The Invisible's Dave Okumu On Finding Joy After Darkness

Singer reflects on near-death experience...
The Invisible

Clash recently spent some time with London trio The Invisible – Dave Okumu, Leo Taylor and Tom Herbert – to discuss the Mercury Prize-nominated band’s forthcoming third album.

The album will arrive, later this year, after a few significant events in the band’s history, personal and professional. Their second LP, 2012’s ‘Rispah’ (review), was a great set that furthered its makers’ creative powers, drawing a multifaceted sound through passages of electric energy and heartfelt introspection. Outside of his Invisible role, Okumu received plenty of deserved attention for his production work on Jessie Ware’s ‘Devotion’ LP.

But such positives were blurred by blacker days: Dave’s mother passed away during the making of ‘Rispah’, and then the singer was badly electrocuted on stage in Lagos, Nigeria, just prior to the release of album two. Power channelled through him for a full 10 seconds, fusing his guitar to his hand. As he fell, he broke his leg. Naturally, this experience has bled into the writing for the next Invisible album.

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The Invisible, ‘Wings’, from ‘Rispah’

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“After everything we’ve been through as a band and that I have personally, I feel, after the Lagos stuff, like the luckiest man alive,” Dave tells us, before explaining how this is informing his new writing sessions. “There’s a real optimism and joy in this music – I’m grateful for being alive, and lots of good things have been happening.”

“I felt a lot of joy and relief about being alive,” he continues. “Having gone through a period in my life where my mum passed away and then I nearly died myself, you feel different on the other side of that. Albums always represent the opportunity to reflect these periods in your life, and can do so very truthfully. So we were working out what we were feeling, and what we wanted to do with that.

“I definitely feel this album is about embracing the joy of life – sometimes in its absence, but still thinking about it. That’s affecting the tone. That said, it’ll probably all change and it’ll be doom record.”

Read our full In The Works report on the making of The Invisible’s third album in issue 94 of Clash magazine, coming soon.

Photo: Phil Sharp

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