Get To Know...  oreglo

Neu Get To Know… oreglo

Polymorphic jazz for the modern age.

Hello and welcome back to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

This week, we meet London’s oreglo - a quartet who, since forming through youth organisations in their native London, have notched up milestones almost by the minute: they’ve just signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings (KOKOROKO, Yussef Dayes); have supported Gabriels; and were handpicked by their self-confessed inspirations Ezra Collective to perform at Cross The Tracks fest. 

Made up of c-sé (keys), Linus Barry (guitar), Nico Saggese (drums) and Teigan Hastings (tuba), oreglo’s output can broadly be described as jazz, but this is jazz as you may never have heard it before - incorporating rock, reggae, and rap influences, their debut EP ‘not real people’ (out on 5th July) is a confident, ambitious opening statement from a band who are leading the charge for the next generation of UK jazz. Ahead of the release of their latest single ‘comet’, we caught up with the quartet to chat more about the significance of youth organisations, jazz receiving more mainstream recognition, and their musical heroes.

What are the first songs/albums you ever bought with your own money, and why?
Teigan: The first record I bought was the album ‘FYAH’ by Theon Cross - it was around the time I started maturing my music taste and finding the direction I wanted my sound to go in.
Linus: ‘1, 2, Kung Fu’ by Boy Azooga; it was my favourite album when I was like 15, and I remember going to a record store when I was on a holiday in Scotland and seeing it in physical form - I had to buy it with the cash I saved up. I remember as soon as I got back home, I dug up our old record player with the help of my dad, and played that record non-stop for the next few months. I LOVED the sense of ownership that it was my record.
Nicco: I bought this CD of a Miles Davis live performance one time - it was from a random show he did with his second quintet in Copenhagen or something - and I didn’t know much about that quintet at the time, but just remember listening to it in the car and being blown away.
c-sé: ‘Wun 2’ by IZCO, Reeko. Sonically, it’s a mimesis of having your chin up during tough times, and cherishing the small things. The energy and chemistry is undeniably profound and this duo maintains a gripping authenticity despite weaving through multiple soundscapes.

You met through the youth organisations Tomorrow’s Warriors and Kinetika Bloco - can you tell us a bit more about them? What do you think you gained or learned from your involvement with them (besides bandmates)? 
Teigan: I started my tuba journey with Kinetika Bloco and it taught me a lot about working with other musicians, especially how to listen - it’s about not only knowing your part, but also knowing everyone else’s. Having confidence in yourself is also a big thing I learned from them too.
Linus: Even though I wasn’t directly involved in Warriors, going to the odd class on the weekend, leading our jam, and being given gigs through them has been a vital part of oreglo. The community of young musicians connected by Warriors has helped me meet so many amazing, inspiring people.
Nicco: Going to Warriors not only put me in an environment where I could gain full appreciation for music and hone my craft, it also gave me a whole family of musicians to look up to, be mentored by, and who provide me with constant inspiration and support, guiding the way to where I needed to be.
c-sé: Tomorrow’s Warriors showcased the power of community and the power of London. oreglo wouldn’t be what it is if these ideas of breaking down socio-economic boundaries weren’t encouraged by such organisations.

These are also the sorts of organisations shouted out by Ezra Collective in their 2023 Mercury Prize winners’ speech. For young jazz musicians such as yourselves, what’s the significance of having a group like Ezra Collective gain more prominence in the public consciousness? 
Teigan: I feel like it allows us to be comfortable knowing that there’s not so much judgement out there, which gives us more time to just focus on making the music we enjoy. Also, the fact that niche music like ours is already being loved by many people makes our journey if not easier, then at least more guided.
Linus: When they won, it felt like the start of something very big; it really made us feel like this scene has so much more to give, and has a lot of potential to really reach new levels and audiences.
Nicco: The whole scene is so well interconnected - everyone knows everyone, especially when you’ve all come through the same youth programmes, so seeing them do their thing just reinstates that sense of community. It’s like you’ve got older siblings paving the way for you; any time people from the Warriors family do something big, it gives me a whole new wave of inspiration. I will never forget watching the Mercury Prize on TV when Ezra won - it was surreal.
c-sé: It symbolises a stylistic change and foreshadows the future of what defines London. We live in an era where curation supersedes creation, and Ezra has set the standard of seamlessly blending the past and present. 

“oreglo wouldn’t be what it is if these ideas of breaking down socio-economic boundaries weren’t encouraged by youth organisations.” - c-sé

You’re born and bred Londoners - what do you think of the music scene there at the moment? How would you say the city informs or inspires your musical output? 
Teigan: I think London has a big impact on the music we like - I’m from South and the others are from East, and the fact London is such a big melting pot for culture means that when we come together, we’re able to create a sound that represents us all without having to compromise too much.
Linus: I think I'm just constantly surrounded by people of so many nationalities/cultures, and therefore different strands of musical heritage. The pure diversity of music I’m exposed to in London just gives me so much to play with, and informs the no-boundaries approach to music we as a band have.
Nicco: The music in this city is so diverse, I feel like since I started gigging and going to jams and stuff, I’ve just been tapping into so many different areas. I don’t wanna be stuck to one style, and living in London provides the perfect place to branch out to as many different people and musical/life experiences as possible. 
c-sé: London’s sonic signature is a mesh of many styles. It’s showcased in our music because we all come from different backgrounds and cultures.

Your debut EP, ‘not real people’, arrives in July. What do you hope listeners will get out of it, or take away from watching an oreglo live show?
Teigan: It’s such a small part of our sound and hints at where we’re planning to go. 
Linus: As cringey and cliché as it sounds, I just want them to enjoy and connect with our music, and hopefully come away from it thinking that they saw something genuinely cool and unique.
Nicco: For me, this body of music is only a taster of what we have to offer; it kinda symbolises our collective journey through adolescence and the amount of growth we’ve all seen in the last two years. As for our shows, I only hope that people have a good time and are reminded of joy and being present. 
c-sé: It’s our blurb. The story’s only beginning. If you’re interested, read on!

Who would be your dream collaborator (and why)? 
Teigan: My dream collab is probably Damien Marley as I grew up listening to him, especially in that dubstep era. His voice is just so unique and his energy is unmatched - I feel like the energy of oreglo and him together would be crazy.
Linus: If we had Makaya Mccraven on our production, it could level up our sound like crazy.
Nicco: For me it would have to be Esperanza Spalding. I’ve always been a huge fan of her music, but more so just how creative she is in that every album she writes is so unique; her inability to have her music put in a box is what I wanna achieve.
c-sé: Kendrick Lamar. He is my favourite artist and is a master at his craft - it’d be interesting to see what we’d come up with together.

Finally, DIY are coming round for dinner - what are you making? 
Teigan: Option one would have to be a big ol’ seafood boil - I LOVE MY SEAFOOD. Or option two would be some Jamaican classics, jerk chicken and some hard food (if you don’t know, get to know).
Linus: Gotta be crêpes, by far my favourite food.
Nicco: Tagliatelle with a mushroom, pancetta and mascarpone sauce. 
c-sé: A bucket of shrimps, watermelon, or jerk chicken.

'not real people' is out on 5th July via Brownswood Recordings. 

Tags: oreglo, Neu, Get to Know

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