We meet… Noble & Heath
25th September 2017
We’re all about Northern Soul and the culture that comes with it; after all, it’s part of our heritage! That’s why, when we came across Noble & Heath, their favourite genres were literally music to our ears. This double-decking vinyl duo, made up of Emma Noble and Sophie Heath, are all about Soul, Northern Soul, Funk & Disco. In other words, what they like to call, “proper music for proper dancing”. We caught up with the two of them after they headlined our musical August soiree!
What drew you to Northern Soul?
Just everything about it is right. The arrangement and craftsmanship in the songs is incredible, in particular the stuff with strings and brass - it sounds so powerful when it all kicks in. There’s a repetitive, heavy beat and drive which just makes you want to dance.
Then you get the slower paced ones which are just as powerful - they have this haunting kind of sound to them. A lot of the songs have meaningful lyrics and messages, delivered from the heart in these amazing soulful voices, but they still maintain an uplifting feel, which gives us an amazing feeling when we listen to them and play them loud to a room full of dancing people.
Also, the fact that there is this bank of amazing Black American soul music which didn’t make it into the mainstream music scene - it’s like finding a pot of gold! We are continuously finding new songs and that’s really exciting!
We also love the dance hall culture. It's overwhelming to see people submerse themselves in the music. We go to a lot of the all-nighters; the big ones as well as intimate ones which our friends put on.
Emma was fortunate enough to be a dancer in Elaine Constantine’s film 'Northern Soul', which bought us even closer to the scene and, off the back of that, we met many more people with the same passion that have now become great friends.
Our hearts don't just lie with Northern though; in fact, it’s only a small part of our collections. We love Philly Soul from late 60s/ early 70s which has a funkier sound, as well as disco, funk, crossover and Motown – it all ends up in our sets!
As Quincy Jones said, "Soul should never be pigeon-holed, it crosses all boundaries and influences all types of music". We try to bring this to our sets and play a range of tracks which we know people will enjoy dancing to.
Who are your music icons?
We class a music icon as someone who creates a stir within the music scene - it's the obvious people like The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Hendrix etc. But if we are talking about within our generation then there has always been a special place in our hearts for Amy Winehouse. Our ears have always swayed towards soul and we feel like there is a lack of 'soul' in modern music these days (not all of it!), so when Amy came along it was such a breath of fresh air. She was the first artist in years who actually made us stop and say, "WHO AND WHAT IS THIS?" when she first came on the radio. She broke into the mainstream with a refreshing type of music a lot of young people hadn’t heard before, and she won them all over. She also had a great and unique character to go with it!
What were your summer songs this year?
- Bettye Swann - Kiss my Love Goodbye
- The Three Degrees - You're the Fool
- The Emotions - Going on Strike
- Esther Phillips - Boy I Really Tied One On
- High Inergy - I Love Making Love to the Music
- Aretha Franklin - (Must be the 'alternative vocal' version) I'm in Love
- Joe Battan - Let Me Love You
- Donald Byrd - (Fallin’ like) Dominoes
- Idris Muhammad - Could Heaven Ever be Like This
- Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves the Sunshine
- Marlena Shaw – California Soul
- Barbara Mason - You Better Stop It
Where’s your favourite place to play?
We’ve actually just celebrated our one-year anniversary of breaking into DJing! One of the first gigs we played was through a good friend who owns a pub in Wandsworth called The Ship. We now do a regular night there called 'Soul Ship'. It's not a dancehall in any way, but the energy of the people that come along and spirit of the place makes a really enjoyable night.
We also really enjoy DJing events and stores because we get to play all our favourite songs which you sometimes can't play at a busy weekend party.
Some other friends also put on a night called 'Soul Box' at Old Street records. It’s a good one to play because it's always packed, there’s good energy and they always get a great line to play which means the music that is played is really eclectic. It's a night we are always very proud to be part of.
Generally, we find the rule is: It's the people that make it a good night - it's the movers and the groovers that turn up to support us.
How did you discover G.H. Bass Co.?
Everyone we know seems to wear them so they have just always been a part of our lives! We have always worn Bass shoes because they are great for dancing in (hence why Michael Jackson wore them!) and they are good quality. We like to wear vintage items - specifically from the 60s and 70s and Bass Loafers & Weejuns just go really well with the kind of things we like to wear.
How did you find out about our store event?
Our friend Owen Harvey had an exhibition which he asked us to DJ at. Bass were sponsoring the event, we got chatting and we all got on! They saw us play our set and then got in contact to ask if we would play their store event for them. That was a really lovely event!
Do you wear Bass yourself and what are your favourites from the range?
Always! Every day almost, for work and for play... Emma's favourite are the Weejuns Estelle Brogues in white and Sophie's are the Oxblood Tassel Loafers. Lovely jubbly!