Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ring The Alarm playlist, May 18

Ropnin Arkestra - A love supreme
African Vibration - Hinde (Julien Dyne rework)
Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble -The colours that you bring
Bobby Womack - Please forgive my heart
Marvin Gaye  -The world is rated X (alternate version)
Merchant - Rub a dub soka
Los Silvertones - Tamborito swing
Original Tropicana steel band - Calypso rock
The Revolution of St Vincent  -The little you say
O'Jays - For the love of money
George McCrae - I got lifted (Mischief Brew edit)
Joe Dukie and DJ Fitchie - Midnight marauders (El Head version)
Sound Foundation - Ram dancehall
Wrong Bus - Rub a dub love style
Phase 5 - Mothman skank (wasabi wakeup mix)
Myele Manzanza  -7 bar thing
79.5 - Terrorise my heart (Tall Black Guy bounce remix)
Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca (Funky Lowlives remix)
James Blood Ulmer - Are you glad to be in America?
Soul Surfers and Shawn Lee - Jose Chuicago

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Grup Ses & Elektro Hafız drop album of mad fruitiness

Some mad funky Saz psyche rock outs... who doesn't love that?

"Zel Zele to release their first LP, ‘Varyete’ is the new collaborative album from Istanbul’s producer extraordinaire Grup Ses and Cologne-based electric-Saz player Elektro Hafız.

Travelling from deep Anatolian psychedelic grooves to dirty electronics, playful beats and hiphop, ‘Varyete’ is an adventurous ride of genre-bending music. Across the first side of the album, the duo take forays into soundscapes, psych, acid and electronics with remixes from Berlin’s producer Onofon and Istanbul’s acclaimed hip hop producer and MC Da Poet adding yet more layers.

Blurring the lines between artist and archivist, prolific crate digger and sampling wiz Grup Ses is armed with the perfect source material for ‘Varyete’.

Elektro Hafız signature sound mixes eastern and western musical styles, and his provocative style is complemented by a healthy dose of humour. His diverse compositions are influenced by his Anatolian roots, which are reflected in his instrument of choice, the microtonal electric Saz."

Out 5th July on Zel Zete

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Eric Boss album out now

From Legere: "American DJ, producer & singer-songwriter Eric Boss (Myron and E) presents his debut solo album "A Modern Love", an effervescent collection of raw funk, sweet soul, west coast vibes and classic hip hop, produced by Björn Wagner and Steffen Wagner (The Mighty Mocambos / Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band).

"A Modern Love" has all the ingredients of a future classic. High-profile guests? Check: with Gift Of Gab (Blackalicious) rapping on "I Wanna Ride", a track with more bounce than a lowrider chevy on Santa Monica boulevard, and soul siren Gizelle Smith featuring on "Spiders", a spooky number that will get you jumping out of your seat like you've been attacked by giant 8-legged arachnids.

Need some dancefloor action? "Get Next To You" gets down to serious bizniz with crisp drums and a catchy hook guaranteed to get the party started. Something for lovers? We've got it covered with "Is It Love", where Eric waxes lyrical about his sweetheart over a honey-drenched soul beat. From reggae-flavored vibes being served in inspirational number "Your Life Is Up to You" to the slow-burning grooves of "Merry Jane" which features singer Ishtar, the 10 tunes on "A Modern Love" all attest to Eric Boss' talent and versatility"

Out May 10th on LP/digital, thru Legere Recordings / Mocambo Records / Fat Beats

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The M-Tet - a change is gonna come

New soulful biz from the M-Tet, name your price... "Featuring our fantastic guitar player, Mr. Joe Baer Magnant, The M-Tet brings you this cover of a much needed song in these days and times.

Originally released by Sam Cooke in 1964 on the RCA Victor label and inspired by events in Cooke's life, most prominently an event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana, Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his struggle and the struggle of those around him. He sings "It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come."

We are still facing many battles. Some different, and sadly, some the same. It is our hope that change keeps coming."

