30 Seconds: The Severed Limb

Meet the Severed Limb - a skiffle act with a unique sound reflecting London's diversity

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 19 Sep 2012
  • min read
London’s musical DNA is as complex as the make up of its population - but not many new bands have a sound which captures this diversity.

Step forward London skiffle act the Severed Limb, a group whose music distills the energy and disparate character of their south London surroundings.

They've so far released two DIY EPs, a vinyl single on their own label and recorded a well-received session for Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music Introducing. M caught up with them to find out where their music comes from and where it’s going next…

How long have you been making music?

As a band we've been making music for four years. Initially there was just two of us - inspired by the skiffle bands of the 50s, we just picked up anything to make music. Old bottles, washboard, rubbish £5 guitars. It sounded brilliant!

What inspired your new album?

Almost all the songs are about London. We're inspired by the melting pot. I live in Elephant and Castle and there's a big Columbian community there, as well as African, Jamaican, Turkish ... you name it. As a result, aside from rock and roll, we've got cumbia songs, zydeco, eastern European influences and a mariachi song called Carnival Del Pueblo named after the largest festival of South American music in Europe - this takes place just down the road. That's my favourite festival. The album is called Kill You and Bill You the Price of the Bullet and is out soon on Serious Types.

What process do you go through to create your music?

The songs are written in my head mostly, then we work them up by busking in Borough Market. Sam, our guitarist, records us in my front room in Walworth Road. That's why you can hear police sirens in the back ground. It's not a sound effect!

How would you describe your sound?

It's skiffle, but not as you know it.

What would your dream collaboration be?

We had a great trumpet player called Dave Priseman (who plays for Imelda May band) in to play on a track the other day. He just gets a great tone out of that instrument. I'd like to work with him again. I don't care about collaborating with the rich and famous.

Where can we catch you performing next?

We're opening for Mama Rosin at the Jazz Cafe on the 12 October. That's going to be fun. We're also at the Gypsy Hotel at the Garage on 27 October. Or you can normally catch us busking at Borough Market on Fridays.


Severed Limb on Facebook

Severed Limb on Bandcamp

Photo by Alex Welensky