Bare Knuckle Soul ‘EP 1’
Amongst the cacophony of one of Sheffield’s last cutlery works, semi derelict, but also housing make-shift studio faciilities, a group of artists, writers, musicians and poets got together on an ad hoc and improvisational basis under the collective name Bare Knuckle Soul.
Arctic Monkeys were making their very first demo in the studio below, and on some of the DAT recordings you can hear bleed from the deep baselines of Roots Manuva, during his stint living in Sheffield and collaborating with Toddla T in the adjacent room.
In the summer the recording space was a furnace, and some tracks were recorded with the band semi-naked. During the winter, without heating the space was a freezer, and as the vocalists recorded their parts, condensation rose from their breath. There were the usual arguments, and life often got in the way. Most of the band had children and various other dependents and dependencies- but that life was also encoded within the music.
We only got around to releasing one EP on “12, CD and iTunes, but received acclaim from Zane Lowe, Giles Peterson, Norman Jaye, and Trevor Nelson, who invited us to perform a live session at Maida Vale, and perform live on MTV. We also supported Alice Russell, The Pharcyde and Omar at The Jazz Cafe.
Another track, ‘Black Other’ - which was an early precursor to some of the issues I went on to tackle in the Afropean book - was included on the Chris Offili and Charlie Dark compilation ‘Freeness’. There are about 15 finished Bare Knuckle Soul tracks in total and I’m still very proud of them - they will see the light of day at some point.
The Bare Knuckle Soul crew recently reemerged to score a short film for Afropean. Watch this space!