FRIENDS

I n a very basic, but-GIRLS-are-actually-guys kinda way, The One are a puzzling prospect, and not just because they are in fact two.

Take Joe Ryan, the drummer who dreamt up the future soul project in the first place.

He’s a hardcore drummer, isn’t he? His other band, Fair Ohs, had us believing so, even if they have sailed more tropical seas since their early punk shows and recordings.

Joe – a musician so proficient he teaches others how to bash when he’s not playing himself – still pounds as much as he swings,

after a lifetime of forming noise bands with his brother Sam,

who now tours as Tom Vek’s guitarist and performs with The One when they’re not one or two, but in fact four.

Pete Havard also joins them then, but really

The One are Joe and Emeson, a six foot five south Londoner who knows what’s expected of his appearance.

“When a big black dude walks into a room, everyone’s like, ‘oh, he’s going to sing some soul’,” he says, “and I’ve not tried to get away from that,

or my background in soul, but there’s also an electronic side [to The One],

FRIENDS and we’re trying to approach things in a different way, and that’s something I was doing in solo projects before.

“Working with Joe is still soulful, but there’s load of other elements in there. There’s latin in there, there’s jazz in there, some pop in there.”

FRIENDS Emerson doesn’t teach singing, but he should.

When we meet in a north London pub,

he plays a very convincing vocal coach as he assures me that anyone can sing.

The owner of a classic baritone purr, it’s a little like Audley Harrison telling you anyone can box.

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