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August 2020
Feature

Getting to know... Eastern Barbers

The South-East London duo have just dropped their new single, 'Blue Flakes'.
Published: 11:47 am, November 30, 2017
Getting to know... Eastern Barbers
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]South-East Londoners Eastern Barbers - formed by multi-instrumentalist brothers Ross Fernandez and James - have just dropped their new single, ‘Blue Flakes’. The follow-up to ‘Milk’, it’s a rich, seductive take on the gentrification of the area they grew up in, and the complexities that come with growing up. Ross explains how their jazz-influenced pop came to be.

Hey Ross, what made you decide to start a band, then?
Well, we've been playing music together since we were pretty young. Our house has always been full of instruments, music teachers coming in and out and like books flying all over the living room haha. We mainly played classical ‘til we were about 10/11 and then we started a little jazz trio of me on piano, James on drums and our older bro on saxophone. We used to play functions, and little blues bars across the UK and in Europe and then I guess we just got to the age when we thought it wasn't really cool to be doing that anymore – especially cos all of our friends would just be out playing football instead. And we wanted to be playing more of the stuff that we were listening to, always trying to sneak in ‘jazzed' up versions of pop songs into our sets… We then both studied and moved abroad, spending a lot of time listening to a proper wide range of music and working out how best we could express our ideas. During this time, EB only really existed as like a WhatsApp message where we sent and stored ideas and recorded little tracks with whatever ‘equipment' we had lying around and then when we came back to London we started translating that into playing live!

Tell us about your new single, ‘Blue Flakes'?
I think sometimes it's a bit difficult to kind of pinpoint what songs are written about or what influenced them cos they are kind of written over a small period of time and give a snapshot into what was just going on then. I mean, we consciously tried to write a ‘happier' sounding song… if that helps? I was listening to The Shadows and a bit of bass-driven Outkast stuff and also Barış Manço, Turkish rock star from the 70s, so that influenced the sound a bit. But yeah, we wrote it off the back of ‘MILK' which is like this constant disillusionment and disengagement with things around us and we wanted to explore something more like dreamy and simple…like the feeling when you first get to somewhere on a night out, but your head is still kind of hungover from the day, it's a bit blurry at first, but then you feel it sort of escape you…

What's been the highlight of your time in Eastern Barbers so far?
Glastonbury weekend was obviously pretty mad. Our sold out London shows we've done have all been sick. Yeah just generally, we're really enjoying being surrounded by people who are doing similar things, and it motivates you to do what you do!

How're you finding life in South London?
Yeah good. Well, I've just moved back in with my parents and James is on his way back too, haha. It's sweet though.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3
[vc_column_text]What do you most enjoy writing songs about?
A lot of our songs are like comments on things we see or experience, from like the most mundane things like nicking a spoon of rice out of the pot before our Mum's finished cooking; the sound of people at their keyboards in our 9-5s or more just observations of places and people around us and how they collide and change. I think lyrically, the ideas come from the present, like observations and personal thoughts that have formed recently, where-as a lot of the sound comes from samples and ideas which we collected before we were even back in London and properly doing this.

What do you do for fun?
Dunno really. Going home and getting fed is pretty fun. James enjoys running around the house in his boxers.

What does being a musician mean to you?
Well, it's kind of all we know – starting from the age of three and a half, you don't really know anything different. Now, it really means just doing all that you can with all that you have with the people around you and whatever time you can make.

What's your favourite album of 2017?
Tough one. Without going into the obvious ones like Kendrick, I'd say something like Tennis' new one or Alfa Mist, or Dvsn – Morning After… James just text me saying Jitwam – Self-titled.

Eastern Barbers' single 'Blue Flakes' is out now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3
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Factfile


Who's in the band:
Brothers Ross Fernandez and James.f, joined by a rotating selection of family and friends.

How long have you been together:
Playing music in various forms for time… one and a half years or so doing EASTERN BARBERS stuff.

Where are you from:
SE.

What musical pigeon-hole can we shoehorn you into:
Soulful jazzy alternative samples experimental.

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