Fuemana were another act on Deepgrooves with strong South Auckland connections (Like Ermehn, who lived in the Fuemena's garage for a while, with Pauly). Led by the late Phillip Fuemana, and featuring his family members Christina, Pauly, and Tony, along with Matty J Rhys, and they initially released a single called Dangerous Love on Murray Cammick's Southside label under the name House Party in 1991, before shifting to Deepgrooves.
They released their album New Urban Polynesian in 1994. The song Dangerous Love turned up on that album, as did In the deep of the night, off the first Deepgrooves compilation, which was originally credited to Love and Bass.
Phil went on to work with many of the acts on the hugely important compilation Proud, (put together by Tim Mahon and Alan Jansson) including OMC, Sisters Underground, Pasifikan Descendents, Semi MCs, and Radio Backstab and DJ Payback (featuring Ermehn in their lineup). He also took these acts on tour round New Zealand to promote the comp. He followed that up by starting his own label, Urban Pasifika Records (UPR), and putting out his own compilation, Pioneers of the Pasifikan Frontier.
Phil Fuemana: "I recorded a demo of eight tracks and that had: AKA Brown, Moizna, the Lost Tribe, Dei Hamo, a guy from down the line called Bobby Owen, and that was it. There were the tracks. And I went shopping - I shopped it, because Id just done the Proud thing. It had been like a year or two. And we were feeling like 'man, we gotta get into the game at the Alan [Jannson] end. Where we're making the calls. Instead of being called on.
"So, ya know, I was taken to dinner by these record companies ... They offered twenty-grand at the table. And I was gonna take it - twenty-grand! I aint got nothing. But I thought I'd just hold out and then it was Sir-vere, well i knew him as Phil Bell back in the day... that said 'hey, I heard you're shopping some music around, how come you're not coming to us?' I said - 'you guys are so busy.' Cos they had Tangata, they had Wildside - they had all the labels up there, it was packed. DLT, Che Fu and everything.
"But I was thinking - it's unusual I haven't come, I've always wanted to ... So I actually went up and for the first time met Kirk, but what blew me away was - I went in the room there. I saw guys in my age range or headspace range. I thought - hey, now we're talking! And Kirk was pretty stand-offish, but that's him, he's too cool. He puts a CD in, he listens and says - aw yeah! He goes - 'what do you want?' I said - 'I dunno, a deal.' And he said - 'nah, what do you really want?' I thought to myself- 'I want a jeep.' That same week, I had a jeep and a record deal ... No one else had done that. We did it....i had a Pajero jeep back when they were cool.... and music paid for it."
(Source: Hiphop Music in Aotearoa, by Gareth Shute, published 2004)
Phil Fuemana passed away 0n 28 February 2005, aged 41. His brother Pauly passed away almost a year ago, on January 31, 2010, at 40. For some background on the family's early life in a condemned house in Parnell, see this page on Urbanpasifika.com.
Closer by Fuemana was included on the CD compilation Pasifika: The Collection in 2010. Five songs off the New Urban Polynesian album are available over at Amplifier.co.nz.
Fuemana - Rocket love / Seasons music videos
Phil Fuemana interview, from Stamp mag, 1994