Equals reveal the meanings behind songs from their debut EP


Electronic soul duo Equals deliver a beautiful collection of soundscapes on their debut EP, Single Soul, and Decoda was lucky enough to catch up with the pair in the run up to its release on Senseless Records next week.

Although the duo only formed in East London last year, James Low and Ade Omotayo are no strangers to the music industry; James formerly worked with producer Ruckspin and Ade's vocals grace many of the late Amy Winehouse's albums.

I think it’s about the fact that you might go through life acting in a certain way without, necessarily, questioning the motivations for those actions or the values that inform those attitudes and behaviours.

So you might be trying as hard as you possibly can to achieve something, without really critically examining why you want to achieve it or thinking about whether that’s your motivation or a different motivation that’s been placed on you from elsewhere.

Well, basically, the song uses fire as a, sort of, metaphor for ambition and so the Pyre, in a sense, is the platform for your ambition in life, I guess.

It refers to the sense of status anxiety that a lot of people face that, whereby, you are, sort of, judged both by the people and yourself against the set of standards which aren’t that explicit, but you’re constantly measuring yourself against them and trying to make sure that you’ve made it or you’re...

…on your way to making it.

Yeah, on your way to achieving something. So, yeah, it’s definitely about a kind of anxiety around your status.

It’s like a proclamation, isn’t it? It’s like saying “we are actually…now we can do it; we finally can do it.”

At the beginning, the first part of the song, is questioning “can you do it?” and the end is saying “we can. We can finally make things happen.”

This song is quite cynical, in a way. I think when you first start out as a musician or an artist you, kind of, have a romanticised idea of what it might be to be an artist and that you would believe in your art and that it’s somehow pure and special.

Then as you go on through the process of being a musician or an artist, you realise that maybe that romantic notion isn’t quite as accurate as perhaps it’s made out to be or you might want to believe at the start of the process.

So, it’s just about that realisation that it’s not quite as pure as it’s made out to be.

So, similar to the first verse, I suppose, it’s perhaps a comment on, sort of, a cynical maturity whereby you stop having some sort of lofty values and morals that guide you - so that’s why I say “why moralise?” because things do get out of hand.

So it’s, kind of, accepting a certain level of hedonism, I suppose, and transgression in life and music and thinking, “well, it’s not that pure anyway so you can’t moralise about it” - he says sat in front of a Google screen. Sort of quite appropriate really.

It’s another reference to youthful idealism, basically. So that when you’re young you can dancelike no one’s watching - so you don’t care what people think of you, you don’t care that no one loves you. You’re proud of who you are anyway.

So, it’s that kind of… yeah, it’s a comment on the purity of youth, I guess, compared to the cynicism of adult life.

These lyrics were written from a previous relationship and it was very much her having her doubts but still sticking with it, when it was happening. That was…yeah, extremely grateful for it.

So, basically, this song it’s obviously a love song and it’s about how when you start off in a relationship it’s quite vulnerable. So, you don’t know if it’s going to work out, the “simple sailor to betray” is like saying that it’s, kind of, almost foetal - so it’s very young, naïve and, therefore, easy to betray.

Then the second part of the chorus switches the tense, so it says “our love was…” and then now it says “our love is a single soul…” So, it’s about that relationship blossoming and becoming one solid loving unit, I guess, that’s harder to betray and break down.

Aristotle said that love is two bodies combined in a single soul. So it’s, essentially, we’ve ripped off Aristotle. But I guess he’s dead now. So that’s okay - right?

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