It is fair to say we get excited about a lot of new bands here at Best Fit, but occasionally there are those that have us borderline obsessed, such was the case with I Ching, so much so in fact that we decided to put their debut single out on our fledging label. ‘It’s Me’ came out last month and like proud parents we felt it was high-time to check in on frontman Rollo Smallcombe to find out what he’s been up to since, what the band’s plans are for the future and how things began.
So we know you and Kevin Emre met at University but how did I Ching come into being from that?
University was full of creative people. It just so happened that when Kevin and I started writing music together we were both into what we were making. It was also a time when we were focused on learning and absorbing lots of what was around us. When we realised our songs might be worth listening to we formed I Ching.
Had you been in any bands before that? Can you tell us a bit about them?
We had both played in different bands before. That’s how we learnt to play music with other people. I was in a band when I was about 15 and since then I can’t really imagine not playing music and making records. It’s what I love to do. Our other bands growing up sound a lot different from I Ching, but when you grow up new things influence you, and they still do, whether it’s a new instrument, individual or record.
Are you both from London or did you grow up elsewhere? Do you feel like your surroundings then and now have an impact on your music?
We are both from London, though I didn’t grow up here my whole life. I think environment and surroundings play a huge role on what your music sounds like. Whether it’s tranquil or manic, it would be hard to get rid of that influence in the sound you produce. I think general happiness and well being is probably the most influential element of life though. It’s most often a direct product of your surroundings too.
What inspired you to first pick up an instrument?
Family and a bunch of great cassette tapes.
At what point did Andrew Ford and Thomas Jones come on board?
When we intended to play live, we needed some good musicians to help us out and be a part of I Ching. Tom and Andrew have been playing with us ever since. Probably about a year ago now.
What kind of things did you hope for the project when you started out?
I hoped it would continue to improve musically. That’s all you can hope for.
How would you describe I Ching to people who’ve not heard your music before?
Somewhere between XTC, Cagrisim, New Order, Joe Meek and Tom Vek but not like any of them.
With your single already out, what are you working on now?
Just finished a remix for Zebra and Snake, and writing some more songs for future I Ching.
Have you noticed a difference in the way you approach song writing since you started out? How have your interests/visions changed if they have at all?
I think writing gets harder, but the songs get better. I think our interests are the same but visions have changed. Not sure how, but they will be reflected in the next record. We still have lots of older stuff no one has heard which would be good to get out there.
Who’s responsible for the artwork on your current single?
What are you all currently listening to? Any favourite new bands you all agree on?
I’m currently listening to Ty Segall band (as I answer these questions), Factory Floor, Here We Go Magic, Phantogram, Rella, The Chills, Lime Headed Dog, Ampersand and Raime among others.
How has the gig circuit been treating you so far? Any favourite shows?
We really enjoyed our single launch show recently as there were lots of friendly faces in the audience. I think generally we’ve played some great shows, but we really haven’t played many compared to most bands. In the way it’s been treating us, I suppose every gig we learn something new.
Are you looking forward to The Great Escape? Have you been before?
Never played there before, but I’ve been a couple of times. There are some great bands from Brighton, and the festival has a lot going on, so I’m kind of looking forward to watching stuff like Regal Safari and Django Django as well as playing. A bit of sea air might be good for us too!
I Ching are playing Best Fit’s very own Great Escape stage tonight 7:15pm at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. For the full Best Fit stage low-down head here.