Ten years ago a group of talented young musicians with a common goal to push the boundaries of hip-hop met as students at the University of the Arts. Emcee Mike King, emcee/producer David Little and pianist/vocalist/producer Margel ‘theSophant’ Overton are the driving force behind Sëla, and their style has always been forward-looking. Their self-titled debut EP, released digitally in 2009 after years of performing and learning studio craft, was instantly infectious, particularly the ultra-modern beats on “Pedal To The Side” and the anthemic “Pump Ya Fist.”
In more recent years, the band has begun to re-imagine the boundaries of what it means to be a band, dabbling into production projects – notably with Curly Castro – as well as solo pursuits. Or, as Little put it to me when we recorded Sëla’s Key Studio Session, “we kinda went all Wu-Tang.” So what’s brought them back to reconvene as a performing entity? You can thank The Boom Room, the Northern Liberties studio space that is celebrating its three-year anniversary this weekend with a huge concert / party that Sëla is co-headlining.
To give us a taste of what’s in store, Little and Overton stopped by the studio to record a tasty set you can stream and download below. More emphasis than ever is being placed on Overton’s piano playing and tremendous vocal ability – two of the songs are semi-covers from the classic rock canon, intertwining Little’s raps with Overton’s interpretations of “Fly Like An Eagle” by Steve Miller Band and “Is This Love” by Bob Marley. On the other hand, Little’s beats are vibrant and futuristic as ever, particularly on “Up Making Noise,” and his flow is on point. The whole thing blends together into a sweeping and engaging 12-minute suite, with a carefree freestyle encore. Check it out below, and get tickets and more information on The Boom Room’s anniversary party here.
Sela, the boom room, The Key Studio Sessions