Having wowed audiences with their electric live show at Dublin Fringe Festival, the Decolinise Punk Fest and Punx of Colour Fest in New York, London duo Sabatta create immense, genre-defying offerings, full of heavy riffs, heavy grooves and heavy beats.
With the new album set for release next month, we caught up with Yinka and Debbie to find out more…
Hi Sabatta, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do?
Yinka: We’re Sabatta, a duo from South East London. Our music is a mixture of rock, punk, funk, soul, psychedelia and even a little hip-hop – we call it grunge-soul ourselves, but some call it rock, some call it punk – it’s all good to be honest.
How did you all initially get together and start creating music?
Yinka: Well, Debbie and I got together in 2016 along with our previous drummer Adriano, who I’d been playing with since 2015 – who appears on the upcoming album.
You’re set to release your new album Misfit Music next month, can you tell us a bit about it? Are there any themes running throughout it?
Yinka: Yeah we’re really excited about it. Theme-wise, it’s almost like everyday where you go through different emotions. Some of it’s all out energy, some is pensive, some is political. A lot of it is trying to reflecting from the perspective of a person living in this society; whether a town, city or the country. It’s really just thinking about and observing aspects of life. For example, ‘Feel It’, for instance, is about the aftermath of a relationship, specifically dealing with how that feels with so much being shared and visible on social media. ‘Rock Star Shit’ is about the ‘real’ life of a ‘rock star’ – in all its ‘glamour’. ‘Scream’ is how you feel every morning when you wake up and get on the tube or in the car to work. It’s little vignettes of life I suppose. Musically, it’s all the styles and vibes you hear living in London – mixed into a blender with reckless abandon and the sludge and funk that comes out is what you hear – at least it’s organic!
Debbie: This album has been born through an array of emotions – as well as blood, sweat (buckets and buckets loads), and tears. Mainly me screaming at Yinka whilst his voice still dominates the conversation (I don’t know how he does this still…). It’s special because it was created in a small sweaty home studio in north London (and also one just as small South of the river!) during the hottest summer that I can remember. It consisted of 3 people pushing each others musicial boundaries, evolving with each other, fighting, drinking, sweating, playing and bonding. In the midst of all that, something very special was created. Sure, we had more arguments to make than probably Trump could muster, but what we learnt together in that room was indelible and our musical intuition, magical.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Bad Brains and Dead Kennedys, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Yinka: Wow. Those are nice compliments. We’ve had a few comparisons but influence wise it’s accurate to count those two. Fela Kuti, Tupac, Parliament/Funkadelic, AC/DC, Guns n Roses, Metallica, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Living Colour, Simon and Garfunkel. I could go on and on. I mean it’s Misfit Music!
Debbie: There is some cross-over here – I grew up on mainly soul, old skool RnB and pop classics. And then, towards my teenage years, it was the intelligent punk phase of 3 Colours Red, The Clash, early Manics, but through playing there’s a bit of everything these days – Sabbath, Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Thin Lizzy. There’s no limitation of choice at my musical buffet!
You’ve played alongside GIHE faves Skinny Girl Diet at Decolonise Fest, but would you say there’s been a particular gig you’ve played that stands out as a highlight for you?
Yinka: That would be one of them. Especially since it was the first Punx of Colour Festival over here in London so it was special to be included. We just played a show in New York in March as part of a mini tour of New York and Philly – that was memorable. Oh and we did one of those shows in Dublin too last September. I get it in the neck from Debbie when I mention this place (apparently I love it) but we’ve had some crazy shows at the Windmill (yes, we love The Windmill too!) in Brixton. Near stage invasions and a whole lot of WTFs – in a good way. Literally sweat dripping off the ceiling. I like gigs like that. I do remember this one gig we played at the Mau Mau in West London where I think I managed to knock the guitar amp off the stage – it can get hectic! I love it! Oh shit – how can I forget – we also played a big show in Florence in Feb 2017 – that was INCREDIBLE!! We have clips of it up on our Facebook page – that’s probably the one!
How is your local music scene? Do you go to see much live music?
Yinka: It’s happening. I’ve mentioned a few places we’ve played. I try to get out as much as possible – there are bands you mentioned like SGD, some cool guys called Coltana who are also female led (we love Coltana too!). Elephant 12. We’re friends with the Deadcuts. There’s a few bands out there making it happen. A few venues have shut down or moved in recent years like the 12 Bar, but you still have places like Dublin Castle, Camden Assembly, The Windmill. A cool place for more soul and funk and hip hop music is The Ritzy in Brixton – we’ve actually rocked out there – I think we were a bit loud though. There are still places to go.
Debbie: Yeah, devastated to see Proud Galleries as a music venue bow out earlier this year, however there are still people fighting the good fight out there. Lewis and Izaak always put on an amazing shindig at the end of every month at The Engine Rooms in Bow – great atmosphere, nice people, those guys are really flying the flag for independent music.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new upcoming bands/artists who you’d recommend we check out?
Yinka: Looks like I answer too soon – see above for some cool bands!
Debbie: LACK, an awesome based Luton band who are amazing to watch live, they are killing it north of the river.
And how do you feel the industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Yinka: Honestly I’d say yes. I’ve said this before and probably will again. With how things are with social media – it’s like being in the ocean with a lifebelt trying to get noticed from miles away by a plane, at night – it’s gonna be tricky. Meanwhile major labels pass by like super tankers. Who is it going to be easier to see? I think a super tanker is gonna stand out against a sea full of bobbing heads. What we wanna do is maybe find a little island out there and draw people to it. Then maybe after a while we can make a fire and more people will see that.
Finally, what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Sabatta?
Yinka: Playing, playing, playing. The new album is out on Monday 4th June. We’d love people to stream, download or even buy that. We’ve got a launch party on Sat 26th May at a venue I believe you guys know (we do indeed) – The Finsbury – and people can get free tickets for that here. They are limited so get them as soon as poss.
Debbie: Other than that check us out at www.sabatta.net, www.facebook.com/sabatta or www.youtube.com/sabatta Or just Google us!
Huge thanks to Sabatta for answering our questions!
Misfit Music, the new album from Sabatta, is out 4th June via Blackfriars Entertainment.