PREMIERE \\ Yusufla reveal the psychedelic video for ‘Knotweed’

1st February 2019

Yusufla are approaching the dawn of their debut EP and first tour  – and now we have the first preview of their official music video, too. 

The London band are comprised of founding member Rachel Jackson (Alto Sax) who is joined by Imogen Walker (Sop Sax), Celyn Lloyd Thomas (Tenor Sax), David Senen Ruiz (Bass), James Storer (Drums) and James Runciman (Live Sound). 

Debut single ‘Knotweed’ moves like the current; a soothing forward-backwards motion on saxophones opens the track. It’s a peaceful but stimulating tune, accompanied by a mesmeric video by visual artist Ben Moon. 

Yusufla lunch their UK tour the day of their EP release, on 11 February, kicking if off at Pizza Express Jazz Club. Check out the alluring video for ‘Knotweed’ and find out more about the concept behind the track as we chat with Rachel, below. 

\\ How did you guys connect and what was the motivation for the band to form?

I formed the band about two years ago after playing in horn sections for a few years and wanting to dig a little deeper into my instrument. The sax has so many shades and colours that we can reach to with three saxes of different ranges in the front line. Myself, Celyn and Imogen met studying music in Manchester. We’re classically trained rather than from a straight jazz schooling, which I think you can hear coming through in parts of the sound we’ve created together. David and James I met playing in different bands on the London circuit and added to the mix. What’s great though is that I formed the band but it’s a truly collaborative project now: we all write and arrange together with equal fire.

\\ What’s the concept behind ‘Knotweed’?

We used to rent a basement studio in Caledonian Road and my cycle route went past this fence with a signpost warning of Japanese Knotweed taking hold. I started thinking about the thick rippling melody as the arms of the plant, kind of insidious but slow moving. The tune is really all about the three saxes moving together in synergy before breaking away – leaving just the bass and drums in a wide-open space.

\\ You worked with Ben Moon on the video, how have his visuals elevated the themes of the track?

Like the music, Ben’s visuals are really subtle and emerge slowly from the deep. We gave Ben pretty much free reign to respond creatively. The textured colour worlds that he chose – merging from one to the next – really bleed into the tune’s vibe. His video reminds me of a painter mixing colours on a pallet; there’s a rawness to his craft that is quite delicate.

\\ Tell us about the upcoming EP? 

We recorded and mixed the four tracks at Soup Studios with [producer and engineer] Giles Barrett. It’s a beautiful bright-red lightship on the Thames that rocks as the tide comes in and out. There’s something quite focusing about being all tucked up on a ship with the drawbridge up and nowhere to run. I think the EP reflects our sound which is unique – owing to our unusual trio of saxes in the front line.

We were all involved in every step of the process and recorded it live with the whole band playing together. Getting the EP down was a really inspiring process and we’ve written literally a whole job-lot of new tunes since – our productivity has really jumped. I think hearing, questioning and crafting our EP with Giles’ guiding hand has really got us thinking. I’m really excited about what we are releasing and what we’ve got to give. We will be playing our EP live and a set of new material at our launch. 

\\ What else is going down in 2019?

We’re launching our debut EP at Pizza Express Soho on the 11 February, before taking the show to Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh. After that on 27 April we’ll be back in our musical home, Deptford Cinema, for another of our residency nights called ‘Playedback’ which features live improvised music to animated short films. We’ve got another single ready to drop Summer 2019 and more gigs in the cooker to be announced soon. Come see us and hang out, we love a chat.

Tweet @_SupStandards @yusuflatheband 

Pre-order the ‘Yusufla EP’

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