INTERVIEW: Shakeable Germ
After establishing themselves with a string of vibrant offerings these last few months, fashion designer and DJ Gresham Blake and Phats and Smalls’ Jason Phats, better known as Shakeable Germ have now returned to deliver their latest release 'We're Going Out'.
Written as an ode to the end of lockdown restrictions, 'We're Going Out' shimmers with bright and euphoric electronic aesthetics, making it a perfect fist-pumper for the reopening of Britain's nightlife. Accompanied by a stunning new video, created by Kenny McCracken (who has just reached 240million views for his work on Aurora’s ‘Runaway’) and dance choreographer Suzette Brissett (Little Mix and Dua Lipa), these new visuals breathe even greater life into the new anthem.
So with the single out and about, we caught up with Gresham Blake to find out more about the project, the new single, and what plans they have for the future.
Hi Gresham, how are you today?
Things are good today. I'm sitting in my studio in the country trying to do some work but being happily distracted by anything else around me.
For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?
The latest track “We’re going out”, was our most commercial song and I wanted it to have a slight Billie Eilish feel with a gentle EDM feel. I got some ideas together, but it was “Atlantalili” the singer/producer who really got the music together and made it her own. Influences? Depending on who I’m working with at the time, I was making some suits (I’m a tailor by trade) for Footsie and D Double E the Newham Generals so that got me into Grime. I was also making suits for the Orbitals new photo shoot at the same time, so myself and Jason Phats got them together and we did “Keep It G” (Chime and Grime). I had also been working with Laurie Vincent from Slaves and showed him some photos of a cowboy town in Kent I wanted to film in, so we came up with a cowboy track, just so we could film a western video. So, I guess my influencers are born out of a need to do different things.
The Shakeable Germ collective has many members to it as well. Could you tell us how the project began and where all the members were found?
Sure, I wanted to create music and video but without it coming from Gresham Blake and it looking like an advert for my clothes, so I came up with “Shakeable Germ”, an anagram of Gresham Blake. But I needed help. The first member was Jason Phats from Phats & Small, who none of this would be possible. I can use Ableton to a degree, but Jason is the producer who makes everything work and knows what ideas of mine don’t! Ha Ha. I heard him being interviewed on the local radio station and rang into the studio and asked him on the radio live on air if he wanted to be involved. Others like Footsie and D double E I had styled music videos for and like the idea of doing something different. I went to college with Paul Hartnoll from the Orbital, back when acid classic “Chimes” was still only in its infancy. I knew the director Kenny McCracken from partying in Brighton, and that applies to Steve Coogan, Norma Cook and most of the others.
You have just released your new single ‘We’re Going Out’. Can you tell us how that track came about? Is there a story behind it?
I was travelling on the tubes in lockdown, and it really hit me how empty London tube trains were, and I actually felt sad that the tube was empty and missed the crowds. I looked at the empty seats and thought wow let's make some tracksuits out of the fabric. I then thought what a great opportunity to make a music video.
The video also stands out as a brilliant visual accompaniment. Could you tell us the inspiration behind that?
Same as the clothes, being on the empty trains. Firstly the idea of making a video on London underground was sick as. I thought it would be great to have somebody walking towards the trains and slowly meeting more people as they start to enjoy themselves as the idea of freedom and going out becomes more of a reality. I had worked with Suzette Brissett before who's an amazing choreographer and added her creatives in to give the video that extra energy.
It was also recorded on the London Underground, which was probably made easier because of the pandemic. But did the restrictions make it harder to film in any way?
It was hard filming on the underground. We literally had five hours that included getting all the equipment into the station down to flights of stairs then down an escalator then along the walkway up an escalator neither of them worked. It was very hot, and we had to have a COVID Marshall to make sure we had masks on at all times unless we were being filmed. No food could be eaten on the station platform due to Covid restrictions. Also having no toilets means that everybody kept disappearing for 10 minutes every now and then as they found alternatives in The Strand. I Knew one had seen each other for absolutely ages and it's the first time many people had worked in months, so everyone was talking, and no one could hear anything, but it made for a great atmosphere and the energy made people deal with the very tiring day.
Can we expect a new EP, or even an album from you in the near future?
Myself and Jason Phats have been talking about doing an EP not sure what format it would take but I do fancy doing a progressive rock meets EDM track, with guest remixes of some of the older stuff we recorded.
The coronavirus outbreak has obviously affected everyone’s plans, but what have you got in store for the rest of the year?
I'm focusing on a fashion magazine idea at the moment until that spark of inspiration makes me want to create a new track and video.
And finally, do you have any rituals or habits that help you to write new music?
I’m addicted to Spotify. It has almost everything on there that I used to listen to. At the moment listening to songs that I played when I was in my teens, you know the time when bad habits start to form. This is pre EDM and I would listen to Soft Machine, Gong, Frank Zappa, Crass, Killing Joke and loads of other music that bands actually played. I want to chuck all these tunes into a bowl and throw in some acid house and see what happens.
Shakeable Germ's new single 'We're Going Out' is available to stream now. Check out the new video for it below.