Arts Editor Maria Green chats to the coolest new band on campus, Lesedi.
So perhaps we can start with you guys introducing yourselves. Who are you, what do you play and what do you study?
E: I’m Eve! I play sax, flute, and sing, and I study music along with Dan and Tom.
D: I’m Dan, I’m going into my second year studying music and I play keys for the band.
T: I’m Tom, I’m also going into second year and I’m the drummer!
Awesome! Did you all meet on the music course at Royal Holloway?
D: Yes we did! It didn’t take us long to realise we were all interested in similar things, and Eve approached Tom and I and asked us to start a band with her!
T: We mainly play funk music, which ranges from covers to originals but we also cover rock, pop and plenty of genres in-between.
An interesting mix then! Who are your greatest influences as individual musicians, and as a band?
T: I’ve been influenced by plenty of people, from drummers to friends. I’ve always been a fan of Michael Jackson and his music, but also more modern people like Jacob Collier and Cory Henry who are fantastic musicians!
D: For me, I’m influenced by anything I hear around me! I like to think I’ve taken something from the funk bands we cover, and added in some of the 70s rhythms from the likes of Earth Wind and Fire to give everything that unique Lesedi flavour! If you listen hard enough, you might be able to hear some theatrical stylings at points too, even when I’m trying to hide them!
E: Ooh, I personally have a huge range of influences! People such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder sparked my interest in funk and soul music, but I listen to a wide range of music and have taken inspiration from people and bands such as Newton Faulkner, Nirvana and Herbie Hancock just to name a few! I do have to admit that I’m also a little bit obsessed with McFly!
T: Those that know us would probably be surprised to know that we all really love Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
D: Or not that surprised at all!
Was there anything in particular that made you decide on this line-up, as opposed to the more conventional drums, bass and guitar?
E: Honestly, I had always wanted to be in a band with like-minded musicians and after having spent some time with Tom and Dan we just became really good friends! We then had a jam together and absolutely loved it – the music just happened so naturally and we were able to have fun! The use of the keys instead of a guitar feels so much more versatile; we can experiment with a wide variety of sounds and it’s quite unique!
T: I’d say it’s original for sure! Not many bands with two saxophones, flute AND penny whistle!
That does sound really unique – I can’t wait to hear you guys sometime. If you were stuck on an island and could only bring one album to listen to for the rest of time, what album would you pick?
T: Oh boy that’s an intense question to answer under pressure!
E: I’m definitely struggling with that one! I’d probably go for James Brown’s ‘The Godfather’ – every time I listen to it I find something new to fall in love with!
D: Excellent question! For me it would have to be one of Michael Jackson’s albums – can I cheat and say a greatest hits compilation?! I think his style is so diverse and every song brings something different, sort of like we try to do ourselves I guess!
T: I’d pick ‘Caribe’ by The Michel Camilo Big Band, it’s got some fantastic solos in there and it’s so much fun to listen to. It’s that or I’d just have the Mii Theme on repeat, who could ever get bored of that!?
What sorts of things do you see in your future – do you see a life for Lesedi beyond your time at Royal Holloway?
T: We are all really passionate on keeping the band going, and we’re hoping we can use our time at RHUL to build a fan base and a name for ourselves going forward! We’d love to try some more festivals and gigs at the SU, but we’re also looking into recording some of our own stuff, maybe releasing some merch and getting some weddings booked!
Great, so some big plans! Do you have any advice you would give to other students hoping to get involved with music non-academically at Royal Holloway?
D: I’d say find some friends and just get playing, see what happens! Don’t worry about what instruments you have or if any of you have played in a group before. Our first performance was at The Packhorse’s open mic night, and events like that are a really good chance to see what you’ve got and have some fun in a low pressure environment, so definitely try that too!
T: There’s definitely a lack of live music at RHUL at the moment, so the more the merrier!
Keep updated with Lesedi on their website (www.lesediband.wixsite.com/lesedi), Instagram (@lesedi_band), or find them on Facebook.