Music & clubs

Superorganism rising

INTERVIEW! East London buzz band Superorganism finally emerges from the shadows. They'll be embarking on a long-awaited cross-continental tour, including a stop at Festsaal Kreuzberg on Feb 23.

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Photo by Jordan Curtis Hughes
East London buzz band Superorganism finally emerges from the shadows. Imagine uploading your first track to Soundcloud and the rest of the world goes bonkers because they think Damon Albarn’s behind it. Signing to Domino Records mid-2017, the fun pop eight-piece Superorganism has since kept a pretty exclusive profile, playing only a handful of shows throughout the entire year. With the release of their self-titled debut album (out Mar 2), they embark on a long-awaited cross-continental tour, including a stop at Festsaal Kreuzberg on Feb 23. Co-founder and guitarist Christopher “Harry” Young (photo, middle, blue jacket) gave us some insight into the band’s mystique. You dropped your first single over a year before your album came out… was that a planned out move? We’d finished the song, and decided to put it out – it was honestly that simple. It wasn’t a calculated decision because we’d only made that one song, we didn’t know whether or not anyone would be interested. This whole thing has been so crazy and fast; we’ve not really had time to sit back and get freaked out by it yet. The band met online. How does living together in London now influence your music-making? It’s a pretty small house [in Hackney], considering how many people are living in it. [Singer] Orono’s taken over the living room so we all have to congregate in the kitchen now. We’ve all got similar tastes and humour – it’s fun. Sometimes, I’ll be in the kitchen making dinner and [visual artist] Robert will just burst through and be like, “Hey can you give me an opinion on this?” and I can give him a fresh perspective there and then. But we’re not geographically tied together, and that’s one of the coolest things about this project. Maybe Soul is in Australia or Orono’s in Japan visiting family, but we can still continue working together as long as we’ve got an internet connection. In the old days you used to be consigned to who you met in your local area, but we have a shared WhatsApp and fire ideas out when and where inspiration strikes. What’s up with all the whales in your videos? It was an image that Robert brought to the band. They are so majestic and gentle, but also massive and imposing. We all identified with that. A whale tends to have lots of other little creatures around it, it’s its own ecosystem. We liked the idea that the whale itself is the centre of all these organisms working together. Thematically, we tend to work around the internet, space and the ocean, so the whale fit perfectly into that framework. What’s your relationship to the 1990s you borrow from? Not all of you were alive back then. Orono has just turned 18; she’s the youngest. I’d be surprised if she remembered dial-up internet. The oldest is 32, I think. That plays a role in the creation of the music, because we have a breadth of different experiences. We’re introducing each other to different music all the time. Orono can show Tucan something brand new and modern, whilst he has knowledge of 1980s metal that she wouldn’t, for example. Initially you wanted actors to do all your interviews. What does band identity and self-image mean to you? We remained anonymous for a while because our priority was figuring out who we were as a band. We’re a bit of a society within ourselves, and we wanted to focus on our art without the heat of attention. We live in an era where so much is caught up in the cult of personality, social media etc. whilst our aesthetic tries to focus on the image of the whole band. Obviously Orono gets attention for being the lead singer, but we don’t necessarily put her out in front of everyone else. We’re a family. Superorganism, Feb 23, 20:00 | Festsaal Kreuzberg, Treptow