"We meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance," famously spoke John F Kennedy in 1962. "We choose to go to the moon!" And so have, in a manner of speaking, Public Service Broadcasting, the unlikely looking pair of dance and pop geeks, who have forged a relatively unique concept, the artful juxtaposition of speech and audio from the past, with the sounds of now, both electronic and analogue. Of course, many acts from the past (for instance, Big Audio Dynamite on E=Mc2) have incorporated found speech into musical recordings, and Steinski & Mass Media in particular utilised this approach as their modus operandi. But PSB are perhaps the only act to have built an entire album around found speech and audio, without overt political motive.
Back in 2011, Obaro Ejimiwe aka Ghostpoet was suddenly catapulted into the limelight when his debut offering Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Glitchy, moody and like no other record out there, it not surprisingly lost out to the red-hot favourite, PJ Harvey and her Let England Shake album. “Looking back on it, it was like where do you go from there!” says Obaro from his London home. “But it was great way to open some doors and allow me to be taken seriously as an artist. It kind of follows you around, it’s like a musical knighthood.” Being nominated is certainly good enough for most people, and can even be better than having to deal with the unexpected pressures of actually winning the damn thing. In any event, people stood up and took notice of this unusual talent, as Gilles Peterson had done a couple of years earlier…
Three young and beautiful sisters, called Emily, Camilla and Jessica, who can sing like angels, and write memorable, easy-on-the-ear songs, all set within a broad-brushed indie-folk palette. How could this not work? Well, it did. And it's not taken them very long to become established, on the verge of releasing their second album, If I Was, and with a sold out UK tour just in the bag, including a date at London's Hackney Empire…
I arrived in Brighton about 13 years ago. Despite being a Londoner I pined for the countryside and sea, so at 22 I moved to South West Wales and lived on the Gower Peninsula, a place that has my heart. It’s stunning and wild and vast. After five years in the beautiful Gower, I was pining for more cultural stimulation and I knew I couldn’t be away from the sea… so I headed for Brighton. I had diverted away from music and been attempting to write a book and studied Oriental Medicine systems for 4 years. I realised however during a batch of illness that I got my fuel from music, so returned with a clear head and exciting clarity. I think stepping away from music strangely helped me. My life and studies as a young person were music-centred; I played the cello. When I returned to music I wasn’t sure where I would land so I set out the parameters which I could identify, which was Music Is Art and I will treat it so. I would work with artists, organisations, companies that I respect and stick to an artistic honesty. I have turned my hand to various things including playing in a band, worked as an artist manager, ran club nights, set up a management and music promotions company, contracted on festival programming, had a lot of fun with a radio show… and now I am here. It’s all part of the same thing really.
The extraordinary rise of The Unthanks could not have been easily predicted. Now known for their amalgamation of traditional folk music with a contemporary sound, the sisters Rachel and Becky (who originally went out under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset) were at the outset an almost purely traditional folk outfit, re-arranging and covering songs written by persons unknowns, and largely steeped in the history of Northumbria. Their debut album Cruel Sister displayed their tremendous abilities and passion and was eventually awarded Folk Album of the Year by Mojo.
Finally, her debut album. A work that does not feature any of her previous output, and yet remains unmistakably hers, such are the icy textures of her distinctive voice, and a largely moody sound that largely favours the flavours of timeless folk, modern electronics, and choral symphonics.
We are a record label (Tru Thoughts) and a publishing company (Full Thought Publishing), and we do the
majority of marketing from our office, too. So, a big part of our week is planning and actually releasing the music,
and publishing and licensing music to TV, film and adverts.