Infectiously entertaining and energetic London duo The Correspondents return to The Bongo Club, opening our Bongo Lives x Hidden Door Festival on Friday 22nd May.
We get the low-down from front-man Mr Bruce, who first made a name for himself in Edinburgh/Scotland as part of the Trouble crew many moons ago…
1) Who are you, who is in the band, who does what in the studio and on stage?
We are The Correspondents and we make alternative dance music (for want of a better expression!). The band consists of myself, Mr Bruce, and Chucks. In the studio Chucks is the producer working with music production software and a load of keyboards (a soprano sax has crept into one song). On stage he’s the DJ. I write the lyrics and sing them in both instances, although I do a hell of a lot more dancing on stage.
2) How would you describe what you do to someone who’s never seen you before?
After seven years we still don’t have a definitive sound bite! We usually say alternative dance music from electro to drum’n’bass with its roots in blues and jazz. Live we are a DJ/MC duo, loads of dancing and heart-attack-inducing high energy.
3) How long have you been writing and performing in this way?
We’ve been going for seven and a bit years.
4) How exactly do you work / write / record?
Usually Chucks makes a rough beat, a kind of musical doodle, and sends it over to me where I listen to it until I’m humming it in my sleep and try and write some lyrics. We then record them in the studio and Chucks knocks up a rough song structure then it’s a case of him refining each part until it’s sound full and fat. We might then re-record the lyrics. At this point we might well try it out on a crowd and, if it’s not a total disaster, Chucks will mix it down, send it off for mastering and we’ll try and put it out.
5) How do you feel your studio/recording style informs the way you perform your music live (or vice versa)? Does it make it easier or harder, better etc…?
As I mentioned above it’s often the performance that informs the recording process once we’ve given a track a test flight!
6) What’s been happening lately and what’s new with you?
Well, we’ve recently returned from a two month stint in Australia at The Adelaide Fringe, where we were creating a big show involving a cast of circus performers, acrobats and contemporary dancers. It was a load of fun and took us far out of comfort zones. Working with acrobats is pretty hilarious, if you or I have a moment spare we may check Facebook on our phones – they just start throwing each other around or stack themselves into a three-high.
7) The last time you played at The Bongo Club was quite a few years ago and before we moved to our current location on the Cowgate (Feb ’13). Do you remember anything/much about playing the old Bongo, the crowd etc back in 2011?
I remember the Bongo in its original manifestation on New Street! I hadn’t realised that it had moved again, looking forward to seeing the new place. Our last gig at Bongo was a load of fun. I seem to remember a stage dive that was close to a floor flop after take off but ended up being a nice little cruise!
8) But, in some respects, this is also a bit of a homecoming gig for you (Mr Bruce), isn’t it, as you studied Fine Art at ECA/Edinburgh Uni and did scores of gigs here as part of the Trouble crew and otherwise (at venues such as Cabaret Voltaire, the Jazz Bar, the Liquid Room, the Bongo, the old Venue on Calton Rd etc) back in the mid-Noughties? How does it feel to be coming back to play Edinburgh again now, as the front-man of an act which has toured extensively worldwide, having started out when you were a student here, as Trouble’s resident MC…?
Well, if you’d told me all those years ago that I’d still be cavorting on stages, mic in hand at the ripe old age of 30 I would have thought you were mad. Being Trouble’s resident MC certainly provided me with the perfect education with a stream of highly eclectic DJs passing through.
9) What’s next, coming up after this gig, for you and what are you generally looking forward to right now…?
Festival season is always a busy time for us with gigs in the UK and Europe and in amongst them we are trying to put together a live band for the first time, make a couple of music videos, release an EP and rehearse for the second run of the big circus show in Brisbane.
10) If you have any other passions/opinions you’d like to share, if there’s anything else you feel strongly about, pls feel free to tell us about it here…?
We’re just excited about coming up to Edinburgh again and looking forward to the show.
Tags: interview, Q&A, The Correspondents, Trouble