to do with it, but now it’s more like a collaborative sound” Peppi told us. Even the band’s setup onstage feels like a more even share of duties than most bands, with Rosie’s electric drum kit given equal prominence and not tucked away at the back, and Dave and Rosie swapping instruments. One thing that’s key for the band is that despite playing electronica, they’re not using laptops. Asked about their favourite tracks on their album Warm Step comes up, an old song which has completely changed “It’s less digital – we got a ukulele which seems to have added quite a lot to our set overall” said Rosie
As well as the album coming out on 1st February, the band are hosting the launch party on the same day at the Green Door Store. First support is local electronic indie band Faux Flux, who Momotaro have played alongside a number of times, and who the band see themselves alongside as part of a growing local electronic music scene. “There’s definitely a scene that we were never part of before. We seem to see a bit of a correlation, we keep playing with similar acts. It’s really surprising and lovely to find all these bands through what we’re doing”. GAPS also get a mention – Rosie has known Rachel for years before either band were formed – as do IYES who the band regularly see when they’re both rehearsing at Brighton Electric.
Second support is the Sunday Best signed Lucky Elephant, who have been in the music industry in one form or another for fifteen years. It turns out that Peppi has known Sam from Lucky Elephant for quite a while: “I’ve known Sam for about ten years, he was in Boomclick when I first knew him. I didn’t even know I wanted to do music until I saw his studio. I worked with him in London and I started playing guitar and he offered to record one of my songs in his little home studio. I went round there and I was “WOW – I want everything that you have!”. He got me into music, I can safely say that. We always said that we must make sure we play a gig together one day and I never ever thought that we would, and now he’s supporting us”. Momotaro will be returning the favour supporting Lucky Elephant at their album launch, also at the Green Door Store later this spring.
One of the tracks on Second Side is already experiencing a life of it’s own. Blue Soul is currently being used on Australian YouTube Surf Magazine The Barrel’s latest video. Through a series of contacts and coincidences some of the bands tracks got played the film makers, and ended up with their lyrics about “swimming up” accompanying videos of amazing waves. The band said that they’d like to use more visuals alongside their live music. Dave said “It’s definitely something that we’d like to see more of. We’re so busy making the music that we haven’t yet really had time to get into too much visual stuff but in the future we’d love to”. Some projections were prepared for their Source New Music show at the end of last year but technical issues scuppered that – maybe 2014 will show another side to the band.
For now though, the band’s focus is to get the album out there, playing it live and getting it heard by as many people as possible, and you can do that by heading down to the Green Door Store on 1st February.