INTERVIEW: Belleruche – 270 Stories
by Yvette Travillian
Belleruche – 3 Amp Fuse
In 2010 I was musically introduced to a band out of London by the name of Belleruche. The trio which is comprised of vocalist Kathrin deBoer, turntablist DJ Modest and guitarist Ricky Fabulous have become quite known overseas for their unique and infectious style of ‘turtable soul music’ – however, they are just now beginning to generate some serious buzz here in the States. And the reason may be because of their latest and third album, 270 Stories which was released last October via their label Tru Thoughts.
I admire Belleruche for a couple of reasons: One is because they are a band that has really taken the time to hone and perfect their sound (which is why their latest album is so good). Their music has slowly evolved over the years and 270 Stories showcases their subtle move into an edgier and more energetic direction – while still maintaining their original method of electronic soul. The second reason is becasue when you listen to their album(s) it is very obvious that it was a team effort. Ricky Fabulous and DJ Modest make a supreme production team and when you pair that with Kathrin’s beautiful/poetic voice and lyrics you get one great music group.
Suffice to say, I was beyond ecstatic at the opportunity to catch their live show a couple of months ago here in DC at U Street Music Hall. I (along with everyone else there) was completely blown away by their performance. That energy and team effort you hear on their albums comes through even stronger live and in your face. Hands down it was one of the best shows I had seen all year. To make matters even more awesome I was permitted the opportunity to chat with them briefly before they hit the stage. The laid-back trio shared some cool deets about their album and future happenings. Check out the interview below.
So I hear that although you are now on your third album, this is in fact the first time you all have toured the US. Is this true?
KATHRIN: Yes that is correct. This is actually our first time in DC and our first time in The States. We’ve been traveling from one side of the country to the other. We flew from LA to Seattle then to New York it was a long, long flight.
What’s the deal behind the album name 270 Stories?
DJ MODEST: Well, we like to say there isn’t any real epic story behind it. Basically, 270 is the address we recorded at in East London, and it just seemed to fit. It was really that simple. Also where we recorded we had this little studio in the basement under the shop which I was living in so it just kind of stuck. We could pretend that there were loads of stuff but it was pretty simple.
So I have listened to your previous work and it seems as though 270 Stories has a faster tempo and a little more energy [for example, the lead-off single “Clockwatching”]. Was this something that was planned or did you all get into the studio and it just sort of happened that way?
RICKY: A lot of it is because we actually had a studio to work in this time – whereas before we recording in these bare rooms. We also got new equipment and we had to time to play around with it so it captured kind of what we are like during our live performances. Before we were quite limited by the space we had so our music definitely sounded different. So, this album is more about how we play live.
That certainly explains the shift in tempo. Any particular music influences that helped create some of the songs on the album?
DJ MODEST: We all listen to loads of different stuff and some of it carried over. Like some 1920’s vintage records as well as some of the weird UK dubstep stuff. We all have different taste individually so there are just loads of different influences.
Kathrin, I looooove the song “Bobby” it’s one of my favorite songs off the album. The emotion in your words and voice are so heartfelt. So I’ve got to know, who is Bobby? Is he a real guy from your past? What’s the premise behind this song?
KATHRIN: Bobby was about a certain person- not called Bobby for the record! He was a guy I thought I fell in love with very briefly. As it turned out- he is quite a nutter. Anyway, one day he comes over to my house and tells me he’s a devout Christian – one has to laugh if you met him … however I digress. So it’s about two people who use a different language but experience the same thing and finding a middle ground no matter what belief system they subscribe … I’m not sure if that clarifies much!
Belleruche – Bobby
So you guys are about to hit the stage in a bit – are there any particular songs from the new album that you enjoy performing most?
RICKY: (Laughs) I always really like “Cat in a Dog Suit”. It’s kind of a strange story, but last Christmas I was in my spare room and I was playing around with it a bit and I sort of made up a fictional band, Agent Muff and the Muff-Tones. The band consists of three bass players; Agent Muff is the lead and then you have the rhythm section which are the Muff-Tones. So, I always sort of have a soft spot for that song because of the band Agent Muff and the Muff-Tones.
Last thing I wanted to ask is what’s up for Belleruche in 2011? Will there be more touring and/or any music festivals for us to look out for?
DJ MODEST: We definitely plan to keep doing more shows. And maybe try to work on some new music.
KATHRIN: In the Spring we would like to work on some new music and see if we could put some things together but we’re also going back to Australia and New Zealand for some festivals. Then we are back to Europe, we have some shows in France and Switzerland, and a really big one in May in London.
* For fans in the US be sure to look out for Belleruche at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. And for more music, videos and info hit their website at www.belleruche.com.