The John Peel Centre are lucky to have the Brighton-based King Porter Stomp on 13th May, a collective that bring together a range of influences including rap, jazz and funk. Ahead of their highly anticipated performance, we managed to talk to their bassist Darren. We caught him shortly after being involved with helping refugees in both Calais and Dunkirk. He had plenty to tell us regarding the projects to which he is extremely committed, both musical and social.
Lottie: You’re currently touring with King Porter Stomp on bass duties – how’s it going?
Darren: Really well thank you! We’ve got a load of brand new tunes that we’ve been trying out to new audiences and they’re going down really well. The new material is definitely our most accomplished to date, it’s a genre mashup of funk, reggae, afrobeat and hip hop, good for both dancing and listening. Our sound is totally unique but really accessible too. We’ve been asked to play at lots of different types of events over the years from an Italian busking festival to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and Glastonbury to a street performance in Switzerland. So we certainly appeal to wide audiences. We’re really looking forward to playing out all the new material and some of our old favourites to the Stowmarket crowd on the 13th May.
Lottie: Over the last 6 months you’ve been in Calais and Dunkirk helping refugees.
Darren: Yeah, in October we put on a show in our hometown of Brighton and raised £2000 for the Hummingbird project, a refugee charity that’s local to us. As we were planning the event I met up with a couple of friends who had been building shelters for the refugees in the jungle camp in Calais. Their passion for the cause really moved me and we decided to start making flat pack shelters in Brighton and taking them over to Calais to build with the refugees. Hummingbird really got behind the idea, they let us use the cash we’d raised and The Brighton Shelter Build Project was born! Since then the project has rehoused over 140 refugees and built a brand new school and family centre in the Dunkirk camp. Check out our Facebook page for further details: https://www.facebook.com/brightonshelterbuildproject/
Lottie: You and your band describe yourselves in part as conscious rap, what issues influence you?
Darren: MC Jonezy generally raps about everything from inequality and the environment to politics, work, relationships and love. Our music certainly makes people stop and think and the conscious message runs strong through our tunes. It’s obvious from our shows that we have a really positive energy that binds people together, one of our new tracks ‘Rise Up’ is about how people can make a difference collectively.
Lottie: I can also hear jazz influences in King Porter Stomp and your band name is a reference to the jazz standard ‘King Porter’s Stomp’. What kinds of jazz do you listen to?
Darren: The jazz element of the band certainly comes from our lively horn section as did the band name. I wouldn’t say that we listen to more jazz then any other genre. One of the reasons why we have such a unique sound is that we all listen to and embrace all kinds of music. We all share music and I’ve probably discovered more new music in the tour bus than anywhere else.
Lottie: Did you work on any other projects before joining King Porter Stomp?
Darren: Yes, I’ve been in bands since I was at school but nothing as big and bold as King Porter Stomp! When I’m not working in refugee camps or playing with the band, I run and programme a solar powered stage at festivals and events so music is certainly at the forefront of my world year round.
Lottie: Are you and your band working on any music currently?
Darren: We’re close to having written a third album which we’ve already started recording. We have lots of shows over the summer so work on the new record has slowed a little but we’re still putting everything we can into getting it sounding brilliant and hoping to get the rest of the recording finished in the autumn. You don’t have to wait that long to hear the new tunes though, we’ll be playing them all out at the John Peel Centre on May 13th.
King Porter Stomp will be playing the John Peel Centre on 13th May. Doors open at 7:30pm, tickets available here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/351283