Tortured Soul Interview
It’s rather ironic how their group name does everything but torture the soul. American house music trio, Tortured Soul, have been tantalising house music lovers the world over with their soul shifting offerings since the early 2000’s. Now with over a decade of their jazz-infused music to their name, the band has reached a new level of maturation and they’re steadily preparing to bless their fans with new sun-kissed bass licks, sultry harmonies and tastefully crafted grooves to please the spirit.
Tendai caught up with the band during their brief two-show stop in South Africa. Here’s what they shared on collaborations, making music and actually doing something wrong:
Tortured Soul Interview: [Jordan] I like the idea of that.
Tortured Soul Interview: [John] I’ve wanted to come here for a while! Next December I’d like to be here for a month and I’d probably insist that the band joins me if they could [smiles].
What is the purpose of this particular visit?
Tortured Soul Interview: We had two shows. One at the Mafikeng 60s Party and the other was at the Kome Caves Beer Festival in Lesotho.
On your way here you obviously pondered on the destination. When you think African house music, which names really stand out to you?
The Black Coffee collaboration caught us all by surprise. Can we expect any more Tortured Soul collaborations?
Tortured Soul Interview: We currently don’t have any collaborations planned explicitly right now but we don’t think it would be too far of a stretch of the imagination that we could get together again.
Let’s take it back to the studio, when the three of you are in studio, who brings what to the creative process?
Tortured Soul Interview: [John] I begin the process by writing the song and sometimes doing full productions or just demos then I hand it over to Jordan and Ethan and they add their input. From there we’ll rework it and sometimes re-record the bass or keys and that’s generally how it goes down for the most part.
JKriv left the group back in 2010. What impact did that have on the group and Jordan did you feel any pressure coming into the group?
Tortured Soul Interview: [Jordan] I didn’t necessarily feel pressure. To be totally honest I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’d listened to the music and JKriv is an incredible bass player and definitely defined the sound that is the bass role in this music but I was still pretty warmly welcomed by the fans except for a couple angry fans in Istanbul who yelled “Where’s JKriv?!” Haha.
Tortured Soul Interview: [John] It was sort of difficult when he left as we weren’t prepared for his departure but he (JKriv) had a number of things going on in his life that made him decide that he didn’t want to be on tour as much as we were. So we held auditions and Jordan stood out as the right guy for the group. He even brought five ladies with him to the audition!
John, at times you’ve been compared to the likes of Maxwell and Justin Timberlake. What’s your take on that?
Tortured Soul Interview: [John] I understand the comparison totally. Black music and black singers have been my main influence in terms of how I’ve chosen to sing and what inspired me to be a musician. My mom’s also a great singer and she’s not black (laughs), so singing and music has been in my family since I was little. But in terms of how it makes me feel? I’m happy to be appreciated and honoured for people to like the music.
So we’re dying to know. When then can fans expect new material?
Tortured Soul Interview: Very soon! We have a finished album that we recently delivered to our label in the UK. We’d also like to release it here in South Africa so hopefully by like March or April 2015 we’ll have something out in South Africa.
Lastly, for the day one Tortured Soul fans, did you end up doing something wrong? [laughs]
Tortured Soul Interview: Sorta. That song was specifically about when I was breaking up with a long-term girlfriend. We had a long distance relationship – I was in New York and she was in California – and it was getting harder to maintain it. In a way, ironically, it wasn’t really doing something wrong but it felt like it and ultimately we parted ways and I ended up doing something wrong.