Shuga are the London guitar bands dragging guitar music out of the middle of the road and into the shameful mischievous gutter.
“They’re kind of more murder ballads than love songs.” This is how Luis Fleber describes the music he makes with Emma Chitty in their “punk hits the bourbon” two-piece, Shuga. Which actually makes sense. The band’s Facebook page makes a vague reference to a recent hiatus. One, they tell me, that happened six months ago when the pair ended their eight-year relationship.
But the tracks were just too good to leave behind. And, Chitty explains, they’ve re-connected to put an album together. “We’re still split, but we decided to carry on working together.,” she admits. “It’s a strange thing, but it just works.” In what might be indie music’s most civilised break-up, they’re currently sifting through the mountain of songs they’ve written since they begun jamming together over two years ago. They’ll be releasing an album on Kate Nash’s Have 10p label later this year.
Both have a long history in the music industry – Chitty used to head up the punk crew Thrush Metal and Fleber has played in bands including Turbogeist, The Eraserheads and Jamie T. They’re also part of a larger London-based musical family that includes the likes of Jamie T producer Ben Bones and Fat White Family’s Saul Adamczewski; all of whom will make appearances on the album. In Feber’s opinion, “The best thing about music is collaborating with other artists”.
They both agree that they’re happy for their LP to take a more modern approach to the album format, choosing a pick ’n’ mix journey through their eclectic tastes. The duo’s favourites include Neil Young, Tom Waits and Prince – plus, says Feber, “We listen to a lot of Kendrick Lamar. We really bonded over that”. Chitty explains that they will always “come from a punk place,” but both seem pretty chuffed at the suggestion that their name has a touch of the 90s R&B club night to it.
Emma wears grey python print crepe suit by THE KOOPLES, Luis wears pink suit and white basic cotton t-shirt by THE KOOPLES
Photographer: Laura Jane Coulson
Fashion Editor: Nicco Torelli
Words: Claire Considine