Dreamy melodies, supple psychedelics and gorgeous midnight disco grooves – this is the sublime sound of All We Are. A global gathering made up of Ireland’s Richard ‘O Flynn (drums), Norway’s Guro Gikling (bass) and Brazil’s Luis Santos (guitar), the up-and-coming trio won over this summer’s festivals with their languid three way vocals and atmospheric live show. Now they’re getting ready to impress all over again with the release of their self-titled debut album, produced by Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, MIA, Hot Chip).
The trio met at university in Liverpool where they were studying music and started to play together soon after getting to know each other. “We were great at hanging out and getting drunk, but we also made pretty good tunes together as well,” says Richard. “It was easy to be creative with each other.” Yet it wasn’t until they finished their studies that the tightly knit best friends formed All We Are, essentially so they could carry on spending all of their time together. However, seeing as they were each primarily guitarists, some changes had to be made. “We wanted to be in a band together and for that to work we had to switch instruments,” explains Guro. “We couldn’t really be three guitarists!” So Richard picked up a set of drumsticks and Guro a bass. “Necessity was the mother of invention,” says Richard. “When you get thrown in the sea, you have to learn how to swim,” nods Luis in agreement. “You just do it.”
With their new instruments nailed, the sweet, swirling sound of All We Are quickly started coming together. They wanted to make music for people to dance to, music that was the opposite of the introspective, overly cerebral and contrived sonics that were pushing people off the dancefloor and kept holed up at home with their headphones. Guro calls their sound “psychedelic boogie”, born of long, late nights and inspired by the great outdoors. Despite keen interest from a host of different labels, they were swiftly snapped up by Domino affiliate, Double Six – which they call their “dream label”.
Though they’d previously been to Guro’s cabin in the isolated Norwegian mountains to write, most of the tracks on ‘All We Are’ came from sessions which took place in a countryside getaway in North Wales, the band sequestering themselves away in an secluded cottage to write and rehearse. “It was basically just us and loads of sheep,” says Guro. “It’s mushroom country as well, which is quite nice,” adds Richard with a smile. Taking inspiration from everything from the sea – “all of our tunes are quite fluid” says Guro – to a shared love of hip hop and modern soul music, with OutKast’s ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ a strong influence on Richard’s beats, the band then headed to Dan Carey’s home studio in Streatham, South London to lay down a distinctive and thrillingly hypnotic LP.
Currently prepping for support slots with London Grammar, All We Are have already been taken out on the road by Jungle after they were blown away by what they heard on SoundCloud. Performances at End of The Road, Port Eliot, Field Day, Reading and Leeds, Green Man and Electric Picnic have also seen them deliver electrifying sets, with their intense brand of performance featuring Richard’s stand-up drumming and an almost telepathic kind of playing, focused around a triangular, inward facing positioning of the three players. This summer’s crowning glory though came at Glastonbury, when they were knocking about with Kate Tempest and Dan Carey, who plays in the Mercury nominated rapper and poet’s live band. Faced with a power cut five minutes before they were due on stage, the band had resigned themselves to not going on at all. “We were like ‘shit, what are we gonna do?’ We hung around for ages and after about 40 minutes we thought, ‘screw it, let’s just get on it’,” remembers Richard, as the band fully embraced the Glastonbury spirit. “And then the power came back on about an hour later.” Despite their somewhat altered states, it made for an astounding show. “Everyone was hyped, we were hyped, it was really quite a special gig.”
Their tour with Warpaint was also memorable, not least because the final night ended up with Richard cracking his head open on the pavement in Hamburg, being taken to hospital and then capping the drama with a meal at McDonalds. “There was blood everywhere,” he says chirpily. “It was grand!” Blood, guts and grooves – All We Are make for a special proposition indeed. “We wanted to be together and that’s just all we are,” beams Guro. “We just want to be in this together.”
Tickets are on sale now for All We Are’s headline Workmans Club show, tickets are €15.