A chat with…Sorceress

Ahead of their appearance at The Sunday Joint this weekend, and off the back off a muddy trip to Glastonbury, we spoke to Isaac from New Zealand neo-soul band Sorceress about all things music.


How did the band form? Where did you meet? ​

Sorceress was formerly known as Funkommunity which was formed by Sorceress’ vocalist Rachel Fraser and myself​. We met via working with our mutual friend Recloose in New Zealand and collaborated on my solo album before beginning work on Sorceress’s debut album Chequered Thoughts.


What is the New Zealand music scene like? ​

New Zealand has a total population of 4.5 million. Our music scene is relatively small in contrast with the UK or Europe​ but we have a broad depth of talented musicians in many diverse styles. For soul music our scene is a small community of musicians dotted throughout the country.​ We collaborate a lot and it’s a more informal context then other countries which is a freedom that can lead to some really great songs being created.



How was Glastonbury? Do you like playing British festivals and England in general? ​

Glastonbury was wild, it was mud, it was energy, it was grind, it was fun and funky. We loved it and we love playing British festivals, they really know how to party. We really enjoy England and the UK in general. We hope to make the UK a primary touring territory in future.

What happened when you changed from Funkommunity to Sorceress? Was there a stylistic change? ​

This was primarily a practical decision in order to reach a broader market then the Funkommunity name could offer us. There was a fluid stylistic evolution between Funkommunity ‘Chequ​red Thoughts’​ and Sorceress ‘Dose’ in that we brought in more electronic styles and textures in Dose.


How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music? ​

Blue, purple, yellow and orange. Soul music fused with electronica, jazz, afro-funk and R&B. Then I would play them the songs because I think regardless of labels and similarities our music is unique and speaks for itself.



Where does this sound come from? What has been your biggest influence?

All the various masters of soul music from all decades, Dilla, Underground Dance music and R&B.​ Your music verges on house at times, but always with broken beats.


Do you intend your shows to have a party atmosphere, or are they more contemplative? How does a crowd react? ​

We like to party and dancing is a focus for our shows but we can go deep too. Our crowds usually dance but we dont mind if they just contemplate and listen in the right context.​


I’m always interested in the idea of creating broken/imperfect beats with electronic equipment that would allow you to make ‘perfect’ beats. What is your take on this? ​

Yes, while I produce with a click I rarely quantise the programming because I want our music to be imperfect and as human as possible within the realms of still being electronic music. You need a human touch to do that. It sounds like deep science fiction or even artificial intelligence philosophy but I really think that a machine fails to create feelings like a human can. You can see this in much of contemporary music which is very machine orientated and seems to have a fraction of the feeling or depth of music from previous decades.


What does your live set up look like? ​

On drums Myele Manzanza, on Bass Marika Hodgson, I play trumpet, bongo and APC, on the vocals is Rachel Fraser.​


Have you got any releases planned soon? ​

We are working on our 3rd album to drop in 2017.​ Watch this space and follow us at www.sorceressmusic.com.


Oliver Walkden