Charismatic Sound of Rum slam

Music is a spe­cific art – it is hard to talk about cre­at­ive or not cre­at­ive music. It is dif­fi­cult to judge cre­ation of music or this craft in gen­eral. Everything becomes even more com­plic­ated when you start to talk about dif­fer­ent styles – jazz, grunge, rap, indie, pop and so on. Some of us like elec­tro, some – jazz, some­body hate rock or metal. It goes fur­ther when it becomes clear that music is just the start – after, comes dis­like of events, or people, who look like emo, goth, hip­pies, pop, etc.

Some of us appre­ci­ate only new and fresh sound and will be not impressed by any­thing even slightly close to earlier heard accords – the band will be declared dead, rip-​off or shitty old-​school. The ques­tion, float­ing in my head at the moment asks of how to describe a sound of highly cre­at­ive, inspir­ing and innov­at­ive music..

For me it has the feel­ing which you get when even if you are inter­ested only in one par­tic­u­lar style, you are intrigued by that new sound. When musi­cians reveal them­selves and after the show you are left with the urge to explore, read the lyr­ics one more time, try to feel and hear the philo­sophy. Sound of Rum and their lead singer Kate Tempest is quite a fresh band, express­ing their ideas through poetry, drums and guitar.

At the first place, works of this band are appeal­ing and inter­est­ing because of the poetry part. Lead singer Kate Tempest had stud­ied English lit­er­at­ure at Goldsmiths col­lege, and she uses Shakespearean lan­guage in her verses. Her texts speak about con­tem­por­ary life — about people, con­sumer soci­ety, about an urge to talk and do what you want. Some texts speak about myth­o­lo­gical fig­ures – Prometheus, Icarus and their lives, but verses and words are con­joined in a way which lets you nav­ig­ate and find asso­ci­ations refer­ring to our con­tem­por­ary des­pairs and hopes. Every piece asks for atten­tion, deep listen­ing and thinking.

The band star­ted in 2008 and released their album already in the first year. To this moment, there are not many pro­fes­sional record­ings, but instead of that there are incred­ibly inspir­ing live con­certs. In one inter­view Kate said that she does not want to cre­ate one more band which would pass into silence just when some­thing new comes up. Sound of Rum try to cre­ate extraordin­ary per­form­ances and ask people, who feel their rhythm and under­stand their poetry, con­tact them and cre­ate some­thing together – it doesn’t mat­ter if that is cos­tumes, video, pho­to­graphs or art­works. They want their music to have a body even after the shows. Their live per­form­ances are really inspir­ing, all venue usu­ally turns silent when the band shows on the stage.

Instrumental com­pos­i­tions of drums and gui­tar cre­ate post rock atmo­sphere, while slam poetry amal­gam­ates the sound into one sticky and impress­ive com­bin­a­tion. Maybe the most import­ant fea­tures of the band are hon­esty and under­stand­ing of each other. Every word from Kate’s mouth becomes alive and every track is tuned. No doubts and walls between musi­cians and the audi­ence. After one song, some guy brings whis­key on the stage.

Sound of Rum has much rebel­li­ous­ness, cri­ti­cism and cha­risma. Texts talk about every­day events such as rid­ing metro, morn­ing with hangover, search­ing for pur­pose and mean­ing of life. These top­ics were ana­lyzed over and over, but many music crit­ics, after study­ing Kate’s poetry, agreed that they stand out because of lively and emo­tional verbal compositions.

Band’s his­tory is not one of tra­di­tional suc­cess stor­ies. Their way to music scene was not very easy. Kate was not one of the best stu­dents at school when she invoked her pas­sion for poetry. It was hard to improve when she was not tol­er­ated in under­ground ses­sions because of being white. Just because of that she went to those ses­sions with her black friend, who acted like he’s going to rap but in the end always gave the micro­phone to Kate. In this way she got the oppor­tun­ity to express and improve her­self – two years in a row every Friday she spent in those rap ses­sions and was finally appre­ci­ated afterwards.

Now musi­cians are doing just fine – they have toured through dif­fer­ent cit­ies in the UK, they also had many gigs in vari­ous London ven­ues and sum­mer festivals.

It becomes clear why Kate’s texts have that some­how dark shade when you become aware of her influ­en­tial artists. Pictures of Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and W. H. Auden can be seen on her room walls. Nearby swings por­trait of Tracey Emin as a reminder that, des­pite the pop­ular­ity, lead singer shall always keep the pos­sib­il­ity to piss on the side­walk and call it a piece of art.

I def­in­itely recom­mend to attend band’s live con­cert, it is just incredible!

More info on Sound of Rum webpage.

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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