Wonderland caught up with sonic alchemists WE ARE SHINING to quiz them on their forthcoming debut album and their timeless sound
“Hypnotic tracks” and “raw vocals” get bandied around to describe WE ARE SHINING. But we think the London-based production duo is more than that. Yes, Morgan Zarate and Acyde are sonic alchemists, blending thick tribal beats with instantly head bopping melodies and pouring them through a smooth psych filter. Always partial to the element of surprise, WE ARE SHINING continue to shock: from their song “Killing”, which features Eliza Doolittle and a music video comprising a knife-dodging dancer, to their new track “Hot Love” whose clip includes upcoming model Adwoa Aboah and iconic East London locations. Now with the ever-elusive production pair’s debut album, Kara dropping on 27 October this year, Morgan and Acyde aren’t giving anything away. That is, until now.
How’s the week treating you, Morgan and Acyde? What has WE ARE SHINING been up to?
Staying up late; fiddling with riffs and loops; practicing for our live shows; getting sombre about the end of our favourite season: summer.
If we talk tunes, you’re renowned for your afrobeat sound. What is it about these soulful rhythms blended with electronica that you like so much? Have you ever dabbled in other genres?
I (Morgan) have always made more electronic-based music. WE ARE SHINING is a step away from that. It’s music more steeped in psych and tribal rhythms and using more traditional instrumentation.
I’ve read, Acyde that you said you want your music to have a universal feel, so the listener can’t quite work out which decade or genre it belongs to. How do you achieve that?
By blurring the edges continuously. If something sounds too hip hop we make it looser; if it feels too trad we try a spanner in the works. We’ll put a mirror to mirror; add delays where we shouldn’t; add smoke to the fire… Anything we have to do.
Kara, your debut album, drops on 27 October. For how long has it been in the works?
A few years in studio terms, but eons in personal time. It just takes time to get things to sound right. Sound and feel are actually more important than technique, and that’s what took the longest to get right.
Is there any track on Kara that you’re particularly fond of?
“Road” is great because we felt we were recording a movie theme rather than just something to play in a club or on the radio… You could play it there, too.
Last month you uploaded the clip for the first track you’ll be releasing from your new EP, titled “Hot Love”. What has been the overall reaction to it?
Brilliant, amazing… We’re glad people are getting the intent behind our visuals… They’re equally as important as the music.
Now, can you settle this office kitchen debate: Kingsland Road near The Haggerston and London Fields was featured in “Hot Love’s” video. Anywhere else locals might recognise?
Their local corner shop?
Speaking of music videos, “Killing’s” is flinch-worthy stuff! The dancer featured is so brave! Who came up with the thrilling concept?
We definitely didn’t come up with the idea of exposing a young female to a knife thrower while our music played in the background… That’s insane.
You worked on that track, “Killing” with Eliza Doolittle for your previous DEVILEYES mixtape. How was that?
Fun. She’s so easy going… She paid out a few quid on the parking meter, walked in, wrote the song, and flew away on her chariot.
In addition to Doolittle, you’ve also teamed up with other artists such as Roses Gabor, ESKA and Shinghai Shoniwa from the Noisettes. Any other collaborations in the pipeline?
Secrets and mystery are our favourite two adjectives… Is mystery an adjective?
What does the rest of 2014 hold for you?
Death or glory and more music and live shows.
Words: Steph King