Morcheeba are an English electronic band formed in the mid-1990s with founding members vocalist Skye Edwards and the brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey. They mix influences from trip-hop, rock, folk-rock and downtempo, and have produced eight regular studio albums since 1995, two of which reached the UK top ten.
Ross Godfrey credits their sound to good old-fashioned Hendrix obsession.
‘When I was a teenager I was just obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and Queen and a lot of acid rock and psychedelic stuff, so it’s nice that the band has finally got to the point where we can enjoy playing that kind of thing or using those sort of influences, and again, we used to be pretty skint when we first started. We could smoke dope and things like that, but we were never really too lavish, we weren’t into any sort of celebrity culture or going to parties or anything. We just kept to ourselves, and it’s just like a slow development that we’ve built ourselves up over 20 years of touring the world, and now we live to have fun. When we play shows, we rock out.’
Twenty years ago it was all about synth pop. Godfrey reflects:
‘We were very influenced with the times. We used to listen to a lot of New York synth pop in the early 90s, and in the mid-90s when all British people realised they couldn’t really make hip-hop because their accents sounded pretty stupid rapping, everybody had the same idea to make trip-hop records. It was us and Portishead and Massive Attack. We were using the same sort of influences of old rare groove and dub reggae and break beats and old-school hip-hop, but then writing songs to them. When we met Skye, her voice was so amazing that we just wanted to base everything around that, and she was very shy at the time. She used to sing very quietly, so we were forced really to make the music quite subdued just because if you played too much funk guitar or added a brass section it would cloud in front of her, so what we did was just make quite mellow records. Then as the band continued to grow, her confidence grew, and the more live shows we did the stronger her persona and voice got. Now we’ve got to the point where we can play whatever we like and she can really belt it out over the top. Yeah, it’s been a very slow gradient coming up to where we are now.’
The band have just released a new album bringing Morcheeba well into the 21st century.
‘Well, the record that we’ve just made is actually going to be a Morcheeba record, and it was written and performed by Skye and me, and we have a live band as well that consists of Skye’s son, Jaega, playing the drums, and her husband, Steve, playing the bass, and we have a really amazing Hammond organ player called Rich Milner, and then me on guitar and Skye singing, so it’s a five-piece live band that we’re going to be coming to Bluesfest with, and we’ll probably play quite a wide mixture of old Morcheeba favourites, some of the more recent stuff, probably a couple of tracks off the Skye/Ross record, and then three or four tracks off the new record, which will be coming out in May this year. So it’s quite interesting really. We’ve been playing live now and touring the world for more than 20 years, and we’ve grown into it. When we first started, we were more of a studio electronic kind of band, and now we really love playing live. We have a couple of months at home, and we’re just itching to get back on the road. It’s nice. We’ve got a good array – since we’ve been going so long – of songs to choose from, and we hope the audience will hear some of their favourites.’
Morcheeba play Bluesfest this Easter. For ticketing and program info go to bluesfest.com.au