Sometimes in music people just click. There’s no formula for their success, its just an innate ability to make anything they work on together sound like it was destiny.(No pun intended!) Henry Binns (Zero 7) and Bo Bruce are two such souls, and the music they make together as Equador is akin to nothing and everything you’ve ever heard.
The simplicity of their debut single, a double A side: Blood/Bones of Man belies a complex narrative born from personal tragedies, powerful memories and incredible talent, and whets the appetite for their full debut album later this year.
UK Editor Simon Huxtable caught up with Henry and Bo to find out more about this intoxicating downtempo brew.
Hi guys, thanks for finding the time to chat to us at Decoded Magazine. How are you?
Great thanks, how are you?
Not bad, thanks for asking! Tell us about how you met and what inspired you to work together on Equador.
We met working on Bo’s first record and our mutual love of the pub next door to the studio.
Haa! How did you come up with the name? It’s intriguing.
We wanted a word that somehow described a kind of shared, musical collaboration between us and a fusion of two things. A halfway point where that all started. Sorry if that sounds really pretentious,haa! It also sounds nice! Say it! “e- qua- dorr”
You’ve both come into this new project from different angles. Henry, you have a wealth of experience from your time in Zero 7 and Bo secured a record deal on the back of your amazing performances on The Voice. Has that helped or hindered you?
Bo: It was a no brainier as I just used it to promote my EP that was out at the time – can’t get better promo than national TV!? It was also how I met Henry and my very loyal publishers Polar Patrol. Obviously it had its downsides, the celebrity and press interest was something I wasn’t really ready for and not something I dealt with very well.
Henry: After that whole major label / voice experience, we were compelled to sit down and just do something we liked with no inhibitions. Rather than try and slot a formatable / FM pop record into the machine.
We really like the first single. Can you talk us through a typical recording session? Do you both contribute to the sound and lyrics or prefer to work separately?
Chords from Henry to start with.. Melody from us both…. then Bo goes away and takes far too long on lyrics after “yoghurting” (gobbledegooking a top line down on the mic so we have something to work with) Then she returns with lyrics and we tweak chords and melody again. Tweaking goes on and on and on… until 3 years later, and the song is ready!
Henry, how does it feel to be back in the limelight making music again? Are there any lessons from your Zero 7 days you’ve learned from?
As Homer Simpson said so proudly “I haven’t learnt a thing!” Only that I should be deeply suspicious of my creativity when I’m skint.
Bo, you’ve sung for a wide range of artists including Chicane and Snow Patrol, would you say the changes in tempo affects how you deliver your lyrics, or do you find different nuances with each track you do?
Absolutely. Depends where I’m at. Often, I’ll stubbornly and earnestly try to shoehorn in the words that explain exactly what I ‘feel’. (Binns then tells me to get over myself and use a lyric that sings better) He doesn’t hold back that one.
Talk us through the album. Which tracks stand out for you?
It wasn’t an easy process. Every song was difficult and took forever to agree on direction and content and production. We had to fight for the middle ground between our two different visions. For always is the only song that happened in half a day. And that’s down to Jodi Miliner being present as a buffer and a chiller and someone we both ‘hear’ and respect.
We really worked hard to make sure that we liked all the songs. We could’ve made it a 12 track record but nothing is on the record that doesn’t serve a purpose and to that end we like them all. Avalon is a particular favourite, as it was written near the Isles of Avalon (in the UK) where we were renting a studio.
Thin Air is another favourite as it’s SO different from its original incarnation to where we ended up with it. It’s the one most people respond to due to its lilting melody I guess. It had been a leftover song from when Bo was supposedly writing her ‘second’ album before Equador was born and was a sort of electronic thing she’d written about a boy who’d called off his engagement, declared his undying love for her and then literally disappeared. Just fucked off, never to be seen again. But what a tune!
We understand Hiatus and Jodi Miliner were pivotal in the completion of the album…
Jodi Miliner is really the third member of Equador. There is no Equador without him, and Hiatus worked with us right at the start of the project. He is a mastermind with so much passion for what he does. I hope we get more of him soon.
Can you tell us about the live show? Where can we see you perform?
That’s where Jodi will come into his own too – there is not a single instrument that the guy can’t play. If you gave him a pair of spoons he’d get something good out of them. He’s a genius!
Well, its been wonderful to chat guys. We love the new single, and predict big things for the album! Is there anything in closing you’d like to add?
The artwork throughout the album is by our friend Emilie Pugh. Check her out sooner rather than later, she blows our minds.
Photo Credit (Hiatus): Bo Bruce