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I've been running ev'r since
It's been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin' me don't hang around
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knockin' me
Back down on my knees, oh

There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will 

Joe Baer Magnant - Guitar
Gary Pitman - Fender Rhodes
Chris Lujan - Fender Bass, Glockenspiel
Michael Reed - Drums, Tambourine

Recorded and Mixed by Chris Lujan at Lugnut Brand HQ
Mastered by Joe Baer Magnant

Ring The Alarm playlist, May 11

The Impressions - We're a winner
Lou Donaldson - If there's a hell below (we're all gonna go)
ZZ Hill - Clean up America
Nina Simone - Gimme some (Mike Mangini mix)
Erykah Badu - Honey (Seiji mix)
Boozoo Bajou - Under mi sensi
Midnight Movers Unlimited - Follow the wind (Mr K edit)
Evelyn King - Love come down
Stephanie Mills - Put your body in it
The JBs - Giving up food for funk
Black Heat - Super cool
The Parliaments - Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band (inst take 3)
Bobby Womack and the Valentinos - See me through
Gene Chandler - Such a pretty thing
Amanda Love  -You keep calling me by her name
The Kindly Shepherds - Lend me your hand
Jeanette Nellis - Wait
Harold Hutton  -Lucky boy
Cold Blood - Kissing my love
Salmonella Dub - For the love of it (Pitch Black remix)
Lord Echo with Mara TK - Put it in my head
Ladi6 - Burn with me
Tanika Charles - Cool scorpio
Nicola Conte and Gianluca Petrella - Imani river
James Stewart - Nolias

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Damon Locks and the Black Monument Ensemble album coming

Here's the first single off this, great space jazz bizz...

'Where Future Unfolds' is a new work spirited by Chicago-based sound & visual artist Damon Locks.

Starting as a solo sound collage piece (where Locks pulled samples from Civil Rights era speeches and recordings to create an improvisational pallet for performance on his drum machine), over 4 years the project has blossomed into his 15-piece Black Monument Ensemble featuring musicians (including Angel Bat Dawid on clarinets and Dana Hall on drums), singers (alumni of the Chicago Children's Choir), and dancers (members of Chicago youth dance company Move Me Soul).

'Where Future Unfolds' is a live capture of the ensemble's epic debut at the Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory on the West Side of Chicago. Recalling the spirits of Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble, Eddie Gale's Black Rhythm Happening, Archie Shepp's Attica Blues, and Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the album presents an inspired, innovative & immediate intersection of gospel, jazz, activism & 808 breaks."

Album out on digital May 31st, CD/LP out June 14th on International Anthem.

Monday, May 06, 2019

New single from Da Lata

"Written by Chris Franck and Davide Giovaninni, Oba Lata draws on traditional Yoruban chant blending it with a live afro-beat groove. Edgy, rhythmical analogue synths, vocals, guitars and percussion tied together by the clave and driving afro bassline make this a credible dance floor contender. The vocals honour "Obatala", one of the main Orishas in Yoruban culture. He is seen as the creator of earth and a lover of peace and harmony.

NameBrandSound are IG Culture and Alex Phountzi. The duo were part of the original West London broken beat scene and are known for their involvement with New Sector Movements and Bugz in the Attic. This remix draws on some of the modern African rhythms like Gqom (Durban - South Africa) and Coupé-Décalé (Ivory Coast via Paris) and combines them with their own "bruk" sound. Stripped back vocals and instrumentation make this a remix focused heavily on groove.

This instrumental track 'Dakar' is the result of a recent trip to Senegal during the period of Ramadan. It features an 8 piece woodwind/horn section recorded in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) which has been beautifully arranged by Rafael Martini. A mid tempo groove leaning heavily towards north Africa combining acoustic and electronic elements to create a deep modal feel and mood."

Out on 12" vinyl/digital

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Nicola Conte and Gianluca Petrella drop new ep

Brand new jazzy bizz from Nicola Conte and Gianluca Petrella...

"Pioneering Italian musician and producer Nicola Conte and esteemed trombonist Gianluca Petrella team up again for their third EP on Schema, ahead of their forthcoming full-length project due out later this year.

For those unaware, Conte and Petrella have been working together on and off since 2001’s New Standards. In addition to working together as musicians, the pair has fostered a close creative relationship, trading and discussing vintage gear and records in a bid to open each other up to as wide a range of influences as possible.

This most recent offering further explores the themes and sounds found on their previous collaborations, Sun Song / Nigeria and African Spirits / New World Shuffle, with its heavily West African influenced rhythms and cosmic-leaning musicality.

