Self-Portrait: The Silhouettes Project

Asher Korner aka Kosher and Jaden Osei-Bonsu aka Eerf Evil are the minds behind The Silhouettes Project, a community-based studio, collective and, more recently, label located in Hackney in the old Total Refreshment Centre building.

Launched in February of 2019, their mission is to provide a platform and highlight a new generation of underground hip hop, jazz and soul artists, while at the same time building a close family of artists who are united by creativity and collaboration.

Their name derived from this aim too — shining a light on artists in the shadows; artists the pair felt deserved more recognition. Their first compilation release, which has been a year in the making, brings together these artists who’ve been central to the project since its conception; the likes of Lex Amor, Enny, Kieron Boothe and Elisa Imperilee.

Ahead of the release, the pair lace together some of the tracks on the compilation and talk about the studio and their own creative processes.

The Silhouettes Project is out on 27 November – pre-order your copy.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

A: My dad playing in a band with my uncles – I remember them doing Good Night Irene at some pub and I love that song so it always stuck with me.

J: Growing up in church, I was always around music, my dad was a preacher. So I was always used to singing, basslines and rhythms.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

A: Not really but it was always a part of my life. I did piano lessons for a bit but hated it.

J: Not really either, my grandma always wanted me to play piano but I always wanted to play football.

What led you into music production?

A: My first entry point was writing lyrics when I was about 13 after hearing English rappers doing their thing. Dizzee Rascal, Sway, Skinnyman, Klashnekoff.

J: Growing up around a culture where everyone was always freestyling. It had a natural gravitas to wanting to write bars. That led to cyphers, and to eventually creating my own cyphers and sounds.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production?

A: On an artist level – Akala, Skinnyman, Dizzee, Nas. On a production level – J Dilla, Timbaland, Kanye.

J: Kanye West, J Cole, Roadside G’s, Paige from Cream Cartel, Dubz.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?

A: I make sure I do a 35km sprint before every session, as well as eating a vegan salad with a side of steak.

J: 20 mins yoga, and I make sure my intentions are in the right space. Na Maste, cause when I leave your girl’s yard she’s like na man stay.

Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

A: Just to have a good time together.

J: just to create mad vibes and let everyone enjoy themselves.

Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

A: I can definitely fall into that trap but also sometimes it’s just right from the first session you do on the track. So it’s a balance. I think it’s just about maintaining the feeling you had in the song when you first liked it.

J: Definitely not a perfectionist, I can say that with confidence having worked on my forthcoming project for 6 years.

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track?

A: Find an instrument that works, then spend some time with it and just see what comes. There’s no set structure.

J: Roughly we’d look for a sample, or some keys, until we hit a sound that we’re feeling which compliments the mood. Then we’d add some drums, and then we’d chop it up so it all aligns

How much of your material is sample based and how much is original?

A: 50/50

J: 75/25

What’s the most important bits of kit that make a Silhouette Project track?

The studio, the people, the artists, and then the vibe. In terms of actual kit it’s whatever is accessible. Some of the sessions had musicians, some were all electronic production.

This mix is 100% original Silhouette Project material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

Each track has its own uniqueness in a way as it was 100% organic, so every track is special. The artists brought their true selves and were able to collaborate to create amazing pieces for the people. The whole meaning behind the project, it being a community vibe, meant that the output was all on the same level. There’s a real purity to the sound.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

The Silhouettes Project album drops on November 27th on vinyl and on Dec 11th digitally, via Melting Pot Music. Watch out for Silhouettes Project Vol.2 in 2021!!!

Tracklist
Bel Cobain & Lex Amor – At the Bay
Louis The Hippie – Blessings
Enny – For South
Natty Wylah – Eucalyptus
Elisa Imperilee – Closer
Kieron Boothe & Morgan Lorelle – No Peace
Eerf Evil & Kosher – Chase It
Summers Sons, Majical & C.Tappin – Free Your Mind
Manik MC & Elisa Imperilee – July
Pedro Retro & Meron T – Standing There
KeepVibesNear & Nix Northwest – What U Need
Kofi Stone & Joe Beard – Like We Used To

The Silhouettes Project is out on 27 November – pre-order your copy.

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