“Music definitely does things to people”, writes “born and bred” Londoner, Throwing Shade, (aka Nabihah Iqbal) as she sidesteps, via email, any spiritual or ideological reasoning behind this TRANSCEND FUTURE mix she’s kindly given aqnb. Putting it down to the ‘COSMIC R’N’B’ of her press releases it’s more likely the diffuse blend of crystal clear synth melodies and agitated drum machines, impossibly welded to formless ambience and warped pop and RnB acapellas, is a composite of Iqbal’s own personal perspectival miscellany.
Launching her debut split 12-inch on Berlin producer Kassem Mosse’s Ominira label, in a Westminster reference library, on October 4, Iqbal draws from a world of influences and experience -across the sitar, guitar, flute and piano, as well as Turkish, Thai, Balinese and Javanese ensembles -and gives it to the universe. As an NTS Radio presenter, a graduate in ethnomusicology and running a club night called SHEIKHA, with other exciting London producers like SOPHIE, Felicita and Palmistry, all roads point to free exploration, while staying shrouded in mystery. Because, as Iqbal says about the the event named after the Arabic word for ‘Queen’, “It’s open to interpretation”.
** As a reference to house ballroom scene, your sound comes across more downbeat than the NYC underground disco of that 70s and 80s era. Is there a sonic influence within that?
Nabihah Iqbal: I don’t usually have a specific sound or influence in mind. I just see what happens, and what comes out and if I like the sound of it, I’ll stick with it. It’s only afterwards when other people listen to it and then tell me they can hear certain references within my music, that makes me think, ‘oh yeah, maybe that’s true, I never thought of it that way’. I listen to so many different types of music, and I’ve played all sorts of instruments too. I’m sure all of those experiences and references get mixed up inside my head to create some pretty crazy hybrids.
** How do your studies in musicology figure in your music?
I play the sitar, guitar, flute and piano, and I’ve also played in classical Turkish and Thai ensembles, as well as Balinese and Javanese gamelan groups. All of this has obviously coloured my musical experiences and musical output in quite a profound way, I’d say.
** What’s your involvement with the SHEIKHA club night?
NI: SHEIKHA is a club night that I put on together with a good friend and fellow music-maker, Felicita. Between us and our friends, there are so many people that we know who are making fresh, new music and so the idea was to put on a party to showcase these underground electronic sounds emerging on the London scene, in an organic setting. We’ve had people like Ana Caprix, Palmistry, SOPHIE and Endgame play, and it’s always been a lot of fun.
** Why a launch in a reference library?
NI: I wanted to have the record launch party in a venue that was memorable, and away from the usual East London clubs that everyone goes to. It was a real novelty – it’s not everyday you get to party in a library. I actually think the librarians enjoyed it the most. They were really going for it. It’s a really old building with big windows and high ceilings, and the walls are lined with books, which made it a very beautiful setting for my live performance. Plus, it’s right in the middle of town, behind Leicester Square, where it’s quite trashy, not really ‘cool’ to go out and party, but obviously I tried to change that for one night! I think it worked. **