STATS is the nom-de-musique of London-based, Welsh-raised Ed Seed, who’s paid his musical dues touring the world with Dua Lipa.
Elsewhere, once safely installed inside his Stats persona, he’s released a lovely LP of verry funky synthpop in early 2019, Other People’s Lives, which picked up plaudits from none-huger names such as Elton John. That debut was put together in a speedy two-day burst in a gap in his touring schedule.
He’s back, and this time he’s more prepared; there’s a second album on the near-horizon, Powys 1999; in the heralding of which he’s dropped a new single with accompanying lyric video for us today, in the shape of “Naturalise Me”.
Take a listen with us: you’ll find it irresistibly funky, swirling, with a lyrical concern which all of those who’ve ever packed our meagre kerchief of belongings on a stick and moved up to the big city will know; that rural/urban divide, the need for music and lights and culture and still that rootedness in verdancy.
“… Naturalise me,” Ed yearns as that groove takes hold; “I wish was natural, like the old country / So make me clean like the rivers, and clean as the air / Give me roots like the trees, make me sing like the birds.”
Ed’s parents moved from Manchester to the hilly wilds of Powys, Wales, in the 1970s. He takes up the tale. “farming, forestry, tourism, and a low-key but significant military presence,” that’s his summation of mid-Welsh border country.
And he’s fascinated by that back-to-the-land downshift that helps create a unique corner in the far-flung corners of the isles.
“People came to take their drugs in peace, to retire, to live in harmony with nature or shoot bits of it; to raise children or chickens, to ride motorbikes at incredible speed or to rave in the forest, build a commune, prepare for the apocalypse or open a restaurant – you name it”.
He continues: “Growing up I felt like I didn’t fit in or belong where I was born and raised. I’m sure a lot of people feel this way.
“I felt somehow fake in Powys as a born incomer, un-local, neither Welsh nor English.”
So this time round for the album, Ed and his band – singer and keyboard player Nicole Robson, singer-bassist Stu Barter, singer and keyboard player Iso Waller-Bridge, drummer John Barrett and guitarist Duncan Brown – took themselves off to that rich and mysterious landscape.
The album seeks to explore the politics of the rural, with a huge dose of electro swagger. But it isn’t a harking for a simpler time.
“It’s not nostalgic,” Ed says. “It’s about the past but also the future. Living another way doesn’t seem so possible now for technological and financial reasons – and I was seeking inspiration from the people I knew who tried to do that.”
Oh, as well: “It’s got to be fun, it’s got to bang”.
Stats’ Powys 1999 will be released on digital, CD, trad black and pink vinyl formats by Memphis Industries on November 13th. Pre-order yours here.