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

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After being twentysomething friends and playing in various other bands first, NEEB was formed in 1999 by current core members Mark Lloyd (drums), Mark Hand (synths) and Tony Waite (bass), and over the years they’ve shared the stage with the likes of James, The Magic Numbers and Alabama 3, and have performances at the likes of Glastonbury and Solfest under their belts.

Since forming, NEEB’s music has evolved from electronica, drum & bass and breakbeat, house, techno and jazzy breaks, as Mark explains: “There are many different facets to the team that are involved, and NEEB has changed styles depending on which people have worked with us.”

The band create their left-of-centre, eclectic sound in the high-spec purpose-built Mobeus Studio in Hartlepool, which is the brainchild of Mark Lloyd, and created two years ago to provide a space not only for the band but to collaborate with other artists. “Mark Hand and Tony are also both accomplished music producers, meaning all the band’s recordings are engineered in-house…the purpose of the studio is to organically create.”

NEEB has changed styles depending on which people have worked with us

After more than two decades, NEEB have experienced the odd hiatus but have always remained friends. “There might have been a few months gone by and we start to really miss playing, so we get together and get a fresh love for it again. We’re like an old comfy pair of slippers now, so when we get together and jam then we listen back to the live recording it can often sound like we’ve rehearsed it and it’s a finished song. It’s because we are so used to each other, we can intuitively feel when a change is coming…it’s weird but it’s lovely!”

2024 heralds an exciting new phase for these seasoned musicians, with NEEB’s latest collaboration with Jasmine Weatherill on vocals bringing a fresh sound and element to the band. “Jasmine, who is only 16 and has such a gorgeous voice, is a pleasure to work with, as she is so keen…it feels like that has given the band a new lease of life.” Used to rolling with the changes, Mark Lloyd is keen to help upcoming artists: “We’re old men of the game now but if we can help a young person like Jasmine build up confidence and find their way – even if she only stayed with us a year and went off and did something else – as long as we’ve done something and enjoyed the time we’ve worked together, then that’s what it’s all about.”

Having been signed to Ed Leighton’s Shy Bairn Records, there are a hat trick of single releases planned for early 2024. The releases deliver NEEB’s faultless fusion of funk, electronica, jazz, space rock and even some folk flavours, that has you tapping your toes and still manages to transfer your thinking to a whole other place. The first release, the uplifting Brighter Day, transports your mind to an old smoky jazz club, with beautiful harmonies from Jasmine and Mark Hand. March brings the dreamy-sounding second release Take To The Sky (featuring the accomplished Martin Ditcham on percussion), whilst April heralds the third release Time is Elastic.

NEEB release Brighter Day on 2nd February.

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