Well known Auckland DJ Soane (aka Soane Filitonga) passed away at the weekend, of a heart attack. He was in his early 40s.
I first came across Soane when he was one of the doormen at Box/Cause Celebre in High St. He was one of the very cool Polynesian bros on the door there, as King Kapisi recalled... "I was brother B, Manuel Bundy was brother M, and he was brother S. Over 20 years ago, I arrived in Auckland and met one of the most nicest poly brothers on the door with Rosetti (rip), Siaosi Junior Tagaloa down at the box. All of my Gifted & Brown Welli family will always love our brother Soane, for all the good times, fond memories and solid "poly brothership" that we found from a young Tongan when we were so far from home."
Soane moved to Sydney in 1995 to pursue DJing, and returned in 97, taking up an influential DJ residency at Calibre, up on K Rd.
Audioculture's bio of Soane notes that "Born in the village of Vava'u in Tonga, Soane Filitonga was a pioneering DJ and dance producer based in Auckland who had substantial success both in New Zealand and in the UK dance scenes between 1998 and the mid-2000s.
A doorman at Roma [in the Civic theatre basement] and Box/Cause Celebre nightclubs in Auckland in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was also spinning records as DJ Big Daddy by 1993 with a regular Sunday residency at Cause Celebre in 1994, having begun playing various parties around Auckland in 1989.
.... Calibre was the club of the moment and Soane was quickly the club’s superstar DJ. He was taken under the wing of the visiting DJ/producers from Manchester’s very hip Paper Recordings and Blackpool’s Shaboom Records and encouraged to write and produce.
Soane would release three singles for the label over the next two years – ‘Go Master’, ‘Herringbone’ and ‘Saxy Beast’ (the last with Dick Johnson). Each entered the UK club charts.
Soane also released three singles as a member of Troffman, with Englishmen Ben Davis and Dick Johnson, for the UK label Shaboom including ‘Le Saucier’, a big British club hit in 2000, with a Greg Churchill and Peter Van der Fluit remix on the B-side.
Soane toured the UK and France in 1999 and again in 2000, still finding time to remix DLT, Che Fu and King Kapisi for single release in New Zealand.
A DJ mix album In Music released by the label of the same name in 2002 was followed two years later by Soane’s first full album New Zealand release Tongan Chic, released by In Music in 2004, and partially funded by Red Bull.
Co-produced by Luke Tomes and Dick Johnson, the album was critically well received and included the single ‘Where Do We Go?’ with vocals from Anthony Gold (Anthony Ioasa), a substantial Auckland club and radio hit that year. The album also included vocal contributions from Sisters Underground's Hassanah Iroegbu, Boh Runga and Tha Feelstyle."
In a 2004 interview with Stephen Jewell for NZ Musician, Soane said that "... the defining moment was when I was working the door of The Box / Cause Celebre and standing at the top or the bottom door between the two rooms.
"There would be this 'oomph oomph' coming out of The Box but every now and again, someone would walk out of Cause Celebre and they'd be tinges of jazz filtering through over the top of the 'oomph oomph.' I'd be like 'this is amazing!' I was exposed to some really great music and great musicians.
"I used to hang around in Celebre as well because I was friends with Nathan and that. I remember before samplers had come out, Nathan and I would go into the studio and make loops off records, put them onto DAT and take the DAT player down to the club. Manuel Bundy would be in the booth and I'd be sitting there with a DAT player. I'd play the DAT with the backing track and then the band would come out and jam over the top of it. Then Nathan would cut the backing track and the band would play on."
TVOne News: 'Founding father' of Auckland hip hop, dance scenes dies
NZ Herald: Veteran Auckland club DJ Soane mourned
Soane - All I Need, feat Tha Feelstyle, Boh Runga, and Manuel Bundy...
Soane interviewed for tv show Tagata Pasifika, 2002...
|Soane with Dick Johnson. Photo: Ray Carver|
Damn never heard of Soane before his passing. this record is amazing and it's called Tongan chic and we hail from the same island.
— . (@RyanLindborg) November 10, 2014
From NZ Herald notices: "FILITONGA Watkins, Soane Maimiso (Soane) Born 24-02-1971. Passed away on 09-11-2014. Soane Maimiso Filitonga Watkins peacefully passed away on Sunday, November 9th, 2014 at his home in Takapuna, Auckland. Adored father of Sesilia, loved partner of Nikki, beloved son of the late Ana and Teluo Filitonga, cherished brother of Sesilia, Maimiso, Siaosi, Sharyn, Sameini, Yoko, Lisa, Mikio and Leiko and all the fanau. Much loved family member of Esther and the Watkins family. Funeral service will be at St Benedicts Church, 1 St Benedicts Street, Auckland on Friday 14th November 2014 at 1:30 pm...."
Published in The New Zealand Herald from Nov. 12 to Nov. 13, 2014