[Premiere & Interview]: Five Minutes with EKKAH
Symbiotic synchronicities can happen in everyday life, whether it comes in the form of meeting someone wearing the same clothes as you, listening to the same song or perhaps even has the same name. This was the case for Rebekah Pennington and Rebecca Wilson, who would ultimately go on to form the Modern Disco meets Funk duo, EKKAH who are sharing their latest single, ‘Room 4 Love’ which will be officially released tomorrow.
Currently, the pair are sitting on the impressive number of over 70 000 monthly listeners on Spotify, which has contributed nicely to their play count of well over 8 million on that streaming platform alone. While it’s not currently possible to catch EKKAH live, the two tend to bring dramatic and dynamic performances to the stage, frequently inviting friends who are drag queens to perform with them live. However, you’ll be able to find some of this same bold energy in their upcoming music video, which has been filmed during lockdown but will still feature some of their favourite people to work with.
Keen to learn more? Delve into our exclusive interview with them below.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
We were drawn to one another through music at school, we weren’t necessarily in the same circle of friends before we started doing music together, but it felt like we were both compelled to follow this journey together. We wanted to be able to unite people through creating something new that didn’t exist until we sat down to write it, that feels very special to us.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Often the sound, but sometimes the idea or lyrics will pop into our heads in the most random times and situations. A lot of both sounds and lyrics get left for a while until we can pair them up with their suitor, that part of the puzzle is really exciting when you’re like ‘oh yeah this is meant to be with this’, but sometimes you just bash a whole song out, lyrics an all in one sitting.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yeah, we love collaborating with others. We released a double AA side with Dam-Funk a few years back ‘Whats Up’ and ‘Space Between Us’ and had so much fun writing with him in LA. We’ve written with a lot of people in the past and it’s always really interesting to see how other artists make songs, the journey, the organisation of it, everyone is different. We have been writing with a band called Patawawa, they’re great friends of ours and singer Sam has recently become Bex’s housemate, so expect some collabs very soon!
What’s on your current playlist?
Spotlight – Jessie Ware
I’ll Be Good Again – Rene & Angela
Tonight You Make feat. Lady Wray – Synthia, Lady Wray
Been listening to a lot of LEISURE and also loving SAULT atm.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
We try to involve our fans as much as possible when we are on stage, we want to create a big party with no barriers between us and the audience – we have specific fans who come along to a lot of our shows and sing every word, they always get a shout out, making people feel a part of what we are doing is essential as we want people to feel inclusive of our friendship.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
We record a lot of ‘vibe track’ and ‘gang vocals’. Playing drum sticks on cups, and the side of the table, whatever we can find really to help create a playful party feeling. We always add in both of our vocals to our tracks, Bex sings lead, but it’s important that we both vocally feature on tracks. We also mix up between real bass and synth bass and use similar 80’s drum machine sounds on most tracks
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
We have been playing music together since we have been 15, and it’s always been a part of our lives even before we met, but the ‘moment’ happened when a school band of ours spilt up and everyone parted ways apart from us two, we looked at each other and cried, and chatted about how we didn’t wanna stop making music, it wasn’t an option, from that, spawned a few experimental music projects and then finally EKKAH happened.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Water, our in-ear monitors, and of course each other (cute).
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Life experiences, life in general (the good and bad parts of it) nights out, films, gripping books, our heroes stories, friends and families stories, what’s going on in the world. We want our music to bring happiness to people, the opportunity to leave their worlds behind if even only in a small way, and step into ours where everyone’s welcome and it’s just about being present on the dancefloor (whatever that dancefloor may be) that’s the real essence of what we do.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
When we play live we basically take our studio on stage with us. This includes; Roland Gaia, Korg Monologue, SPD, Tenor Sax, VE-20 Vocal Pedal, Cymatic LP-16, Roland 505 Drum Machine, Ableton, Fender Telecaster, Vox amp, guitar pedals (June-60 pedal, Joyo D-Seed delay and Holy Grail reverb) and so so many cables!
Any side projects you’re working on?
We love a collab, but apart from that, it’s EKKAH 4 life.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Lot’s of practice, learning from our mistakes, learning to take a step back.
Putting stuff into perspective, being strong and being there for each other has all had an impact on our writing and as performing musicians.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Our latest single Room 4 Love is out on the 29th May, followed by the video to accompany out in June (which we filmed apart in lockdown and features some of our amazing fans!) Now the initial shock of this new reality has settled, we’ll be spending the rest of the year writing and releasing lots of new music and preparing for whatever the world throws at us – we have high hopes that the music industry will develop around what is happening and that we will be able to play shows again in 2021 – staying positive.