Rich takes some time out from the busy new year schedule and world music domination that is Clement Marfo & The Frontline’ to talk to Lieutenant Uhura about life on tour with six of his closest friends, the anticipated album and receiving recognition from MTV, T4, MOBOs and more importantly a dedicated growing versitile fanbase...
How excited are you guys about being added to the line up for the MOBO awards tour?
We love performing live, and the MOBO tour is going to be our first tour of the year, so we are very excited to get back on the road! The MOBO tour is reaching out to pretty much all the major cities in the UK so it’s a good look for us to have the chance so early on in the year to play all these places.
How did ‘Clement Marfo & The Frontline’ come about? Was this always the musical direction and line up?
Clement started off as a grime MC, and the band were playing in different bands around their local areas. It was Clement who decided he no longer wanted to perform as a solo artist and wanted to try something completely different by adding a band not only to the live shows but also to the music itself. It was through friends of friends that we all came together, and as diverse as we all are, the musical direction has always been and remained the same.
What was it like when all seven of you finally all did a live show together as ‘Clement Marfo & The Frontline’ for the first time and how long ago was that?
Our first show together was at a place called ‘Yoyo’s’ in Notting-Hill, coming up to 3 years ago! After weeks and weeks of rehearsals, it was such a good feeling to finally perform together and receive such a good reception from the audience. It’s good to see people that were at that show still showing us love on Facebook, Twitter and still come to our shows.
You have previously been on tour with with Plan B and Florence & The Machine, was this an experience preparing for life on the road?
Because there are seven of us, life on the road is like taking a holiday with 6 of your best friends! When you’re performing with Plan B and Florence & The Machine etc. it’s like taking a holiday with 6 of your best friends but on a serious, serious HIGH! I don’t think we got much sleep…
You guys are being touted as one of the major acts of 2012, how much of a relief is it to get some recognition after working so hard?
Its not so much of a relief, its more of an incentive to prove all the people that have touted us to do big things in 2012 that we actually are worthy of there recommendations! Having names like MTV, HMV and T4 all give you there backing is very exciting for us and I know we are ready to give 2012 everything we’ve got!
Do you think that with the current progression of music, perhaps going genre-less it helps acts like yourself do what you want musically without having to be categorized before listeners hear anything?
I think like with most new music there will always be people that try and put us into a specific genre, but we don’t think like this, so being ‘Genre-less’ gives us the advantage to really experiment with our music, and to add loads of different influences and styles into a melting pot that ultimately creates ‘our’ sound. We all know what the CMTF sound is, but creating it can start from anything from a drumbeat, a lyrical concept or a bass line. So yeah I guess being genre-less or not tied down to a specific genre gives us a lot more freedom when were writing or recording in the studio.
Now that you guys are signed to a major, do you try to make sure that now more than ever, you keep going in the right direction without too much interference?
We make sure that everybody around us or involved in CMTF understands the musical direction and where we want to get too. This is one of the reasons we signed with Warner Brothers because they had the exact same ideas as us and understood what we were about. It has to be like a marriage, and of course each side is going to have to compromise at certain points, but the overall goal, aims and ideas are in harmony with each other. We feel very blessed to be signed to a major, especially someone as big as Warner.
What’s the release date for the album and have you come to a place of agreement in terms of the finished piece, were there any tracks you were sad to not make it?
We’ve written over 60 songs for our debut album… so narrowing this down to 10 or 11 songs is going to be a fun challenge (laughs)! We all have a rough idea of the songs that will be on the album, give or take one or two that people may have personal preferences for! But every song we write we make sure it has a CMTF stamp on it…The album will be out later in the year!
You guys are really starting the year as you mean to go on, what ideally would you love to see happening that isn’t already?
We are over the moon with everything we have got lined up for this year, were not even two weeks into the year and we’ve had our single Mayhem played by Zane Lowe on Radio1, the Mayhem video has received over 38k views in a matter of days, we’ve been confirmed for the Isle Of Wight festival, T4’s Rising Starts of 2012 and the MOBO tour! Things are moving very fast for us so I guess we’re ready for whatever is thrown our way!
Interview by Von Von Lamunu
The new single (video featured below) Clement Marfo & The Frontline fea.Kano-Mayhem is out March 12th 2012