Festival darlings across Europe, Submotion Orchestra made their debut in Ukraine at Jazz Koktabel in September on the shores of the Black Sea, and are now bound for the Ukrainian capital as part of their European tour promoting their latest EP 1968. Before the show, What’s On gets together with the band’s percussionist Danny Templeman to find out more about the heady brew of soul, jazz and electronica used in their instrumental treatment of dubstep.
Cocktail Of Styles
The main feature of this band is the professionalism they put into creating their unique music, where six instruments perfectly complement Ruby Wood’s vocals. Templeman explains Submotion Orchestra’s premise is music that is both delicate and heavy, spacious and dense. “We aim to be highly atmospheric yet firmly rooted, a blend of the acoustic and electric,” he says, cryptically. Despite the vague description, the music of the band is nice to listen to, and that’s probably why demand for the band is so huge.
The fusion is all the more surprising when you consider the group was thrown together as strangers. The band grew from a one-off concert that marked the reopening of York Minster. The arts council in York wanted to fuse live traditional instrumentation with new electronic music.
Fast-forward to this year and the band is travelling to France, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, the Netherlands, UK, Belgium and Ukraine to name just a few countries on their tour list. Templeman tells us more: “This will be our fifth UK tour, plus we’ve been into Europe a few times and a load of one-off gigs and festivals abroad, so as you can imagine we’ve built up a lot of amazing memories, as well as quite a few confusing and embarrassing ones. A recent highlight that happened in Ukraine was watching the sunrise from beside a pool with members of Red Snapper whilst getting stuck into a good bottle of Ukrainian vodka.”
Koktebel Memories And Albums
That vodka was sampled when the group came to Ukraine’s biggest open-air jazz festival Jazz Koktebel in September. The musicians were impressed with the beautiful setting and fantastic line-up of acts on the day they played. Flying the UNI0N Jack were the band together with fellow British acts Red Snapper and Sea Power.
At the festival, Submotion Orchestra played all their releases with special focus on tracks from their latest, Fragments recorded in 2012. Telling us more about the album Templeman says, “Fragments represents a time in submo when we each were branching out to explore the individual boundaries represented in the first album.” He describes it as “the difficult second album”, called so because each member was working to develop the group’s sound from their beginnings yet remain true to the overall style of the band.
Although the band didn’t present anything new in Koktebel, Templeman promises that is set to change in Kyiv with audiences being treated to tracks from the just released 1968 EP. The name is drawn from the closing track on the new EP, reveals the percussionist. “It was originally the title to an instrumental that (international DJ/producer/orchestral player Dom Howard, AKA Ruckspin) Ruckspin brought to the band, and it was a completely random title with no significance at all. But we added a second half to the tune, with vocals and lyrics, and in writing the lyrics, we thought about the year 1968 and what it meant to us. And we started to find some interesting similarities between the social events of that time and now, and that inspired the words as they are now.”
For The Fans
It’s always interesting to find out what musicians think of their audience, and how they describe those fans hints at what to expect at a show as well as describing their music. Templeman says the band has a mixed audience, and it is probably just as diverse as the music Submotion Orchestra plays where in that eclectic there’s room for a little romance. “Some sit and pay close attention, some jump and shout. Many people have fallen in love to the sound of song All Yours released in 2011 on the album Finest Hour.”
Just like their fans and their music, the band members are also diverse. Templeman puts it this way: “Some of us are media friendly, some are potential luddites but we all look to the past and the future for stimulus.”
Submotion Orchestra (UK, jazz, dub)
21 November at 21.00
Tickets: 150 –200hrv
Yunist Club (Artema 37/41)
by Vadym Mishkoriz