In an industry where formula rules, it is rare to find a band in the spotlight where friendship and music are at the core. Though boasting four identities, Soul:ID are not the machinations of a clever PR; so do not expect cute names and kitted out personalities to match. With their combined experience of studio recording, production and supporting other artists in live performances Tchaї (lead vocalist), Dad’D ( vocalist/producer) , V ( vocalist/producer) and Urban Deep (lead producer) decided to build their own creative collective, back in 2004. ‘Everybody knew each other in different ways and that’s how we slowly started to form the sound of Soul:ID,’ says Tchaї.
The sound of Soul:ID is referred to as Afropean Soul, for their music is ‘made by Africans that grew up in Europe and vice versa.’ The result? A combination of jigsaw sounds that piece together perfectly. Based in Belgium, with Tchaї, Dad’D and V hailing from Africa: Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively, Soul:ID’s day to day experiences epitomise this newfound genre. Being a band with members from two continents that share an afflicted history, whilst three quarters of the band hail from neighbouring countries, Soul:ID had some decisions to make. ‘The first question we asked ourselves was: are we going to be political or not? But with three of us from three close countries with difficulties, coming together and making music – it was inevitable,’ Tchaї explains.
Having performed in Africa already, the band is aiming to do more. ‘We would like to start initiatives for peace in Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s an incredible amount of work, but not impossible,’ Urban Deep reveals. Despite their political aspirations, Tchaї is quick to point out their ability to maintain a balance between this and the value of entertainment, ‘We definitely want people to be aware of things, but at the same time you need to laugh and you need to smile.’
With the European release of their debut album this month, the quartet are optimistic about the future, ‘The first album is an adventure of four people seeing how their music comes together. Now we know the ingredients, the second album will be completely different,’ Tchaї tells me.
Their London gig is scheduled for October 22 at Soho Revue Bar.
Housing four members: Tchaї, Dad’D, V, Urban Deep, and four cultures: Belgium, Congolese, Burundi and Rwandan, the multicultural fusion kicks off with a concoction of Swahili and French for the intro. Their exploration of life through music, using their own sound they have dubbed “Afropean soul”, experiments with slick drumming, synthesizers and deft harmonies. Though stamped with the Afropean label, do not be surprised to hear Soul:ID dip their metaphorical toes into Babyface crooning and Jill-esque vocals, polished off with a drop of Dwele smoothness. Standout tracks include “True” ,a Spandau Ballet cover deliciously coated in soul goodness, “Is This Luv?” and “How Come”, an edgier Neptune-inspired track that tackles the issue of racism. Though not a truly unforgettable album, “Sex, Love & Philosophy” is pleasant enough to add to any soul collection.