May 3, 2018
Edinburgh-based four-piece Earth Wire have made a name for themselves in the Scottish music scene, and beyond, for their distinctive sound. An amalgamation of diverse inspirations, songs like ‘In Heaven’ resist categorisation and invite the listener on a musical odyssey. This unique approach to music-making has attracted an eclectic audience of admirers, all of whom are sure to be delighted by the live set Earth Wire are preparing for Hidden Door’s closing night, where they will be playing support for acclaimed DJ and producer Romare, alongside Nabihah Iqbal.
We were lucky enough to catch up with the quartet to talk influences, what Hidden Door means to them, and what to expect ahead of their set on the 3rd of June.
If you had to pick three words to describe your sound, what would they be?
From the heart.
You describe your sound as ‘genre defying’ — who are your main inspirations?
The band began as a duo called ‘Delighted Peoples’, expressing our love for the fluid and hybrid possibilities of music that transcends genres. We aimed to bring out the beauty in Punk and Hip Hop songs by stripping them back to soul vocals, electric guitar and eerie loops. We now have four band members, who each have individually eclectic tastes, so when you put all of those ideas into the mix it lends itself to something fairly unique and original…we hope. It also makes pinning down specific inspirations quite difficult – but definitely a wide range of music, books, films, artwork and also the long discussions we have on various topics (usually instead of rehearsing) go into each song in different ways.
We do get a lot of comparisons to bands from the early ‘90s Trip Hop scene in Bristol (Massive Attack, Tricky etc.) and although it’s a great compliment it was never a conscious aim to sound like that. But it does make some sense, as we tend to have been influenced by a lot of the same things as those acts were (Rave Culture, Punk aesthetics, a British slant on Hip Hop etc.), just 30 years down the line. The aim is to have our sound (like our name) emphasise beautiful contradictions – combining the harsh with the soft, warm with the cold, natural with man-made, organic with electronic. [It’s] a unity of disparate elements; the hybrid creature we are.
What attracted you to Hidden Door?
We played the 2016 festival and it still ranks as one the band’s favourite gigs – sharing the bill with artists we love (Law Holt and Callum Easter), playing in a visually beautiful space and just the atmosphere of the festival in general made it a special night. On a personal level, every member of the band has lived in Edinburgh for at least a decade, so we all care about the creative scene in this city very much. Making music (or any type of art) in this city can sometimes be a dispiriting process due to venue closures and restrictions, so when a beautiful event pushing local artists comes along I think it’s our job to support it as much as possible. That’s why we feel privileged to be involved this year.
You’ve played some interesting shows this year, including support for Manish Pingle, and are due to support Romare as part of Hidden Door. Would you care to comment about this?
It’s a real blessing to have been able to support so many phenomenal acts during our time in this band – we’ve had the privilege of playing alongside artists we personally love, which always makes the gig more fulfilling. It’s also edifying to have been placed on such wide-ranging bills musically, whether it’s Indian Classical (Manish Pingle), Lo-Fi Punk (Babar Luck), Hip Hop (Homeboy Sandman), or Folk (King Eider), the fact that artists and promoters feel that we have something that will fit such a spectrum of styles is something we’re proud of. It also means we tend to individually tailor our sets to the night we’re doing and acts we’re on the bill with – on numerous occasions we’ve written (or altered) pieces of music to match the tone of the night we are playing.
What should audiences expect from your forthcoming performance at Hidden Door?
As mentioned above we like to adapt our performances for every gig, so we’ll be taking into account what Hidden Door means when we structure our set. The plan is to tell a story using vocal samples to link up each song and to make the set flow as one continuous, immersive piece. But we’ll also be considering who we are on the bill with and what the majority of the audience are looking for from the night – which, with Romare as the headliner, is to have a good boogie! So expect some bangers in between the brain food – whether people bring their thinking caps or their dancing shoes we don’t mind, as long as they have a good time.
Earth Wire will play on the final night of the festival, Sunday 3rd June. Tickets are on sale now – £16, £13 concessions.