What Kinda Music

What Kinda Music

“It was just a big experiment, the process of making this album,” Tom Misch tells Apple Music. “There wasn't too much thought process behind it.” On this freewheeling passion project born of breakneck jam sessions, songwriter and producer Misch unites with virtuoso jazz drummer Yussef Dayes for a sound that fluidly combines elements of jazz, hip-hop, and electronica. Freddie Gibbs—the album's sole vocal feature—adds menace on “Nightrider,” “The Real” riffs on Dilla-era soul chops, and “Sensational” throws a nod to the swirling solos of percussive greats. This wickedly unrestrained vision has landed the Southeast London pair a maiden release on the pioneering jazz imprint Blue Note Records. “It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be associated,” says Dayes, reeling off Blue Note luminaries including Coltrane, Hancock, and Blakey. “It makes you want to work harder, because those guys, they were on another level.” The process also prompted a bout of déjà vu for Misch. “I have this memory of seeing this guy on drums, like, 15 years ago in a talent show in this school, and thinking, ‘This guy's insane.’ When we were working on the album, I was like, 'Shit. Are you that dude who...' So it was kind of a weird one,” he says. “I was always performing at school,” Dayes admits. “It's a way for me to express what I'm feeling. A chance for me to connect with the people that are into the music and give them some energy and vice versa. But with us two collaborating, coming from two different fields, we have to meet in the middle. It's give and take from both of us.” Here, the pair run through the album track by track. What Kinda Music Tom Misch: “This was one of the first tracks we did. I had a session with Loyle Carner in summer 2018. We were recording and I called up Yussef to try some drums on this track I was producing. He came down and recorded the drums for what is now ‘Angel,’ on Loyle's [Not Waving, But Drowning] album. So, he left the studio, and then Yussef and I were there for the rest of the day. The origins of 'What Kinda Music,' 'The Real,' and 'Storm Before the Calm' came from that day. It was just a crazy day.” Yussef Dayes: “From there, we realized it wasn't a one-track collaboration. We felt like it could be a tape or something. Sometimes you collaborate and it doesn’t quite click, but if from the get-go it's clicking and it's sounding good, you know there's something there. It's a unique sound this track; I felt like that was a fresh sound that neither me or Tom had explored completely, so I wanted to see us start with the off-kilter thing.” Festival TM: “This was a day with me, Yussef, and a bassist, Tom Dressler. We recorded a bunch of stuff over the three days. And the basis for this song was something we recorded there. I knew I liked the vibe, but I wanted to sing on it, and it took a while to execute the vocals. It's about when you're younger, you have this natural presence as in you're in the now, generally, when you're young. And then you kind of lose that as you grow older. It's saying how you still have that, that you're still able to be present. Yussef was like, ‘I want to call it "Festival Tune."’ So I was like, 'Fair enough.'” YD: “This is a big tune. It sounds like it could score a David Attenborough documentary, you know? On something about the planet, for the real earth people. It's just emphatic. I can imagine this being performed at Glastonbury; I can hear people singing along.” Nightrider (feat. Freddie Gibbs) TM: “The vibe of the instrumental felt kind of woozy, a bit hazy. And I remember going on the Knight Rider trailer on YouTube, playing it with the music, and it was just a perfect combination. We knew we wanted to get a rapper on the record, and I wrote down a list of people that we like. I'm just going through the list and Yussef said, 'Let's do Freddie Gibbs.' I'm really chuffed about getting him because I'm a big fan of Freddie. It really adds a different vibe to the record.” YD: “We recorded this with a good friend of mine, [producer and engineer] Miles James. We were just were rocking. We recorded the drums and bass down in Eastbourne and then we came back and produced it up. It's the same thing again. My job is...my drumbeat should be able to give everybody the music that they hear on top of it. I just was like, 'Yeah, we've got to get Freddie on this, man.' I'd been in contact with him already, just sending him beats, and I just thought this needed that extra, that little touch, man.” Tidal Wave TM: “You can just hear the rawness of it, the moments where we're just shouting and stuff. Really low in the mix you can hear me shout out, 'All right, now it's like a chorus, so play drumming.' Because at that point, even though we were just jamming, I knew it had potential to be a song.” YD: “This was me, Tom, and Rocco Palladino on bass. We set up, pressed record, and just jammed some ideas. We did that twice on this record, and this was the second time, just three hours worth of music. It was just one of those days, man, just light up the incense and catch a vibe, man. Not even thinking. I was just trying to do some different stuff on the drums, different cymbals that I hadn't used before, some wood blocks and stuff, and try to switch up a bit.” Sensational TM: “This represents a bit of the rawness on the record. It’s just a little cut from a day of jamming, a little insight, and I hit up Tobie Tripp, he’s an amazing strings player. I got him to lay some violin on it and double up the guitar part.” YD: “I wanted to make sure there's skits and interludes and off-cuts on the records, because all my favorite albums, when I listen to the Fugees or D'Angelo, those albums play with skits in between that tie it together. I think 'Sensational' is one of those things—it's like some country-western shit, sort of, like some Django shit. This is, I suppose, my bag, man. This kinda shit. I'd love to get a rapper on this for a remix maybe.” The Real TM: “For me, this was kind of like me going back to being a beatmaker. The drums are from that day I was in the studio with Loyle, and then I went home and I started