Sola Rosa – Get It Together

Monday, April 6th, 2009 | News, Reviews | 3 Comments
Sola Rosa - Get It Together

So it is now official: there is no such thing as “genres”. They were just generic classifications used to put music into arbitrary categories with stuff that sounded similar. Well these are now all outdated. The proof comes in the form of Sola Rosa’s diverse new offering ‘Get It Together’, which was recently released as the follow up to the 2005 masterpiece ‘Moves On’.

Sola Rosa has grown and developed over the years since beginning as essentially a one-man project,  started by New Zealand DJ/Producer Andrew Spraggon in 1999.  He has overseen the expansion to a fully-fledged band capable of powerhouse performances, both live and in the studio. There is a strong Latino personality and feel to the album, but it encompasses a wide and varied range of genres, which all seem to compliment each other perfectly.

Giving you the equivalent of a good mix CD or compilation album, except all the music is from the same band. Guest contributors from around the globe also add their influence, including Spikey Tee (Jah Wobble, Bomb the Bass, etc.); German globetrotter, poet and singer Bajka; UK MC Serocee; and emerging Wellingtonian songstress Iva Lamkum, who features on the new single Turn Around (which you can watch just below).  Because music is sound (and highly subjective) it’s better for you to sample it for yourself rather listen to a description, so go check out the official band site (links at the bottom).

This is an album balancing both organic and electric elements, that are fused with precision and intensity. Mixing effortlessly between all kinds of funky sounds the album incorporates parts of dub, hip hop, lounge, jazz and whatever else can help set the scene. It even includes a song that sounds like the next James Bond theme. The results of the flexible production is a eclectic mix of brilliant songs. ‘Get It Together’ is about as upbeat and party-friendly as you can get, while always remaining smooth and composed in a laid back jazzy style, it all ends up sounding like a party on a beach in South America, and everyone is invited!

Find out more about the diverse mixture of sounds from:

The band’s official website

‘Get It Together’ Album Website

Strickly uptown living

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Katalyst Interview

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 | Interviews | No Comments
Katalyst Interview

Hey Katalyst, thanks for taking the time, how are you? What’s going on with you at the moment?

Too much….wheres all the time gone?? Damn!!
So just lots of music really. Many different collaborations as well as some solo work. Also the release on BBE worldwide has been great. Giles Peterson named “How Bout Us”. The track I did with Steve Spacek his in his top 20 songs of 08. It came in at No13. Right now Im mixing a record Ive done with a vocalist. And recording lots of MCs for a project Im doing called ‘Quakers’.

How did you first get into production and spinning records? What was it that inspired you?

I was inspired by the music. Simple as that. I realised I loved music and the way it could make you feel so many things. Hip hop in particular…but that led me to all the genres that make up hip hop. My Stepdad sold Hi Fi so it was sound was a bit of a focus at our house growing up.

Your sound brings to mind names like DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Pete Rock; are these artists that you feel you can relate to? How would you describe your sound?

I undersatnd why these comparrisons are made and I like work by these artists. I realy like Shadows’ early work. Releases like “what“does you soul look like”, and Pete Rock was right up there, then he dropped ‘The main Ingredient’ and he was one of my fav producers of all time for sure. My favourite producer of all time is probably Premier. And also my man Geoff Barrow from Portishead. I don’t try to describe my sound ’cause it changes depending on the project. But I guess I’m into old sounds mixed with new sounds. Especially bass. Basically I’m into music with soul

What artists were you bumping back in the day when you first got into the scene?

I first got into groups like Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, and more mainstream acts like Ice T and Ice Cube etc. As well as in the late 80’s groups like Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep (Native Tounges) etc When I first got into the scene I was meeting peeps that all gathered at the only hip hop store in Sydney, ‘The Lounge Room’. Hip Hop wasn’t really part of mainstream culture here in Australia like it is today. There were very few international artists coming here to Aus exception of acts De La Soul and Public Enemy that had crossed over onto main stream radio

Katalyst - Say What You Feel

You’ve collaborated with many different artists over the years, what have been some of the more memorable connections? Is there anyone in particular that you’d love to work with in the future?

