INTERVIEW \\ The mighty return of Melt Yourself Down

11th April 2019

Melt Yourself Down are a force.

Formed in 2012, on the dawn of the UK Jazz explosion, Pete Wareham and his band – including saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings – have been the purveyors of sweaty, fast-paced ‘Jazz’ gigs. The London based band were one of the very first acts of the scene to make people excitedly question “What do you call this music?”. 

With two studio albums behind them, the self-titled debut and the 2016 release ‘Last Evenings On Earth’, they have a strong foundation on which to return. This weekend, they appear on stage for the first time in two years, to debut new music – and remind us what made us all fall in love with them back in 2013. Get tickets here

Amidst rehearsals for the big day, Tina Edwards chats over email with bandleader and saxophonist Pete Wareham. 

\\ How are you? What are you up to today?
Running around getting everything sorted for our rehearsals. We’ve been rehearsing a lot for the Roundhouse Show as we are debuting most of our new material and there’s a lot to think about – new sounds, new songs, etc. 
\\ Cool. So it’s been three years since ‘Last Evenings On Earth’; MYD released albums just before the UK Jazz scene became hugely publicised around the world. How does it feel returning to the spotlight now, when it’s so bright?

It’s fantastic that so much positive energy is focused around this music right now, and it’s exciting for us to be a part of it. We’ve been quite heads-down in the studio for a while now, but listening to everything all the time, so it’s going to be fun to contribute again! We live and work mostly in South East London so it’s also amazing to feel the energy flowing around here. 

\\ Tell us about the music you’ve been making? Have you been writing for a while?

Yes, since 2016! Obviously so much has changed politically since then so we’ve been allowing our collective reactions to the current climate to filter through in our feelings and music. We’ve been listening to the radio a lot as well, loving so much contemporary music right now and we’re feeling blessed to be part of such a golden age of music. We’ve really been taking our time over this new album that we’ve nearly finished – time to reflect on what MYD is and how we want to move forward.

\\ With original member Shabaka Hutchings having been so busy, has the line-up of MYD shuffled around at all? 

Yes we’ve had a couple of personnel shifts. George Crowley is now playing tenor saxophone and keyboard. Adam Betts plays drums as well as our original members – Kushal Gaya (vocals), there’s me [Pete Wareham] (tenor, baritone saxes, keyboards), Ruth Goller (bass and vocals) and Satin Singh (percussion). 

\\ You’ve previously been inspired by music from Egypt; tell us about your journey of discovery and the artists from this country that have influenced you?
The first album was hugely influenced by the music and rhythms of Nubia and the modern iterations of that music. The artists were Ali Hassan Kuban, Mahmoud Fadl, Les Musiciens Du Nil, and many others from Nubia, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. These influences were added to our more familiar, European tastes and when you add the influence of London in all its glory, there’s plenty to draw from. We take in music from all around the world, from all eras. It’s about energy and vibration.

\\ We’re so excited for your performance at Roundhouse this weekend! When was your last London show? What will we see?

Our last London show was in 2017 at the Battersea Arts Centre so this is a big event for us! We have new band members, new material but the same energy so you’ll see some high-impact music! 

Image credit: Adama Jalloh

Buy tickets for Love Supreme @ Roundhouse on Saturday 13 April 

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