With soulful beats infused with bass fuelled drops, Black Saint are creating a distinctive sound which is about to roll through and create a storm in the dance music charts.
We see so many house producers/ DJ’s but what makes Black Saints stand out is their ability to combine their knowledge, talent and love for what they do to help construct their music.
Ahead of their show at KOKO, I sit down at Escapologist Bar with the charismatic trio that are DJ, Justin & Jermaine. I’m at ease with their cool, calm and collected nature as we chat about their decade spanning collaborative work, meeting Timbaland and the ever-evolving online streaming systems, and more importantly their debut single ‘Could You Love Me’.
When did the three of you start collaborating?
We’ve been collaborating for about 12 years now, individually we’ve all had other creative projects going on, and then at the end of 2015 we formed Black Saint.
Tell us more about your debut single ‘Could You Love Me’, what’s the track about?
The tracks featuring a friend of ours Marcus ‘Pleasure P’ Cooper - who’s a former member of the R&B group ‘Pretty Ricky - he upholds a reputation for being a bit of a ladies man…as do the rest of the group. Marcus was over from the US and came to our studio to hang with the three of us, we started brainstorming ideas and messing about, we wanted to write something about him wanting to leave this lothario lifestyle behind, took inspiration from that and came up with the track ‘Could You Love Me’.
Talk us through the recording process. Does it begin with a beat one of you has produced? Or a lyric one of you has written?
Case by case really isn’t it. Some of the tracks you’re going to hear probably got made around 10 years ago. Making a tune can be such a long process finding stuff from the archive which works with a beat we made recently, just depends.
Toddlar T’s sound system at Notting Hill Carnival is renowned for being one of the liveliest – how was it being able to play and be part of such an impressive line-up?
Carnival was crazy for us! Our set was one of the first, so the crowd was just getting going, but nevertheless it was pure vibes. It was scary though, for us, our culture is very much wrapped up in what carnival is about, we’ve grown up going to Notting Hill Carnival, so it was a definite milestone and we didn’t want to mess up.
What DJ’s/musicians inspired you whilst growing up and how have those influences shaped you into the musicians you are now?
Jazzy Jeff is a big one for us. Producers like Pharrell Williams & Timberland – Jermaine was fortunate enough to meet Timberland last year which was incredible. Growing up and listening to the stuff Timberland produced, on that level sonically, was important for how it shaped our sound, that’s the benchmark for us. If what we produce was to sound as good as the music coming out of America then we’ll definitely be happy with that, for us, our music is about the drums the beat and the bass, that’s the core of it, so it get people dancing is really the essence of what we’re about.
You guys are playing KOKO in Camden. Does it get daunting knowing your about to play in front of thousands?
We try not to think about it really. We’ve done a few other shows earlier this year in bigger capacity venues, but it’s going to be fun to play their sound system.
Talk me through difference from playing smaller shows to playing much larger venues like KoKo?
The connection with crowds at smaller capacity venues is better, more chance for crowd interaction which you can’t do at larger shows because you’re either further away on higher up. The smaller shows we’ve done.
You guys have smashed over 2 million plays on Spotify already. Do you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage having these platforms which make music so accessible to the consumer?
Advantage, for sure! Although it’s not direct sale, people don’t have to invest so much as to buy, because as artists we need to convince people to buy it first, so if fans are adding our music to something they’ve already bought like a Spotify subscription, it’s still cool. On the business side, it’s important to have these platforms available in the early stages of an artists’ career as the framework is not set up yet as how the artist are going to get paid but the encouraging thing is that before sites like Spotify, iTunes etc were formed it wasn’t monetized and illegal downloading was more frequent, so we weren’t going to get paid regardless, so steaming has created new audience of people that got it for free but now they’re willing to pay for the service monthly to listen to everything, with that you then gain a whole new audience.
Are there any exciting projects you guys are currently working on? At the moment we’re concentrating on our EP then an album to follow, we’ve got a lot of really cool artists and ideas to shape this album so we’re just in the lab doing as much as we can. We’ve got some cool shows in the pipeline as well, so keep an eye out for announcements.