1. Employee Of The Month
Much like their sound, their approach to music is hard to pinpoint, but it’s all part of the magic that exists within the band; an exploration into sound and influence - sometimes into fresh and uncharted waters – and a desire to create music that offers such a fresh angle on contemporary musical dialogues.
Much like the definition of their name – something that departs from what is standard or normal – The Anomalies combine soul, funk, hip hop, dance, indie and even drum and bass into an eclectic lover’s wet dream.
But, transcending the almost normalized notion of multi-influenced music, they daringly mix and blend styles together that nearly always stand alone in a spontaneous and unorthodox structure. Where else can you find a classical symphony next to slicing riffs and penetrating raps, flanked by vinyl rubbing and a swing led rhythm?
Taking in musical elements from across the board, both in electronic sample based form and live instrumentals, The Anomalies have created a fluid and modern sound that delivers a slice of sonic alchemy to appease everyone’s ear lobes, whilst retaining an authentic and alternative twist on music that they love.
But who are The Anomalies? Producers and vocalists Sam and Murf (AKA Mouthmaster Murf), two Hereford music obsessives, met through a natural boredom of the surrounding area and a constant exposure to relatively new and untouched musical past-times...mainly going out to clubs and learning how to experience and enjoy music.
"We got into music by accident really" explains Murf. "We used to go to a local club and put nights on there doing drum and bass and breaks. There wasn’t much going on elsewhere, so we thought we better do something. It was a small place and we met everyone else in the city that was a music fan. Because there aren’t many places to go, that tight knit community and the many tastes had an effect on us. It’s easier to form a band and develop in a place like that."
Based on an early love of hip-hop such as Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, the bubbling UK hip hop scene and then eventually onto drum and bass, Murf’s tastes grew as he was further exposed to new music. But his early musical influences – and many up to date one’s too – are prevalent on the sound of the album. Meanwhile, Sam took a more indie and rock and roll influence from his adventures through the musical spectrum, and they’ve subsequently met in the middle.
"Murf and I were about the only people in Hereford interested in UK Hip Hop back then. But from there we started to develop as a band and I got into more melody and harmony as well as rhythm and timbre" states Sam. "We gradually learnt how to write and produce ‘on the job’ as it were, because our history and experience of production was limited, and we learnt as we went along."
Starting out on a hip-hop tip – in terms of production - meant the duo could experiment with the arts of turntablism and sampling and looping technology. But as time has passed, The Anomalies, like the daring attitude of the hip hop world that helped them realize their direction, have formed into a musical unit, employing more live instrumentation into the mix and gleefully blending the electronic with the acoustic, and the ethics of polarised musical disciplines.
The full live band consists of other like minded musicians, including live turntablist (DJ Mayhem), bassist (Pete Cooper), drummer (Joey Holmes) and, of course, both Sam singing and playing guitar and Murf on rap duties when ripping up a stage on one of their acclaimed and honed shows. These shows have taken them far and wide, supporting sell out acts such as Lethal Bizzle, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Stereo MC’s, The Futureheads, DJ Yoda, Goldie and even Grandmaster Flash. The duo even graced the mighty studios of the BBC’s Maida Vale, a recording session Mecca, to further spread their liberated sounds.
"We couldn’t make a full album of the same perfected sound, for us it’s too limiting. We get bored really easily when doing the same thing, but its what keeps us interested and jumping from style to style. For example, we may start making something with a samba vibe, but then we’ll start messing around with it all" says Sam. "But we just go with the flow, it really is about anything we hear and anything we like. We want to make music that we want to hear, that we think may sound great together in an interesting way."
With a slew of popular and differing single releases, from the simply stark and effective ‘Kid Riot’ to the upstart funk tones of ‘Employee of The Month’, the bands laid back and experimental approach to writing, sourcing and performing music helps them to stand out in the world of organised cultures.
Perfectionists in their own minds, Sam and Murf possess a natural desire to create boundary-pushing music without always going straight for the jugular, consistently (and unintentionally) pushing the confines of genre stereotyping and regurgitated musical formulas, smashing the very essence of genre and even the popular ideal of eclecticism into the ground. For mixing genres is not what this pair are about; for them it’s all about the music, the moment and nothing else.
Besides, what else are two lads from the backwaters of Hereford going to do apart from making cider?