‘Imani River’ sees the duo putting their spin on a spiraling 6/8 time signature, featuring otherworldly guest vocals from Bridgette Amofah, who also featured on the duo’s previous collaborative releases..."

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Ring The Alarm playlist, May 4

Nathan Haines - Epiphany (Julien Dyne remix)
Cal Tjader - Soul sauce III (live)
Mike Nock - Magic mansions
Will Ricketts - Mangi mangi
Gil Scott Heron - Inner city blues
Chaka Khan - Some love
Ernest Ranglin  - 54-46 was my number
Nightmares On Wax - 70s 80s (Scientist mix 1)
Rae & Christian - Hold us down (Faze Action reggae mix)
Overproof Soundsystem - Kingstep (Unitone Hifi dub)
Trinity Roots - Just like you (Max Maxwell and Bluey remix)
New Telepathics - Life on other planets
Guts - Kenke corner
Souleance - Le sexy
Mandrill - Ali bombaye
Sly and the Family Stone   Soul clapping
Joanie Sommers - Don't pity me
Pigbag - Papa's got a brand new pigbag
James White and the Blacks - Contort yourself (August Darnell remix)
Prince Charles and the City Beat Band - Jailhouse rock
Mikki - Itching for love

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Ring The Alarm playlist, April 27

Nicola Conte & Gianluca Petrella - Imani river
George Benson - The world is a ghetto
Damon Locks and Black Monument Ensemble - The colours that you bring
Cedric Brooks - South African reggae
Horace Andy - Mr Bassie (play rub a dub)
Coldcut feat Roots Manuva - Beat your chest
Suns of Arqa - Ananta snake dance
The Viceroys - Rivers to cross
Alton Ellis - It's a shame
The In Crowd - Mango walk
Tenor Saw - Golden hen
Sound Dimension - Real rock
Dub Asylum - French letter
Julien Dyne - Teal
Shogun Orchestra - Mifune
Mark de Clive Lowe and Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra - Relax, unwind
Dr Tree - Eugino D
Gerardo Frisina - Descaraga
Willie Bobo - Spanish grease
Myra Barnes - Super good
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul
Sly and the Family Stone - Love city
Helene Smith - You got to be a man
Inez Foxx - Circuit's overload
Staple Singers - Washington we're watching you
Eric Boss - Get next to you
Supergroove - Bloody shame (DLT remix)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ring The Alarm playlist, April 20

Redds and the Boys - Put your right hand in the air
Troublefunk - Let's get small
Prince Charles and the City Beat Band - Cash (cash money)
Marvin Gaye - Try it, you'll like it
Universal Robot Band - Dance and shake your tambourine
Freestylers & Navigator - Ruffneck
Top Cat - Request the style
The Delegates - Pygmy pt1
The Delfonics - Down is up, up is down
Tony Alvon and the Belairs - Sexy coffee pot
Solomon Burke - The generation of revelation
Cold Blood - Kissing my love
Inez Andrews - I hear music
Bo Diddley - Road runner
Clifton Chenier - Black gal
Professor Longhair - Big chief
Dixie Cups - Two way poc a way
Wild Magnolias - Soul, soul, soul
Amadou and Mariam - Coulibaly
Manu Chao - Me gustas tu
Tommy McCook - Freedom sounds
Junior Murvin - Cool out son
The Lovejoys - Let me rock you now
Dubwize - Dancehall state of mind (dub version)
Salmonella Dub - Johnny (DLT mix feat Mighty Asterix)

Monday, April 15, 2019

SNARE - 'Leasing Lingos' Featuring Hamokane, Kas Tha Feelstyle, & GFes

Cool South Auckland hiphop, producerd by Anonymouz, he made the video too... spot the mean verse from Tha Feelstyle, and a lyrical snip quoting a track from King Kapisi that featured Feelstyle. Chur!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Forty-Five: The Search For Soul

The twist in this film about digging is amusing... as Fleamarketfunk puts it "What’s really interesting about this documentary, is that it’s updated for modern times, and brings the argument (which goes on everyday in the DJ community in real life and within online communities), if you dig it up on
the internet, does it count as really digging it up?

"Clocking in just over ten minutes, this documentary follows Kansas City, MO DJ Johnny Starke aka Johnny 2Tone, as he goes on a search for forgotten (willfully and not willfully) soul records throughout thrift shops, record store, and the wherever old, dusty vinyl can be found."

