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London-based More Ice and Honey is a melting pot of personalities and influences
(Published: September 12, 2016)

More Ice and Honey has created a beautiful fusion of jazz, Latin, and folk music in their new album Where to Begin. The London-based band blends Gypsy jazz and world music in a way that frees the mind and captivates the soul. Each track has its own character. "Tell It To the Sea" is ethereal while "Stars Are In Your Eyes" is alluring. This album is like a melting pot of different genres, producing changing hues that will delight the senses.

Q: More Ice and Honey has jazz elements but really isn't straightforward jazz. How did this melange of styles come about?

A: Most of us met in UCLU Jazz society; hence, those jazz elements being used. However, we like to put our own twist on things and every one of us has a say in the final song, so we just put whatever we want in, something that reflects our attitude and style. The unusual line-up also helps mix things up as we have more flexibility with what we can do.

A: Who does the songwriting in the band? Concerning lyrics and vocal melody: That would be me (Natalie Grefenstette, vocalist). I write about things that are important to me and will not do a love song (way too many already!). Then I'll meet up with Ivan Isakov, the guitarist. If I have a bit of melody, he'll help develop the chords and structure of the song.

If he has chords or a riff or something, we'll jam and I'll add something on. Then when we have the bones of a song we'll bring it to the band, add whatever is missing in terms of structure and everyone adds their instrumental line to it, and gives their opinion. So it's a group effort really.

Q: What was the process like making the Where to Begin album?

A: It was a long time coming as we started writing some of the songs for it as early as 2013, three years before recording, and some up to recording day like our single "Daughters." It was a fun and intense experience. Definitely hard to manage six people who have jobs and studies, but in the end we put everything into it and we are very happy with the outcome. It really reflects our years of hard work and our musical styles.

Q: The group used Kickstarter to fund the record. How long was the band around to develop a fan base to support it? Or did the group use another method?

A: We set up the band in 2013 and had been playing the London scene ever since. Last year, when we came up with the Kickstarter idea, we gambled that we would have enough support from our existing fans, friends and family. The feedback we had from our music has always been really good as people like a fresh sound, so we figured people who knew us would be very good at spreading the word. And the gamble definitely paid off.

Q: Who are the band's main creative influences?

A: As mentioned a lot of us met in UCLU Jazz society so can't help but to mention that the whole jazz repertoire definitely influences our take on things, particularly Gypsy jazz. When it comes to specific people though, I'm not sure you could name any as a go-to influence since the way we write a song is so democratic, getting every player involved. This means that even if one of us brings some influence in, it will be mixed with the rest of our styles so much that it will be hard to pick out. We like the unconventional, and being different, so we try to stay away from any direct inspiration.

Q: How did all of you meet?

A: We all meet through university. Some of us through courses, some of us through UCLU Jazz society. In 2013, pianist Gwijde Maegherman, cellist Otto Nuoranne, saxophonist Sara Foitova, and I, lived together in a house in North London and decided to start a band with Ivan and after a few weeks we realized we were missing the rhythm element and enlisted Hugo Fagandini (drummer) and More Ice and Honey was born.

More Information: http://www.moreiceandhoney.com

Submitted By:

Wavelength


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