Brighton boasts an illustrious list of music heroes – now there’s another rising band that looks set to be added to it.
Frenetic post-punk four-piece Egyptian Blue are enjoying a rapid ascent to prominence since the current line-up was cemented in January 2019.
Their debut EP Collateral is a head-spinning four-track wonder, mixing punishing, distorted guitar lines with pulsating drums, overlaid by ferocious and vitriolic vocals from Andy Buss and Leith Ambrose.
They’re inspired by greats Gang of Four and Wire but, like contemporaries IDLES, Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital, their sound is totally modern, summing up everything that’s great about the UK and Ireland’s burgeoning post-punk scene.
Their home is the buzzing Yala! Records, the talent-heavy label set up by Felix White from The Maccabees, while their forthcoming second EP, Body of Itch, is released on April 10.
Their phenomenal live shows are becoming must-see events and led to a slot at London’s All Points East last May, with other festival slots on the horizon.
Joe Talbot, the frontman of IDLES, described them as “f****** sick” – and we can’t argue with that.
Daily Star Online caught up with Andy to find out how they formed, their influences, Brighton’s music scene, and what we can expect from their new material.
Hi Andy. How did Egyptian Blue form? When did the current line-up get together?
“We’ve been a band with this line up since January 2019. Leith, the other vocalist and guitarist, and I have been playing together since school and we merged into that. We only honed in our sound with this current line-up.
"I met Leith in school back in Ipswich, I met Luke in Colchester a year later, and Isaac in Brighton. He was in another band and we met him through that.”
It’s been a quick rise for the band in its current form. Why did you decide to put Egyptian Blue together?
“I’ve been gigging a lot of my life so I’m kind of used to it. We have a big team behind us now so it’s exciting to go away and do a lot of stuff.
“It’s a way to vent your day to day struggles. It’s a way to express your passion. I don’t think there’s any goal. We just got together to make music.”
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Who are you influenced by? Did any band mould your style?
“When I was younger I listened to a lot of stuff my mum listens to, like Joy Division, Talking Heads, Radiohead.
“More recently I was having a bit of tough time a couple of years ago and I discovered a record called Entertainment! by Gang of Four. That was really a kind of point of change for us.
“That was an inspiring record for me at the time. We’re into bands like Wire – the early stuff like Pink Flag and Chairs Missing.”
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Do you all have the same interests in music?
“There can be different styles. Isaac listens to a lot of interesting stuff. He’s probably the most conscious in terms of music. He likes grime a lot, the stuff you wouldn’t think of, a lot of jazz.”
Your debut EP Collateral came out last year. What was the writing process like?
“With that EP, most of the songs were written by me in my room in Brighton. I was recording voice notes in my phone. It came around like that. The lyrical side of it came from nights out, listening to what people say. It’s a staple of that time for us.
“I don’t think we had any big expectations to it. We were very excited to get a record out and have it in a physical copy, in vinyl. It went down well, so it’s good.”
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New single Never came out next month and will appear on your new EP Body of Itch. What’s the reaction been like for the track? What can we expect from the EP?
“It’s gone down well. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and take it in. We’ve been away for quite a while. From the sounds of it it’s gone down well.
“I think that song is a bit catchier. Some of the songs are a bit more pensive, angry and angular.”
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Did you take anything from the process the first time going into recording the second EP?
“It was a similar kind of process. It was the music that we wrote and it just came out naturally. The songs together are a cohesive piece of work and that’s what we wanted. They were all written around a similar kind of time.”
What’s the difference between the recording studio and the live shows?
“The way we record complements the live sound. We play in a similar kind of way together in the studio as we do live.”
You’re signed to Yala! Records. What do they bring to the table as a label?
“They’re a great group of people that are very enthusiastic about music. They’re good people to work with. They want whats best for us and we want what’s best for them.
“They’re taking a lot of bands on that aren’t so widely recognised and giving them a platform to get their music nationwide and get a record out. They’re a great label in that sense.”
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You’re based in Brighton. What’s it like as a music hub?
“Going back five years ago it was a buzzing town in terms of music. Now it’s a bit more saturated and spread out. The genres of bands are more spread out. Venues have shut down
“But there’s still a bunch of unrecognised bands in Brighton that are friends that should have some recognition. Public Body and Happy Couple are two. There’s a few good bands coming out of there.”
Has Brighton had an influence on the band’s sound? Do you think you’ll stay there?
“I think it definitely has. The lyrical side of things is very much from what people say to us and to me. I hear these things in Brighton, in the pubs in Brighton, at work in Brighton. I think it plays an integral part in it. There are no plans to move on yet. I’m happy down here, I’ve got a cat.”
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How would you describe the Egyptian Blue sound?
“What you hear is angular and pensive. I think it can change from song to song. There are some parts that are mellow. In our live shows we slow down a lot during fast paced songs. It can be a mishmash.”
Are you pleased with the way the band are progressing?
“There’s still no goal at the end of it. We’re making music we feel passionate about. We’re exploring ways to express ourselves on stage and vent anger and stress. It’s nice to have some recognition.”
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What does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?
“We’ve got the EP coming out on April 10. We’re touring in France in April and doing some radio sessions. Going into festival season we’ll be in Barcelona and the rest of Europe again. I’m not sure after that. We’re kept in the dark quite a lot.”
Egyptian Blue headline the Lexington in London on March 25. Body of Itch is released on April 10 via Yala! Records.
- Harry Styles
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