The UK has a new urban male group on the scene, but Encore are not your average boy band. The three-piece collective, consisting of singer and noted songwriter Mark Asari, 21, singer/producer Cairo Woodwood, 22, and 23-year-old rapper Pierre Joseph, are bringing a new element to the table. Vanessa Laker recently had a chat with the lads, to discuss their current single, ‘Wind Up’, their upcoming LP and how Jay-Z inspired the band’s name, all exclusively for The Wrap Up…
Vanessa: Tell us a bit about your latest track, ‘Wind Up’, and the concept behind it…
Encore: The concept behind the song is basically about being in a relationship where the girl can’t make up her mind whether she wants you to go, or whether she wants to be with you. She just doesn’t know whether she wants you there or not. She just can’t make her mind up.
Vanessa: Your sound is a mixture of many genres: R&B, pop, dubstep etc. How would you describe your sound?
Encore: We don’t have a specific sound. We like to describe our music as the ‘Encore sound’. We’re not taking any particular direction. We’re not taking a dubstep or R&B direction. It’s a mix. We’re into a mixture of different genres and they all reflect in our sound. We have so many different influences. We’re like three different artists ourselves, so when we come together the outcome is such a diverse and cross-genre result: From hip-hop, pop, rock, dubstep, R&B, soul, rap etc. So many different sounds influence us. We never want to limit ourselves.
Vanessa: So, how did you guys get together as a band?
Encore: Basically, we knew of each other before we actually met up. We were introduced by other friends, who arranged a session for us and we wrote a track and then developed from then onwards. In the studio we really gelled together. Two of us already had the same manager and that’s how we pretty much connected and we really worked well together, so we stuck by it.
Vanessa: And how did the name Encore come about?
Encore: I was listening to Jay-Z’s track, ‘Encore’, which came on by shuffle. And at that moment it just clicked. I was like, ‘This is the name. This is our name.’ It just felt right.
Vanessa: Despite being talented singer/songwriters, the term ‘boy band’ sometimes tends to have a negative ring to it. Do you feel that because of this, you have to work that little bit harder in order to prove yourselves?
Encore: To a certain degree, yeah. Not that the term ‘boy band’ is anything wrong. But these days, a lot of boy bands are very polished and clean and you can see they’re very put together. But we’re not like that. We’re more raw and quite edgy. It’s very organic. I think just being songwriters, we have to put that extra effort in. And I think putting that extra effort in our writing, in our vocals and in our performances; we’ll prove that we’re very different to what some people may perceive us as.
Vanessa: You guys are definitely not your ‘typical’ boy band. You write, rap and produce…
Encore: We have a lot of creative freedom in what we do. We’re very involved in every aspect of our career. We wouldn’t really classify ourselves as a ‘boy band’. We’re more of a collective of artists that have come together as a group – more of a group, than a boy band.
Vanessa: The UK urban scene is really thriving at moment, but which artists are you guys rooting for and why?
Encore: I’m really feeling UK rap. I’m very much supporting the UK rap scene. Wretch 32 is definitely doing his thing right now. Also Jessie J is amazing. She’s a great songwriter, great vocals. She’s very organic. Just a great all-round artist.
Vanessa: Growing up, who or what inspired you musically?
Encore: Just music itself is what inspired us. But to mention a few artists, people like Michael Jackson, Boys II Men, Usher. The early R&B scene was a big inspiration. Stevie Wonder’s probably one of my biggest musical inspirations. His music and artistry is just legendary.
Vanessa: You guys were on the road with N-Dubz and Chipmunk. What was that experience like?
Encore: Yeah, we did a few dates for their tour which was pretty great. Just performing to such huge crowds is such a motivational experience and gets you ready for hopefully what’s to come. So it was a great experience and we’re just looking forward to doing more live shows.
Vanessa: Your debut album is released later this year. Tell us a bit about it…
Encore: We’ve been working really hard in the studio. We’ve got loads of tracks – about 60. So we’ve gotta narrow it down to pick the best few. The sound is very unique, we mix many genres. Being that we’re three quite diverse artists, when we come together that reflects in our music and the outcome is really interesting and very musically diverse. So we’re really enjoying the process and very excited about the record. We’re still working on it, but it should hopefully be out around September time.
Vanessa: And what are your plans for the rest of 2011?
Encore: Of course the completion of the album is one of the main things, but we’ll be doing loads of shows. Performing live and lots of studio work.
Stay up to date with Encore on Twitter – www.twitter.com/WantMoreEncore
Words: Vanessa Laker (@VanessaLaker)
This interview was conducted for MTV UK’s The Wrap Up