Ersatz describe themselves as “vocal groove break-beat”. Although their sound takes in drum & bass, funk and the odd moment of trip hop, the main thing that comes across onstage is the driving rhythms. Songs are generally structured around a tight rhythm section with funky guitar loping in and around the drums and bass. Cheryl’s vocals top everything off. She manages to be powerful without being forced and also sounds comfortable taking it down a step.
Their live shows at The Maze and The Running Horse earlier this year saw them receive an enthusiastic response from the audience, and their single ‘Struggling With Consciousness’ showcases a band on top form. Glasswerk caught up with bassist Ken to ask him a few questions.
Tell me a bit about the band.
Originally called ersatz jazz the band started in 2001as a trip hop band very electronically driven and a lot more chilled. Chris was introduced on live drums a couple years later and in came a full live energetic sound.
So where do you fit into this new live energetic sound?
The original bass player left for a job down south and I was doing live engineering for them and they needed a bass player, so I stepped forward and I’m now enjoying playing my part in the band.
How would you sell yourself to a potential audience?
Vocal groove breakbeat with a ceaselessly kinetic, highly seductive live performance.
Is the live side of the band more important to you than recording? Do you need that communication with an audience?
I think they're both equally important, we enjoy playing live but I think we are the sort of band that come across well on recordings as well. We have a very varied set so some songs are ideal for live and others for studio. Some bands just rely on live or studio work, we thrive on both.
What do you think of the local band scene in Nottingham at the moment?
I don't see enough of it, but there seems a good feeling around the Nottingham scene at the moment, so as long as people enjoy themselves and enjoy us then I'm happy,
How does the song writing process work with you?
Dom (guitar) and chez (vocals) are the main writers, I've only been with ersatz for about 7 months and most of that has been trying to get the original set tight again and recording our new cd “struggling with consciousness”. Chris comes up with essential and original samples for percussion that gives us “that” edge.
What exactly is “that” edge?
Just an extra dimension to an overall sound, too many bands just stick with a basic set up and are scared to experiment with the sound. This doesn't have to be samples it's up to each band to find their own “edge”.
You mentioned that you've been concentrating on getting old material sounding tight. How do you see the new material heading with you now being part of the writing process?
It's going well, we seem to be writing more chilled tracks. I think we need more chilled parts in our set, then again we're working on this new song that is really harsh fast funk, like a 70's cop show, so variation is the key to keep the interest up with us and the audience.
What sort of response have you had to your single?
Good so far. We've had good response from strangers which is cool. It's good that it's available at selectadisc, Virgin and HMV, also HMV online (hint hint hint). We're also pleased with the results ourselves.
What's next for Ersatz then?
We have a few festivals lined up for the summer which will be good, can't beat the summer festival feeling. Should be playing Newstead Abbey and one in Huddersfield, not sure on the details yet.
More information on the band at link