ESG are a trio of sisters from the South Bronx. When the Scroggins ladies were teenagers in the ‘80s, their mother bought them some instruments, hoping music would keep them out of trouble. It did. The girls became absolute mistresses of funk: with fat, simple bass lines, cacophonous congas, pop-inflected guitar riffs, intertwined with the occasional chant or croon (even rap). They developed a distinct sound that would go onto influence dance music, dance-punk, and hip-hop.
Their bare-bones funk resonated with New York’s arty 1970s no-wave scene and the UK post-punk explosion. They played at the opening of Tony Wilson’s legendary Madchester club Hacienda, and at the closing of the notable LGBT discotheque Paradise Garage in New York. Some years later, ESG also caught the fancy of many a recording artist, eager to find material to sample. Their spare music is perfect for such a purpose, and their sounds were sampled in songs by TLC, Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan—the list goes on. UFO for instance, has been used again and again, by Public Enemy, Liars, DJ Shadow, Girl Talk, N.W.A. and Nine Inch Nails.
The Scrogginses were (and continue to be) a bit disgruntled about this. The widespread sampling of their music is indicative of their great influence, but, as the title of their 1992 EP made clear, Sample Credits Don’t Pay Our Bills. Since then, they’ve had a tough job ensuring they get compensated for the use of their music. We encourage you to support the Scroggins sisters (now joined by two of their daughters) by boogie-ing down to their infectious grooves and transcendent funk on May 23d. There’s no way you won’t have a good time.
|ESG, Oval Space
|Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, E2 9DT | MAP
|Bethnal Green (underground)
On 23 May 15, Doors 7.30pm
|Click here to book via Oval Space