Uhuru (the name of which comes from the Swahili word for freedom), are an electronic duo made up of Connor Daniel and Rob Jones, whose smooth, dance oriented tunes are guaranteed to get the crowd moving. With the ability to play multiple instruments at once and still being able to entertain and interact with their audience, seeing these guys live makes you really realise how insanely talented they both are! Nominated in 2016 for Best Electronic/Dance act at the Unsigned Music Awards, these guys have got a great future ahead of them and are definitely worth a listen.
Here’s what happened when Elly Bailey caught up with the boys earlier this month:
Hi guys, in your live performances there’s a crazy amount happening at once, how many instruments are you actually playing?
Connor: I sing and also use a sample pad, keys, and sample launch
Rob: Keys, guitar and drum pad
That’s insane! How did you guys come up with this idea?
Connor: We met at college, back in Southampton where we’re originally from. We used to be a 5 piece, then a 4 piece, and then a 2 piece, so when we came to university together as a two piece, we had to replace all the other members, like drums and stuff, with just us, which is how we ended up having to play many different things
Did you guys plan to go to university together? Rob: Kinda, yeah
Connor: We played quite a lot of shows before, and I heard about ACM and Rob kind of caught on as well
Were you still playing under Uhuru? Rob: Yeah
Connor: Yeah, we’ve always had the name
Has music always been a career you wanted to pursue?
Connor: For as long as I can remember
Rob: I’ve never really looked at it as a career, but yeah
So you guys are a pretty unique act, there aren’t a lot of musicians that do the same thing as you, so what would you say your main influences are? Connor: It’s a real elective me for, I grew up on like Michael Jackson, if we’re going back to the early days, loads of Quincy Jones and stuff, soul music, but more recently, Justin Timberlake for vocals, I’m like a huge fan boy, it’s not even embarrassing, I don’t even care, so whenever I’m recording I think what would Justin Timberlake do, and try do so similar. But I listen to a lot of hip-hop mainly, Kendrick Lamar, a lot of good hip hop
Rob: I suppose I’m a lot more indie than Connor, so I listen to like The Stone Roses, Primal Scream and stuff like that I guess, but I was introduced to a lot more pop music when I met Connor
You guys were nominated for Best Electronic/Dance Act at the Unsigned Music Awards, how did that come about? Connor: Well funnily enough my mum put us up for it, and she told me and I kind of brushed it aside, not really expecting anything from it
Rob: It was when they had just launched the website, so she just put us on, and it worked out
Connor: We didn’t realise how big it was until she called me like “you actually got through!” and I was like “oh sick,” but then I properly looked at it and realised like, we actually got through, it was 5000+ acts and we got through to the last 4 nominees
Was it a big night?
Connor: Yeah, it was at Troxy London, it was pretty surreal
Rob: Yeah, very, very surreal
Connor: It was very crazy to go to the actual award show, and do the red carpet and everything, cause obviously we’re not used to that
Rob: Extortionately priced drinks
Really? I thought you’d get drinks for free at an award show.
Connor: No, it was like £25 for a three-glass bottle of wine
Rob: Not that we looked up how much we were paying at the time…
I’ve heard you guys have a new single coming out, can you tell me a bit about it? Connor: We’ve got two! Smoke and Mirrors, which is the one we’re most excited for. Smoke and Mirrors is the most pop song I’ve written to date, and that’s just because we like pop music at the moment. We spend a lot of time listening to chart music and dissect all the production, and this single is kind of our take on it. We want a number one so why not try it
Rob: I want a boat (both laugh)
And what’s your other single?
Connor: It’s called Senses. We kinda of wrote that as a follow up, it’s a little more what people expect from Uhuru
Rob: It’s a bit wonky
Connor: Yeah, in the drop especially, but still very pop and focusing on the songwriting a lot, I’ve tried to write a song rather than a piece of music
I’d say you guys would be a great act to see at a festival, so what would be your dream festival to play? Connor: Glastonbury or Coachella, the two biggest, but also I like tents as well; I feel we’d go down quite well in a tent at a festival
Rob: Yeah, like at Big Weekend
Connor: Basically, big tents
Rob: Just put us in a tent
What have you guys got coming up in 2017?
Connor: We’re just going to focus, get our heads down and write, write, write, so then at the end of the year, we’ll have like 3 albums worth of songs that we can pitch out and carry on smashing it live
Rob: Just build on it
Connor: We also want to get on a few festivals, and yeah, carry on building