20 - 23 April 2023 / The Truman Brewery
11 November 2015
Gypsy Hill: An Interview

We’re so excited to announce the first of many acts that will be playing at The London Coffee Festival 2016 – Gypsy Hill! An intoxicating mix of Balkan brass, Mediterranean surf rock, ska and swing, the group features guitars, horns, tuba, a scratch DJ and a mix of live and electronic beats. Over the years, producers DJ Kobayashi and Herbert Newbert have taken the project from the studio to the stage, gradually growing the band and honing their high-energy live shows.

We sat down with Herbert, to find out more…

What can visitors to The London Coffee Festival expect from your set?

We have asked for nothing but coffee on the rider, so we’ll be even livelier than usual! 
For those who don’t know, what is:

a)      Balkan brass?

It's brass music that has its cultural history in the Balkan area. Think of those crazy oom-pah brass bands from Eastern Europe that you’ve probably seen on the telly 

b)      Mediterranean surf rock?

It’s a mix of that sixties surf rock guitar sound with the scales from Greek and Arabic music. We love that sound and much of our music is built around those kinds of guitar melodies.   

c)       Ska and swing?

One Step Beyond! 

How did Gypsy Hill begin?

It all began at a cosy little pub in Waterloo, London. Like every band story, beer and/or cider were involved! The rest of the story is a bit hazy…all of a sudden we found ourselves playing on a stage at Glastonbury. We didn’t start out with any grand ideas, it was just a studio project at the beginning. But we’ve gone with it and thankfully things have turned out pretty well so far!

Why the name Gypsy Hill?

Our first studio was in sunny South East London, not too far from Gipsy Hill station. We liked the name and hey, finding a name is hard, right?

What inspires your music?

Most of the time inspiration comes from hearing something new and interesting, so we spend a lot of time digging for sounds, samples and new music. Kobayashi is an expert at this – we’ll find something obscure from an old record that grabs our attention and then sparks start to fly. 

What are your coffees of choice?

Flat white please with no sugar. And a black Turkish coffee for Kobayashi. We'll bring the finjan.

Which three ingredients would you simply have to include in a signature drink?

I guess we should have some KahlĂșa in there right?

Then probably vodka, and why not put some cream in there too so we have something like a White Russian.

If you could play a set anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

We were going to say Hull, but we did realise that dream not so long ago, so New York is pretty high up on the list. It's just one of those places you want to go and play as a musician. Plus there’s a chance we’d bump into Seinfeld. 

You’ve got quite eclectic taste in fashion. Where do you usually go to update your wardrobes?

We have a very talented and very expensive stylist. I think that’s why we’re still broke!

What’s next for Gypsy Hill?

Kobayashi and I have been busy in the studio focusing on a new collaboration album, working with some of the biggest names in the ‘world’ music scene. We can’t give too many details at the moment but we’re very excited about releasing this in early 2016.

Make sure you see Gypsy Hill perform by buying your ticket to the London Coffee Festival, 2016 here

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