The Herbaliser are all about moving forwards, onwards and upwards. Bonding over a shared love of jazz, funk, rare groove and hip-hop in the early 1990s, West London duo Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba have evolved with each chapter in their 15-year story. First it was instrumental beats, breaks and samples. Then they added guest rappers and vocalists. Later, as international festival favourites, their line-up swelled into a mini-orchestra with lush arrangements to match.
On their latest album, Same As It Never Was, The Herbaliser hit a dazzling new peak. With a new label, a new main vocalist, and a new focus on soulful songwriting, this is their richest and most diverse record so far. A timeless modern soul record, it should appeal not just to specialist fans but also to a new generation seduced by the knowing pop-soul nostalgia of Amy Winehouse or Mark Ronson. Glossy and gritty, organic and eclectic, Same As It Never Was builds on the band’s hip-hop roots with jazz, funk, R&B, pop and instrumental soundtrack influences.
"It’s still a hip-hop inspired record, but at the same time it’s a lot broader because our musical and emotional horizons are broader," says Jake. "As teenagers in the 1980s, we were into rare groove and hip-hop and early electro and funk and soul and jazz. It’s a big melting pot."