Who would make your ultimate supergroup?
We’ve been blown away by the music selections from Joan As Police Woman, our Artist in Residence for March. She’s a highly creative, forward-looking artist who has collaborated with some absolute legends, so we really shouldn’t be surprised.
Joan picked a simple but flexible theme for the month. Each week she would focus on the instruments that elevate a song or recording – drums, bass and guitar, keys and orchestral instruments, and vocals.
In the process she has introduced us to songs we had never heard or had totally forgotten. And re-contextualised artists we love in ways that had us reaching back into their back catalogues with fresh ears.
So, we got thinking: what would a supergroup curated by Joan As Police Woman look and sound like?
If we were to take the best players of the instruments she focused on in her radio shows to create a Frankenstein band, how could we personify the sound and most importantly the vibe of her month with us?
Who would make the cut for the ultimate supergroup for this month’s Artist in Residence?
Drums: John Bonham
“Pretty much all the drummer’s I’ve worked with want to sound like John Bonham,” Joan said in her first show.
“I remember spending weeks trying to get a drum sound similar, by putting our drums in an old stairwell because we heard that is how they recorded his drums. But he just takes you away with his feel.”
We had to have the mythical Led Zeppelin drummer in our supergroup. He was inventive, ripping apart rhythmic expectations.
His playing, heavily influenced by the great jazz drummers, is white hot and explosive, but also tasteful and intelligent.
He can turn a riff or an idea into an inventive and unexpected drum part and build mountains for the music cascade over.
Bass: Meshell Ndegeocello
Joan reckons everyone needs to see Meshell Ndegeocello live, and that she plays the bass unlike anyone else.
“It is as if she was born with her instrument or breathes through her instrument," she observed in her second episode.
Every supergroup needs a flexible bass player; fluid in a range of styles and genres, intensely groovy and inquisitive. That's Meshell.
If Madonna, Herbie Hancock, The Rolling Stones and Oprah wants you, then we want you too.
Guitar: Luke Temple
Luke Temple – better known as musical polymath behind Brooklyn indie group Here We Go Magic and for the dub-kraut folk of his latest incarnation Art Feynman – brings avant-garde, textural electric and acoustic guitar playing to our supergroup.
Joan isn’t big on shredders, instead her tastes run towards the woozy and moody. We’d love to hear what Luke’s playful and otherworldly playing would add.
Keys: Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou
So, Joan might question our pick here.
She's a big fan of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou but gave a lot of love in her radio shows to Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone. Imagine playing in a group with any of them!
But, also, imagine throwing a free-spirited, self-taught, 94-year-old Ethiopian nun into the mix. Her slippery, hypnotic and bluesy piano playing will rub up against the soulful bass and cooling guitars in just the right way.
She knows seven languages, and she has lived in religious exile. The hard slog of international touring would be a walk in the park.
Orchestral arrangements: Ennio Morricone
Who better to wrangle the symphonic end of things in any super group than the quintessential soundtrack mastermind, Ennio Morricone?
He knows about depth, and his evocative use of unexpected instruments and ability to construct and convey mood is without peer.
This guy is filling up all the spaces between the other instruments.
All the squishy, cut-up stuff: Ryan Lott (Son Lux)
Who’s going to take what everyone else has contributed and flip it upside down and inside out?
Who can we get to bring in sounds that build a world for the music?
We’re taking a punt on Ryan Lott.
The Colorado born musician composes music for film, theatre and dance but it’s his stellar work with Son Lux and remixes for artists like Beirut, Mutemath and Wild Beasts that makes us super curious about what he’d do with our supergroup’s music.
Backing vocals: The Flamingos
You can never have enough doo-wop. Said no one ever. That said, these five dapper gents from Chicago bring and elegance and sophistication to our fantasy supergroup.
We’ll make sure to have the reverb maxed out, drenching the sound like a thick, ethereal fog, transporting us to the ‘50s LA diner of our dreams.
Vocals: Yukimi Nagano (Little Dragon)
Across the month, and especially in her final show, Joan as Police Woman proved herself a connoisseur or interesting and genre-defining vocal performances.
We toyed with having Ahnoni, James Blake, Sam Cooke or even Tweet (seriously!) out front.
Or Joan herself - who better to take lead vocals that someone with such versatility and charisma?
But we went with Yukimi Nagano, the enigmatic vocalist of Swedish electronic outfit Little Dragon.
Nagano has been making records since she was a teenager and is someone who knows how to bridge cultures and collaborate well, having worked with De La Soul, DJ Shadow, Gorillaz and SBTRKT.
Hell, she is our number one pick based on this song alone.
Catch the Artist in Residence each week, Sunday afternoons from 3pm. Or listen back to the latest show online.