Now Faithless is back with her first album in 10 years; titled All Blessed, but it came with challenges.
Of course, the effect of coronavirus the pandemic does not need to be overdone. For an album with several collaborations, lockdown threw some obstacles in the mix.
But this record, their seventh, was different for another reason too; for the first time, founders Sister Bliss and Rollo worked without Maxi Jazz, the group’s enigmatic leader and his instantly recognizable face and voice.
There was no fallout, just a break to make music with his new band, The E-Types. And the presence of the man who can command a crowd like very few others is still felt keenly; he set the bar high.
“It was definitely a challenge for us to make sure we honor that and that Faithless continues in the spirit where it started, which is really to have lyrics that make sense,” Sister Bliss told Sky News. .
Maxi Jazz’s lyrical program and poetic style, as well as “the incredible tone of its voice,” have been the “central backbone” of the group since they started releasing music in the 1990s, says. she.
“For me personally, Maxi’s voice is in my head and it’s in my heart and in my mind and… [talking about] with music being a conversation, much of our relationship was getting to know each other – on the tour bus, on tour the world, late night in hotel bars, and the first album we did together, Reverence, was this process of both.
“We didn’t all start the band at school. It was the meeting of people from three very different corners of the musical triangle, if you will, coming together to create something that ended up being greater than the sum of its parts. “
The Faithless energy – so distinctive in the creepy-inducing hits they are best known for, such as Insomnia, God Is A DJ, and One Step Too Far – has been continued, despite Maxi’s absence, with collaborations with artists such as Suli Breaks, Caleb The Founder of Femi, Gaika and Soul II Soul Jazzie B.
“It’s been this beautiful process of getting to know new artists, getting used to their flow, their words and the tone of their voices where they’re sitting,” Sister Bliss says.
“Suli Breaks has a pretty high voice, so it was really interesting to put him on a track with Jazzie; it was like the old statesman speaking in that deep, gritty voice that has so much gravity and that rich, bassy tone, in a voice that was slightly higher, so that challenged us musically.
“You know, it’s not the same but I hope it’s fresh and there’s still that intelligence and that thinking. The people we’ve worked with are really amazing artists and we’ve been very lucky to work with them. “
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Faithless was fortunate to have completed the majority of the record before the lockdown.
“This year was definitely a challenge, putting a new album in this particular environment, especially since this is our first album in 10 years,” says Sister Bliss. “And usually, when I would have had a summer of festivals, loads of concerts beyond, live tours and so on, it all had to be put on the back burner because our industry was in disarray.
“So the good thing is that at least there is some recorded music to put out into the world. And part of it was refined and ended on lockout but I would say 80% of the album was done before COVID hit. So I would say it was really… a big blessing because we collaborated with a lot of different artists on this album, which would have been a lot harder to do if we had been in a lockdown situation the last couple of years. ”
The musician and DJ says she writes a lot of music on her own, but there is “an energy” that comes from being in the same space with other artists that cannot be replicated.
“Writing a song is a pretty vulnerable process,” she says. “You’re showing someone that you don’t know very well something pretty intimate about yourself, if you write the kind of songs that you want to connect with that have some kind of meaning in the world, that’s what we’re trying to do with Faithless.
“So if you’re doing this with someone you’ve known for many, many years, it’s part of a conversation and part of your relationship. But working with new artists, being in the same room, there is this tangible energy and there is this chemistry. it happens when you talk or ask what they think about something, their opinion, the relationships they have and where the inspiration comes from.
“So for me personally, being in the same room, especially with singers, singers, spoken word artists, rappers, the kinds of people that we collaborated with on this album, that was really important. ”
All Blessed, by Faithless, is out now