Interview/Music: HOWES3

Twistedsoul - HOWES3

Consider yourself introduced to Brighton-based jazz fusion HOWES3 and their vibrant debut single ‘Moving Forward’.

Inspired by a combined love of 70’s jazz funk, 80’s fusion, 90’s R’n’B, gospel and hip-hop, their music takes you on a feel-good journey that fully expresses their wide variety of influences and eclectic sounds.

Opening with sumptuous piano keys that float with elegance to create an atmosphere of pure bliss. The track gradually blossoms as thumping drums, deep bass grooves and spacey keys drive the track forward.

The perfect mix of jazz and neo-soul, this is a solid first release from an exciting new trio – this is really, really good stuff that will make even the stiffest hip swing.

HOWES3 is made up of Oli Howe (Rhodes/piano/keyboards), Luke Campbell (drums), and Marcus Porter (bass).

Ahead of the release of their forthcoming album, listen to the dazzling tune and check out our interview with bandleader Oli Howe below.


For those that are new to the band can you tell us about how HOWES3 came together?

We originally started the band back in early 2017. I’d slowly been integrating more contemporary ideas into my piano trio sets which led me to start re-working some old broken-beat, nu-jazz and break-beat tracks I’d previously released several years earlier into new jazz-fusion style jams for us to play live. Almost immediately after forming, we played Jazz Re:freshed at the Mau Mau Bar and the Arena Stage at Love Supreme Festival, but to be honest, we were still finding our feet back then and I was still working on which musical direction to go down. We started developing the songs at a weekly residency we had in Brighton as the new UK jazz resurgence started to take shape. After our original drummer moved to London we found organisation and gig logistics a bit more difficult, so I ended up changing the band members at the end of 2017, forming a new trio with Luke Campbell on drums, Marcus Porter on bass and me (Oli Howe) on keys. I’d been playing with Luke and Marcus for years in several other bands and it felt like we were just gelling more and more, getting more daring on gigs and pushing each other further and further each time. We love each others playing and we have such a good time together that it became clear that playing with them was organically developing into the musical direction the band was looking for. We carried on the residency and our music really started to take shape from there.

Congrats on your debut track! Would you mind taking us through the creation of ‘Moving Forward’?

Thanks! Sure. The track has a ‘feel good’ jazz-fusion vibe, with some hints of gospel, which kind of sums us up pretty well really. I wrote this song specifically for Luke and Marcus actually, their particular feel and style is what gave me the inspiration behind the lazy swing groove it has. I made a fairly simple demo of it for them to listen to before rehearsing it, we jammed it a few times and it kind of felt like we already knew it. We played it a lot at gigs last year, developing the changes and adding a few ideas here and there until the form was finally decided on. It seemed to be one of our most popular songs at gigs and it soon became one of our favourite tunes to play so we couldn’t wait to record it. We named it ‘Moving Forward’ for a few reasons and released it as a single on the 7th of June this year.

Tell us about the album on the way?

It’s pretty fun. The album starts with gospel-style overture to signify an arrival of sorts, a ‘no-holds-barred’, ‘here’s what to expect from us’ kind of entrance. It features some up-tempo fusion roasts alongside the more chilled, melodic grooves, some gospel jazz feel-good vibes and the longer tracks mixed in with a few short jazzy hip-hop beat fillers. There’s a few time signatures changes and a couple of metric modulation moments but all-in-all, it’s a very easy listen. We wanted to make an album not just for jazz fans, or musicians but an album that can be enjoyed by a wider audience. We recorded the album just outside Brighton at Retreat Recording Studios over three days. They have a great setup including a beautiful Yamaha grand piano. It has such a rich tone so that was a big factor of why we chose to record there. We recorded all the tracks live after a few takes of each one. I added some pads over the top of some of the tracks, Luke added some clicks and effects from his SPD and that’s pretty much it. The tracks themselves are the same as we play them live, although we do like add some extra arrangements and improvisation to the live shows now to keep it fresh for us and the audience. Plus there’s definitely room to extend solos and mess about a bit more, which is what inevitably happens when we get together.

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard of you yet?

We have quite a large and powerful sound for a small trio. It’s bright and uplifting music while still being pretty intense and vibey. I’d say jazz-fusion is the main genre if you were to pick one, but gospel is definitely a big part of it, as well as hip-hop, RnB, neo-soul and straight ahead funk. As musicians, our individual influences are quite varied but we have lots of common ground between us that ties it all together. The melodies and progressions generally come from the keys with recognisable structures and memorable motifs. Marcus lays down bass tones to-die-for while Luke adds the gospel touch, rhythmic manipulating patterns with plenty of playfulness. Then we take the idea and run with it!

What influences the style and sound of your music?

We thrive on interplay and upbeat three-way communication when we play together and we always gravitate towards the extreme as players. With rhythms and harmony, we naturally push ourselves and each other to explore different possibilities. Our influences also come from our experiences, from music we love, from our lives and from who we are as people. The sound of our music is generally a fairly accurate representation of ourselves, it’s got a playful, positive vibe, and essentially allows our personalities to shine through in what we create sonically.

What else is coming up for you guys for the rest of 2019?

Well, we’re excited to be getting the rest of our album out in July, probably with another single release beforehand so be sure to look out for that. We’ve also got some great gigs still to come this year including Kansas Smittys in Dalston on October 23rd, and two consecutive nights at the Jazz Cafe in Camden supporting none other than, the legendary jazz-fusion drummer and all-around jazz hero, Billy Cobham, on November 27th and 28th – which we’re pretty damn excited about! We’ll also have a Sofar Sounds session in July and we’ll be releasing some live videos soon on our YouTube Channel of our new material as well as some ‘hush hush’ collaborations. I’ve said too much already!

Thanks, guys! Any last words to the Twistedsoul community?

Thank you, Twistedsoul! Really glad you like the single ‘Moving Forward’ and thanks again for featuring it. For the Twistedsoul community to keep up to date with us, be sure to head over to our Instagram page, Facebook, and follow HOWES3 on Spotify to get notified on our upcoming album release date and future plans. Much love!!!

Thanks again for your time, guys! Cheers!

Moving Forward is out now. Buy here

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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