Ephemerals are a London based soul family featuring an allstar cast of musicians. Founded by Hillman Mondegreen, writer-producer and founder member for Hannah Williams and The Tastemakers, he felt instantly that Franglo-American singer Wolfgang Valbrun was the perfect voice to deliver a debut album that is fresh and soulful and will command some serious attention. Wolf, originally from New York but who has been living in Paris since the age of 14, only began singing in public three years ago, but has quickly established himself as a continental star with his band Marvellous. Next is Damian, who also plays trumpet for Kalakuta Millionaires and is in Hillman’s afrobeat supergroup Keke Mokoro. Then Char, who plays baritone sax for Dakhla, a band with a unique afrobeat/gypsy styling. Also James, who plays organ for Hannah Williams, and Jimi Needles, who has been Hillman’s drummer of choice since they met at university in 2008. Rob Jones was the final piece of the puzzle, recommended to Hillman by WahWah45′s boss Dom Servini. He played every instrument on the epic Gene Dudley Group album and was brought in to play bass with his trademark tone and casual style.
The first full band rehearsal was on the first day of recording. Hillman taught the band song by song and within three days, the 7-piece had recorded the album live to analogue tape at The Cowshed in North London. A short UK tour ensued in the following weeks and the live Ephemerals band was born from the same musicians who had recorded in that great session. It was as much their personality as their talent that allowed the band to rehearse and record in such swift fashion.
Almost as captivating as how the record was made, is the story of how it caught the attention of the Jalapeno label. A radical business strategy from Mondegreen Records, whose first solo release back in 2010 secured the signing of HWT to Record Kicks and then Sony, saw the company taking a free-to-download approach.
“The philosophy was that anyone who saw the video or visits our Facebook/ Bandcamp/ Soundcloud/ Twitter pages should be able to download the full album in three clicks or less,” says Mondegreen. “Another positive that comes from this method is that there is no worth in bootlegging the record, so we are denying the revenue that illegal download sites can make from hosting a copy. The idea is that there is little to be made from recorded music anyway, so the attempt is to broaden the fan base and tour relentlessly, making up for the loss of sales profit with the money gained from the larger fanbase. After all, you can’t bootleg a live performance. We also approached several vinyl only labels to release 7″‘s and put out two singles with Mocambo in Germany and Colemine in Ohio USA.”
The CD/digital edition of “Nothin Is Easy” will be available exclusively on Jalapeno Records in September 2014. The album features heavy grooves and slick production, with Wolf’s distinctive howl on top. ~ Groove Attack