Fold – a band advancing equality & unity through musical dialogue

Embrace your humanity

Experimental Leeds based quartet Fold weave the natural spoken rhythms and eloquence of many voices past and present into a unique musical tapestry of social commentary. Their influences – worn very much on their sleeves – encompass funk, jazz, hip-hop and psychedelic rock threads. Ranging from Bruce Lee to Coretta Scott King the voices in their music reflect on and bring to light certain critical truths from particular perspectives. Fold use speech in a similar vein to Public Enemy, DJ Shadow and more recently Public Service Broadcasting (a group that Fold have remixed and twice supported).

Fold have one simple goal: to advance universal human equality and unity. They aim to highlight the perspectives of those who have suffered the most at the hands of others. They do not pretend to speak for any movement. As artists they recognise the importance of prioritising narratives such as #blacklivesmatter in media output in order to effect change.

Fold band members

Now in its fifth year Fold consists of Seth Mowshowitz (founder, writer, keys) Kane Rattray (drums), Ben Walsh (bass) and Sam Hutchison (guitar) along with many occasional contributors. These include the celebrated UK poet & radio presenter Mr Gee along with Leeds based saxophonist & all-round horn guru Emma Johnson.

Musical backgrounds

Seth comes from the world of late 90s / early 00s New York City trip hop and downtempo. His first incarnation Mujaji yielded the underground classic Free Rain and a series of 12” contributions that helped to launch Brooklyn’s excellent Bastard Jazz Recordings.

Kane and Ben hail from West Yorkshire and have been friends since adolescence. They’ve also been playing together for more than 10 years which has made them an exceptionally tight rhythm section. Sam, having recently replaced Josh Gardziel on guitar duties, is the newest member of Fold. An active member of the Leeds scene Sam brings both his guitar playing and sound engineering talents to the table.

Fold’s compositions are informed by the innovations of hip-hop and its many offshoots. Fold aspire to the live spirit of their funk and jazz forebears and therefore use as many real instruments as possible. For that same reason the band also avoid using click tracks or pre-sequenced material in any context. In addition, Leeds based Emma Johnson’s horn section lends both authenticity and punch to the sound.

Recent Fold developments

Fold laid the groundwork for their debut album by self-releasing a series of singles. These garnered considerable support from UK radio including BBC 6 Music’s Huey Morgan, Don Letts and especially Gideon Coe. Blur’s Dave Rowntree is a fan having brought Seth in as a guest on his Radio X show. With a solid base of regional radio support Fold make regular appearances on stations in the North including BBC Introducing West Yorkshire.

In November 2015 Fold launched their debut album at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds to a packed house. Following a successful album campaign the band released their single Something Gives featuring the voice of James Baldwin. The tune was swiftly picked up by BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Leeds, Amazing Radio and numerous regional stations. 6 Music’s Huey Morgan included Something Gives among his top records of 2016. Having appeared on the #moreincommon HOPE Not Hate charity compilation it will also feature on a Verses Records charity compilation in 2017.

In addition to compilation appearances Fold are planning a new EP and several one-off single releases for 2017. These will be their most ambitious recordings to date featuring numerous vocal collaborators along with live horns and strings.

Playing live

Fold’s live show has been steadily gaining a strong reputation backed up by key figures in the local scene. These include Duncan Seaman of the Yorkshire Evening Post, BBC Introducing West Yorkshire’s Alan Raw, Michael Ainsworth at the Doghouse (Halifax) and Richard Watson of 360 Club (Leeds). The group have incorporated a compelling projected set of visuals that has been particularly well received by their audiences. Their sound and performance stand out mainly because they are not afraid to speak up. Fold’s shows have highlighted the fact that people need artists to articulate narratives too often absent from mainstream media.

Direct action and support

Apart from the social commentary Fold are always keen to lend direct support to urgent causes wherever possible. Because of this the band have done numerous benefit gigs for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. They supplied a widely acclaimed remix of hip-hop duo Ceiling Demons for the UK CALM charity. Fold also released an emergency track to raise money for wounded civilians in Gaza during Israeli bombing raids.

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