30 Seconds interview: Hejira

HejiraforwebMatthew Herbert’s influence over the leftfield pastures of today’s pop culture cannot be underestimated.

Whether he’s sampling the sounds of food or making teeth-grinding techno, he’s always been way ahead of the chasing pack.

Another string to his ever-expanding bow, is his ability to source the most exciting new musical talent. The Mercury Music Prize nominated Invisible appeared from under his wing and so it is for new London act Hejira.

The band are from various parts of the world – Chile, Hungary, Ethiopia and Germany respectively – and musically came together in London to pool their sonic styles, influences and loves. Couple their aural ambitions with a shared experience of performing with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Tom Jones, Nitin Sawhney and Eric Lau and the end result is their Herbert-produced debut album Prayer Before Birth.

The record is an exciting, ear-provoking collection of songs touching on prog, folk, jazz, pop and orchestral styles, all underpinned by experimental leanings which take the band further out there than many of their peers. They launched the record with a performance alongside an 18-piece ensemble including a choir and trombone section. It says a lot for the scale of their ambitions and how far they want to go…Check out our 30 Seconds interview with the group below…

We first started writing music because…
Everyone in Hejira has a need to create music communally.

We have been making music together since…
The autumn of 2009.

Our music is…
Born out of a collective wish to discover a sound that resonates with our hearts and awakens the spirit.

You’ll like us if you listen to...
Ravel, John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, The Invisible.

Our favourite venue is…
Servant Jazz Quarters (SJQ) in Dalston. We have a lot of love for SJQ as it’s where we began our event Traum. SJQ has a uniquely welcoming, intimate and seductive atmosphere, which became our second home for 2012 and will always be dear to our hearts.

Music is important because…
It brings people together.

Our biggest inspiration is…
Our community of friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be surrounded by creative, inspiring and loving people such as our brothers The Invisible, the incomparable Micachu & The Shapes, the ‘epic nowness’ of Shoppinghour Magazine, the enigmatic Gwilym Gold and the maverick Matthew Herbert.

Our dream collaboration would be…
We are living our dream collaboration.

To try us out, listen to our song…
Litmus Test.

If we weren’t making music we’d be…
Hopefully discovering other ways of being genuinely creative and productive. Music is our vehicle due to specific circumstances. For that we are eternally grateful.

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