In 1986, the Black British musical duo A.R. Kane turned Black rock music on its head, creating artistic and melodic rock music that they later coined “Dream Pop.” The duo titillated and confused many critics with their unique take on stripped-down, sensual rock tracks that many considered to be a part of the British shoegaze rock genre that was dominated by white bands such as Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine. A.R. Kane set themselves apart by being a bit sparser and percussive but still laden with the dreamy and euphoric guitar, bass and vocal accompaniments.
This year, the band celebrates the 30th anniversary of their debut album, “69.” A.R. Kane founding member Rudy Tambala talks about the music of his past and his new music, an EP entitled “Thinking Sweet,” released under the new band name, Jübl, which consists of Tambala; his sister, Maggie Tambala; and Andy Taylor.
AmNews: After 30 years, what’s your great accomplishment and greatest regret with “69?”
Tambala: Greatest accomplishment: “69” is one of those rare LPs that was unique in its time, not a freak, but maybe a musical/cultural evolution, with the ancestral DNA still present in the genotype, but also mutated and cross-fertilized genes resulting in a hybrid phenotype able to adapt, survive and thrive at the junction of multicultural societal disruption.
Greatest regret: That we never saw it for what it was at the time, never realized it was of the past and of the present, but also of the future. The mutation created an ability to time travel, like jaunting1, but in time, not space. In fact, we have yet to record track 4.
AmNews: When you were young, how did you “discover” shoegaze, or did you just start making music and the genre seemed to fit for critics?
Tambala: I don’t remember being described as shoegaze. I think it was a category invented after we had stopped doing the noise guitar thing. It described the bands that stared at shoes, or shoes that stared at the audience, not sure. Anyway, we were not shoegaze until afterward, a retrofit.
Alex and I developed our style, maybe a forerunner of ‘gaze, whilst playing live in 1986/87, processing guitars and samples through effects and stomp boxes to create textural, layered compositions (as opposed to riffs and solos), often at high volumes, taking our cue from the likes of Miles Davis, Cocteau Twins, Sun Ra, Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, Sonic Youth, JAMC, Lee Scratch Perry, King Tubby, Playgroup, Side Effect, Vangelis, Pil, etc. The guitars were there only to trigger the effects, and it was at once muscular and geeky, lots of knob twiddling, bending over effects racks, or kneeling down, focused on the interaction of our sounds, going for that extended moment of intensity, where it gels, connects, everyone experiencing that intense high of combined adrenaline, endorphin and oxytocin. Using the sound tech to generate an endogenous chemical trip in ourselves and the audience, not an escape from reality, more like an