Tracey Duodu and Tom Barber hazily remember getting thrown together at university and, as 14th, have supported the likes of AZARI & III and We Humans. The band, whose name is a nod to Outkast’s 2003 song “Happy Valentine’s Day”, where Andre 3000 chants “Every day the 14th, can y’all dig that?”, push a kind of frenetic bass music as haunting and soulful as it is danceable. The pair have been busy creating the four track debut EP “Hide Yourself,” which offers an alluring glimpse of what to expect from the full length album later this year, and will release debut single, “Take Me There”, on the 13th February. They were kind enough to answer our fourteen questions – clever, huh?
Why are you called 14th?
The fact that the name derived from a reference to Valentine’s Day, a date which traditionally brings out the full spectrum of human emotions – from infatuation to devastation – made it seem appropriate.
How, when and where did you meet?
We think we met at a house party at University. The first time we met is a bit hazy. One of my housemates kept saying we should do stuff together, so he was a bit of a matchmaker.
Who would you say, as a collective, are you biggest inspirations and influences, either musically or otherwise?
Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Chic, The Knife, The Beach Boys, Busta Rhymes, Michael Andrews, Aphex Twin, Chaka Demus and Pliers, John Williams and many more.
If you could collaborate with any other artist or producer, who would it be?
We don’t want to say, because then it won’t come true!
It seems you are heavily inspired by 90s music. What do you love about that particular decade?
I guess we grew up in the 90s so we listened to a lot of music from that time which can probably be heard in some of our songs. Some people have said Tracey sounds like she’s from the 1950s so there are loads of influences really.
You’re fans of movie soundtracks. Would you ever consider scoring or soundtrack-ing a film?
Yeah definitely, I’ve composed a few bits and pieces for friends’ short films in the past and would love to work on a larger project. As 14th, we’d like to work on something more cinematic – Tracey’s very into dramatic arts and I’ve done little bits of film.
How much has London affected the eclecticism of your music?
We’ve both lived in London our whole lives, so it’s probably engrained into us without us even realising.
Are there any specific boroughs of the diverse city that you favour, alongside any favourite hangouts?
We’re from opposite sides of south London, SW and SE, so we have love our areas just from the fact that’s where we grew up. Apart from the obvious places to go out at night, I quite like a quiet stroll in Richmond Park, Tracey likes The Curzon in Shaftesbury Avenue for their comfy sofas and popcorn.
You both seem to have a very assorted music taste. Do you think this can be heard in the experimental dance, twists and poppy hooks of your music?
Possibly, it’s definitely important for us to be open minded in what we listen to and we both have quite eclectic tastes.
You recently supported the amazing AZARI & III at Madame JoJo’s. How did you wrangle such a prestigious slot?
I suppose we have a really good agent. He probably blackmailed someone or something. We got to chat to them backstage and they were as fabulous as you’d imagine.
The video for “Hide Yourself” has been described as “romantic, urban and surreal”. Is it a taster of what to expect from the full length record?
Definitely – a lot of our subject matter derives from relationships and is quite personal, and we try and experiment with different sounds and genres, which might get a bit surreal at times.
Other songs on the EP, such as “Chimes” and “Millionaire” are a hodgepodge of genre references, ranging from ambient to dubstep. Are you happy with the outcome?
Yeah, we really enjoy experimenting with different sounds and genres and it would probably be a bit boring if all our songs sounded exactly the same.
What were you both listening to when you were teenagers?
There was obviously a lot of garage in there, artists like MJ Cole, Wookie and Sticky, some drum and bass, Roni Size, Goldie, a lot of people on Good Looking records, a bit of soul – D’Angelo, Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu and also the big US R&B that was all over the charts in the late 90s early 00s, people like Timbaland, N.E.R.D, Missy, Aaliyah, Ginuine, Usher, Donell Jones, hip hop like Mos Def, Common, The Roots.
Words: Shane Hawkins