Q&A and Guest Playlist: Beyond Albedo
Beyond Albedo are a Leeds/Sheffield-based improvisatory retro-futuristic synth-jazz 4 piece combining drum machine grooves, driving synth bass-lines, explosive drumming, pulsating guitar, and effects-laden saxophone. Inspired by the music from their two previous visits to Earth in the 1960s and 1980s, Beyond Albedo weave intricate dance music with improvisation, conjuring a sound that doesn’t quite belong on this planet.
Since arriving on Earth in 2017, Beyond Albedo have performed at Lancaster Jazz Festival; collaborated with Chris Sharkey (of Roller Trio) on their single Arrival ; been selected to take part on Jazz North’s 2019 Northern Line artist support scheme, and participated in the Sage Gateshead’s Summer Studio 2019 programme. Individually, members of Beyond Albedo have been selected for the MJF Hothouse scheme, had their music broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and been shortlisted for a British Composer Award.
What was the first record you bought?
TIM: Pablo Honey by Radiohead
SARAH: Absolution by Muse, on CD. Matt Bellamy (this album and all preceding albums) was my musical idol.
BEN: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park, I still listen to it!
Lara: Kylie Minogue – Light Years
Where in the world would you like to play that you have not already?
TIM: Montreux Jazz Festival.
SARAH: In a treehouse.
BEN: Royal Albert Hall
LARA: The moon
Who was the first band/artist you ever saw perform live?
TIM: I really can’t remember, but Fairport Convention, and Amadou and Mariam, were some early highlights.
SARAH: Oh god. Steps when I was 9 years old (not my choice). Does that count?
BEN: Red Hot Chili Peppers supported(!) by James Brown
LARA: An Abba tribute act which I believed to really be ABBA at the time
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
TIM: Learning and laughing with people I admire.
SARAH: To quote from a book I’m reading about off-grid living, ‘He was living a happy, gentle, uncompetitive life, following his dream.’
So, living in a caravan in a field with my wood burner making it cosy after a long walk on cold Autumn days, probably.
BEN: Go to the gym, write some music, play some computer games, sleep!
LARA: Black coffee in the morning.
Who are your favourite writers?
TIM: George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Sue Townsend, Peter McCune
SARAH: Ali Smith, Bill Bryson, Jane Austen, Jeanette Winterson, Mary Oliver.
LARA: Oscar Wilde
Who are your favourite painters?
TIM: Edward Hopper, Bryan John
SARAH: I’m not big on painters, but I really love Escher. Anything with thought-out, intricate, geometric patterns.
BEN: Rothko, Monet
LARA: John Cage
If you could collaborate with any other artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
TIM: Brad Mehldau, Kate Bush, Cuong Vu
SARAH: Kaki King, Ani DiFranco, Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, Fatoumata Diawara… so many!
LARA: Pauline Oliveros, Eliane Radigue, Anna Meredith
What are you listening to at the moment?
TIM: ‘Code Girl’ by Mary Halvorson
SARAH: Podcasts. I love Blindboy’s podcast. Check it out.
BEN: Freese Trio
LARA: My mum, my fiance & little boy and my brother (they are all wise humans)
Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?
TIM: Any urban or rural landscape that I can explore.
SARAH: Anywhere where I can cycle for days at ease.
BEN: I really want to go to Easter Island – when I go, I imagine that’ll be my favourite place to go on holiday.
LARA: North of Italy, by the remote lakes, in a tent.
Best advice you can give to emerging talent?
TIM: Challenge is a reason to grow, not a reason to quit.
SARAH: This is particularly for female artists, as confidence is our biggest setback: leave all self-comparison at the door, learn from, but importantly laugh, at your mistakes, and remember you’re doing this because you love it, not because you have to be the best.
BEN: Apply for everything, don’t ever think you’re ‘not good enough’ or ‘not experienced enough’ for a competition or opportunity.
LARA: GFI as my mum used to say, GO FOR IT! Regardless of what stage you’re at go for it. Make your dreams goals, make a plan and give it all a go. Talk to people, listen listen listen and make things happen.