INTERVIEW: Solsine, house music duo

Solsine are an upcoming local group whose musical style ranges from garage and drum & bass to EDM and deep house. They’ve been likened to Chase & Status and their various members have worked with Laura Mvula, Rudimental and Ella Eyre.

Solsine are Ben Johnson (left) and Raphael Zak (right)

Producers Ben Johnson and Raphael Zak are the duo behind Solsine (pronounced sol-sign), and they perform with three female vocalists and a male vocalist. Ben and Raphael have played together for years, but only three months ago decided to rebrand themselves as Solsine. In their previous incarnation they achieved success with a Florence and the Machine remix which soared to number one on Hype Machine.

Now they’re keen to put some distance between Solsine and their earlier work, and they refuse to tell me what they used to be called. “It’s a secret,” laughs Ben, “although it’s not hard to find.” Solsine is an amalgamation of their previous work, and they now feel confident as a pair. “We’ve flirted with different genres and our sound was a bit too diffuse,” says Raphael, “we wanted to take all the elements and put them into a more defined sound and we both feel like we’ve got that down now.”

So how would they describe their music in just a few words? “Euphoric, uplifting, experimental,” says Ben, “does that sound a bit naff?” Raph pipes up: “We’re really accessible I think, we’re treading the line between radio-friendly music and credible dancefloor music.” This seems pretty accurate. Their music could be the perfect soundtrack to carefree house parties and heady summer festivals but I can also imagine it fuelling a mad final blast of early-morning club grooving.

They take inspiration from many different places, and particularly admire bands that people struggle to pigeonhole, such as the Prodigy. “Now there’s an acceptance of taking things from different genres, not like before”, says Raphael, “people are looking for stuff which blurs the boundaries.” I ask him why that is. “I think it came with the dawn of the iPod,” he answers, “people haven’t had to buy music as a CD, like a badge of who they support. They can fit thousands of different tracks on their iPod and there’s more openness about liking different genres.”

The pair are currently working on their live shows, and have gigged a lot in Brixton. They’re hoping to develop a local fan base. “We’ve seen from social media that it’s quite easy to attract fans from all over the world,” says Raphael, “but you really need a local movement so you can see how people react to your music.” They’ve played at Brixton Splash and have several gigs lined up at Brixton East over the next couple of months.

They’ve just launched a new website with a link to a free download of the first track on their EP. With plenty of local gigs on the horizon, their debut EP out in the new year and an impressive first video (below), these guys are definitely one to watch out for. Catch them on Twitter @SOLSINEUK and listen to them on SoundCloud.

You can catch Solsine at Light Up My Life at Brixton East on 14th November.



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