Lots of the artists Ive worked with I’m still working with today. And I’m working with a lot of people at the moment who Ive wanted to work with for some time. But I guess as your taste and ideas change you want to work with different people. Being a producer I will always be working with new people and that’s what keeps it interesting and exciting. I think if I was to work with everyone I’d like to work with I’d need more time than I have.

‘Watts Happening’, released towards the end of 2007, has received great reviews, did you enjoy making the album? Is there another album in the works?

I always enjoy making music. Some projects are more enjoyable than others. I enjoyed making this album a lot. It was so long since my previous album that I hadn’t had that much time making music for a few years. So just getting back to writing was a pleasure. And then collaborating with so many other talented artists from here and abroad made it even more enjoyable.

I first came across your music when I heard ‘Dusted’, it had such a party vibe and the track selection was sensational, is this how you like to rock shows when you play live?

‘Dusted’ was a compilation album that had some party jams for sure but also had some more chill tunes on it. When I play live with my band I mostly play my own music which ranges from party to more chilled soul so in a way ‘Dusted’ does reflect the vibe of my live show. If I’m just DJ’ing then a few tunes on the comp will be sure to get a run.

Vinyl or Serato?

Live its all Serato now…… just due to convenience. Not so convenient is its playing up which is another consideration. But I still love vinyl. I don’t even have Serato set up at home cause I’d never use it.  My records are there and nothing sounds better. Vinyl is still the best playback medium around.

Recently you were a part of the ‘Days Like This’ festival in Sydney, which included the likes of Public Enemy, Atmosphere and Fat Freddys Drop; how was that for a gig? Did you get to catch up with many of the other artists?

That show was great. It was a really nice day over all. The crowd really tuned out for our set even though it was early in the day. The Forum was packed and everyone was hyped. As far as catching up with other artists, I caught up with Flying Lotus, Wajeed and Vadim introduced himself (again…as I had already met him years ago) as were now label mates on BBE Records. Even managed to say a quick hello to Chuck D the man himself!

Katalyst - All You’ve Got

You’ve also toured with artists such as Jurassic 5, The Roots and DJ Shadow; tell us about life on the road with such hip hop legends, what has been your favourite tour so far? Any crazy stories?

All the crazy stories are for another time but generally those guys are cool. There just over here doing their thing. Everyone’s different too. And depending on the gig you might or might not get to chill with the other artists. Some of the national tours like Good Vibrations mean you spend a week with the other artists and you might go record shopping etc with a few of the guys and get to know then a little better. I’ve had big international artists approach me as “fans” which was cool. Z Trip already had my music before I met him and introduced himself as a fan.  He’s a really nice guy into the bargin..

When not making music you’re busy running your label, Invada Records, does that take up more of your time these days?

It takes up more time than I have for it so I’m looking to collaborate with some other label soon. Just so I have more time to make music which is what I got into this business for. I stopped signing new acts a while back because of time limitations.

How do you think the music industry is going to cope with all this recession business that’s going on?

How is the music industry going to cope with the fact changing technology has meant recorded music has only a fraction of the value it used to have? That’s the real question here I think. The recession will come and go but free music is here for good….so how is the industry going to work around that? Good question! As usual time will tell.

I’ve heard recently that you are working on a project that is “somewhere between Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Gnarls Barkley”, can you shed any light on this for us?

I guess that would be the album Im doing with Steve Spacek. We’ve called the ourselves Space Invadas, and the album is almost done. I hope people dig it ’cause we had a great time making it. So far the feedback has been amazing. Its title is ‘Soul – Fi’

What are you listening to at the moment? Care to share your opinion on the current state of hip hop?

Im listening to a lot of old records as usual but also trying to cop anything new making waves out there. The latest Black Milk album was tasty. Still keeping an eye on what Madlibs up to. The new Q-Tip album is cool. There’s some dope jams on there. His live show was great as well. I’m working on a hip hop project as I mentioned with my man from Portishead. Its called ‘Quakers’ and it will be my contribution to the current state of hip hop…..because quite frankly….its boring as batshit out there….and the commercial stuff is the worst its been in a long time

Can we expect to see Katalyst out on the road anytime soon?

