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.