Welcome back to the twenty-second feature from the Collective Series by The Idle Man. Where we meet up with interesting men who either work in the creative industry, or we just admire the work they do. Styled in our most recent collections, drops and interviewed by our feature writer Georgia Jackson. Read the full feature below as we believe it's more about what we do, rather than what we wear.
Meet Black Saint a DJ collective from London. The trio which includes Justin Osuji, Jermain Davis and David James have joined forces to create the dancefloor filling DJ group. Starting out in 2016 with the release of their first single ‘Could You Love Me’ they have been mixing up the music scene in London ever since. In January this year (2019) they released their latest single, “Everybody Wants You”. Before going large with Black Saint they were all established producers and DJs in their own right, coming from three different musical backgrounds has impacted the music they create as a collective in impressive ways.
Each of the guys from the genre-crossing DJ collective all came from a musical background with Jermain being involved with a reggae/punk band and Justin was an established producer and songwriter who had previously worked with big named artists. Not only can you hear their own expressive musical pasts coming through the work they create together, but their presence on stage is a clear sign of how their differences really come together to create something worth seeing.
Deciding to come together and join forces was something which they didn’t take too seriously at first, being friends they just wanted to create something together. However, in a sudden turn of events when their song, ‘Could You Love Me’, was taken to Miami and played to Usher, (who wanted the song for himself) it promoted to trio to take their creation more seriously. They released their soon-to-be biggest hit on SoundCloud, to this day it is their hit song has racked up nearly 12 million plays on Spotify. Since then they have created other tracks such as ‘Never Did This Before’, ‘Don’t Wreck My Holiday’ and ‘Everybody Wants You’, which is their most recent release. The January release song showcases their ability to play with different genres including R&B, trap and house creating a fusion of music. With a constant beat the song was an instant floor filler.
Whilst enjoying writing, creating and producing their songs they have been performing to crowds at house parties. As unusual as this first sounds, Black Saint has previously spoken out saying they want to make sure that their music is exclusive and available to all. Standing out as a rebellion to the expensive London club culture where often certain groups of people can’t afford to get in places or even buy a couple of drinks. Instead they enjoy mixing with their fans by throwing parties where they live stream them online for everyone of all colour, race and backgrounds to party to.
We can already predict that 2019 is going to be a big year for the DJ trio, but before they start selling out all their tickets and become too busy, The Idle Man is paying them a visit to get to know the group and what their plans are for Black Saint.
How did you guys all first meet?
DJ: Jermaine and Justin met in a friends studio in Whitechapel. Jermaine at the time was working for Garage DJ Mastersteps helping with his bookings. Justin had walked into the complex and was playing his productions to the owner, Jermaine’s friend bought Justin into the office to play his beats. From there they went down to the studio and have been friends and making music ever since. They met me a year later, but I was kid and used to hangout in the studio with them while they made music. Every opportunity I had I would jump on the mic or get on the decks.
Did producing and recording happen out of fun or did you plan to create something together?
We’ve been making music together for years, for several different projects but Black Saint came about through fun. For the first record, Could You Love Me, our friend Marcus Cooper aka Pleasure P was coming over for his birthday and while he was in London, he wanted to make a house track. There were no expectations or limitations and we started messing around with some beats and basslines, then we got something. We decided to experiment by mixing RnB with house, so we had the halftime verses and then we dropped the 4 to the floor in the chorus. It was different but we loved it. We were vibing to it all night, with a little help from Black Label haha.
You really showed yourself off with your hit ‘Could You Love Me’, how do you plan on continuing to grow in 2019?
We want to continue playing with the sound we created on Could You Love Me. We are releasing our EP this summer, which includes our new single, Day Drinking, a song called Enough, which features our friend RuthAnne and a song called Naked, which is the first song we’ve released which feature’s us on vocals.
What do you love the most about working as a trio?
That we get to experience all this with our family. We’ve grown up together we are like brothers, so who better to roll with then your boys?
Do you find your different musical backgrounds help you create unique music?
Yes completely, Jermaine loves music, he’s like our commercial ear as he listens to everything. If he usually likes something a majority of people are gonna be feeling it too, but his main vibes are Reggae/Dancehall, so when you hear that in our sound its often down to Jermaine's influence. Justin’s background as a songwriter and producer for other artists both in the UK and US, is a strong factor in the way we go about the business of crafting our songs and overall sound. DJ is the youngest of the group so he’s always keeping us up on what’s popping on the underground that we might have missed.
Who would you say you individually relate to in terms of your fashion style?
Jermaine: I really like Pharrell’s style and the way he mixes streetwear and high fashion.
Justin: I actually like a more classic, understated vibe. I loved the era of the early 20th Century when everyone looked dapper.
DJ: I love to mix traditional with some new school! Textures as well, I love the details of pieces! Mixing everyday high street with runway, just blurring the lines, sometimes risky and others sharp and clean.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Justin: Currently I’ve been really impressed with the artistry of Anderson Paak. That guy for me, has it all... kind of like a 2019 Andre 3000
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Jermaine: If I wasn’t making music I would still be involved with music in some aspect, as I’m a part of Tape London, which is a club in London.
Justin: Something that moves people. That is the philosophy that has been woven into my DNA. Music is just one of many platforms to stimulate people to move and take action and I love to write, so maybe journalism, or some form of public activism.
DJ: I'd be an artist of some sort. Even when I look at my love for football, I'd consider my favourite footballers as artists, they express themselves through the sport and it is a lovely thing! So a footballer is another answer
What was it like when you watched the amount of plays going up and up for your first hit ‘Could You Love Me’?
It was crazy. We’ve been making music for a while but never really known or had much getting it out to the masses. The internet has changed all of that now through many different platforms’ artist can directly reach an audience and if your music is good enough it's gonna get plays. Seeing the plays increasing by the hour was exciting and rewarding. It's nice to get validation for your work and it really spears you on to make more and do better next time.
Did you celebrate the success of the single?
Justin opened a bottle of champagne that had been given to him as a gift. He was gutted though because he checked the value afterwards online and the same bottle was going on eBay for over 3K. The worst part was that no one actually liked it and it went to waste! Happy Days though!
What plans do you have for the near and far future of Black Saint?
We plan to release a lot more music! We plan to get out on the road and bring our live show to the scene real soon too.
What’s something you want to do but haven’t done yet?
Jermaine: Explore the world
Justin: Go to the Holy Lands in Jerusalem
DJ: I'd love to skydive but can't stand the thought of it at the same time!