Yep but more likely as Space Invadas. That’s the next project to hit the road. We’ll have a 4 or 5 piece band and some guest vocalist along with Steve and myself. Looking forward to getting that out there. I guess there could be a Katalyst show or two as well……..

Many thanks for your time,

You can check out more of Katalyst at:


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Society Is Brainwashed – Ill Bill

Thursday, March 26th, 2009 | News | No Comments
Society Is Brainwashed - Ill Bill

Obviously many of us are aware by now that governments and the media lie to us on a regular basis, whether we like to believe it or not. Some of us don’t really care anymore, while others get really into the whole conspiracy theory type thing. Sites like manage to keep churning out some great ones. So how the hell does this relate to music you may begin to ask? Well here’s a song that came out end of last year by Ill Bill, it’s got a great beat which is pretty much guaranteed when Dj Premier is on production. It’s from the album ‘Hour of Reprisal’ which also came out in 2008. It should appeal to hip hop fans who like a bit of controversy or substance in the lyrics. With great lines like:

“Every society honours it’s live conformists and dead trouble-makers.”

“Old men start wars for young dudes to die in
Madison Avenue tellin’ what you should be buyin’
religion and science always profess peace but in the end
who created the deadly war machine society is?”

Ill Bill – Society is Brainwashed

We all should know by now that the world is run by people who don’t listen to good music!

You can check out more of Ill Bill at:


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The RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection

Monday, March 23rd, 2009 | News | No Comments
The RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection

Finally!!!! The RZA is back with his follow up soundtrack for the second installment of manga cartoon ‘Afro Samurai 2′. After releasing a huge variety of beats and rhymes in other awesome soundtracks like ‘Ghost Dog’, ‘Kill Bill’ volumes 1 and 2, and of course all of his work in Wu tang chronicles, the first ‘Afro Samurai’ soundtrack wasn’t the best piece of RZA’s work for me, given the quality of his work though, you can’t skip over anything the the RZA puts his hand on, so it’s definitely worth a listen.

Afro Samurai Resurrection – Movie Trailer

Check out his interview for a crazy insight into the politics that goes on behind the scenes for an artist on both sides of the business who has given a new sense of possibility to entrepreneurs that follow him. This interview is one of the better, and more real accounts I have seen in recent times, and paints a picture you don’t get to see all to often in the media.

and you can check out more of RZA at:


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Zap Mama

Friday, February 20th, 2009 | News | No Comments
Zap Mama

Maya Angelou – ‘Phenomenal woman’

“….its in the reach of my arms
the span of my hips
the stride of my step
the curl of my lips
Im a woman,
Phenomenal woman


From the misspelling of the artist “brandy” [during one of my youtube scavenger hunts] I was fortunate enough to stumble on this gem of a “oh heeellll yeah!” or else known as “Bandy, Bandy” by Zap Mama ft Erykah Badu.

Zap Mama and Erykah Badu – Bandy Bandy

Marie Daulne, the founder and leader of Zap Mama, was born in Republic of Congo the fourth child of a Walloon (French-speaking Belgian) father and a Bantu mother. Daulne was only a week old, when her father was attacked and killed by Simba rebels, who were opposed to mixed-race relationships. Pygmies rescued her family from the rebels and she pays homage to those pygmies in the song ‘Gati’ from the album, ‘Supermoon’.

With an eclectic history of influences including Etta James, Bob Marley, Run DMC & Beastie Boys to {Dualne and her sister’s} mother’s Congoan songs and French radio, Zap Mama was born.  This polyphonic, harmonic music has a mixture of heavily infused African instruments, R&B, and Hip-hop with a strong emphasis on the traditional African harmonies.

Two decades later, seven albums, collaborations with Talib Kweli, The Roots, Common, Bahamadia & Jazzyfatnastees, and tracks featuring on blockbusters like ‘Mission Impossible’ & the recent art film, ‘What about me?‘, Zap Mama can be explained in just one word…… “dope”.

Not only does this woman’s beauty make you blush, and her wails get you high, Zap Mama is an evolution of the soul who never fails to get you movin’ like …..

“…like Bandy Bandy (the snake), wave your body…“

You can check out more from Zap Mama at:

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