From the film makers: "Are record collectors simply purveyors of popular culture or are they its greatest protectors?

The film Forty-Five: The Search for Soul, sets out to answer that question as we follow one DJ on a quest for black gold. For Johnny Starke digging through dusty thrift shop bins to find lost wax and forgotten sounds is not simply a hobby... It’s his chief obsession and his life’s work.

This is a film about record collecting and more importantly, it’s about saving forgotten pieces of popular culture and returning them to the turntable, the dance floor and ultimately back to their historical relevance.

Director Anthony Ladesich brings to life the story of one collector, one 45rpm record, and one song."

Ring The Alarm playlist, April 13

Marlena Shaw - Woman of the ghetto
Grant Green - I don't want nobody to give me nothing (open up the door I'll get it myself)
The Flirtations -Nothing but a heartache
Sister Sledge - Love don't go thru no changes
Esther Phillips - Catch me I'm falling
Nina Simone - Work song
Lee Fields and the Expressions - Ladies
El Michels Affair - Detroit twice
Saxie Russell - Psychedlic soul pt1
Otis Redding - I can't get no satisfaction
Andre Tanker Five -Lena
Versatile - Let it out
Jake One and Mara TK - Look what you've made me
Julien Dyne with Ladi6 - Hours
Cornerstone Roots - Forward the sax
Neyssatou & Likkle Mai  -War
Cedric Im Brooks - Idleberg
Alice Clark - You hit me right where it hurt me
Lulu - Sweep around your own back door
Soul Brothers Six - You better check yourself
Bobby McClure - Doing it rite on time
Dusty Springfield - Spooky
EL Fields Gospel Wonders feat Sharon Jones - Heaven bound
Bill Withers  -You
Tomtom Club  -Wordy rappinghood
Scritti Politti - Wood beez (version)
Gene Dudley Group - Hilo bay halfway (disco dub mix)
Nathan Haines -Lady J

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Chic song-making - Soane interviews, 2004


20.02.2004 By Cathrin Schaer, NZ Herald

As with most first albums, this new, local offering named Tongan Chic was inspired by a variety of things - family, friends and other music.

But credit is also due to the likes of Captain Starlight. Who?

"You know, Captain Starlight," says Soane Watkins, who is responsible for the album but who has probably been best known around the country as a DJ. "Because I didn't want to end up a 50-year-old DJ turning up at some gig, hearing impaired, with a glitterball in the back of my car," he laughs.

"Basically," Watkins continues in a more serious vein, "being a producer, making my own album, just seemed like a logical progression to DJ-ing."

Watkins' career path from player of records to producer started around 1987 when the Tongan-born, New Zealand-raised Aucklander started working as doorman at one of the trendiest bars in town, Club Roma, owned by socialites and entrepreneurs Mark Philips and Peter Urlich.

"Once a week they would let me behind the decks," Watkins says.

"By the time the first warehouse parties started I was already DJ-ing under the name Big Daddy, mainly playing hip hop, funk and soul, together with guys like DJ Sir-vere and Manuel Bundy."

But where the latter two headed off mainly into hip-hop territory, Watkins played house music to a new generation of night clubbers.

Over the past few years the big, genial bloke has established himself as one of Auckland's most popular local DJs, playing the kind of soulful, funk-heavy dance music that's since been brought to the mainstream by acts like Nice'n'Urlich.

He's been responsible for three compilations of dance music and also remixed tracks for the likes of Che-Fu, King Kapisi, Bic Runga and Annie Crummer.

"I feel like a bit of a granddad actually," Watkins says of his 14-year career.

A visit by British DJs to New Zealand led to a friendship and then professional relationship with an UK-based dance music label Paper Recordings. It was there that he was encouraged to start producing his own tracks. Two and a half years of knob twiddling and computer composition later, the result is Tongan Chic.

"I can't read music. And I guess I'd have to admit I'm not a real musician," Watkins concedes.

But as he also says, with the technology available these days, you don't have to be. And why should making good music be limited to people who can play instruments, he argues.

Watkins explains: "The music developed like this. I might start with some samples and then I'd go to the studio, we'd feed them into the computer and make loops. Then we'd just kind of see where they went. Like, it would be nice to have some piano here or a bit of guitar there.

