Genreless festival Serious Space Shoreditch: ‘A unique sound every night’

Native Dancer will perform in collaboration with the Light Surgeons at Serious Sounds

Native Dancer will perform in collaboration with the Light Surgeons at Serious Sounds - Credit: Archant

Jazz: it’s a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.

But Serious Space Shoreditch festival is trying to throw out all preconceived notions of what this genre has to offer with an eclectic line-up of new music and artist collaborations over six nights at the Rich Mix arts hub from May 16.

Jazz influences can be discerned in some of the artists’ music but otherwise, the second annual event run by music production company Serious is billed as a “genre-less festival” with exclusive premieres of new material from up-and-coming artists, as well as dazzling audio-visual spectacles.

“Every night has a different sound,” says organiser Sophie Hewlett, head of production at Serious. “We want to give young artists a platform to show off their work.

“The interesting thing about Shoreditch is that it’s full of new new things popping up all the time, so it felt like a good area of London to be doing something like this.

“It’s really, really important to us to keep that next generation of artists, give them an audience and discover new music and new sounds.”

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Kicking off the festival on May 16 is Moon Hooch, a band who describe their sound as “cave music” – a variety of house music that sounds more jagged and much wilder.

Next up on May 17 is multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Becca Stevens, who is teaming up with a “special guest” – the identity of whom is being kept tightly under wraps.

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They’ll be performing songs from Becca’s album Perfect Animal, and material from her upcoming album to be released in 2017, as well as covers, from Joni Mitchell to Stevie Wonder.

The third night sees Hackney-based group Native Dancer, whose vocalist Frida has been touring with Lianne La Havas, collaborate with visual artists the London Fields-based The Light Surgeons to create a psychedelic light show.

Keyboard player Sam Crowe, the co-founder of Native Dancer, says: “The music we’ve been making for the last couple of years has become quite psychedelic and comes from particular experiences I’ve had with psychedelics, and dreaming, and meditation.

“You can show that through music but collaborating with The Light Surgeons creates a complete experience. We want to transport people into that dream world.”

The festival is mainly headlined by international artists, and on Friday, the Zurich club scene will arrive in Shoreditch when Nik Bärtsch and OY take to the decks.

Serious Space will draw to a head on Saturday May 21 when Grammy-nominated funk-jazz outfit Kneebody and self-described “beat scientist” Daedelus will collaborate to become Kneedelus, performing their debut album, Brainfeeder, together.

Instead of a one or two day festival, Serious Space are staying true to their name and spreading out the acts over six consecutive nights.

Hewlett explains: “We really give the space over to each artist and letting them have their time so that the audience is not overwhelmed with so many different things.

“It gives every night a uniqueness,” she adds. “I don’t think anyone at this festival will have seen anything like it in London before in the way it’s being done here.”

Tickets on sale now. All £15+.

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