Brighton-based Kudu Blue discuss inspirations, the meaning of the band name and secrets, including an IVF baby
Words by Debs Mercedes
I meet up with three members of the fourpiece R&B, trip hop, electronica outfit Kudu Blue in a cosy, modern cafe in Covent Garden. Present are vocalist Clementine Douglas alongside Owen Crouch and bassist Tom Peterson – the fourth member drummer Creeda Kirkham (a “shapeshifting alien from the depths of Neptune” according to the others) – is the absentee. They are warm, fun and receptive to questioning on all fronts.
We make their way to the seating area and it’s not surprising that the guys want to sit down. “We’ve been enjoying being in London,” Tom says. “It’s nice and sunny, walking everywhere from Elephant and Castle to Covent Garden, then to Angel then Soho.”
Although not all from Brighton, the band formed in the seaside town. Both from Brighton, Tom and Owen have known each other since they were five years old.
“Me and Tom started making music in the same area,” says Owen. “Hip hop mainly, when we were about 19. We were both musicians and decided ‘Why don’t we do something?’ especially since we both started getting into music production. Clem just brought in her brilliant lyricism.”
Lead vocalist Clementine is originally from Birmingham but studied in Brighton where she met the rest of the band through mutual friends. “Tom was playing a D’Angelo bassline,” she says. “And I was like, ‘Ooh, we have similar tastes’.”
The band name Kudu Blue was intriguing, so I asked them about where it came from and they begin to laugh. The story goes that the group saw an electric blue kudu (antelope) in the street.
“We just saw an antelope running down the road,” says Owen. “And for some reason he was bright blue.” Tom adds, “Yeah, we saw him when we were quite near Bristol Zoo. Something had happened at the zoo and it just got out.” Clem confirms the rather unlikely tale is true. “I think they painted it up for a festival or kids event or something,” she says. “We just like that’s a great name for a band. It was a crazy day. It stays in your memory.”
Kudu Blue’s layered sound is a fusion. It’s inspired by classical and neo-soul – plus trip hop is a major influence. “I was sort of brought of trip hop from Bristol since I was a bubba,” says Owen, who adds that he was sat on Daddy G of Massive Attack’s lap as a young child. “My mum thinks that imparted some of the music,” he says, “because she hung out in that circle back then.”
Other favourite artists of theirs include 808Ink, BadBadNotGood, Flying Lotus, Anderson Paak, Thom Yorke, Michael Jackson and, perhaps more surprisingly, Cher and Shania Twain.
The band write and produce all of their music, and are currently very hard at it.
“We come up with an idea, get in the studio and record it right away,” Clem says. “It’s quite a quick process and we’ve been working really hard over the past few months, just tightening up the loose bits.”
I tell them that my favourite track of theirs is ‘Bones’ which they said they wrote “before we were a ‘band’ band”.
Kudu Blue are an intriguing bunch all round. Tom reveals that he is a product of IVF. “So, I was made in a lab,” he says. “That’s why you’re so good at bass,” Clem interjects. “It was one of the specifications.”
Following on from ‘Call Out’ and ‘Vicinity’, their latest release ‘NGFM’ (Not Good For Me) has gone through a few permutations. “I found an old phone recording of the other day. It’s about 10bpm slower than it is,” says Tom.
Clem adds, “The lyrical content is based on a few past relationships…It’s all about getting out of the mindset of being controlled by someone.”
Check them out on Soundcloud
And of course live at The Great Escape 2017