It’s been over a year since UK Soul group Damage were on the Big Reunion TV show after which a tour followed. Now the lads have been asked to take part in the iconic Jazz Cafe’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations.
Musicvein caught up with Andrez, Rahsaan, Noel and Jade to talk Big Reunion, New Music and The Jazz Cafe.
Musicvein: Guys it’s so great to see you back on our screens and touring – doing your thing. I have to go back to the Big Reunion though and ask do you have any regrets about doing the show? it was a little heated to start – especially with the Coree showdown!
Jade: “I’d have to say no we don’t regret it. It was an experience to do and it put Damage to the forefront of peoples minds again. Also it was a kind of therapy session as well you know, to get our story out there. For a long time when Damage split up a lot of people were asking; What happened? How come you guys are not around? so it gave us a chance to set the story straight instead of going over it over and over again. We really want to look forward now instead of looking over the past.”
Musicvein: Do you now feel that it’s all been put to bed and demons rested?
Andre: “Exactly, that has been put to bed so now so we just want people to hear the music and focus on the future.”
Musicvein: So the burning question that everyone has is when will there be new music?
Andre: “We’re looking at it now in fact. We released a new song last year on the EP ‘Acoustically Yours’ – that was released independently and went to No.3 on the iTunes RnB charts! So it showed us that people are interested and if we get it right we may be able to do something this year or early next year.”
Musicvein: Cool, so will your new material stay in the same classic RnB genre? or will it shift to new sounds?
Noel: “We’ve always been a group that like to invent a lot of new music. We listen to everything and try and incorporate that into our music – but it will always be a Damage sound! Where will we move to? I don’t think we’ll move to anything totally different but you never know.”
Musicvein: Well there’s a lot of new sounds of out there and it’s becoming quite hip to mix RnB with Clubland/House music, is it a road you’ll ever go down?
Noel: “Damage have never been a follow the crowd kind of band so if we were to do something different, it wouldn’t be like anything anyone’s doing at the moment.”
Musicvein: Ok, that’s good to hear. So when creating music now, how is the process for you? Is it a collective jamming session or is there a main writer?
Andre: “On ‘Acoustically Yours’ we were really fortunate to have a Production House that worked with us. So we had 3 studios going in one day at the same time – 1 or 2 of us would be with a producer and we’d rotate throughout the day. Then basically the best ideas that came out from those sessions, we’d progress. So at this stage there isn’t a main writer, it’s just a case of us all getting together, producing the main ideas, getting vocals down and we seeing what’s left.”
Musicvein: And is there anyone you want to work with at the moment?
Silence…I think I’ve stumped them…
Rahsaan: “Hmmm, I would like to do something with Naughty Boy I think, he’s got a very nice energetic sound. I think that if we could write the perfect topline melody on one of his tracks, we could be on to a sure fire hit.”
Noel: “Great question, Jon Legend I think or Labrinth. Someone British would be really good…someone current and up to date.”
Musicvein: Great choices! So as a band what would you do now that you didn’t do before?
Noel: “My gran had a great quote that she taught me: ‘Never regret what you do, only regret what you don’t do,’ So I don’t think we’d change anything from the past only invest more in our business. Before it was all about having fun and enjoying the moment and we did! So definitely invest and make the most of what we have.”
Musicvein: Thinking of all the changes you have seen in the industry, do you think it’s for the better?
Rahsaan: “The music industry has changed kind of for the better but for people in the office and record labels bosses, it’s changed for the worse as we don’t necessarily need them anymore. You can more or less build a fan base yourself and sell to them. It’s cool if you have a label there as they’re able to spend money on you but the problem is that if you don’t make a quick return, you’re going to get dropped! There’s no longevity with labels anymore and that’s making the industry a very sad place. They’re not grooming artists anymore, not making superstars – Janet Jackson’s or Michael Jackson’s, that’s just not happening! Everyone just wants that overnight success without putting in the graft and for me the industry has just lost out. Whoever is hot now you can pretty much say they’re not going to be here next year and that’s a sad thing.”
Jade: “Everything has sped up 100x faster! New things come around very quickly and that’s the internet – there’s good points to it and then the bad side. There’s no time for us to be huge for a very long time cause there’s so much new stuff coming around so quickly you know, it’s a very fast moving world and that’s not just the music industry that’s life in general!”
Rahsaan: “Also it is about the packaging and not so much the music anymore. It’s the perfumes and the little dolls all the things you can get around the music. When Damage were first out it was about the music and the quality of it, now it’s just about everything else around it – The package. It’s sad, but for some people it’s about the quick buck and it’s very easy to make.”
Musicvein: I hear you. So Jazz Cafe 25! How did you Guys get involved and what can people expect?
Andre: “We’ve performed at the Jazz Cafe for the past 10 years. First time was about 2001/02, we did a tribute concert then our own Damage concert there so we’ve always had a long affiliation with them. Now they’re doing their 25 year Anniversary they’ve asked if we’d be involved and we were over the moon! I think that for any British artist, the Jazz Cafe must appear on their gig CV at some point. Doing this puts us up there with Courtney Pine, Incognito, Soul II Soul, Janet Kay! the list goes on and it just shows that Damage can do something like the Big Reunion but also go and do the Jazz Cafe 25 – so we’re really excited.”
Rahsaan: “We’re gonna put together a nice show with a live band and make it as historic as possible, we’re at the Jazz Cafe so it’s gotta be a good show!”
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Damage will also be performing at the Wireless Festival in July.
Tickets to see Damage at the Jazz Cafe 1-2nd October can be purchased from Ticketmaster
‘Acoustically Yours’ is also available for download on iTunes