'To be honest, we feel like we can rock any crowd'. A big claim, but Left Step Band are a quartet with big personalities, big ambitions and massive, massive songs.
Initially conceived as the producer/MC duo of Nikolai (formerly of UK ska punk stalwarts King Prawn) and Eff le Ref LSB immediately set their stall out with the aim of confounding expectations and
moving away from the traditional hip hop formulas being peddled around the scene. They sought to distance themselves from what was going on around them and bring to bear their diverse collective influences. A love of reggae, dub and old skool ska are all evident in the band's sound, from the Jerry Dammers-esque keyboards of 'Rebels of the Frontline' to the shuffling, laid back beats of 'The Deep End' LSB skilfully navigate three or four decades of musical heritage, wrapping it up into one delicious, bombastic, package.
Not content with being a mere studio project, Left Step's ranks quickly expanded to encompass a full live line-up. Meeting through that most modern of mediums, the internet, Nikolai and Eff le Ref were put in touch with Zac who seamlessly slotted in to their ranks. These three developed a chemistry which would become the bedrock of the LSB sound but quickly realised that a final magical ingredient was missing. Having toyed with the idea of introducing a guitarist to their ranks, LSB eventually decided, as they always do, to do things their own way. The final piece to be added to this diverse puzzle is a familiar face, namely Radio 1 breakfast DJ Dev who completed what is, at first glance, an unusual set up - 'we wanted to be a bit different, it was a deliberate decision' says Dev 'I like the fact that when people see the decks they make an immediate assumption about you as a straight forward hip hop act'.
The quartet bonded immediately over a diverse sound and a penchant for bringing the everyday to life with big hooks and a killer melody. Over long days and strenuous nights the band sweated and toiled, shaping themselves into the raucous unit they are today. Never short on song craft, they rapidly generated a group of songs which befit their name, left-field, out of step but at all times danceable and with an instinctive eye for a groove and a chorus.
As a live proposition LSB are something else altogether. MC'ing meets singing and swaggering beats meet soulful hooks - all imbued with a sense of timeless storytelling and adept lyrical narrative. It is this musical diversity and originality which has seen the band share bills with both urban acts and with friends from the indie fraternity. Moreover, gigs with the likes of Finlay Quaye have proved that they can mix it with the best, on stages large or small, to crowds old or young and with an easy appeal which runs through every note of the music they produce.
Beyond anything else, Left Step Band is about good time music for good time people, rich with pop nous yet never forgetful of its roots. There is a real sense that the quartet are bringing back something that has long been missing from the scene, namely a genuine sense of fun and musical abandon with no constraints and no rules. 'It’s really just about having fun, and seeing people enjoy themselves' says Nikolai...
And right now LSB are having an absolute blast.