INTERVIEW: SoShe | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Hailing from just outside Newcastle, three-piece SoShe have slowly but surely gained a reputation for creating beautiful slices of alt R’n’B and might be the antidote to the vacuous turn the genre has taken of late. The group have already released a handful of tracks to date, which have gained them a great deal of support from a variety of press outlets and radio stations, including here at NARC., where their hypnotic slab of electronica-infused neo-soul Something About The Way was named Demo of the Month. The trio are now gearing up to unveil their debut EP Volume 1, with a gig at The Cumberland Arms in support the release.

Ahead of the launch of Volume 1, we talked to Jaimie Johnson about what we can expect from the debut EP, accidentally falling into being hands-on and what it’s like to be an alternative R’n’B group in the north east.

Congratulations on the release of your first EP! What can we expect from Volume One?

When it came to putting Volume 1 together, we decided to take one song from the five pre-release tracks we put online back in March and re-record and re-produce it. We have also written two new songs around that specifically for this EP. Volume 1 is particularly important to us as it was the first time we have ever paid to go into a recording studio, as up to this point we have done everything in our home studio. Home recordings are fine for demos but we wanted to achieve an overall higher quality of sound, so going into a professional studio seemed like the most logical thing for us to do.

What have been the biggest inspirations behind the EP?

I think what inspires us in general is listening to good music. Any good music of any genre. It makes us want to work harder and create something that we are proud of and that we would listen to. There is no better feeling than when you really love a particular song, especially the first time you hear it. We just want to recreate that feeling for other people.

What attracts you to making R’n’B music?

I think with R’n’B music it seems to fit our vibe, our style and our approach to music. We class ourselves as Alternative R’n’B because we each have such different musical backgrounds and we are never afraid to try different things creatively.

Even though R’n’B is one of the biggest genres in the world, we don’t really have a lot of R’n’B artists and bands in the region at the minute. In light of this, how do you think SoShe fits in with the regional scene? 

To be honest, we don’t feel that we have a particular place in the Newcastle scene nor do we want to. I think the worst thing for us would be for someone to say: “okay, you play this style of music therefore you play here, here and here.” That is why we have only played a small handful of gigs, because we feel it is important for us to stand out on our own and not be a slave to some local promoters who only want to make money from you. Also, we know that we could comfortably play on a live music event one night as a band and DJ our set in a nightclub the next and not look out of place at either because of the choices we make in our music both in the studio and live.

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“There is no better feeling than when you really love a particular song, especially the first time you hear it. We just want to recreate that feeling for other people”

You record and produce all your own work; what motivated the decision to take control of these areas?

The decision to do as much as we can ourselves wasn’t a conscious decision really, it is just how we have always worked! With regards to production, any producer will tell you it is very important to have control over the music you are making. It borders on OCD! But that doesn’t mean that we disregard all outside influence or advice. For example, for this EP we worked with an engineer who knows a lot more about recording guitars and mixing than we do, so we trusted in his ability and worked alongside him. It’s important to do that and learn from it.

Is it ever difficult to find the time to be a completely DIY enterprise?

I wouldn’t say it’s too difficult. The most important thing to remember is that people will generally not do things for you for free. If you don’t have a lot of money you better get used to people saying “no” and be okay with it. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as it forces you to come up with alternative ideas, be creative and learn new skills.

Have there been any challenges in putting the EP together?

I think the biggest challenge for us has been trying to create our own sound from the wide range of music and influences that we all have personally and making it seamless, like it was always supposed to be like that, if that makes any sense? It took just over a year before even launching the band to work at it. We have thrown away so many songs and ideas but we feel that we have arrived at a sound that we are happy to be identified with.

On a more general note, where does your name come from? There’s a recent David Bowie track called So She and that’s the only reference I could find, so I was a bit curious!

The origin of our name isn’t a particularly crazy or interesting story to be honest! We just wanted a name that wasn’t really a word yet could be used in a sentence. For example: “so she said this…” Also, we like that it is slightly Asian sounding and unusual I guess, nothing to do with Bowie unfortunately!

What’s next for SoShe after the EP launch?

We are just going to continue releasing music and organising our own events. We have some cool collaboration ideas, not necessarily just within music, and are looking forward to getting Volume 2 and Volume 3 released in the near future. Also, if you didn’t already know, Volume 1 is available for free so check out our social media for details on how to get it!

SoShe play their Volume 1 EP launch party at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle on Friday 24th July.

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