Much loved Melbourne nine-piece Echo Drama have announced their new single Insanity, a heavy condemnation of the selfishness that rules in today's society. Hot on the heels of this massive track is the accompanying clip, directed by Carl Allison (Hilltop Hoods) and reflecting the band in an apocalyptic performance space. Insanity will be launched in style with a celebratory show at The Workers Club Melbourne on July 26, where fans will be able to catch Echo Drama in their element – on the stage.
Insanity is a bold name for a bold track. Echo Drama's enormous sound is captured perfectly here; distorted horns draw the listener in immediately with an undeniable melody, while Alex -Sinks' Sinclair's (Recipient of 2017 Hilltop Hoods Initiative) verse is full of hard-hitting criticism on egocentrism. Zimbabwean born Soul singer Thando Sikwila's hook is similarly condemning, and sits proudly atop Echo Drama's signature amalgamation of reggae, hiphop, rock, and dub. Reflecting on the inspiration behind the track, Thando explains, 'This song explores how people are so fixated with self preservation and tend to turn a blind eye to bad things that happen because they're not affected by them. My hook is about looking inwards and confronting what being a human being really means, when people no different like us halfway around the world are left destitute all for the sake of profit. It's not sustainable."
The clip is suitably bleak in colour; muted greys are accented by intricate lighting displays while the band perform the track in a destitute, industrial environment. It's quick, energetic, and cut with an urgency that suits Insanity perfectly. Speaking on the making of the clip, Echo Drama's drummer and founder Jeremy Schiftan says, 'The clip was directed and conceptualised by Carl Allison, who is a wizard! We have been wanting to do a clip with Carl for a while, as he has worked with a few members of the band on other projects and consistently delivers the goods. The track is pretty hectic, so went for fast cuts, and the set was a great space he sourced to get that big open space we wanted for the largeness of the tune. It's big to match the sound, but bare to mirror the blunt nihilism of the tune's themes."
Echo Drama are thrilled to celebrate the release of Insanity with a killer live show at Melbourne's renowned indie music venue, The Workers Club. A mainstay on the Melbourne music scene since 2012, the band are renowned for their enormous sound and high-voltage live performances, appearing at many festivals including St Kilda Festival, Rainbow Serpent Festival and Strawberry Fields. Looking forward to hitting the stage, Jeremy enthuses, 'We really cut our teeth as a live band…you can expect slick, well rehearsed high impact performances from a large group with a large sound. Echo Drama has always been about doing our own thing rather than conforming to genre expectations so Insanity really hits that point home for us…we went a little outside the box on this choice of track to show you all, and we're excited to see how it's received."
Echo Drama is Thando Sikwila (vocals), Alex -Sinks' Sinclair (vocals), Jeremy Schiftan (drums), Steve Phillips (keys), Duncan Schmoll (guitar), Stephen Lane (bass), Anthony Foon (trumpet), Jay Scarlett (trombone), Greg Sher (saxophone).
Stream single: INSANITY
THU 26 JUL | THE WORKERS CLUB, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+
Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets
Question: What inspired the track, Insanity?
Thando Sikwila: Our emcee Sinks' has always given a commentary on current world issues through his music, and given the state of the world at the moment. He goes in depth and I just summarise his sentiments in my hook.
Question: Can you tell us about filming the video clip for Insanity with Carl Allison?
Thando Sikwila: I've worked with Carl a few different times and he's really great at executing his vision. We went for a performance of the song but instead of being in front of a crowd like you'd expect, Allison utilised the use of an industrial space to really drive the message home. TVs with static on the screen represent mainstream media feeding the masses whatever they're paid to; mannequins on the ground represent consumerism and how it's going to lead to the downfall of our society as we know it.
Question: How would you describe Echo Drama's music?
Thando Sikwila: It's a melting pot of Dub, Hip Hop, Jazz and Reggae. What's great about it is there is something for everyone. Most of the time; the music has you bobbing your head pulling a stank face cause the soundscape is very immersive. It's a great balance of melody and rhythm.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Thando Sikwila: I enjoy playing Idol live. It's one of the newer songs and is going to be on album. As an R&B singer, I always find I'm out of my comfort zone with this music and I'm constantly pushing myself to try different things vocally, rhythmically, and Idol was one of those triumphs for me.
Question: What should we expect from the upcoming launch at The Workers Club, in July?
Thando Sikwila: Don't expect to sit down, cause we'll keep you on your feet all night. Sing alongs, music with a message and rapid fire rhymes are guaranteed.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend the launch, who would it be?
Thando Sikwila: My uncle Robbie. He used to play old Peter Tosh vinyls in my grandmother's lounge when I was a little girl and I wanted him to know how that influenced me. He'd love it I reckon.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Thando Sikwila: Definitely performing live. There's a certain magic about music not being the same every time you hear it, and I love varying songs live people have otherwise listened to over and over. No two shows are the same, and it keeps me on my toes.
Question: What is the story behind the name, Echo Drama?
Jeremy Schiftan: Well the Echo is a direct reference to delays and reverbs which are prevalent in dub music, but also the idea of music resonating with people both sonically and emotively. I think of an Echo as the aftermath of an initial sound, it's the next stage of the sound's journey. The Drama component was to show a sense of narrative or story to what we do. From its inception, Echo Drama wanted to steer clear of tropical reggae stereotypes and anything too light and beachy. We do a little bit of it, but on a whole, go for darker heavier sounds and themes, that's the drama!
Question: How did the band come together?
Thando Sikwila: I'd lived in Melbourne for about a year when I decided to look for a band and I saw an ad online on a Craigslist type thing for musicians in Melbourne. I left the band in 2015 to focus on my solo project and I've recently returned after doing some growing and I'm excited to see what I can contribute to the band now that I've lived a bit more of a life.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Thando Sikwila: How much the music is going to evolve before it's even ready to be heard by people.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Thando Sikwila: Everyone is hating on Everything is Love by Beyonce and Jay-Z but I'm actually really digging it! I want to find my inner emcee now; I know she's in there somewhere. Also my girl Kaiit just released a new single OG Luv Kush Pt 2, and Daniel Caesar's album Freudian is on repeat. It's a great time for music.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Thando Sikwila: Freddie Mercury. Easily to this day is still one of the greatest entertainers of our time. To have Wembley Stadium eating out of the palm of your hand is no easy feat, and I use that to fuel my fire. I love him.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Thando Sikwila: Queen Sampa The Great. Watch this space…
Interview by Brooke Hunter