The third event in the Sunday Joint’s collaboration with Leeds College of Music features DULAHLI, who are far more focussed than their name would suggest. They support Dr. Syntax of the Mouse Outfit at HiFi on Sunday. We spoke to Will, Anthony and Josh from the band to find out more about what they are up to, including work with the Tight Lines collective.
Tell me more about the Tight Lines crew, and what they have done so far.
Will: Tight Lines have put on over 30 shows in the last year, including our own music and arts festival Salèmango, a regular jam session, Tight Lines Jam and our favourite big ol’ collaborative party called Chill Withers (got one coming up on the 28th of October!) We’ve also recorded loads of live sessions with a whole host of different Leeds based acts as well as bands from London and Manchester. We’ve got some debut releases coming from the label very soon as well including Skwid Ink’s debut EP on 12″ vinyl which is getting us super excited!
You recently did your first KMAH show and it was a really fun listen. What made you go for this style of show with lots of chat?
Will: Although we want to promote a load of new music and play out some bangers that we love, we also wanted to entertain people and do things a bit differently as well as bring our general shit banter vibe on to the show.
There is a video of you covering Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. Is this a track from your childhood, passed on by parents? What music do you remember from at home or in the car as a kid?
Anthony: Funny enough it’s not actually. My mother introduced me to Northern Soul / Motown artists from a very early age. I remember hearing Curtis Mayfield from an old cassette and the instrumentation blew me away. The high-level vocal performances and vibe of Motown and Northern Soul was just breathtaking. I have been obsessed with discovering new or classic music from an early age and still haven’t stopped. Paul Simon is probably one of the best pop music songwriters and lyricists ever.
Where do you guys start when you write? What is a the writing and creative dynamic of the group? Do you think it is important to retain some of that Simon-esque pop sensibility?
Anthony: The writing process for DULAHLI is quite unconventional in that a lot of tracks start as arrangement and ideas I write and produce in Ableton. Sometimes these can be a verse or just a hook and sometimes can be a whole rough arrangement. I enjoy this fresh approach to songwriting and developing digitally inputted rhythms, complex melodies. ‘Astronauts’ is a track I composed before the full band joined. Seeing it being arranged and played by the band was an experience I will never forget.
With you doing DJ stuff as well as producing, how do you manage your time? Do you dig deep for records?
Anthony: DJing is becoming more of regular thing nowadays but I have always been obsessed with records. For me the most important element is the selection, not the beat matching and definitely not the same bpm or genre. I like to go wherever I want with a mix. Be it Squarepusher to Grant Green to Sons Of Kemet to Billy Cobham. When buying records, it’s always the messy joints that have vinyl just scattered which the hidden gems I have found. DULAHLI is my only band so I find it easier to manage my time by just having one project to focus.
By the sound of Astronauts, you are aiming towards a cosmic, semi-free jazz sound. What has taken you in this direction?
Anthony: I have always been obsessed with the weird, abstract and innovative musicians such as Sun Ra, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Moondog, Flying Lotus. I can achieve this in a production environment but it took developing into a full band to achieve a higher level of harmony, rhythm changes and arrangements. The record labels Warp & Brainfeeder have already had profound influence on my music.
You have worked closely with Youth Club and 8Mana recently. Do you have any praise for Leeds as a facilitator of collective projects? Where do you come from originally? Would those places be equally facilitating? How has being at LCoM helped you?
Josh: The city of Leeds is totally buzzing with great art at the moment and I personally think there’s nowhere quite like it. There’s so many great gigs going and fortunately were often on the other side of them, joining great artists on stage at some of the incredible venues the city has to offer. The amount of collaboration that is going on is so exiting too. There are so many great collectives in all different kinds of art and the way that they come together and work with each other to create multi-platform events is incredible.
Can you tell me a bit about the other artists on the Tight Lines label?
Will: There’s Skwid Ink who Fergus and myself play for; we’re a Punk/Jazz quartet who like to get really rowdy, weird and dressed up. Next gig: 29/09 – The Skwids Are Here EP Launch at Hyde Park Book Club. Têtes De Pois who Josh plays percussion for; an octet who draw sounds from mainly Afrobeat and Hip Hop with a prog/cinematic twist. They played Love Supreme festival this year which was killer. Next gig: 30/09 at The Domino Club for Assembly of Souls. Garde Dog who both Josh and I play for are just coming back after a hiatus. We play tightly arranged Hip Hop/Soul/Funk and make a point of collaborating with a multitude of varied Leeds musicians. Next gig: 19/10 for Cinnamon: The Spice Congregation at Wharf Chambers. Then there’s a very new addition which we’re really excited to launch, Spirit Wonk. Spirit Wonk is a mashup of loads of different Leeds bands, we’ve got Lydia from Mamilah (vocals), Poppy from Necktr (Trumpet), and Jasper, Josh, Fergus and myself from DULAHLI, Morpher and all the aforementioned bands. It’s a bit of an experiment to see what happens when we blend Soul and Cosmic Space Jazz vibes. Should be interesting. Next gig: 28/10 for our very own Chill Withers at Assembly House Studios. The underpinning theme is an attempt to create something truly original and exciting.
With some of you being in multiple bands, I’d like to know if it is easy to negotiate those changes in style from project to project?
Will: Musically it’s a delight; we all have multiple outlets to play all the different kinds of music we’re in to. Logistically it’s a fucking nightmare; balancing playing in 4 bands as well having to pay rent is a massive case of spinning plates, none have smashed yet!
How was playing at Soundwave festival?
Will: Soundwave was wicked man. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the set. We got an encore chant, which was super cool. Was also wicked to see cats like Children of Zeus, Layfullstop, Moses Boyd and Gilles. Also Tisno is a beautiful place to hang out, we ended up recording a couple a couple sessions in some cool locations.
What have you guys got coming up?
Anthony: It’s a really exciting time for the band as we have just introduced a new band member, which is Jasper Cole (Morpher, Nag Champa) on Saxophone! He has added a different dimension to the band and I now feel DULAHLI has finally found it’s sound. We are also supporting Alfa Mist on November 24th. We are recording our first ever EP in October. We cannot wait to release it and are planning a UK tour for next year in Spring.