"As we've gone through I've called in friends who are musicians to come and play the various parts. Eventually we've lost the original samples and ended up with a more organic sound, made up of real instruments."

The result of this rather naturalistic approach to song-making is an album that seems to combine the many elements of Watkins' musical background - there's dance music, jazz, some Latin rhythms as well as liberal dashes of hip hop and pop. Such an eclectic fusion is probably also due to the people that have contributed to the tracks.

The first single, All I Need, features Boh Runga, frontwoman of rock band Stellar, singing alongside local rapper Feelstyle.

"Luke [Tomes, engineer] had worked on the Stellar album and Boh just popped in to say hi. She listened to what we were doing and said, 'Hey, this sounds pretty catchy'. She started humming a melody and we were like, 'Right, that's it, you have to sing on it'."

Hassanah Iroegbu, one half of long-defunct Sisters Underground, now lives in Florida but was here briefly re-recording her group's hit, In the Neighbourhood for the TV2 promo. "And my wife, who knew she was here, said, 'Hey, she might be good to sing on one of your tracks'. So we got her in the studio, she started vibing on this instrumental track ... all of a sudden we had these great vocals.

Watkins was also assisted by his fellow DJs Dick Johnson and Manuel Bundy on several tracks. And Watkins agrees that it's been a group effort.

"The whole album has happened that way. It's been pretty natural and almost a big fluke. As we've needed people to contribute, they've just turned up."

However the most important contributors to his work are still his family. The cover artwork was provided by his father-in-law, local print artist Denys Watkins. And the first track, Not Without You, was composed for his wife, Esther, on her birthday while another song was written for his 1-year-old daughter, Sesilia.

Even though her dad won't be playing much of his own music when he DJs around town - "I don't because I can always hear something I should have done better" - his daughter is also his biggest fan. "Sesilia recognises the track I wrote for her. She even starts dancing to it."

So where to next for the DJ-turned-computer-musician and album producer?

"Well, I thought I might start a clothing label. Because I'd like to be bigger than Puff Daddy," Watkins says before cracking up.

"No, really I just hope people are open to this record and that they like it. And I'd really just like to keep on producing more music."


Soane: Doorman - DJ - Producer

By Stephen Jewell, NZ Musician, February/March 2004 (Vol: 11, No: 4)

Auckland House DJ Soane Watkins (nee Filatonga) has certainly come a long way since he first started DJ-ing hip hop in 1989. Then he was working as a doorman at The Box/Cause Celebre in Auckland's High St.

This was the same time as other influential DJs and musicians like Nathan Haines, Manuel Bundy and Rob Salmon were residents at the now sadly defunct nightclub.

Soane is now one of New Zealand's most popular and highly paid DJs, who has compiled three mix CDs to date and frequently plays around the country and overseas in countries such as Australia, Britain and France.

Not content with spinning other people's tunes all the time, the 33 year old, Vava'u, Tonga-born DJ first started making his own tunes in 1998 and, after many years of hard work, has finally released, his long-awaited debut album, 'TonganChic', named after his former 95bFM radio show.

"I've often 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," recalls Soane when I meet him at a Karangahape Road pub.

"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."

Soane first began making music around five years ago after meeting his 'TonganChic' collaborator, producer and engineer Luke Tomes, who has since worked with the likes of Bic Runga, Stellar* and King Kapisi.

"We got hooked up through Esther (Watkins - Soane's wife)," recalls Tomes. "I'd been working at a studio doing soundtracks, commercials and stuff which was kind of like slow torture for me because I didn't enjoy it musically. I was at an advertising function, standing there in my hoodie amongst a hundred suits and Esther was at the bar. She was like, 'You don't fit in here, do you Luke?' 'Yeah, I've just noticed that too.' 'You should hook up with Soane and do some music.' Esther then put Soane up to calling me and doing something."

Soane may have first worked in a studio with Tomes but it was his burgeoning friendship and musical partnership with touring English DJs Ben Davis and the now Auckland resident Dick Johnson that was to prove pivotal. The trio released Le Saucier, the first 12 inch vinyl single under their 'Troffman' alias on Blackpool-based Shaboom Records in 2000. Soane's inaugural solo outing Go Master emerged in 2001 on the closely-linked Manchester label paperecordings, who also signed him to an album deal.

