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Back to Life with Soul II Soul

9 September 2015
Back to Life with Soul II Soul
After twenty years in the game, Soul II Soul are pros of the scene. We caught up with frontman and producer Jazzie B after they brought the house down at the first Garden Party weekend at The Tetley, and talked about what keeps them wanting to perform after so long.

Soul II Soul Interview Article 1

What do you make of The Garden Party today?

Jazzie B: Lovely Garden Party; didn’t have any Yorkshire Gold though. What’s up with that? But other than that, fantastic audience, I’ve gotta tell you. It’s better up North innit?

What has been your best Northern/Leeds gig?

Jazzie B: In Chapeltown innit at the West Indian Centre, getting down with everybody. I’ve got to say a big shoutout to Mala and the crew. Eddie! Where are ya?

Eddie, Jazzie B’s cousin runs the festival, which also happened on Monday, the same bank holiday.

You guys are veterans of the scene. What drives you to keep performing?

Jazzie B: I guess what we really enjoy is the fact that we can play you know? For many years it was trying to get the organisation, the collective together so we sounded a little bit more unique than just a band. But what I’m really honestly proud of is the fact that we’re all from the UK, so that makes a huge difference.

Represent! So have you got any new releases in the pipeline?

Jazzie B: Actually we do; we’ve got a project coming out in March, which will feature us live and within that project is a visual project and there’ll be a couple of new ideas flung in there as well so we’re looking forward to that.

What excites you most about playing the festival scene?

Jazzie B: I think really one of the most exciting things about festivals has to be a happy face, a thumpin’ bass, and everyone else off their nut.

Would you say we had that today?

Jazzie B: [laughs] Certainly did!

Do you find you modify your sound when you play live?

Jazzie B: It’s a completely different thing you know, working in the studio and working with this fantastic band. It’s really nice.

And so the release you told us about, is that about doing that part of your performance justice?

Jazzie B: What it is it gives us a chance to have a stamp in time, as it were. We’ve gone twenty odd years that we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing and when I first started back in the eighties they said ‘you could never do that live’, and its just the fact that here we are twenty something years doing it live. It’s testament not only to the sound but to everybody that’s involved in the collective.

Were you hoping to catch anyone else at The Garden Party?

Well I was looking for Mr Scruff earlier on but he seems to’ve left before I arrived!

It was a good set!

Jazzie B: It always is, he throws down a dec’ set that one.

Have you got anything else you want to tell us?

Jazzie B: Just big up Leeds, fantastic festival. Keep moving, see you Back to Life; Peace Out!

Watch the interview here!

Emma is a Freelance Writer for Leeds Living. She has a degree in English literature from the University of Leeds and specialises in writing cultural editorials.