chopping some Aretha Franklin. That's what I like about this one. It's kind of me going back to what I used to do.” YD: “This is definitely one of my favorites. It's from the same day as 'Angel.' This is one of the beats from that day, and I recorded the drums and then I forgot about this. Tom went away, he put the Aretha sample to it, processed the drums a bit, and came back later. I was like, 'Wow, what's this? I don't even remember this.' I love that kind of stuff. I love gospel music. That's a big influence to me, man. That's a dream of mine, to record with a live choir at some point, and obviously Aretha Franklin, that's legendary.” Lift Off (feat. Rocco Palladino) TM: “I linked up with Rocco through Yussef. They have a proper sort of musical bromance. And it's cool to play with them, because they're very much in sync. It's been interesting finding my voice within that trio. It's brought out something different in me.” YD: “I've known Rocco for about 10 years now. I think we've started performing together the last three years now. He's crazy, man. You always can tell, because bass players—they're very specific, man. He's definitely the best at what he does, and obviously he comes from... [Welsh musician and producer Pino Palladino], his dad's an amazing bass player, too. He knows what he's doing, man. Let's put it that way.” I Did It for You TM: “We just clicked record and we were jamming for a whole day. And this is one of the joints that came up in the evening. We jammed something, then we'd go up to the control room, we listen. I remember thinking, 'Shit, that sounded really nice.' I knew I wanted to sing on that one. I was like, 'Yeah, this is a vibe.'” YD: “We recorded this nearly two years ago, it was one of the first tracks. I'd been to Brazil a few years back, years ago, and I remember Tom wanting to go. I think he did in the end, so that track was kind of inspired by some of those rhythms and that kind of energy. It's closer to Tom's sound, I think.” Last 100 TM: “I was playing some piano, messing around, Yussef was up on the drum kit. It was after a session. We're just messing around before we go home, and then I start playing those chords. And I recorded it on my iPhone. I was like, 'This is nice.' We came back to it the next day and recorded the bassist. This is kind of like the love tune on the record. It's a summery, feel-good one.” YD: “You have the initial session and then obviously some of the tracks you need to produce up, so you spend a couple of weeks on them. Tom would write his vocals or add little synths to it, to get those sections there, but the drums are obviously the main thing you want to record and get that first. Then after that, it’s just adding the structure around it. ‘Last 100’ is definitely one of those ones we produced up and got the arrangement and added different instrumentation and backing vocals.” Kyiv TM: “So this one was actually recorded in London, but the live video was recorded in Kiev. That was a very, very cold day. It was about minus five degrees. And we were recording the live video for ‘Lift Off’ in this ex-community center in Kiev. It's an amazing old building. It looks like a Call of Duty zombie level. It was pretty cool. It was interesting to be in that part of Europe, the fashion and the architecture, ex-Soviet kind of architecture. And everyone in fur jackets and stuff. I want to go back.” YD: “It was in a mad building. It was like a freezer in there. They said we had one reel left, and we’d already wrapped up ‘Lift Off,’ then Rocco started playing these chords and we just recorded real quickly. It just came. What I like to do is still like to make it like it was a song. You play your part. The music is still the most important thing, even though you want to freestyle and you want to solo and all this stuff. You want to make a beat. You want to make something people will listen to as well. It’s just that know-how, how to, even if you are freestyling, just make it into the thing straight away, man.” Julie Mangos YD: “That’s our dads speaking on this one. It's a medley of little skits and stuff that we've recorded. My dad’s talking about Deptford Market, where he used to sell Caribbean and West Indian food. He's describing what it was like in the market. About 20 years ago, he had a stall down there, and we used to have fruit imported and pick it up from the docks. This is just me and Tom trying to give a bit of context to where we're coming from. To get our dads on the record, and family involved—it's a touch, man.” TM: “Both our dads have been quite involved in coming down throughout making this record. Just coming and listening, giving their opinions on stuff. I called my dad, another day. Clicked record without him knowing, and I asked him what he thought of the record. So we put those on. I think my dad knew that this is something that I really wanted to do, making this record. Because I'd tell him how excited I was about working with Yussef, and the way the tracks were sounding initially. There's a lot of excitement making this record. I think he sensed that.” Storm Before the Calm (feat. Kaidi Akinnibi) TM: “Kaidi is an amazing saxophone player. I met him when I was about 12 and he was seven or something. We met at a jazz youth club called Tomorrow’s Warriors. He was just insane at the sax at that time. Then fast-forward 10 years, I hit him up and we start jamming, and he featured on one of my tracks from [2017 EP] 5 Day Mischon. And then we hit him up again, and he's been playing in my band, he's been touring with me. Thought we'd try him on this track, and he just destroyed it.” YD: “He's 20 years old, and he's killing it already. It's one of the first ones we recorded as well. It's that same day, man. The same day, the 'Angel' day, we recorded this one as well. This one’s got these dark synths, it's like a storm. It was always going to be the outro or the intro, but I think it just closes off with a different vibe before you check out. We were just trying to experiment with synths and the OP-1, which is this mad little synth I’ve got, and just span different sounds.”

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