UNDERHER are Jessica Abruzzese, an Italian-Canadian classically trained singer and actress, and Kalden Bess, a Tunisian-Canadian former sound technician with a burgeoning profile as a techno producer. They combine Jessica’s hypnotic vocals with Kalden’s synthetic tones, beatwork and sequencing. They play London’s The Shackelwell Arms on Wednesday, March 6th ahead of the release of their collaboration with Booka Shade, ‘Chemical Release’ on Friday, March 8th - the follow up to new EP ‘Triggered’. We spoke to the duo to find out more.
The best words to describe the mood we set would be sexy, sensual, raw, dramatic.
First up, tell us bit about yourselves - who is UNDERHER and what were you doing before making music as a duo?
We are a live music duo consisting of Kalden Bess, producer and sound engineer for the last 11 years in the techno industry, and Jessica Abruzzese, songwriter/singer and actress for the last 13 years. We’ve incorporated our diverse backgrounds and infused sensuality into techno/deep house music.
Who did you take inspiration from?
Our biggest inspirations came from Maya Jane Coles, SOHN, HVOB, Massive Attack, Maceoplex, Radiohead. But we get inspired by such a variety of music and artists, especially hip hop and rap. We should also mention the Weeknd, who’s first 3 albums were such an influence, and Drake.
Why the name ‘UNDERHER’?
It kind of paints a picture of what we represent. Leaves some ideas to the imagination.
How would you describe your musical style?
Our music is super diverse, we play melodic techno and downtempo electronica. It can range between 70 and 132 BPM. The best words to describe the mood we set would be sexy, sensual, raw, dramatic.
You’ve supported HVOB and SOHN. What did you learn from them?
Opening for both of these artists, who were of such great inspiration to us, was one of the best feelings in the world. These shows were our first experiences playing concert style venues which is another world entirely compared to the club scene we were used to.
Each show was sold out, and we got to discover the impact of some of our songs which we tested out for the first time. Both bands consist of such down to earth and humble people. SOHN did share the course of his journey with us and it inspired us to keep believing and chasing our dream.
Tell us about your new EP ‘Triggered’. What’s it about, or it’s vibe?
Triggered touches on themes of being unconditionally committed to someone despite being mistreated. The vibe across all the tracks is rather dark, sensual.
When did you write it and where did you record it?
We wrote Triggered about one-and-a-half to two years ago in Montreal.
Can you talk us through each song?
The original track stays true to the UNDERHER vibe, it has that dramatic quality. ‘Lunar Plane’ brings some catchy afro house vibes to the track, ‘Seismal D’ gives it a dance floor friendly twist and ‘Lerr’ gives it a deep sexy touch. Kalden Bess and UNDFND take the track into a darker hypnotic territory.
What are your hopes for ‘Triggered’?
Like every other release, we just want people to enjoy it and share the music. We hope it speaks to people.
You’ve also got a collaboration with Booka Shade out shortly, ‘Chemical Release’, following your remix of their track ‘Confessions’ last year. How did that come about?
Our manager met them at WMC and proposed they give us a chance to remix them. We’re so happy they did! They loved it so much they invited us to collaborate with them. The result is ‘Chemical Release’ out Friday, March 8th.
Listen to ‘Triggered’ on SoundCloud below. UNDERHER play London’s Shacklewell Arms on Wednesday, March 6th - visit the Facebook event page for details. For news and more tour dates visit the UNDERHER Facebook page.