Friday, 11 May 2012

#FindOutFriday with 85th Decibel!

...85th Decibel

I've been on a Live Music high all week. Ever since helping my Mona Lisa mate - better known to you all as Lioness - prepare for her SMASH set at Camden Crawl last Saturday, I've been listening to nearly all acoustic sets, harassing poor Lisa Ella to over-practice for tonight's Live Radio performance just to hear her short, I've been literally Feenin' like Jodeci (for that legal vice they had). Thankfully MUSIC is my 'extra-curricular activity' of choice and it drew me to change the direction of this week's feature.

I've already introduced you to my favourite live band collective, but you have yet to meet my favourite musicians. Therein began a seed of thought, that became a new theme and so here we are! The first of a few specials over the next few months that are almost like Spotlights within the 'Spotlight Interview'; that said, it's time you met my favourite Drummer in alllllll the LAND!

Mx Ugoh does unnatural things with Percussion. Let me clarify; the  type of 'unnatural' is solely restricted to his special form of rhythmic hypnosis (as far as I know); but it's still not altogether above board. Also a Producer who's name you may recognise ('Superhero' ring any bells?) Mx took his hulk-like talents and formed a Charming new Power of 3. On the brink of their official launch, I thought it was only right that I get my favourite Little Drummer Boy and his new pals April and Warlock in, for a 'Getting to Know You' chat. Prepare for a Sensory overload this week as the Speed of (Spot)Light meets the Volume of Sound.

Introducing 85th Decibel...

1. Hi Guys! Welcome to #FindOutFriday! Kindly introduce yourselves; who are the individuals that make up 85DB, where are you from and how did you come together?

Mx: Hello!!! We go by the name 85th Decibel. I’m the producer and composer of the band. I have been producing for a few years now and have also been drumming with many artists at various live music nights.

(l-r) Warlock, April and Mx ('Mex') Ugoh are 85th Decibel
Warlock: We are all from London and have had different musical backgrounds. Prior to working together, I originally started off as a Grime MC, then ventured into rapping. I am happy to jump on any beat as long as the beat is cold.

April: I have been singing for a few years, doing features and providing vocals for different projects. I originally come from an RnB background but have released a few House singles.

We decided to work together permanently shortly after our first track 'Damage' produced by Mx. The track was sent over to Warlock and I, who came up with the song concept. After recording and working together in the studio frequently, we knew that this was going to be a long-term thing as we had such a good chemistry between all of us.

2. Explain the collective name, how it fits you and the moment you first decided on it?

Warlock: We wanted a name that was vivid and which related to sound, music and making noise in the music game. Decibels are all about the volume of sound. The 85th Decibel is significant as it is at the point where noise starts to affect your hearing. Our music is very energetic and loud, hence the name and our first single 'Damage'.

3. ‘Originality is what places you in a unique category and creating your own path breeds authenticity' - 85th Decibel.

What makes you original?

Mx: We are not attempting to replicate any sound already out there at the moment. We are three strong minded musicians with three different backgrounds.

April: The mix of creativity (which very often clashes) creates a finished product that is neither planned nor able to fit in any pigeonhole. No two songs sound the same.

4. April, you’re outnumbered here, do you find the boys team up? How do you handle the dynamic?


April: They definitely try and gang up on me sometimes, it’s a man thing but I can handle it. I can give as good as I get.

I have loads of boy cousins in my family, so I’m use to it by now. It’s just like having two extra brothers.

5. How do you approach the creative writing process? Is it Warlock’s bars first, April’s vocals second, vice versa or another make up entirely?

Warlock: To be fair, anything goes. Sometimes I will ask for a specific beat to be made or sometimes April will write an idea and we would build around that. Then other times Mx will make a beat reflective of his current mood or thought process.

April and Mx in The Lab...
April: Then we would just keep adding our layers, continuously building on what we have until we are happy and feel the track is complete.

6. Warlock; I’ve got to ask about this name! What are the origins?

Warlock: Everybody asks this! One reason is that when I first started MC'ing, your name had to be menacing and back then I was a lot more aggressive with lyrics and I used to get hyper on the mic, so the name kind of just fitted.

It hasn’t really got very much to do with the type of Warlocks in games like World of Warcraft though! People actually call me 'Wars'.

7. Mx, as the group’s Producer, can you describe 85DB’s ‘Signature Sound’, how you go about creating it and how you’ve been careful to differentiate it from your previous Production works?


Mx: Well, all I can say is making tracks for the team is always fun because we have no rules. I have been the kind of producer that likes to experiment and not be afraid to approach a composition unconventionally.

If I feel to mix Rock, Classical and Soul elements I will. If I choose to mix Hip Hop and Drum & Bass – I will. It just depends on how I feel at the time.

Warlock and April are writers that can write to anything I give them, so as long as the overall composition is tasteful, I am not required to limit myself. We all compliment each other nicely.

8. So ‘Damage’ is your debut single, out on 1st June. What’s it all about then and what should we expect from the rest of your EP?

Mx: Yes that’s correct. 'Damage' is an energetic bass heavy, flavour-full song. The concept of the track is about trying to rise up, stay above all the all drama that arises in life, people trying to damage your spirits and test your patience. So, it is basically saying you don’t want to make an enemy out of me!

Warlock: We wouldn’t advise you to expect anything other than the unexpected. There’s something on the EP for everyone. We are going to have trouble when it comes to selecting genres on things like iTunes as it fit everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

9. How did you connect with Chas Appeti for the ‘Damage’ video and how has he visually brought your song to life?

Warlock: I had previously worked with Chas when we shot the ‘Gangsterssingle from Grime producer Z-Dot last year; I then showed the team his work, which we were pleased with, so we got in contact with him.

April: We sat down together and brainstormed various ideas for the video storyboard. We scripted exactly how we wanted the video to look then contacted Chas about shooting it. Chas then came onboard and contributed with his distinctive style, capturing the mood of the song with his creative vision.

10. I talked with Soneni & the Soul recently and I had to throw them left of centre a little; so it’s only fair to do the same with you...You’ve obviously been working closely with each other in recent times while you put your first project together.

If you could assign each other a Super Power to fix your worst flaws, what would the Power be and which flaw would it fix?

Mx: The super power would be to rewind time, because the two vocalists fight over the mic and so I would be able recover all that wasted time!

85DB in their mini-movie for first single;
'Damage' is out 1st June
Warlock: I would assign myself the power to be able to temporarily mute people. I would be able to point at someone like a remote control and click my fingers. They would be muted for a short time as a certain someone can be OVER vocal at times and I’m like arrrr shuluppp....!

April: Well…I would have a super power like the mind eraser in Men in Black but instead mine would be a (mind-retractor) of things said because these two have very selective memories and are very forgetful. It would solve a lot of the disagreements. But all jokes aside…we love each other really – its 85DB baby!!!

Well it sounds to me like I need to make myself an Honorary member, just to help April out in this battle - what do you guys think?!

As always, a MASSIVE Thank You to 85DB for taking part, this is what you call a true talent pool so make sure you get involved now - you don't want to miss what they're brewing!

Connect with the band via their Social Media Catalogue:


DON'T FORGET - 'Damage' is out on the 1ST JUNE!

See you soon!
ES ;)