30 seconds interview: Mammal Hands

Mammal-Hands

Meet Mammal Hands, a nimble trio whose musical dexterity reveals a brilliant grasp of jazz, electronic and cinematic soundscapes.

Together, Nick Smart (keyboards), Jesse Barrett (drums, percussion) and Jordan Smart (saxophones) have eschewed traditional music education in favour of busking and boundary-breaking.

The results are a heady brew of locked-in grooves, spiralling melodies and acoustic elasticity, which places them firmly in the new jazz camp currently occupied by label mates Matthew Halsall and Gogo Penguin.

Drawing on influences as diverse as Steve Reich and Pharoah Sanders to Bonobo and Flying Lotus, they produce their own unique sound which alternates between melancholic and manic.

With their debut album Animalia due for release on 15 September through Halsall’s Gondwana label, we caught up with Nick, Jesse and Jordan to learn more…

We first started writing music because…
We felt really comfortable playing together, and wanted to compose as a band and explore new musical ideas.

We have been making music since…
Early 2012, when we met busking in Norwich. All of us had been playing and trying out different instruments from a younger age, and we found we had really similar taste in music. None of us have studied at a musical institution, but we all use piano as a compositional tool, and spend most of our time playing and listening.

Our music is…
All about emotion, feeling and playfulness, and we like to try to make it as open and accessible as possible. It is all instrumental, and we play piano, drums, tabla and saxophones.

You’ll like our music if you listen to…
The Cinematic Orchestra, Portico Quartet, Gogo Penguin, Steve Reich.

Our favourite venue is…
Probably Band on the Wall in Manchester or Ronnie Scott’s London.

Music is important because…
It’s very direct and is an inexhaustible medium where there are still boundaries to be broken.

Our biggest inspiration is…
From artists like John Coltrane, Esbjorn Svensson and Brian Blade.

Our dream collaboration would be…
Probably with a really interesting vocalist. The collaborations we’ve most enjoyed listening to recently have been Erykah Badu with Flying Lotus, Omar with Kairos 4tet, and Thom Yorke with Four Tet and Burial.

To try us out, listen to our song…
Mansions of Millions of Years. We recently made a video for it in Manchester which you can watch on YouTube.

If we weren’t making music we’d be…
Trying to find a way of getting around whatever was stopping us playing music.

In 10 years time we want to be…
Still enjoying playing and writing, and discovering new ways of expressing ourselves through music.

http://mammalhands.com/

Catch them live:
30 August, Norwich Jazz Weekend
11 September, Norwich Arts Centre
7 November, Rich Mix, London

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