How much does your jazz background influence your music?
I think this is the most important thing. You can’t fake the funk – you’ve got to feel it. Jazz and black music in general have had the biggest impact on me.
I’m still going to record stores almost every week, I still dig through crates of trash in charity shops to find new gems. It’s my favorite pastime.
What are you searching for?
What I’m collecting with the most dedication is probably spiritual jazz, stuff like Pharoah Sanders, Coltrane, Don Cherry. I’m working on a cover version of Sanders’ ‘Prince of Peace’ as well at the moment.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the way you get your sound? It’s got a quality to it which is vintage, warm and classic sounding but still modern, well produced and not necessarily retro. What do you think defines the way your records sound?
A big part of it is, again, the music I have been listening to all my life. I just have a gut feeling of how I want things to sound. It needs to be a little raw, imperfect, not too polished. A lot of records these days sound way too perfect, making them hard to distinguish from each other.
Finally, can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on at the moment? Will there be an album at some point? How important is it to you to progress and develop as an artist?
I really want to work on an album but at the same time dont want to rush it. The next thing will be a 12″ on my MCDE label later this year.
What I want to do is work more with singers and musicians these days, but try to keep that gritty sampled vibe to it. The best music I’ve done has always been something I don’t reflect about too much, but just let myself go.
Motor City Drum Ensemble plays at Bird, Rotterdam on October 5th, Showcase, Paris with Kerri Chandler on October 13th and Studio 80, Amsterdam on October 21st. for a full list of live dates see Motor City Drum Ensemble on Facebook.