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We are Fold: a Leeds music collective amplifying humanitarian perspectives

Leeds band Fold; showing the full line-up: Sam Hutchison, James Child, Seth Mowshowitz and Phil Hepworth
FOLD — from left to right: Sam Hutchison, James Child, Seth Mowshowitz and Phil Hepworth

By incorporating a wide range of voices including MCs, poets, historical speakers and singers into our music, we aim to amplify humanitarian perspectives and critical reflections on today’s world. Through doing so we also hope to help keep spaces open for speaking freely and truthfully. Our sound is similarly wide-ranging, from jazz-funk through Brazilian, psyche, hip-hop and downtempo. We have been described as ‘a bit weird’ by some of our own children.

“Absolutely loving this!”

— Lauren Laverne (BBC 6 Music)

Starting in 2012 we’ve managed to cultivate a decent reputation in the underground British music scene. Our music is played on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, Radio X, Amazing Radio and stations across the world. Indie Shuffle are big fans and we’ve had features in The Times, The Guardian and The NME. We’ve played gigs all over the UK including a live session for Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music.

Fold live at Square Chapel, Halifax. Horn section by Emma Johnson.

We believe that the answers to a sustainable future lie in prioritising the value of life over profits in all decisions. We believe that the success of our species has not been driven by ‘survival of the fittest’ but instead by ‘survival of the most cooperative.’ Our ability to act cooperatively to our mutual benefit, facilitated by our loving natures, is the true foundation of society. These beliefs, are what we bring to every record and every performance. We hope you’ll join us!

“Great vibes”

— Don Letts (Big Audio Dynamite, BBC 6 Music)

Fold’s members

Our line-up consists of Seth Mowshowitz (founder, writer, keys) James Child (aka Jimmy, drums), Phil Hepworth (bass) and Sam Hutchison (guitar) along with many contributors. These include the celebrated UK poet & radio presenter Mr Gee along with Leeds based saxophonist & all-round horn guru Emma Johnson.

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.

Phil is a multi-instrumental maven who both teaches and gigs. Jimmy is as comfortable playing funk as he is punk, ska or anything else — he’s one hell of a drummer. Sam is also an active member of the Leeds music scene bringing his excellent guitar playing, engineering, electrical skills and DJ-ing talents to the table.

“So interesting, so original

— Dave Rowntree (Blur)

Our compositions are informed by the innovations of hip-hop and its many offshoots. We aspire to the live spirit of our funk and jazz forebears and therefore use as many real instruments as possible. For that same reason we also avoid using click tracks or pre-sequenced material on stage. Whenever possible, we get Emma Johnson’s horn section to bring gravitas and punch to the sound.

Fold live at Square Chapel, Halifax. Horn section by Emma Johnson.

Direct action and support

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