14 Aug 2017
Suck it, Manchester.
Brighton, despite its size, is an absolute hotbed of musical talent. Maybe it's the stiff sea breeze, perhaps its the high concentration of music venues, or maybe it's the sheer quantity of dank that gets blazed, but something about our modest little city seems to breed musicians. Here are a handful of Brighton's most successful musical products:
Simon Green, the man behind Bonobo, is a Brighton native who formed his pioneering, down-tempo style of electronic music in the late 90s. Bonobo’s first album Animal Magic was released through the Brighton based label Tru Thoughts. Although Simon Green has since ditched the Brighton seaside for the sandy beaches of Los Angeles, he frequently returns to Sussex, having played De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill and Brighton Dome in the last few years.
Although originally from London, Brighton is the city that saw Natasha Khan become Bat For Lashes. Kahn moved to Brighton in 2000 to study music and visual arts at the University of Brighton, where she produced sound installations and performances influenced by artists including Steve Reich and Susan Hiller. Upon graduation, she recorded her Mercury Prize nominated 2009 album Two Suns, partly in her Brighton home. Kahn continues to reside in Brighton, seeing the city as a sanctuary for her creativity, as she told Fact Magazine in 2012, ‘there’s a very relaxed artistic atmosphere [in Brighton] which suits me.’
The coastal influence that is inherent in British Sea Power’s music makes these indie rockers intrinsically linked to their Brighton home. The band members grew up together in Brighton, always playing music in various bands but officially formed at the University of Reading as British Air Power. Upon moving back to Brighton after university, they embraced their seaside roots and became British Sea Power.
Having held a monthly club night called Krankenhaus at The Haunt, performing at Brighton’s Cine-City film festival and celebrating their 12th anniversary of debut album The Decline of British Sea Power in Brighton, British Sea Power continually prove themselves to be proud torchbearers for the local music scene.
2006 British indie is synonymous with these Brighton lads. Tracks such as Naïve and She Moves in Her Own Way refuse death, re-emerging each summer, blasting out of the speakers of Fosters-fuelled barbecues. Although many of the members met in Brit School, the original line-up formed while they attended Brighton Music College.
Michael David Rosenberg, better known as Passenger, learned classical guitar and began writing songs growing up in Brighton. Passenger was originally a band that he formed in Brighton in 2003, which broke up in 2009. Rosenberg kept the stage-name and began playing solo, busking all around the world from Hove to Australia. Passenger finally broke into the mainstream with his Ivor Novello award winning single Let Her Go, which has sold over 1 million digital copies in the UK and over 4 million in the US.
DJ and record producing veteran Norman Cook moved back to Brighton after a stint as the bassist for the Housemartins in 1985. Firmly based in Brighton, Cook developed his Fatboy Slim musical persona that would go on to gain him international success with hit singles such as Praise You and Weapon of Choice. In 2008, Cook paid homage to the city with a project called The Brighton Port Authority, which saw him collaborate with the likes of Iggy Pop, David Byrne and Dizzee rascal. Cook has remained unabashedly supportive of his hometown, playing Brighton Pride in 2012 and even brought Boiler Room to Brighton for a 3 hour set in 2016.
Fatboy Slim’s love from Brighton’s music scene extends into the success of Rizzle Kicks. Slim helped the pair of young rappers become more than one hit wonders by producing their third single Mama Do The Hump, which continued their radio-friendly rap domination after they burst onto the scene with Down With The Trumpets and When I was A Youngster.
The upcoming producer, DJ, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist first caught the attention of Radio 1 at the age of 17 with his banger of a track Lotus Eater while still living in Guernsey. He soon left Guernsey to study English Literature at the University of Sussex in Brighton, which is where he began performing live with regular sold-out performances at Brighton nightlife staple, the Green Door Store. Mura Masa has come far from making music in his university bedroom, producing for the likes of Stormzy, NAO, Charlie XCX and A$AP Rocky, to name a few.