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Belleruche singer goes solo with a 4-part series of 10inch vinyl EPs, recorded and released by analogue vinyl-only record label, Gearbox Records.
In 2013, ‘handmade hip-hop-blues/soul’ group Belleruche decided to call it a day, the close-knit trio making the decision to pursue individual creative and personal avenues after eight hardworking, exhilarating and globetrotting years and 4 critically acclaimed albums on Brighton’s Tru-Thoughts label.
Following the amicable split, lead singer Kathrin deBoer, already a talented multi-instrumentalist, decided to pick up the bass guitar. She was the beneficiary of an old Fender P Frankenstein bass called Annie and in under a year, with a little tuition from punk rocker friends, she set out on her first solo live gigs armed with a plethora of new material. Backed by a drummer and viola player, deBoer performed to spellbound crowds at London’s Jazz Café and The Elgin in Camden, and it was here that London’s foremost vinyl-only label Gearbox Records came calling.
With a commitment to put the ritual back in to music listening, Gearbox has hitherto focused on releasing extremely high quality and previously unreleased vinyl cuts, however as soon as he heard deBoer’s work Darrel Sheinman, owner of Gearbox Records, decided to sign Kathrin. "I first worked with Kathrin on a recent Max Cooper project we did, and her exotic voice, which has such perfect pitch, blew me away. When I heard she was going solo, I put my hat in the ring to give her the Gearbox treatment, and hey presto, she has decided to come along on the journey. We are going to have fun!”
Based in Kings Cross’ Tileyard studios complex, which also plays host to Mark Ronson, Sub Focus and more, Gearbox records live in a completely analogue environment, from studio to tape, then tape direct to vinyl. This
approach suited deBoer perfectly - her solo work is an altogether more poetic approach to songwriting than in previous projects, and the pared back arrangements give her remarkable voice space to roam. Says deBoer,
“As an artist you have the luxury and responsibility to be truthful to yourself, to the melody, the rhythm and the songs story, I try to find and weave a silver lining in each song. Recording and mixing in one take takes
skill from everyone involved beyond the musicians, it’s exciting, you have to think fast, flow, perform and accept the 'imperfections' and think of the music as a whole, accept the moment, the recordings don't lie!”
The 4 tracks across EP1, the first of a series of 10” Vinyl releases for the Gearbox label, see deBoer explore topics such as the blurred lines between friends and lovers (‘Something Said’) or being the pawn in someone else’s mind games (‘Not For Me’). Though these are not songs of love as seen through the rose-tinted naïveté of an old romantic, deBoer presents the complexities of human relationship with all its flaws, something she was keen to reflect in the recording process: “To lose ones individuality, the small faults, essentially the humanness in the recording phase, to be edited to 'perfection' leaves me a bit cold.”
The decision to release on vinyl was also a relatively simple one for deBoer: "Multitracking, compression, buckets of production has lead to some great albums but the downside in its wake is the homogenisation of sound and music production. It sounds better, vinyl sounds better, and analogue is better. That’s all really, that’s why we do it." For Gearbox, this signing marks a new chapter in their repertoire. It is the first time they have worked with an artist whose career development fits closely with the label’s own frontline vision to take on artists with
roots in jazz/soul and mix in an eclectic range of influences for something entirely unique.