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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Arts Podcasts |
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Are We Live

4.5/5

Back in the day, before I put out a solid $14.99 a month for Spotify, I was a huge SoundCloud fiend. Similar to the way that Bandcamp seems to champion a community fueled by dark and overly-misunderstood hipster projects, the SoundCloud community is equally niche.  That I can drop the term “SoundCloud rapper” in casual conversation and be understood attests to the unique space that SoundCloud occupies as a platform. Despite its many flaws, in the last five years SoundCloud has been largely responsible for bringing a new generation of independent artists into the realm of mainstream appeal.

Are We Live follows the journey of four previously “up-and-coming”, now fully established, young artists based in London, who owe their success primarily to hype accrued through SoundCloud. Jordan Rakei, Tom Misch, Alfa Mist, and Barney Artist have been sporadically congregating at Pink Bird Studio in East London since 2015 to discuss their struggles, successes, favorite music, and processes, as they navigate their way through the music industry. As the young frontrunners of a resurgent neo-soul/jazz scene in South London, these four dudes provide a low-key insight into the culture which drives them and their peers.

A typical episode begins with a round the table discussion about what each artist has been working on in the time since the last episode. This usually evolves into deeper discussion on issues with songwriting, production, touring, or the state of popular music. Are We Live is really just four mates getting together for a fat yarn, but it seems to have captured quality snapshots of each hosts’ artistic and personal development in a genuine way that can be quantified and then heard in their respective music. At the tail end of the episode, each artist picks a song for the others to listen to and discuss. This feature has helped me discover other artists who I now love, some mainstream and some unknown.

Are We Live is a true window into the lives of young and talented artists. It lets the listener feel as though they are a part of the discussion, as opposed to a far-removed observer. Even if podcasts aren’t your buzz, all four artists are well worth a listen, as are their musical peers (see Laura Misch, Carmody, Emmavie, Elli Ingram, Zak Abel, Loyle Carner, Oscar Jerome, and Puma Blue).

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