Deep Street Soul Look Out, Watch Out Interview
This raw funk band now features vocalist Mighty May Johnston and if the impression so far of their new release is anything to go by, this album is going to create some serious noise. The first single from the album, the title track Look Out, Watch Out has already garnered them rave reviews around the world.
Deep Street Soul are renowned for their energetic live shows, and Papa J is quick to acknowledge the bands who paved the way for them. "We really tip our hats to Melbourne funk legends, the Bamboos," he says. "It was those guys who opened the doors for bands like us to follow, and they really taught Australian audiences how to dance to live music again. Be it club shows, or larger festivals, it's so amazing to see people hit the dancefloor when a killer groove drops and get down like their lives depended on it. This is pretty much the reason we do what we do."
Look Out, Watch Out is an international album for the band, with the worldwide release through Freestyle Records (UK) and distributed locally through Fuse (Australia). Papa J says it is exciting for the band to have the release being pushed overseas as well as locally, it gives them a chance to reach audiences in Europe and UK who are big fans of funk. "But being Melbourne born and bred, it is really exciting for us to be able to release and play in our own backyard," he adds. "In some respects, Australia at the moment is the home of the global funk-soul scene. Bands like The Bamboos, The Transatlantics, Dojo Cuts, The Putbacks and Randa & The Soul Kingdom (to name a few) all have an international presence, so it is a real honour to be part of a local movement that's creating waves on a global stage."
The album builds on the foundation of their debut long player, showcasing the band's unique ability to create a fusion of funk tunes with a true old-fashioned soul feeling. "There was so much we loved about the last album, so we really didn't want to go changing things too much," says Papa J. "If anything we wanted to consolidate our sound from both a sonic and songwriting point of view, and I really think we managed to achieve that."
Look Out, Watch Out is released internationally through Freestyle Records (UK) & Fuse (Australia). The single 'Look Out, Watch Out' is at radio now.www. deepstreetsoul.comReview:
Deep Street Soul showcase their killer vocals and funky music style in Look Out, Watch Out. Deep Street Soul shine musically, creating smooth beats to make everyone head onto the dancefloor.
Interview with Papa JQuestion:
Can you talk about the album process and how it feel to hear your songs played? Papa J
: Wow! The process is a long process, we got back from Europe where we were touring the first album in April 2010 and on the back of that we started writing the second album because the first one we had written back in 2009 and it had taken a year to come out. We were very keen to start banging out the second album. The writing took place during May through to July/August last year and then we went into the studio in December 2010, we did the second session in March 2011 and we added a vocalist to the band. The process took a while and it was quite disjointed but now it's all done - mixed, mastered and I held it for the first time yesterday, with the full artwork. It is very exciting to get a release on a European label as well. Question:
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Papa J
: Yes, we write all our own songs. