Hackney based Equals are the coolest duo around, mixing electronic beats with a soul influenced sound and the odd Sade cover, expect the unexpected from these guys! Made up of James Low and Ade Omotayo, they've released previous tracks to critical acclaim and their newest tune Old Habits (feat. rapper Essa) is sure to receive the same treatment!
Check out our exclusive Q&A with the guys below and have a listen to their track to hear the genius for yourselves!
Tell us a bit about yourselves...
We’re an electronic soul duo from Hackney London. Ade sings, James writes the beats.
How did the two of you start making music?
We met through an incredible sax player called Pete Fraser. Pete knew Ade from his work with Man Like Me and James from back in the day playing in tech metal bands. James came down from Leeds in late 2013 looking for a vocalist, Pete hooked him up with Ade and the rest is history.
How would you describe your sound?
Who influences you musically?
James: Bands like Mark Hollis (Talk Talk) and Low taught me less is more, Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) taught me everything I know about composition and song writing and James Blake, Nicolas Jaar and SBTRKT have all produced albums I would kill to have made.
Ade: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Kanye West.
How did your track Old Habits with rapper Essa come about?
Again, it was through a mutual musical friend, this time Chris “Fatty” Hargreaves from Submotion Orchestra. Chris is one of the nicest most down to earth guys in music and when we mentioned we were looking to collab with a conscious rapper he immediately said “you need Essa, I’ll put you in touch”, they knew each other from the scene up in Leeds. Essa recorded his part at his studio so we didn’t actually meet until the night we performed together at our launch party.
Do you have a dream collab?
I know it’s kind of predictable but the Kendrick Lamar album hasn’t been off my turntable since it was released, so vocally that would be the dream. In terms of production, getting the chance to work with Flying Lotus or Lapalux would be heart stopping.
Why did you decide to remake the Sade classic, No Ordinary Love?
Sade is one of those artists known for her music rather than her personal life, and this has to be one of her most beautiful songs. It shows how she went from what people thought was a jazz chanteuse to doing something far more experimental, moving and atmospheric. Looking back she was as successful as anyone whilst staying true to herself and that’s really inspiring.
Are there any other tracks that you'd love to put your own take on?
To be honest, when the idea of doing a cover version was initially floated we weren’t that keen, it’s always hard to think of an answer to the question, “why not listen to the original”, which is why we tried to make a real departure in terms of our treatment and hope we did it justice. So don’t expect a covers album anytime soon, but Ade has been hinting about Stevie Wonder.
Do you have a track you're proudest of?
There’s not so much a single track that comes to mind but different elements of certain tunes, like the vocal performance on Black on Gold is golden (sorry), lyrically I think Single Soul is a pretty good love song and the synth line from Pyre still gets me going.
Best gig you've played?
It would have to be supporting Submotion Orchestra at a sold out Koko in London. I think it was only our 4th show, so we were pretty nervous but the sound was incredible, the crowd were vibing and we were loving it.
And finally what's next for Equals?
We're back in the studio, there’s a couple of really amazing producers who we’ve been talking to about collaborating with on some new songs, we’ve already got three or four sketched out so shouldn’t be long before the next release.
Find our more about the guys here: