Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Electric Wire Hustle: American tales interview with Tay Ninh

Kimbra onstage with Electric Wire Hustle, in LA.

Electric Wire Hustle's new album Love Can Prevail  is set to drop on 8th September (thru Okayplayer Records/Somethinksounds), five years on from their acclaimed 2009 debut album.

They announced the new album was ready for release a year ago, along with news of a new drummer to replace Myele Manzanza, who is currently on tour as drummer for Theo Parrish's live band. The phrase 'long awaited' is gonna get thrown at this new album a lot, me thinks. 

The first single from the album has been floating round for a minute, and the band dropped a brand new ep If These Are the Last Days on 2nd June, featuring a couple of new tunes plus some great remixes from Flako and others.

I fired some questions on their US trip through to EWH band member David 'Taay Ninh' Wright to find out more about the tour, what's changed for the band since their debut, and more on the upcoming album, and he was kind enough to answer them...

How did the slot on The Roots Picnic come about?

The opportunity came about while we were discussing the album deal with OKP. Dan (OKP's president) had mentioned that Questlove was stoked that it was coming together and that they wanted to have us on board.

The Roots have been a major influence on both of us and being in Philly and feeling a part of the movement was a huge boost. The festival (while it is a major event and production) manages to retain a true feeling of community. I think much of that is attributed to the respect the group have earned in the city but also the curation of the festival's line-up showcasing legends of hip-hop alongside a raft of contemporary artists.

At one point we even had Rich Medina give us a personal commentary on the array of personalities backstage and their back story — everyone from Biz Markie and Cool V to Freeway and A$AP Ferg...

What was the reactions to that show, and your other US shows? What was the response when Kimbra joined you onstage?

Reactions to the show and new release have been really positive. It's hard not to feel slight trepidation when releasing new music into the ether - especially when it's a departure from the last album - but it all went down well. We had a chance to share the new material through the band shows as well as DJing the studio recordings at renowned L.A. nights : The Low End Theory and Funkmosphere which are both discerning crowds.

Radio's been behind us in the States, which has been a huge help - especially in LA - shout out to KCRW in particular. The LA show was already sold-out and no-one had any idea Kimbra was set to join us until the day. That definitely sent the crowd into a spin when she jumped up. We had only played through the track a few times in soundcheck so it was all pretty fresh. She ended up jumping up with us at Funkmosphere too.

One of the guests at the Roots Picnic was Biz Markie. I grabbed a still frame off the video above, cos its got Biz and his mini custom turntables, exclusively for playing 45s.... DJs will know bout this mad cool  gimmick... 

Okayplayer are set to release your new album - how did that come about?

We've been lucky to have had support from Okayplayer since the first album. They really came on board and introduced a huge amount of people to our music. We'd been meeting with a few labels in New York late last year when we got word that OKP's label arm had started up again. 

At the same time we were talking with UK label Somethink Sounds who we'd known and talked about working with since last living in Berlin. The idea was floated that maybe it should be a partnership between both labels to handle the US, UK & EU.

Everyone was receptive and things have really bloomed since. I don't think we could have asked for much more. Both labels have a great reach in their territory and are super passionate about the music.

What's changed for you since the last album came out?

A lot. We've travelled extensively and thus grown through those experiences both personally and artistically. We've both had families in the interim so have been juggling the incredible and challenging task of parenthood — it can be done! And we've reformatted our team a few times. Time is more precious than ever now and we're much more ruthless about what we do and do not commit to as far as opportunities.

I recall reading reports that you had the album finished in June last year, has it been frustrating waiting so long to get released?

Yes - definitely. The change in the band line-up was partly responsible, but so was finding the best home for the record. Even when we did land the deal with OKP and Somethink Sounds, listening to the marketing plan and requirement for months of lead-up time was a hard pill to swallow, no matter how much it made sense. I'm glad we did wait though.

Following Myele's departure, there was talk of a permanent replacement, with ex Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen joining. What is the current plans for EWH around that role? Is Thomas still working with you? Did he play on your recent US shows?

Thomas was great to play with and we talked about him becoming more permanent but that quickly became difficult due to his other commitments. In fact the turning point was a Scandinavian tour late last year that he had to pull out of last minute after getting a personal call from Snoop to fill-in on his Snoop Lion tour. It's funny now - but was tough at the time. Fortunately though - the silver lining was finding an amazing drummer out of Philadelphia called Mario Crew who is currently holding the drum chair.

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