Unfortunately, delays inevitably occurred as Soane took time out to master the necessary technology and by the time 'TonganChic' neared completion mid last year, paper had folded. The album was then picked for worldwide release by Karangahape Road-based independent In Music, who had previously distributed Paperecordings in New Zealand and had already enjoyed success with their Soane-helmed first mix CD in 2002.

After Paper closed, we had half an album that was looking quite promising which now needed to be shipped around," tells Soane. "I went to a few places and got mildly excited by a few of them. I met the majors and then did a lot of deliberating and talking about it with my wife.

"We decided to go with In Music because it was going to be released on an independent label anyway, which gives you creative freedom. The major labels have a colour-by-numbers way of marketing and it's not necessarily always the best way. I didn't want to get lost and become yet another act on a major label."

Despite house being Soane's main DJ staple, 'TonganChic' encompasses a much wider musical palette, which harks back to his hip hop roots on tracks like Feelstyle (former King Kapisi cohort/ House of Downtown rapper) and Boh Runga-sung first single All I Need.

"We were working at the Red Bull Studios when we made the backing track," explains Soane. "Boh was in the studio. She'd come to see Luke about something so we played it to her. She said 'That's cool' and started humming a bit of a melody to it. I was like 'Do you want to sing on it' and she was happy to. Then Feelstyle popped in as well and we got them both to it. It was like first in best dressed basically."

Other vocalists featured on 'TonganChic' are Robson Santos from One Million Dollars, Anthony Gold from Solidarity and most notably ex-Sistas Underground singer, Hassanah Iroegbu on the sumptuous album closer Runaway.

"That was one of the first tracks we made," says Soane. "We already had the backing track. It was quite strong but we thought it really needed a nice vocal. The way Luke and I have worked the whole time is that we've made the beats, about 80% of the track, and then we'd decide if it needed a vocal or not. Hassanah lives in Florida now but was over here at the time we did the track, re-doing the TV2 music (Sistas Underground's In the Neighbourhood) so we got in touch with her. We gave her the backing track and within a couple of days, she'd written the vocals and gone in the studio and recorded it!"

Soane also worked with many live musicians on 'TonganChic' including Isaac Aesili on trumpet, Andy 'Submariner' Morton on Rhodes, Ned 'Killamanraro' Ngatai on guitar, DJ Manuel Bundy and drummer/ percussionists Kurt Dyer (from Solaa) and Benny Staples of Newmatics/ Lava Lava/ T-Son fame.

"I wanted to avoid samples as much as possible," says Soane. "When you make a track, you might start off with a few samples here and there but then you phase them out. I've got access to good musicians so why not use them? One track in particular, Syncopated Music, Benny and Isaac really lifted to another level and made it go from sounding very good in mind to awesome in the studio. We'd made the backing track and it had a big African vibe, although not by design or thinking about it too much. It just happened that way. So as a producer, I thought, 'This really needs a nice horn and some drums'."

'TonganChic' may have been in the works for two years but, apart from a few older tracks, was mostly recorded over an intense eight month period late last year at The Fale, Rising Sun and Red Bull Studios, in the downtime between the pair's more lucrative paying work. To date, Soane has received very little NZ On Air or Creative NZ funding although he has enjoyed plenty of corporate support.

"I'm up for funding though it's not going to be something I rely on," says Soane. "But I have to say that I have had a considerable amount of backing from Red Bull. They've been more than generous and they kick-started things for me. They provided for my engineer's time and paid for various musicians that I've used throughout the album. That's where the money's supposed to go.

"I have tried a couple of times with Creative NZ funding in two different categories - the Maori/Polynesian side and the normal recording artist side - but I got turned down for both of them. So I thought, 'I really want to achieve with this album so I'm going to have to think outside of the square a bit and go how can I get some money together?'"

"I've had this really good relationship with Red Bull right from the get-go (the opening of their studio). The deal was that Luke would be a part of setting the studio up and getting it up and running and we'd then get as much time in the studio as we wanted. My clothing sponsor, Dickies has also helped with the final push and manufacture of the album as well. And we've just been given a video grant to do a video for the single, All I Need, which is going to be a surprise for most people because it's a poppy hip hop track. In fact, I think the whole album is going to be a surprise for people!"