“It is a long story,” says genial New Yorker Seth Mowshowitz of how he came to form the band Fold with three Leeds musicians.
“My previous incarnation was in the trip hop scene in New York back in the early 2000s and I ended up coming to London to follow up some musical opportunities that eventually fell through.
“Then I took a hiatus from music while I worked through some personal issues. I eventually got married, had two kids and when I had my first kid life has a way of pushing you down the path you need to go and I had to get back to the music, I can’t shake it so that’s when the whole thing started in my head.”
His desire to make “some kind of positive change in the world” through music led him to start formulating songs around spoken word samples. When his wife suggested they move to her home city Leeds after they were “priced out” of London in 2011, Mowshowitz sought out musicians for a live band.
Via the Leeds Music Scene website he found drummer Kane Rattray, bass player Ben Walsh and guitarist Josh Gardziel. With Mowshowitz operating as the band’s “benevolent dictator”, and horns played by Emma Johnson, they set about creating a succession of tracks that set quotes from the likes of John Lennon, Malcolm X, Jimmy Carter and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer to a tapestry of hip hop, funk, jazz and psychedelic rock.
The spellbinding results can be heard on their latest single A Victim’s Mentality and self-titled debut album, which is due out on November 3.
Mowshowitz says the thread with all of his chosen samples is that “they’re dealing with the subject of equality”.
“That’s the overaching theme, I guess, unity and equality, or inequality, depending on how you look at it. These are just people who have come into my life for various reasons, people I’ve always been drawn to, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot through this process because I don’t just use a sample, I do due diligence and go back and research and read as much as I possibly can before putting anything out.”
Mowshowitz can trace his interest in the art of sampling “right back to Public Enemy”. “I remember the very first second I heard Public Enemy, it was actually It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, I think it was 1988 or 89, just sitting in the car my brother put it on, he had the tape, and he started it on side B for some reason and the very first thing I heard was Show ’Em What You Got and it’s that one piece that has had the probably biggest influence of any track. They were the blueprint, they were the foundation for Fold, definitely, I give them full credit, the way they use speech, their very liberated approach to sampling.”
Fold launch their album at Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday October 21. They also play at The Hop in Wakefield on November 6 and Doghouse in Halifax on November 13. For details visit http://facebook.com/foldfm.
Hear the full interview in the the forthcoming Post Music podcast next week.