Interview with Melodica, Melody and Me

As previously mentioned, Melodica, Melody and Me released the great single ‘Come Outside’ earlier this month. Brixton beats caught up with John from the band, to find out a bit more about this talented bunch of south Londoners.

Bb: For those that haven’t heard of you, how would you describe your music?
I always end-up describing it as a fusion of Folk and Reggae but it’s more complicated than that. There are African and South American influences that give the music a uniquely original sound.

Aside from the Melodica of course, you have some really interesting instruments included in your ensemble, can you tell us a bit more about the Charango and the Kora and how they came to be included in the band?
Probably best to ask Rudi about the Charango as I know he discovered it whilst traveling in South America and it’s his baby. Emilio started learning to play the Kora whilst studying up in Manchester and gradually we introduced it into our set. It has a wonderfully enchanting sound, almost as if it was invented to be played as the backing music for dream sequences in films.

You released your second single ‘Come Outside’ this month, (a perfect soundtrack to the recent burst of great weather btw), what has the reception been like?
Its hard to say as it’s still quite early. Its had a fair amount of radio play. Our friends are often brutally honest and they really like it so thats a good sign.

The video looks like you guys had a lot of fun, where was it filmed?
It was at Camber Sands beach. We had to get up at 6am to get down there for the best light. It was toe-numbingly cold that day and we had to spend quite a lot of time standing still holding tin cans. If it looks like we had a lot of fun, that’s a testament to the art of good direction. The final result is spectacular though and we are all really pleased looking back at the video.

You collaborated with Brighton based award-winning musician Nick Pynn for Come Outside, how did this come about?
Nick is a brilliant musician and I love the Violin melody he plays on Come Outside. Nick’s Rudi’s step-dad and when we we’re younger we’d go up to the Edinburgh festival to see him perform with Rudi’s mum, Jane Bombane. We also saw him perform with the musical comedian Boothby Groffoe. The gigs were always great fun and provide some treasured memories.

You are a Brixton band and proud of it, what inspiration do you take from the area?
We are a half Brixton, half Streatham band. I don’t want to sound anal but I have to represent SW16, Streatham is often forgotten about. We still haven’t got the tube and we’re feeling unloved, although we do have outstanding rail links. Anyway, enough campaigning.

Brixton is a place I’m proud to say has been a part of my upbringing. It has the history of the riots during the 80s which has given it a cultural relevance that I think you pick up on when you’re there. It has a real aura of boldness about it and is unashamedly diverse. The streets are always bustling with people and you’re always bumping into characters when you’re there, whether its someone blasting reggae out of a boombox and singing along or someone blurting out the scripture on speakers corner.

Do you have a favourite venue in Brixton?
It depends what I want to do. If I want a quiet drink or to watch the football, I often go to the Effra on Kellet road. They have live jazz there most evenings too so there’s a bit of something for everyone there. It’s tucked away in the back streets and feels like a bit of a hidden treasure. If I want a big night out, I’ll probably go to the Jamm. I once got kicked out of there when my card got declined but I’d already drunk half of my pint. I was thirsty. I didn’t do it on purpose. A bit harsh I thought.

You’ve shared stages with Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and Bombay Bicycle Club, what was that like?
I was a bit of a late-comer to the band so I never played with Laura Marling or Mumford and Sons but I was on board for the Bombay Acoustic tour. Their acoustic set was beautifully done and they’re so lyrically interesting. They we’re all nice guys and we got on pretty well with them. We couldn’t help but feel a little jealous though, as they travelled from city to city in a fresh tour bus whilst we crammed ourselves into two stuffy cars.

What can we expect from Melodica, Melody and Me this year? Can we look forward to an album any time soon?
The album should be coming out towards the end of the summer. We’ll be going on a UK tour to promote the album and we’ll be about for the festival season too. We’re already on the line-up for Great Escape, Lounge on the farm festival and Cambridge Folk Festival.