London is a city bubbling with creativity. The capital has often been held up as one of the country’s major cultural touchpoint and with its exciting mix of cultures it’s hard to disagree. Around every corner a new experience beckons and the west of London, where future electronic icons Black Saint call home is no different.
The past decade has seen a real resurgence in the popularity of electronic music and at the moment the superstar DJs are king. But Black Saint are here and coming for their collective crowns. With a fastidious focus on their craft, the collective blend their influences and their heritage into a distinctive sound that we’re sure you’ll be listening to for many years to come.
This distinctive sound is owed in part to the area the three members, Justin, Jermaine and DJ, preside and the many different people they come into contact with.
“This part of London is where carnival runs through so no matter what time of the year it has a vibe in the air which you don’t really feel in many places. All cultures and demographics hang out here. We’ve been to parties here with fashion designers, road men, Trustafarian’s and foreigners all in one room – it’s so multicultural. Bob Marley recorded one of his big albums here – it’s such a special part of town.”
The Notting Hill Carnival is an event near and dear to the trio’s heart. In 2016 they played a set on Toddla T’s sound system, renowned for being one of the liveliest of the weekend, and in 2017 it served as the backdrop for the video for their tune ‘Never Did This Before’. Growing up surrounded by the carnival, the concept was something they had always wanted to make a reality and a definite year highlight for the group:
“This year has been crazy for us, as everything has kicked off. We walked the red carpet for the first time which was a cool experience. Us being able to shoot a video at the Notting Hill Carnival was equally wild and something we’ve always wanted to do.”
The results are as vibrant as you imagined. Splicing together handheld, VHS-style footage with sweeping crowd shots, it’s the perfect snapshot of London’s multiculturalism at its peak.
This focus on the visual element is nothing new for group. Earlier last year they came to our attention when the video for their debut single ‘Could You Love Me?’ dropped. Directed by the award-winning visionary behind videos for Rudimental and Chase & Status, Josh Cole, their first release soundtracked a brooding cinematic portrayal of the UK Traveller’s communities which was almost documentary like in its composition and positioning the group as ones that stand out from the crowd from the off.
Whether it’s their musical influences (“Thompson Twins, Vanilla Ice, Kate Bush, Bob Marley, Oasis, just to name a few”) to what they’d choose on their dream rider (“A spaceship, to see if space really exists and fly over the Antarctic to see what’s there. Very casual.”) Black Saint are a breath of fresh air in a genre that regularly seems to veer towards oversaturation. As the boys say, each member brings something different to the group and they’re more than happy to work with other people to find that perfect sound:
“We have different musical backgrounds. Justin has been a producer and songwriter before Black Saint, working with some big artists, so his professionalism of being able to craft a song really helps us in the studio. Jermaine was in a punk/reggae band before, so his love for being on the stage and his musical influences come out in our sound and stage performances.” “Black Saint is family, and we like to think of ourselves as a collective – as there are many other artists and musicians close to us that help make who we are.”
Black Saint are like any typical family really. They share meals (“Jermaine’s nan’s Jamaican food and drinking rum and ginger beer”) as well as ambitions for the future. They have a clear understanding of what they can achieve and are well aware that 2018 will be the year that Black Saint is the name on everyone’s lips:
“The ultimate goal is to make a difference with our music. Next year we’d really like to bring this fusion music to the scene and now is a better time than any. The world is taking notice of the UK scene and we are right in the mix. We want to push the scene forward by continuing to cross genres and bring the UK sounds to the world. Garage, jungle, grime and all of our cultural influences.”
Black Saint are wearing Superdry’s AW17 Collection. Photos by Ollie Ali. Answers provided by Superdry.
Words by Daniel Eggleston