Bio (slightly tweaked) as of 2002.
Wellington house music trio Ebb were one of NZ’s most loved and critically lauded dance music groups. Renowned for their smooth organic grooves and extravagant pinoeering audio visual live shows, Ebb were simply a cut above the rest.
Voiced by the sultry Lisa Tomlins, with musicians Iain Gordon (Fat Freddy's Drop) and Reuben Sutherland providing uplifting beat-driven soundscapes, dub outs, layered effects and skanky samples, Ebb created a sublime mix of underground disco, funk and dub – a sound likened to Donna Summer meeting George Clinton and the Mad Professor in a cheap motel for late night acapella thrills. Ebb’s special blend of dance music flavours whipped up in a live environment is something quite unique and has found them favour with fans from all corners of the globe.
No newcomers to this music making biz, Ebb’s triumvirate of talented individuals draw upon extensive experience in a range of musical sectors. Lisa, the vocalist, has been a singer for life, her spellbinding presence, the result of many years as a professional vocalist for Wellington-based bands. Iain, the musician, has an impressive resume which includes artistic direction of 1998 Wellington International Festival Of The Arts event LAGO – an acclaimed “live ambient graphic opera” fusing classical and modern musical styles – as well as regular ivory-tinkling duties for noted Wellington all star acts Bongmaster and Fat Freddy’s Drop. Reuben, the all-rounder, doubles his knob-twiddling efforts for Ebb with similar musical exploits in breakbeat funk collective Hairy Lollies, is responsible for Ebb’s striking visual presence, and is an award winning music video director frequently enlisted by the likes of Shihad and Weta.
Ebb’s live performances were legendary status in New Zealand’s dance music circles. Utilising lavish stage sets, costume designers, visual projections, guest musicians and extensive technical crews, Ebb’s extraordinary audiovisual excursions were an experience quite like no other, as they transformed environments and pushed performance boundaries to redefine live dance music for their audiences. One such set in Wellington’s Town Hall in 2001 saw Lisa enrapture the capacity crowd from atop a podium-raised round silk sheeted bed and a guest organist incorporated into the Ebb line-up, firing up the Hall’s old pipe organ to awesome effect. For their following tour, with visiting international DJ Common Factor, a full hotel room setting was recreated on stage, making for a sexy soiree in a small club setting.
In July of 2001, to celebrate the release of their debut EP Plush Bomb, Ebb hosted their most ambitious production to date… the all night Plush Bomb audio-visual extravaganza took place in Wellington’s most majestic picture palace – The Embassy Theatre. Offering a sophisticated evening of entertainment including dinner, drinks, a movie and dancing ‘til dawn, the Plush Bomb EP launch gig sold out well in advance. The 800-odd people lucky enough to gain admission were treated to a revitalised Embassy Theatre space and another astonishing Ebb performance. From a Mission Control set created beneath the Embassy’s giant screen, Ebb thrilled a star-studded crowd for hours as Reuben’s visuals danced on the screen above. The Plush Bomb EP launch was a triumphant event, touted by many as Wellington’s dance music event of the year inspite of the city’s regular throughput of big name international DJs.
“The brilliant groove-based beats of Ebb, a threesome with a mesmerising effect live; a smooth groove rolling through an hour long set switching from house through to hip hop, downbeat and techno. Iain - also part of amorphous dubsters Bongmaster - provides wicked soundscapes made for dancing. Reuben Sutherland, winner of the Flying Fish award for Best Video (Shihad's My Minds Sedate), and with the most striking hair colour in Wellington, dubs out effects and throws in samples; Lisa adds the soul with a stunning voice, towering over everything else. The world is theirs in 2001, should they want it.” - LOOP Magazine – Wellington, New Zealand