Introducing the south London trio changing the game.
Made up of longtime friends Mista Wood, GKP and Sidechain Manny, Team Salut have been making waves in the producing scene for quite some time now. Known for their pioneering afrowave sound, the trio dropped their fire-emoji-worthy debut track “Hot Property” earlier this year, following it up with their latest banger “Wagon” featuring Naira Marley this month.
Poised to become one of the biggest acts hailing from south London next year, we caught up with two thirds of the producing pioneers to find out all about Team Salut.
How did you guys all meet?
Sidechain Manny: We met at church. At the time [GKP] was doing music already – doing production – he was making mostly hip hop at the time and I was very much into hip hop. A few weeks before I met him I’d got my first copy of Fruity Loops – if you didn’t start at Fruity Loops, I don’t know what happened – so I had my first copy and I was messing around with the patterns and then I went to him “hey G, I’ve got a demo, listen to it” and his face was already like “ahh.” Then when he actually critiqued it, the way he was laughing I was like “oh right, must not have been as good as I thought it was,” bearing in mind I was only like 12 though so I think I get a pardon for that. So we met all those years ago and then we all linked up and I was like “guys, I really want to do music it’s my passion. When I’m not doing music it doesn’t feel right” and so we got this space and we just did a bit of DIY, like kind of brought the walls out a bit to soundproof it a little bit.
GKP: That was so risky thinking about it. It took us a year to build this. I have to say, there was this one time we had to do the wooden frames first and I cant remember who was holding it, but it started coming down because we forgot one screw, I was like “oh shit, the screw!” and I’m holding the whole thing like “ahhhh!” But yeah, that whole soundproofing thing was a big part of the journey because it took about a year, but once it was done we started doing music. At first it was meant to be rehearsal space, but we decided that because we were so into the production thing we should join forces and that’s how Team Salut came about.
What’s the idea behind the name Team Salut?
GKP: Our explanation is so dead, we were with our artist friend and we’d made a track for him, and at the start of the track he just went “SALUT” and that was it! I was like “guys, this sounds cool” and then we started putting it at the start of every track.
Is that your DJ Khalid moment in your songs now?
Sidechain Manny: Pretty much, and the good thing is that now we are on our own songs, like on “Hot Property”, so slowly we’re putting ourselves into our own music, until we can do a song that’s literally Team Salut, just the three of us.
Was that always your idea, to put yourselves in the songs?
GKP: It wasn’t particularly that idea, it was more like when we started I really wanted to be an artist, I don’t know why or what was going on but that’s how I felt, so we were making music and I was vocalising it at the time and then the guys started getting involved but then we were like “we want it to be more focused on the production” and that’s what got us all the recognition. No one really recognised us when we were vocalising stuff but via the production it changed things a lot. It’s weird because it’s come right back round to us vocalising again but in a different format. We’ve matured a lot since then. When we listen back to our old songs, a lot of the time we just laugh, not to say that it’s appalling but it’s just not what we’d approve today.
Obviously, you’re doing it all yourselves, even putting together your studio and holding up walls, does that make everything you do more special?
GKP: I think so, because even what you’re saying about the space, even down to the décor, there’s a connection to it. Especially the fact that we’ve laid it out ourselves – we always said from the beginning we don’t want it to be clinical, because there’s studios you go to and it looks like an office but with here if you want a time out, chill, look at the colours, whereas sometimes it’s just white walls, a couple of panels… We set it up to make it feel like home really.
Who would you say were your inspirations or influences in music?
GKP: Musically, in terms of sound, I’d say it’s a bit too deep to go into once you start naming individuals, but in terms of branding and the journey I’d say Timberland, because what I do like is the fact that they were never afraid to put their voice on stuff, they were never afraid to say “alright, this is us, and we are featuring X, Y & Z” and I like that journey, and I feel we are making a similar journey just in a different movement, it’s a part of a different movement.
“I think that Drake has opened the door for someone like us.”
How do you go about finding the people you want to feature on your tracks?
Sidechain Manny: Five years ago we used to DM people a lot. It depends, sometimes someone might reach out to us, maybe a tweet or something like “hey you guys are dope.” Or we might be on Youtube and we’ll be like “oh my gosh this guy is sick we should shoutout to him and see if he gets back to us” but usually it’s just when you feel a person or they’re feeling us and we feel them back we will say “let’s work on something.” When I think about it, we haven’t actually worked with that many people, it’s more like we’ve got a pocket of people and then we’ve done bodies of work with them so I guess we are quite selective.
If you could collaborate with anyone – in the world – who would be?
Both: Beyonce and Migos!
GKP: I like Rih as well, just because… The thing for me [is], it would be anyone who can support the [afrowave] sound, because right now it’s spreading but I don’t feel like it’s gone much further than Europe. Places like Sweden, France, Germany, they’re very much into the sound.
Sidechain Manny: I think that Drake has opened the door for someone like us. The thing is, because of how the sound is now there’s a lot of sounds underneath one bracket, and a lot of the times people are unsure what to even call it. I do differentiate what’s happening in the UK at the moment because the sound isn’t the same and the approach to music isn’t the same.
Do you think being in south London has helped your creative journey?
GKP: Even just down to the local community, the lingo, the different nationalities we have around us, it’s definitely right for us. I think also the backgrounds as well, because we’re all from West Africa but from different parts, so as much as the cultures are very close and very similar, I feel like it has an impact on the music and on us. Even down to the way we’re dressed. The word I used the other day, we’re very eclectic.
So what’s the next big thing you guys are working on?
GKP: So for next year, we’re bringing out an EP. I can tell you that we’re going to be doing a lot of our own vocals a lot more than we have done in the past. We should have some pretty interesting features as well, so this is definitely something I’m looking forward to because we’ve got a few tracks already but we’re looking to add to it and then shortlist, so yeah I think its going to be a very interesting project. I’m looking forward to it.
Final question, when people listen to your music, what kind of feeling you want them to take away from it?
GKP: I want it to make them feel how it makes me feel, so it’s colourful and warm for me. If I listen to a song that I like, whether it’s something we produced or not, it usually uplifts, so I think that in a situation where we’ve released a song, if it can help to uplift the person – whether they’re ready to go out on a Friday night or they’ve just had a row and they’re feeling a way… There’s some songs that are a little dark and they’re not necessarily uplifting. I just want it to make a person feel how they should from listening to it – I know that sounds weird.