The Correspondents interview: "give an audience a hit of energy"

Henry Lewis caught up with the electro swing duo to talk about their new album, Kendrick Lamar, treadmills and heaps more.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 16th Oct 2017.
Originally published: 19th Sep 2017

Image: The Correspondents (credit)

London electro jazz duo The Correspondents are a live force like you've never seen before. Blowing crowds away first at parties in their native city, then onto gigs and festivals across the UK, the name Correspondents is synonymous with high octane performances with frontman Mr Bruce leaping across the stage effortlessly while Mr Bruce behind him perfectly mixes musical styles old and new.

2017 sees them celebrate not only their 10 year anniversary as a musical force but also the release of their second record Foolishman, which dropped back in September, and they celebrate a decade of music with a huge show at Electric Brixton on Friday 8th December, and before that they take on The Haunt in Brighton on Friday 10th November.

We caught up with the duo ahead of these dates - 

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Hi The Correspondents, are you both well?

Getting along nicely thank you. 

‘Foolishman’ is out very soon, I assume the anticipation and excitement in the Correspondents camp must be very high right now?

Yep. It's been a while in the making. We are just desperate to get it out and in the ears of those who are keen to give it a listen or two. 

Who is the Foolishman, is it a generalisation or just one person, or one of you…?

We would say 'Foolishman' is more of a general term for male half of mankind. The characters within the album are written both in the first and second person so Mr Bruce is including himself in the umbrella term for male misguidance. Some of the songs narrate his personal failings, others express anger at those in power such as 'Boss', and one or two take a dig at toxic masculinity.

Mr Bruce, you have some absolutely outrageous moves if I may say, where were these dancing skills honed?

Honed on stages near and far weekend in and weekend out over the course of a decade! 

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And more importantly, why and when did a bloomin' TREADMILL become part of your set?

Yes, we got a friend to strip down a running machine and elongate it as a prop for our shows. It was amusing for a while! Not so amusing for our car's suspension (or our backs) as it weighed a ton!  

How important is performance in a live show, and by that I mean not just standing there and blasting the tracks out…?

The music comes first and foremost and then all our attention is on how we perform it. In this day and age your live show has to be a draw as a band of our size and fame can't rely on record sales and Spotify plays alone. We want to give the audience a hit of energy and visceral engagement that they want to experience again. 

If your bio is all correct then this year marks 10 years of Correspondents, did you do anything personally to celebrate, maybe a little party with just the two of you and shed load of jazz?

Indeed. We're ten years old. Genuinely can't believe it. We had no intention of making this a full time career, really happy with how it turned out. And yes, I believe we are having a party at Brixton Electric on 9th December. We hope it'll be more than just the two of us celebrating! 

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Talking of jazz, you’re one of a few artists who have managed to combine what is quite an old fashioned genre and give it a contemporary edge, is there much more nu school jazz out there and we’re just not looking in the right places? If there isn’t much more out there, are you quite happy being the front runners of the contemporary jazz scene?

There are plenty of bands and producers who are refreshing, remixing and sampling jazz and swing. We were definitely at the forefront of the electro swing scene a number of years ago but expanded our scheme of influence and prided ourselves on being multi-genre. We are magpies pinching ideas from pop, disco, drum'n'bass, 60's beat and soul as well contemporary artists. We were very impressed with Janelle Monae's album 'ArchAndroid' in the way she jumped through styles and eras. 

It’s been a while since To Pimp A Butterfly, but at the time were you impressed at the time with Kendrick Lamar's jazz influences? 

Yeah. We played that album to death on route to gigs. I guess it took grabbed the baton from a band like the Roots and ran with it! Love that album. 

You’re heading across the UK this Autumn for club dates, do these more sweaty, intimate shows suit you more than festival shows would you say? 

Live shows are a curious and unpredictable beast. Whether you play in front of thousands on a festival main stage or a handful of people in small bar venue it can go either way. The key is to make the small shows epic and the big shows intimate. 

Find The Correspondents tickets below

Fiesta Bombarda x WAH Liverpool - Camp and Furnace, Saturday 4th November

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
Early Bird
Very Limited Allocation!
(£15.00 + bf)
Standard Release
Tickets selling quickly!
(£17.50 + bf)
Final Release £22.25
(£20.00 + bf)

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Brighton - The Haunt, Friday 10th November

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
Advance Discount Ticket £13.75
(£12.50 + bf)

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London - Electric Brixton, Friday 8th December

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
General Advance Tickets £19.25
(£17.50 + bf)

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