We’re back to celebrate another wonderful woman in Music!
This week we’re looking to The Fabulous Red Diesel, a soulful collective whose smoky Jazz style is a true pleasure to listen to. With hypnotising melodies and a sweetly soulful feel, The Fabulous Red Diesel are creating a sound truly like no other.
The eclectic collective benefit from the talents of two incredible female musicians; Kat Lee-Ryan,(singer, songwriter, keys and flute) and Beatrice Gullick (transgender woman) who plays double bass ,trumpet and tuba.
With a truly distinct sound and a wealth of fierce talent, we just knew The Fabulous Red Diesel would make a wonderful woman in the spotlight artist(s).
We caught up with Fabulous Red Diesel’s Kat Lee-Ryan to find out a little more about her.
How did you first get started in Music?
“There was a dusty old piano in the corner of a spare room, and I had a book of Robert Louis Stevenson poetry (age about 7). There wasn’t much on tv for kids then, and I had a lot of time on my hands.
I remember trying to add music to the poems , making them into songs, finding chords I liked, sounds that seemed to match the mood. That and great music teachers! I just have a massive passion for making songs, getting the right words and exactly the right chord- its an on going and ever-changing process. A bit like butterfly catching ( not that I do that) metaphorical butterflies !
Who or what inspires your sound?
“Words inspire my sound, and the sound of The Fabulous Red Diesel is a product of 4 people: myself, who provides the words, melody and chords, my husband Wil (Duke Boom) ,who provides the groove (he’s the drummer) Bea Gullick ( aka Miss Be -Have)who provides bass, occasional extra trumpet and Tuba ,and Simon Dobell (aka Rabbi Jaffa Delicious) who provides soundscapes of trumpet, electric guitar and occasional ebow.
We explore sounds and arrangements together , and it is the fusion of our 4 sounds that makes our sound. Wil is a lover of all great music especially Hip-hop and jazz, Bea loves classical and jazz, Si loves electronica and industrial soundscapes, and I love lyrics, and music that has something to say, in any genre, but particularly jazz”
What’s your experience been like as a womxn in Music?
“My first experience was as a young 18 year old cutting a demo. I was told to sit over there while a bunch of much older men translated the chords and rhythms that I had written into something very middle of the road. I was then instructed to sing on it. The result was horrible, and I had to pay for it!
Then the comments like ‘if you wore a low cut top you’d make a lot more money ‘, yes someone really did say that! So I developed a very bossy direct hard-nosed approach of, ‘right this is who I am, this is how I’m doing it, and if you don’t like it you can f@@@ off !’.
This worked for a long time, although it meant I didn’t fit in to the industry standard female vocalist box. These days I can be more relaxed, my band is awesome, a tight knit group , and we all protect each other from people who have unpalatable opinions. It’s lovely being a part of it , and it makes life much more fun and easier to navigate.”
What are some of your biggest dreams & goals for The Fabulous Red Diesel?
“The first was to get played on Jazz FM, which is happening now and its such a BUZZ!!
We’d love to play Love Supreme,(we live round the corner!) as well as Cheltenham jazz, we were offered a slot last year but you know…. Also we’d love to do the Serious jazz festival, and carry on playing the Rye Jazz Festival, as we’ve done it since it began and it kind of feels like home.
Re collabs: it would be lovely to have James Taylor play keys for a tune (we supported him last year, he’s awesome), I’d love Trombone Shorty to play, Gregory Porter would be awesome (like being in the presence of royalty) and Gunhilde Carling for a bagpipe solo- she’s unbelievable!”
What’s once piece of advice you’d give to fellow musicians?
“That’s hard, because as a female, or male musician you are constantly cutting your own path through a dark wilderness with no signposts.
I’d say, be easy on yourself, celebrate small achievements and dream big, because you never know what’s round the corner. Stick to your musical guns and make the best music you can for you.
That and make sure you keep hold of the best drummer you can by any means (I married mine!)”
What’s next for The Fabulous Red Diesel?
“We are continuing to promote our album The Queensbury House Sessions, which was recorded, mixed and mastered by Nick Endacott -Gibb. We’ll be releasing a second track called Nellie Gale! It’s the true story of the Windmill theatre dancers, of which my great grandmother was one. Her name was Nellie Gale, and her job was to stand very still holding a large ball over her womanly attributes, while other more clothed dancers did their routines… We are just preparing to make the video, as soon as we are allowed to film. Its another love story really, as my great grandfather was dis-inherited from his Lipton Tea family for marrying so ‘low’.
Plus we are planning a livestream tour, which will start within the next 3 weeks, so keep an eye on our facebook and twitter for details, and two performances of our critically acclaimed stage show ‘Sparkly Bird’. “
If there’s one word that comes to mind when listening to The Fabulous Red Diesel it’s ‘Unique’. The Jazzy group are unafraid to push boundaries, experiment with instrumentation and strive for a sound that is truly theirs alone.
Benevolent and beautiful, Fabulous Red Diesel are an incredible group of musicians supporting each other in style and striving for success whilst staying true to themselves.
There’s no better time to get to know Fab Red Diesel!
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Written By: Jessica Rowe