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Left Step Band Interview

Up & coming music talent to watch out for, is playing at the fund raising KTF gig at the Masons Arms on February 12th. Exclusive interview.
Left Step Band is a London based fourpiece comprising of Emcee, DJ, Drums and Bass. Their eclectic wildstyle is a stampede of Hip Hop, funk, ska and biggabeat. They are currently laying waste to London’s’ live clubland with a ruthlessly raucous and infectious show that has the capitals’ underground embracing them to its ample bosom. They were formed by producer/drummer Nikolai Jones and rapper Eff Le Ref in early 2007, the livewire rapper quickly got down to business setting his rhymes over the tunes feverishly built by Nikolai during countless insomnia ridden nights. 
Always on the lookout for cheap studio time, the boys got chatting with their future bass colossus Zac Martin via a well known music networking site, after a few sessions recording vocals in Zac’s home studio, it was decided to pull the big bear on board and two became three. Realizing that three ain’t the magic number however, they knew that the final piece of this funk puzzle had to be sought out. Eschewing the path to guitardom which would package them with every other band, they knew Decknology was their only salvation. This came in the shape of Dev – a Radio 1 selecta and club DJ supreme, Dev had enough rig to scare small tables everywhere. Thus Left Step Band came to be. They sweated, drank and swore their way to tightness in various West London dumps before rising from the ashes like a slightly tipsy phoenix, ready to spread the righteous gospel of the groove. 

Source - Hi Guys we saw you live twice and really enjoyed your set. I'm looking forward to your next gig. We have a few questions starting by the name of the band (Left Step Band): where did it come from? What does it mean? 

Eff : Erm, Sounds great doesn’t it? 
Nikolai: A friend of mine only has one leg, it’s a left one and a good one but it’s still just the one. It’s named in his honour. Was going to be Left Hop Band…… but the vibe just wasn’t there.

Source - There's a mix of hip-hop, reggae, ska plus other stuff in your sound. Is that something you were consciously going for, or did it just come out that way? 

Eff : I had been in different Hip-hop constellations before I met Nik and my style was very much on the rapping tic. Its then just evolved into the no-name fusions were creating now. 
Nikolai: I try to listen to as much stuff as possible but for me it always comes back to Hip Hop and reggae.
Zac: Before I met these guys I was in a band called Baby700 which I wrote and produced a lot of the music for. It was a combination of hip hop/dub/electronic etc. It was a conscious move away from the more guitar orientated bands that I’d previously played in as I’d started to write songs which were more rhythm section based. When I joined up with Nik n Eff they were already on a similar plot so the glove fitted I suppose
Source -  Are they your major influences?

Eff : Im personally more influenced by other types of music. If I listen too much to stuff in the same vain as ours I often get stuck. Electronica, soul and rock are great sources of inspiration. 
Nikolai : I would be lying if I said no.
Zac : I’m influenced by all the music I’ve liked along the way so it naturally comes out as a bit of a hotch potch, it would seem weird to just box yourself away into one type of sound.
Source - Different people bring different things to a band. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together? 
Eff : More melodies Id say. More structured tracks. 
Nikolai : I guess theres more Djing, bass and vocals than there used to be 

Source - What about the music-making process? Do things come up in the middle of jamming, or one of you comes up with something that you all work on?

Eff : We just kinda talk about what type of tracks we would like to do and try to get there together. One cracks an idea and then we see where it takes us. 
Nikolai : Personally I think jamming is a myth, you think you have just created a work of genius but when you listen back to the jam tapes what you hear is four stoned twats playing four totally different things. I have sat around rehearsal rooms for six months arguing about the direction of one tune before and it’s fucking dull. Because writing hooks and grooves is such a lengthy process it makes sense for one of us to ignite the spark then the flame gets passed around and we all get heat.
Source - You have made a clear decision not to use a guitar – why is that?

