Brighton Spotlight: Anushka

anushkaLabel: Brownswood
Genre: “vocal music for sound systems”
Members: Victoria Port and Max Wheeler
Based: Brighton
Sounds Like: Jacques Greene, Szjerdene, xxxy
Links: Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud

God knows we’ve been singing their praises enough since we first heard Yes Guess last spring. But in case you’re not familiar with Anushka, they kindly answered a few questions in the wake of their debut EP being released this week. As far as we can find, it’s their first ever online interview so should include everything you need to become well-acquainted with a duo that are going to be very hot in 2013.

Yes Guess EP is out now and can be bought on Brownswood’s Bandcamp or all good online retailers.

Can you give a little introduction to Anushka. 

V: Anushka is a duo from Brighton, comprising of me, Victoria Port, singer, and Max Wheeler, producer. Max brings wit and charm and I bring big hair?

M: The way we work overlaps a bit more than a traditional singer/producer set up. Anushka’s name comes from a character in a song we wrote together, we just loved saying the name and thought if we loved saying it other people might too. The sound is basically the result of our different obsessions with Detroit producers, Soul songwriting, drum programming, raves, all blending together. I think we have been genuinely experimenting all the way along, but the idea has been to make vocal music for sound systems.

We jumped on your first track Yes Guess when it was first aired last May. What was the story that led up to that with you two? What brought you together to make music?

V: Brighton is its on little bubble, especially the music scene. We have a lot of mutual friends who make music and Max spotted me singing at a night called W.A.T. I made him some cake, he sent me some beats and the first track we actually worked on together was Yes Guess. It really jumped out at me. I’d never really written to anything like that before but it just worked. We both had it on repeat for about a week and needed the next Anushka fix!

M: I think that was the spark. I gave Victoria a few instrumentals and as the music I‘d heard her on before had been much less aggressive I never really expected her to pick that track. I just stuck it in cos it was my latest one. When she came back with the song fully written like a day later I was like ‘pow’ this is gonna work!

And can you fill in the gaps between then and the release of Yes Guess EP?

M: Well we were very luck in finding management really quickly. That helped us to develop the sound and not just rush it out.  Once we had that track the rest of the EP was written fairly quickly. We both just have a real drive to get a new tune finished as often as possible to keep everyone gassed. Hahaha. We spoke to quite a few labels, did a lot of raves in London and just worked on the sound really. It’s been great because we had some strong tracks fairly early on and it gave us a lot of confidence to work on our writing process and experimenting with the newer material. I think we really pushed each other. I know Victoria has totally made me step my game up. Hahaha.

Signing to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood must’ve been a big step. How did that come about and do you get to work with Gilles much?

V: Giles is so well respected it was kind of the affirmation I needed that we were on the right track with it all. He knows good music irrespective of genre and when we see him its always really encouraging. He knows what works!

M: We had a good road trip with him to Brum recently. Shout out to Gilles, I think he shares the same desire to keep pushing things forward musically that we have. I really rate the music that Brownswood have put out and I think that is important too. From straight Jazz to really early releases with people like Joy Orbison, Mosca, Eliphino. I just think because our project spans from quite futuristic Electronic material to big, classic sounding songs they are a good fit. They can handle our diversity.

You recently came back from Gilles’ Worldwide Festival in Leysin. What was it like playing at a festival in the snow?

V: So surreal. Performing on top of the Swiss Alps with people raving in ski jackets isn’t really something you do everyday! Loved it though the line up was sick, Troumaca and Romare were both highlights for me.

M: Incredible, incredible setting. And yeah, ridiculous line up. Was great.

So Yes Guess EP is out now, and needless to say we think it’s dope. Are you happy with how it’s turned out?

V: Thankyou! Yeah, I’m always going to be my harshest critic and there is always going to be something you want to tweak or change each time you hear it but the response so far has exceeded my expectations. I’m really pleased.

M: I think it’s a perfect snapshot of the first few tracks we wrote together. It’s the origin of our sound.

There’s something a little different about each of the tracks on it. Could you talk us through each one briefly?

Yes Guess is our nod in the direction of UK underground music, via a bit of Montreal House if I recall what I was trying to do. I think Victoria really nailed the vibe – pushing forward, not letting someone hold you back with negativity.

I Have Love 4 You is an interesting one. It came from a story someone told me about someone declaring love when they weren’t ready to hear it and kind of scrambling out the response. The beat was me trying to be Theo Parrish on a day when I was in a really good mood. Hahaha. I gave the beat and the idea to Victoria and when she brought it back I was blown away. There are horns and flutes Courtesy of Richard ‘Dutch’ Halligan – shout out to him.

Wired is a post-outlook party jam about getting hammered in the Tube club in Brighton. It stems from the BTL & Well Rounded parties they used to have down there.

The VIP of Yes Guess has a bit of a secret story to it. I’m waiting for a blogger out there to figure it out. Shout out to Brackles for playing it.

We’ve just glimpsed the Yes Guess video. What was the thinking behind that?

V: Firstly big big love to Jackson Ducasse and Emile Kelly who directed the video and came up with the concept. I don’t think I realized it when I was writing it but Yes Guess is such an affirmation of freedom. Its saying you cant hold me back and I’m going to do what I want. When I first heard the idea for a video based on a day in the life of a female stock car racer, I loved it. It totally encompassed the idea of being empowered and doing your thing!

A bit about Brighton now. What brought you both to the city and how does what you’re doing fit into the scene down there? Are there any other artists you make music with? 

V: No one who lives in Brighton is really from there, that’s the rule right? We both moved down here for uni (at different times) and like everyone else fell in love with it. I can honestly say there is nowhere else like it, its such a creative place.

M: I’ve been living here off and on for a long time. I love it. It’s creative, close enough to London that I can keep my eye on what’s going on, but with a bit of space to write outside of the culture vortex.

Where’s your favourite place to buy and listen to music live in Brighton?

Really sad news about Rounder Records, they were great. Rarekind Records has to get love cos my boy runs it!

Are there any new Brighton artists you’re feeling at the moment?

M: Myself and a producer called 1dan do an unreleased music party called Producer’s Retreat and so many great Brighton Artists have been involved. Guy Andrews is the big homie, Greymatter, Murder He Wrote, Manni Dee, Wat Djs, Dauwd is one of my favourites but I think he’s in London now. Same goes Leon Vynehall & Blake from Moniker. So much talent in Brighton, but also a revolving door with London.

And finally, what are your plans for the next few months? Any live dates we should know about, or any new material you’re working on? 

The album! Watch this space.

Comments are closed.