It’s inspiring to witness a rise in conscious music, and I don’t just mean the trend in improvised, free music, in the worlds of jazz, electronica and your almost traditional free improv format. I’m referring to a carefully crafted and consciously aware song form that literally focuses on highlighting community and raising our energies to another level altogether. There’s been memorable instances in music history where we were privy to such a focused thematic theme. Pink Floyd’s ‘ The Wall’, focused on collectively creating a psychedelic world so fraught with layers that as an audience we quickly could relate to it as a metaphor to our fragmented society. David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, was a subtle defiance against racism and a plea to unite as one voice, in something that unites us all; the power of music. Nina Simone’s career was centered around it, and on that note, the world of jazz led to the revolution years later in hip hop, soul music to take a stance on this The 90’s and 2000’s saw a return to a collective cry for unification; GrandMaster Flash’ s ‘ The Message’ ; Lauren Hill’s ‘ Everything is Everything’ ; the list is endless. It comes as a delightful welcome to see the younger generation of artists and aspiring producers, therefore, to take the lead and continue in this empowering path. I was only too happy to have a conversation with both artists and their exciting collaboration : self- taught musician /producer Joshua Brandler and remonwened soul singer Tammy Payne, amidst their month two single releases and remixes , ” White Witch ” and ” Raise It”. Self released on Musical Dojo Records with combined influences such as Jay Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest and each
others music ; both tracks are uplifting, in ways that make you think, reflect on your own sense of self , as a active person in a somewhat re-imagined society of people collectively creating a safe space. Such is the power of music, and such is the integrity of up and coming musician Joshua Brandler and celebrated songstress Tammy Payne.
Lara ( BSM): Hello Josh ! I have to say, I’ve already got both tracks imprinted in my musical brain ! There is so much groove , soul and drive behind your tracks.. It’s definitely a blend of electronic moog, infused with an almost aesthetically political soul.. My first question would be : how did this fantastic collaboration come about? ( feel free to talk about how you met, your backgrounds, and the actual songwriting process )
JB: I’d become a fan of Tammy’s work after coming across a Dukes track on a Giles Peterson compilation (Something Important). It completely captivated me – the lyrics are part sung part spoken and naturally relatable in an organic day to day life manner and I loved the poetry. I reached out to collaborate and we met about 3 years ago when an Animanz tour brought me to Bristol – we haven’t seen each other in person since; we wrote the tracks by sending each other ideas and demo’s over whatsapp. Our backgrounds are similar in that we use music as a healing force – musically they differ; my background in working with world music bands and Tammy’s in soul and rare groove.
BSM: ‘Raise it’ feels like it could be the musicians anthem of lockdown, was it written during lockdown? I’m imagining a personal yet relatable story behind this.. it speaks to a generation perhaps?
TP: The song is about seeing an alternative to cancel culture through both forgiveness and the concept of collective consciousness. I am a part of the whole and capable of unthinkable acts too. Its about accepting my shadow, that it could have been me making that disastrous move. Its about cultivating a healthy relationship to time – things pass, the awareness of now is powerful. I give myself the chance to grow through this awareness and I want to give others that chance also.
BS: ‘ White Witch’ – that first line – I’m a white witch, i can burn your past on a ritual fire- followed by ‘ and eradicate the bitterness’- what’s the story there? On one hand it feels like a satirical commentary on political correctness, but then it just feels like a song that should uplift shift negativity?
TP: I like the idea of white spells, I would not call myself a white witch but I experiment with casting positive intent rather than spells. I wouldn’t want to tell white witches that this is all they are doing as I have no idea what they get up to but rather I am playing with my own vision of women who cast spells for beauty, from the good witch of the north in the wizard of oz to blenders of New Orleans love potions. I must admit that this song started with singing the opening line “ I’m a white witch” over and over again with no idea what I was singing it for other than I liked the rhythm it made ! Some songs are like that !
BSM: Was there any particular reason to release these two tracks, and their remixes over a month and not part of an EP?
JB: To start with we had 2 singles, as I was producing the record remixes started to appear from DJ friends along with my own versions and putting them together ‘every Thursday in April’ had a good ring to it. The singles are seeds being planted.
BSM: Recording wise: was it done remotely , during lockdown or in the same studio ? ( lockdown , naturally)
JB: The audio from White Witch I sampled from an Animanz beat tape made in my kitchen circa 2015; I’m on drums, Marc Goymour Organ and Moog, Maximillion Rodriguez Percussion – so that track slowly bubbled with some additional elements I would add… Raise It was cooked in the Musical Dojo studio and I’d send versions over to Tammy who’d reply with lyrical and melodic ideas – we live in different cities so it was completely remote working – ‘the whatsapp sessions’ … It’s fun to make music in this way, like a chess game played over a stretch of time – inspiration for the moves comes from having the time to see the board at different angles.
BSM: So : when can we expect an EP
JB & TM: When the seeds take root.
When the seeds take root then! Bold, honest, and almost stubbornly definat against a generation of artists pressured into overproduction, we are affirmed that this talented duo will release the EP when the time is right.
I just love that.