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Beatnik introduces new soul queen and first lady of Eglo Records, Fatima
words Ali Raymond / photography Paul BenceFatima: Mind
It’s hard to describe Fatima’s striking soul style. A voice as versatile as her wardrobe, depending on which producer she so intelligently decides to work with, her music can range from anything like jazzy hip hop to electronic futuristic funk.
Chances are if you are the type of London dweller who favours the night bus as their preferred home-time transport, at some point you would have returned from hearing the sounds of the Swedish born superstar in the making. Such is her heavy presence on the capitals underground circuit, a place she now calls home. A big favourite for beat tasters like Benji B too those not within the cities radius would have surely heard her championed across the airways from here to Japan.
I meet Fatima at South London’s Brixton market. While we take in the diverse cultures that circulate Paul Bence captures the afternoon. Then taking refuge in a small coffee shop down one of the lanes I decide its time to find out more about the exciting young lady on everyone’s lips.
Having already dropped the impressive Mindtravelin EP and rocking the crowds at a string of festivals she is currently preparing for her second offering, another EP entitled Follow You. It’s an EP of great promise with lead single ‘Innervision’ an uplifting soul soaked classic in the making.
“I’m gonna put together an album I’m just not at that stage yet” she points out in a laidback accent. Rocking gold hoops and a patterned scarf Fatima has a calming presence that can’t be bought. “I might do an album with one person I might do one with many.”
Still very much exploring the depth of her own sound it’s kind of nice to hear the album isn’t her main priority. In preparation though Fatima has already worked with an envious pool of talented producers. Sonic pharaohs like Floating Points, Funkineven and more recently sparking a tight bond with the funk ambassador himself, Dam-Funk.
“I spoke to him the other day actually because I just finished a tune he sent me.” Fatima explains.
Their first high profile collaboration was ‘Warm Eyes’, a hazy summer anthem with appropriate synths and laidback harmonies. It is a track that hints at big things to come from the partnership.
“It’s sunset music, I think he’s sick.” Fatima pauses and thinks it over some more
“Working with him it’s a combination of things – his music, his style, attitude and chilled out vibe. He is the coolest cat!”
Galactic funk, or futuristic funk depending on your stance, is fairly new music but something Fatima is really enjoying at the moment. The genre however is usually dominated by instrumentals. Dope beat-makers like Grooveman Spot and Dam have set a standard but recently through soul queens like Fatima there has been a refreshing injection of sweat vocals into the mix.
““I listen to quite a lot of hip hop – Wu Tang, MF Doom, Busta Rhymes, 70’s funk, old soul. There is too much from now and then”
But specifically about her current choice she’s clear
“I love those sounds, that ’spacey odyssey sound’. It’s dope. That’s definitely me amongst other stuff. At the end of the day it’s just good music. It might be inspired from certain sounds, in terms of instruments they used to create their sounds. But with a little touch, a little mash of now from influences of then. I think it’s just too fresh.”
Her arrival back in 2006 in London was semi-planned. Having only known the capital briefly as a student the relocation from her hometown Stockholm was a leap of faith as she explains.
“My best friend moved here but we didn’t move together. It was like both of us had our own little mission of what we wanted to do here in London.”
Halfway between her 16 and 17 years, the journey was a turning point in a young Fatima. And one that influenced her musically.
“I knew I wanted to go back” She smiles “If I can remember right that is. I’m getting cuckoo in my old age. Ha!”
“I remember at that time I bought Wiley’s album – Treddin On Thin Ice. I remember going home and being like yeah putting my little fingers in the air. I always wanted to go to his raves but never made it. I’m building a time machine now so I can go back, ha.
It’s lovely place [Stockholm] but after a while you feel like you want to see more of the world, ‘so let me go and see what’s up’, I thought. But that’s a big thing to do, to go to a country and say I’m gonna make it. But I thought to myself listen Fatma if I don’t go now time will just overtake you. When you’re young you can be quite selfish and if you want to try things it’s probably best when you’re younger. So I saved money and packed my suitcase.
For a month I was just walking around, checking out the London Eye and people skating. Sitting on a bench wondering what I’m gonna do, ha! But I eventually got a job and hit all sort of places like Plastic Peoples.”
Born to a Swedish mother and a father from Gambia – Senegal. As a kid she was always travelling around West Africa, influenced heavily by the sights and sounds. After attending music collage and hustling the mic at local basement venues in Stockholm it wasn’t until she made room for herself in the London scene, blowing the mind of a certain nutter and floating stranger that things really fell into place.
Those two figures were of course founders of Eglo records, Rinse FM DJ supreme Alexander Nut and producer/DJ Samuel T Shepherd aka Floating Points. One of the first releases to come out of the hugely respectable imprint and the only official lady within the crew, Fatima can now call Eglo Records home.
And what a great home it is. With a long list of dope releases showered in critical acclaim it’s currently a very impressive time for the fledging imprint – especially when you consider shifting vinyl is harder then shifting the common cold. What’s more, all involved are seemly sewn from the same thread. Holding this idea of multi-genre coolness and making unidentifiable sounds, they are one of the most interesting collectives of creative people in recent years
So what does it mean to be part of Eglo Records?
“It feels good. We are all really good friends, like a family really. When we use to hang out it always revolved around music so now that we’ve been a label for a while, it’s just golden” she laughs. “Golden baby!”
Production wise Eglo Records are without a doubt making some of the most exciting experimental sounds this side of Pluto but it’s Fatima’s grounding touch that is so crucial in binding Eglo’s melodic identity together.
As the days coffee turns lukewarm I stir our chat back to queries about her debut album. It will be dropping at some point she assures, just not right away.
“There is no point in stressing. You have to be satisfied with it.”
Thinking about the current digital age she then touches on a familiar problem.
“Everything is really disposable. It’s great to get stuff everyday but it can be overwhelming! Today it seems as if a lot of people want a lot all the time. I remember when I was growing up it took a while between projects. You actually appreciated the album. It’s not that I’m intentionally putting out less music, it just comes out when I’m satisfied. I can’t rush it.”
It’s a valid point. Imagine asking Picasso to churn out masterpieces or if Marvin Gaye or even A Tribe Called Quest back in the day had to deal with the pressures of free downloads and Internet demand. Would we appreciate their albums less?
Asking who would be the people to eventually release the album she’s adamant however Eglo Records are still the one.
“The more I thought about it the more it made sense. These are people I trust and have great taste in music and vision. So I wanted to be part of it. I released my first EP and it’s been good. This summer has been good too, playing at some festivals in Europe. It feels like we are moving in the right direction. I feel good, ‘cos it feels there is a lot of possibilities.”
Rightly so Fatima is optimistic and passionate about her future. And filled with that infectious self-confidence she leaves me with a few conquering words.
“If you want it enough you have to do it, otherwise life is gonna pass you by. To me it just feels like this is just me! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I’m gonna continue doing it.”