Young Echo is a 11-strong collective of talented producers, vocalists and sonic provocateurs that are not afraid to push boundaries. Their innovative sound incorporates elements of dub, bass, drone, grime, noise and techno and for the past few years they have been making big waves in the underground music scene with releases on an impressive array of labels from Tectonic to Tri-Angle via Blackest Ever Black, as well as Deep Medi and Fabric, to name a few.
The ever-expanding network of Bristol-based musicians include Kahn and Neek and Peng Sound label owner Ossia, as well as Ishan Sound, Rider Shafique and new recruit Jasmine.
Young Echo have returned with their long awaited second LP since releasing their first album almost five years ago. Simply titled Young Echo, the 24 tracks pull together individual elements from every artist to form their greatest sound as a group. The record aims to not be judged on any single producer or vocalist, though of course every artist has an important part to play. Combining skeletal dancehall, outsider pop and microphone technique with detuned soundsystem stylings and love songs swaying in hacked up ambience, it certainly makes for an interesting and mesmerising listen.
The Bristol-based collective will be launching their self-titled LP with an event at the Trinity Centre upstairs in the intimate Fyfe Hall on 1 February, where guests will be able to get their hands on the first vinyl copies (before general release on vinyl and digital on 16 February), whilst enjoying a night of diverse music from some of the best in the business.
Working wholly as a collective and always striving toward an output that’s more than the sum of their parts; members got together to answer a few questions for us, as Young Echo, about the crew’s new LP and launch event.
Your last album was more of a compilation of tracks from individual members, but the plan this time was to all write together as much as possible. Has that plan stuck?
Some of the material came from smaller groups of us working together, other tracks that eventually made it on to the album were started when we all went away to the Welsh countryside as a whole group in the beginning of 2015. A couple were even lifted from another album some of us were working on as it felt more akin to the Young Echo project, so I think it’s fair to say the new album has been put together with music from a variety of sources.
You’ve spoken before about presenting yourselves as a whole on this record, will you be releasing track info or will we just have to guess at who’s on which track?
I think we’d rather keep it a mystery. We made the conscious decision to present the album as Young Echo as opposed to individually listing who specifically did what on each track as a way of presenting the work as a unified group. One of the things that is interesting to us in the collective is that although we all write quite disparate music in our solo ventures, a common thread becomes apparent to us when we collate our material for the Young Echo project.
Was it always your intention to put out a double LP, or was it simply that you ended up with 24 tracks you wanted on the album?
We had something like 50+ tracks to make sense of with when we initially decided to put together a new Young Echo record. It took a lot of experimentation, listening and restructuring to arrive at the final track list for the album and with the breadth of material we had it seemed appropriate to present it as a double LP.
Do the individual members’ different styles – soundsystem, reggae, R&B, etc. – come through in different tracks, or have you tried to aim for a cohesive sound across the whole record?
The way we all worked towards this album was very open, we never thought about tracks having to fit into a genre or one sound. Naturally those individual elements will be more apparent on certain tracks than others but much like our approach to the collective in general the ‘sound’ of the record was relatively open and unspecified throughout the writing process.
Jasmine is new to the group – how has that effected the group dynamic and overall sound?
The collective has always been pretty fluid in terms of who’s contributing musically. Jasmine has been working with members of the group for years now and, much like with everyone else that’s been brought into the collective over the years, it just became apparent to us that she was part of the group as opposed to there being some kind of formal invitation. In terms of how it’s affected the musical dynamic of Young Echo, the new record is significantly more vocal heavy than Nexus and it’s exciting for us having a broader spectrum of voices and personalities come through on this new record by nature of the collective having more than doubled in size since our first album.
What can you tell us about the launch event at Trinity Centre?
There will be live performances of the material from the album and new forthcoming music from the crew. It will be more of a show than our usual club events people may have been to before.
Have you got anything else lined up on the label?
We have lots of projects in the works from different members of the group which we will slowly be releasing through the label in future.
1 February – YE002 album launch, Fyfe Hall, Trinity Centre
Words by Georgie Partington
Photos by Khali Ackford