Eff : Overrated. Plus our style is much more depending on the rhythm. If we need a guitar Serato can sort it out. 
Nikolai : We have a DJ, why would we need a guitarist? Dev is our guitarist, brass section, string section and everything else rolled into one - plus he does all that wicky wicky shit. Bands using DJs is nothing new, but I really like the idea that he’s a guitar replacement and I love the fact that reactionary luddite wankers like Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller would hate us.
Zac : We didn’t want to sound like the other 1 billion retro clone guitar bands out there who all sound the same and all sound like they should be in 1979.It’s the same reason we steer clear of overly tight trousers...

Source - I noticed the sampling too. What are the sources of sampling? (pre-recorded brass tracks, others)
Eff : Samples, what samples? 
Nikolai : Seriously mate we would have to kill you if you even accidently found out. I can reveal there are no pre recorded brass tracks though! 95% of all LSB sounds are samples and they come from pretty bizarre origins - only a very few are traceable. We have prizes available for anyone who spots one! 

Source - Who writes the songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? 

Eff : The main themes for most of our songs would have to be frustration and what lengths it can take one to or celebrations and where you can end up at the end of one, or too many. 

Source - You have a track called track “Rebels Of The Frontline” . Is there a clear political awareness in LSB lyrics?

Eff : I understand how Rebels of the frontline can sound political. Its full of ‘battle’ metaphors born from political views. It is however about pride and confidence and resistance to anything that could affect them. I think most things are affected by politics to some degree. I don’t like preaching or listening to people doing so tho. Hopefully the music makes you listen and gets you inspired.
Nikolai : I’m a pretty political person but I’ve never been fussed if the vocalists I’ve worked with choose to use the music as a medium for message. Both reggae and Hip Hop have a pretty strong history of protest, and personally I would prefer to listen to someone fighting the righteous fight than some fake arse mug bang on about meaningless unit shifting love.

Source - Besides music do you have other work? if so does that come into the music and lyrics?

Eff : The frustration about the fact that we have to do other work comes out in some tracks, yes. 
Nikolai : I’m self employed and it has no influence other than being a negative hindrance and a total waste of life when I could be creating.
Zac : “Work is not always required... there is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected” I don’t know who said that but I wholeheartedly agree, personally I try to work as little as possible, it saps your energy and corrupts your soul..

Source - Where have you performed? Any particularly memorable one?

Nikolai : I can’t repeat it in a family periodical like Source Mag.
Zac : We’ve done every toilet dive in London I think, memorable ones for me were Cargo supporting Questlove in the summer and Brixton Hootananny last year

Source - You performed locally as well. Where did you play?

Zac : One of our first gigs was upstairs in the Paradise with the jamming crew, there’s a video of that one knocking about somewhere, we also played the Cobden Club upstairs supporting Mick Jones new band Rotten Hill Gang last year. Oh yeah a very early gig was at the Inn on The Green but it was a real shitter cos there was a replacement soundman on duty who forgot to put the drums in the mix. This year we’ve done the Regent a couple of times on their new Thursday night live band slot and the upcoming gig at the Masons Arms plus a headline at LiquidNation in Ladbroke Grove on 5th Feb 2010.

Source - Are you looking for an independent label deal or producer? 

Eff : Hopefully someone is looking for us.
Nikolai : I’m looking for love…sadly in all the wrong places.
Zac : Were looking for members of the music industry who have any actual interest in music. Don’t seem to be many of those out there though.

Source - How did the gig for Kensal Town Fund came about? 

Zac : I lived around the area for eight years so I know quite a few of the local characters. I’d known Hugh Nott for a while before I went to one of the Kensal Town Fund gigs in the William 4th and was impressed with the buzz that night! I asked Hugh to stick us on a future bill...

Source - How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs? promotional CD?
Zac : 

• If you join the Facebook page as a fan and send us your address and email address we will send you a free CD!

Thanks for this. We're looking forward to see you on the 12th at the Masons Arms
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