2019 has flown by so far and we first met Karyo at Haringey Winter Festival on Tottenham Green back in December. It’s not often you encounter a group of musicians who have decided to produce their own hot sauce. We sampled it and can confirm it is indeed hot, but tasty!
Duncan of Karyo told us all about their hot sauce Satan’s Gravy.
How did a band end up producing hot sauce?
Like most paradigm-shifting discoveries – x-rays, erectile dysfunction medication, LSD etc – Satan’s Gravy was mostly accidental. Our motivation was a deep frustration with vanishingly low CD sales and a hatred of the band t-shirt manufacturing industry, who at some point seem to have decided that fat oblongs would be a fine stand-in for humanoid mannequins. Honestly, hot sauce was just one of a long list of alternative merchandise options. In the end though we concluded that pens were naff, posters couldn’t be more expensive if they were printed in liquid gold onto albatross skin, and the market for branded buttless chaps was completely saturated (we didn’t ask with what). So hot sauce it was.
After landing on the concept it took less than six beers to get the name and we were off. We sourced some bottles, pinged the brief over to our slightly disturbed in-house designer and sent our bassist on a blue-sky creative R&D retreat with the intention of challenging current recipe conventions and maybe even disrupting the paradigm of “food” in general. Thankfully he spent the retreat money on stimulants, barricaded himself in an abandoned Road Chef kitchen and emerged six days later with some bloody good sauce and a few unsavoury theories about the “Deep State”.
The rest, as they say, is also interesting.
How many sauces are in the range?
Currently we make two sauces, Satan’s Gravy (the OG) and Satan’s Lady. OG Gravy is a straight up savoury sauce with a tomato and cumin base, vinegar tang and fresh Habanero and Scotch Bonnet heat blast. In the words of the legendary Condimaniac in his five-star review – ‘These lot have nailed it.’
Having “nailed” hot sauce, the curious reader may ask themselves why we felt the need to make another? The answer is simple. As anyone with even a basic understanding of microeconomics knows, a company with two products will make exactly twice as much profit as a company with one. Hence, Satan’s Lady. Lady combines the OG Gravy flavour profile with orange, pear and mango for a sweet fruity finish. There’s so much fresh fruit in the lady that it’s probably one of your five-a-day, although there are less painful ways to get there.
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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Heat:🔥🔥🔥 Next is 2 of 10 posts in collaboration with @hot_sauce_society, London's FIRST hot sauce festival! Coming this April 13th a host of hot sauce producers (including myself) will be gathering in Copeland Park, Peckham for a day celebrating the iconic condiment. I'm reviewing 10 of them, 1 per day, ahead of it and next we go to @satansgravy the brain child of a band called 'Karyo' from North London! _ 👁 I f**king love the label. It's a work of art in it's own right. The colours are vibrant and complimentary and you can tell it's been designed to purpose. The almost naive-art style stops it being kitch, which could definitely be a risk anywhere devils are involved. _ 👃 I mainly register a pleasant sweet and sour smell that makes my nose tingle. I imagine this is from the vinegar used, which must be of a decent quality. Other than that it's just the mild fragrant smell of habanero chilli. _ 👅 The first thing I notice is the cumin, which I love in hot sauce. It gives it this nice savoury flavour that's well balanced by the salt. After that you get a pleasant tang from the mixture of tomatoes and vinegar used just as the heat hits. They use habaneros which I like as they give an immediate front mouth spice that seems to move as it grows. This is a new favourite of mine, I often talk about balance of flavours and these lot have nailed it. _ 👭 Because of the savoury cumin undertones I'd pair this with Mexican food. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, you name it, this sauce would work! Maybe also try as a glaze for diced chicken. _ 🍕 It's a great dip this. Slightly thicker than conventional hot sauce and a little more sticky it will cling to your sauce vehicle of choice with ease. It's also not SO spicy that dipping is an impossibility. Don't want to dip a super hot… ouch. _ #condimaniac #condiments #condiment #sauce #sauces #spicysauce #healthyeats #hotsauce #hotsauceoneverything #spicy #foodie #foodporn #lovefood #eatwell #huffposttaste #instafood #delish #foodblogger #eat #food #foodphotography #foodstyling #hotsaucesociety #condimentlove #vegan #hotsauces #hotsauceaddict #spicyfood #chillihead
What food do they go with best?
We recommend people “Grab the Gravy™” when they’re eating South American, Southern American, South-East Asian… basically anywhere south. Also anywhere north because we made a bloody great sauce that goes with everything. We love it mixed with guacamole, on eggs, or, if you’re feeling fragile, in a Bloody Mary (we even have a recipe on the bottle).
Although just as geographically versatile, the subtler flavours of Satan’s Lady make it more suitable for cold food like sarnies and wraps. The Condimaniac recommended our sauce as a straight-up dip but we have a sneaky suspicion that years of hot-sauce consumption have burned off most of his tongue. Our sauces are SPICY.
Don’t worry, we haven’t really trademarked anything as lame as “Grab the Gravy”. It was already taken.
You’re also collaborating with the band Bear’s Den on some merch – tell us more!
We’ve collaborated with Bear’s Den to create a special edition batch of Satan’s Gravy called Stubborn Beast. It’s an extremely limited run and you can only get it by going to see Bear’s Den on their world tour. We’ve been assured that the merch table goes up at the start of the show so you don’t even need to stick around for the band (although you should; the Bear’s music is easily on par with their taste in hot sauce).
What’s your connection to Tottenham?
Between the Satan’s Gravy crew, we’ve accumulated well over a decade of Tottenham-years (for those unfamiliar; Tottenham-years are the same length as normal years but your body ages twice as fast). Satan’s Gravy was conceived, incubated and birthed in Tottenham, and even if the sauce makes us rich enough to start new lives in Denmark, we will still feel a deep connection to Tottenham’s vibrant streets and oversized stadium.
Have you got any upcoming events?
You can catch us at London’s first hot sauce festival on April 13 in Peckham. Otherwise you can check our website karyoband.com for our festival dates. We rarely get paid to play music so you can be sure as hell we’ll be slingin’ that sauce.
Where can readers sample your hot sauce?
Locals can find our sauce in Tottenham’s famous Wine & Rind in Holcombe market. Otherwise you can check our Instagram for our other stockists around London.
If Brexit is making you fearful of leaving the house, you can of course purchase our sauce online at karyoband.com/satans-gravy. We are actually still primarily a band so please feel free to check out some of our music too.
Anything else we should know?
Mix a bit of Satan’s Gravy with some mayonnaise to create “Satan’s Gravynaise”. You can thank us later.