Connor Daniel and Robert Jones aka, UHURU are a duo whose music knows no boundaries – their name means ‘freedom’ in Swahili. Their eclectic sound brings together elements of dance, electronica and R&B, creating soul-infused, modern pop equally at home on the radio or the dance floor. Only 22 years old, Connor has been making music since his early teens, when he began uploading unofficial dubstep mixes of Drake and Usher to YouTube. Collectively, they racked up hundreds of thousands of plays, earning him a feature on BBC Introducing and impressing his bandmate Robert, when they met on a Music Technology course in their hometown of Southampton.
Initially a four-piece band who played ‘electro-house and Chase and Status covers’, UHURU downsized to a duo and were both accepted onto courses at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford. Taking cues from the likes of Bondax and Mura Masa, the duo is rapidly evolving beyond an experimental studio project. Eager to take UHURU on the road, the duo will be playing a series of shows across the UK this summer, including the 50th anniversary of Isle of Wight Festival.
‘Their single ‘Riddle’ is out now!’ (Out now)
What’s your name and what do you?
We’re Connor Daniel and Rob Jones, together we are ‘UHURU’ and we’re an Electronic Pop Duo!
What kind of music do you play?
Upbeat dance music, we love to get people’s feet moving. There’s lots of Hip Hop influence too and crazy drops in all our tracks!.
What would you say is your biggest influence?
The music around us… we listen to our favourite artists everyday and that really inspires us to be better! Originators such as Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar are always re-inventing themselves.
Where’s the best club you’ve ever played?
As we’re technically a band, a lot of club systems can’t accommodate our set-up. We’ve DJ’d a couple of times at 33Hz in Guildford where we both went to Uni. It’s a super intimate club with a great sound system so that’s definitely up there.
And the best festival?
We’re about to return to the Isle of Wight Festival for the second year running and we know it’s going to live up to its reputation of being one of the greats! We were also lucky enough to tour with the Holi One Colour Festivals all over the UK, Dublin and Paris. We played in front of 17,000 people at Wembley Park, London that was a very surreal moment!
Where’s the most unique festival you’ve been to and what was so special?
Wildlife Festival in Brighton was incredible. It was a dream line up for us and we managed to see some of our favourite artists over one weekend.
What was the most difficult festival you ever went to and was it worth it?
Halfway through our set at the Paris Holi One Festival it started absolutely pouring with rain. We thought that the thousands in the crowd would run for cover but they carried on dancing so we carried on playing – up until one of our guitar amps electrocuted Rob!
Where’s your home town?
Connor – I’m originally from Mombasa, Kenya (hence the name UHURU) but moved to Southampton, England when I was 6!
Rob – I’m originally Welsh but was born in Southampton and met Connor at college here.
What’s your favourite local bar/restaurant/bar/club?
‘Switch’ in Southampton has got to be our favourite local club. Before it opened, there weren’t any huge names that would DJ down here but they’ve been getting some unreal artists to Southampton almost every week now. Annie Mac and Skepta are the two highlights that come to mind.
Where’s your favourite clubbing destination?
We spend a lot of time in London and it seems like there’s something to do every night there. We’ve also had one of the best nights out ever in Dublin after we played a Festival but I probably can’t talk about some of those stories openly!! Marbella also has such a great, relaxed nightlife vibe as well as the clubbing scene.
Is there something you can’t travel without?
Sunglasses… and sun cream for Rob because he’ll burn in 5 seconds!
What travel destination would you recommend our readers add to their bucket list?
Absolutely love Mexico and not just the tourist-fuelled Cancun. There is a small fishing village about 30 minutes drive away called Puerto Morelos that is mentally beautiful. Turkey is also incredible and once you’ve had the Meze’s out there you wont want to eat anything else! If we’re talking bucket lists though, going on Safaris in Kenya has got to be up there with one of the most amazing experiences anyone could ever have.
Where was the most surprising place you discovered a big music influence? i.e. saw an amazing DJ set at a rooftop bar in Peru…
Not really an influence, but sitting at a beach bar in Puerto Morelos listening to an absolutely bonkers one-man-band singing everything from Michael Jackson to The Beatles medleys definitely comes to mind!