Keep Norwich dancing
22 June 2018 is a date that’s been a long time coming for Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford. The two Norwich natives have been ploughing their own furrows through independent music both together and apart for well over a decade, but only now are they ready to brandish their fully-formed debut album as Sink Ya Teeth.
“It’s exciting, I love the anticipation,” Cullingford tells me as we share a drink in the Bank Holiday weekend sunshine after their set supporting The Membranes at Manchester’s Ritz. “And then when it’s out, it’ll be like we don’t know what to do anymore.”
The self-titled record is fizzing with rare groove sass and spacious synths teaming up with post-punk basslines to create a minimal dance style that they can fairly call their own. Uzor’s vocals range from detached cool to spiky defiance, whilst the songs often deal with the darkness that lurks just under the surface of our everyday lives.
“There are elements of exploring the fragility that you experience as a human being, particularly in terms of friendships and social situations,” explains Uzor, outlining the album’s loose central theme. “I take an element of something that I’ve experienced and I magnify it.” It’s an acutely observational songwriting discipline that ultimately lends the album a bracingly honest air, its tales of hedonism always tempered by an acknowledgement that it’s an ongoing challenge to operate as a functional adult in our current world.
Uzor and Cullingford live a ten-minute walk apart, but still tend to write separately. “Sometimes in the morning if I get an idea, I’ll open the window and go, ‘Oi Gemma!’ and she’s down at the bottom of the hill,” jokes Uzor. Alas, their Norfolk existence isn’t quite that Hobbit-like, settling instead for sending files back and forth in the run-up to their weekly practice session. “I get really excited when I hear what Maria comes back with, it’s usually nothing like what I would have ever imagined, I never get used to it,” says Cullingford.