You could argue all night about what you think the word “Mamilah” means – but there is no mistaking what this band is out to achieve. They are all about groove. They play the fourth event in the Sunday Joint’s collaboration with Leeds College of Music, in support of Tarzan Bros. We had a short chat with the band about life as a big group and Leeds, indirectly uncovering their ardent dislike of a certain strand of soul music…
How did Mamilah come about? How did you all meet?
We all met during our first year at Leeds College of Music and decided to start a band in January this year with a common interest of eradicating the neo from soul.
What would you say you all have in common apart from being in Mamilah?
We all share a combined enthusiasm for cheap pints and patterned shirts.
Rather than asking what your influences are, I’ll ask this: If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life AS A BAND, what would it be?
The album ‘Back In Time’ by Judith Hill is basically the fulcrum around which Mamilah evolved. It was produced by Prince and is the meeting point of funk both old and new, thus eradicating the aforementioned neo from soul.
What is the dynamic like in the group – how easy is it to translate an idea onto your big ensemble?
For the most part, it’s a fun loving good-time having kind of dynamic. When it comes to working on new tunes and arranging parts, it all comes down to having a solid concept and then working in sections around that. We’re divisible into sections: horns, rhythm and percussion, so really its all about working out how we all work well individually and then come together as a whole.
What is the community at LCoM like? What’s the most valuable thing you have learned there?
Its a hugely warm and friendly community of like minded individuals, where everyone is highly motivated and genuinely excited by the scene being curated around Leeds. As far as valuable information is concerned, we’ve learned the most important thing is generating constant output. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking you just need to be creating it.
What would you say is the most important thing for creating a quality funk/soul sound?
Simplicity, something that you can easily latch onto and groove to. It’s all in those riffs baby.
What are your favourite non-musical things to do in Leeds?
We all have a passion for good food and cooking and just generally enjoy the buzz of the Leeds social scene. We try to support anything within the creative scene in Leeds, whether it be art, dance or any musical undertaking (nothing is a non musical activity for us).
What is the best gig you have been to in Leeds?
Yussef Kamaal and Nubiyan Twist both blew us away, but its hard to narrow it down to just one gig when there’s so much happening locally. Tight Lines always smash it with their events, particularly the Salémango day festival that was on at the start of summer!
What’s coming up for Mamilah?
We’re focusing on writing a new set at the minute, and are planning to release an EP of our current material in the next few months. And world domination, always world domination.
P.S. We have nothing against neo-soul, just the use of the term to label everything that comes out of LCoM