Dalston’s Session #1 Superorganism

by | May 18, 2021

Superorganism are a band who could not exist at any other time in human history. The eight-piece embrace all that’s beautiful about the internet era and none of the grimness. Their music is the sound of endless cross-pollination, new communities unencumbered by international borders, and endless accessibility. It’s not just their buoyant, genre-hopping songs that embody that spirit, it’s every facet of the group. Their visuals for example, primarily directed by band member Robert Strange, are a dizzying mish mash of images and styles. Their membership has at different times spanned four different continents.

The band have their roots in New Zealand-born, then London-based outfit The Eversons, of whom Japanese high school student Orono Noguchi had become a fan after a YouTube algorithm recommended their music. After catching them live on their US tour – she studied in Maine  –  they struck up an online friendship, and when the group dissolved and started to morph into Superorganism  they dropped her a line to see if she’d like to contribute vocals for their debut single ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’.

It took just an hour for Noguchi to write her lyrics and send back her vocals, which were so good they ended up as the final take. Other New Zealand musicians were enlisted to provide backing vocals, and Superorganism as we know them now were born, all without ever being in the same room together. At this stage Noguchi was still in high school in the US, two of their backing singers were still in New Zealand and another in Australia.

‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’’s bold but laid-back brilliance made it an instant hit, building considerable word-of-mouth acclaim and publicly lauded by the likes of Frank Ocean and Ezra Koenig, but then but then removed from the internet over a sampling issue. All of this only intensified the fervour around the band, who adopted pseudonyms in an effort to playfully obfuscate their identities. Wild fan theories began to circulate, such as that the group were a secret side project of The Avalanches or Damon Albarn.

With ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’ Superorganism established an unusual but effective working pattern, one band member starting off a track and the others adding their own layers individually until the music reached peak maximalism. With Domino winning a fevered race to sign the group, and Noguchi moving in with the majority of the band in 2017, their cramped East London house became a hotbed of creativity. For inspiration they compiled a 300-song strong playlist of influences which veered from Katy Perry to Pavement to Prince. Their dizzying self-titled debut was released in 2018, receiving widespread acclaim.

By the time it came to their first live shows Superorganism were already massive. Their debut gig was to 500 people and they hit the ground running, Noguchi proving a natural live performer. Before the pandemic hit they were playing to crowds several times that size. Even through lockdown the band have remained effervescently creative and unflinchingly all-inclusive as they perform virtual house parties as Superorganism DJs, augmenting their performances with Strange’s visuals so they become, like everything else the collective does, endlessly and addictively inventive.

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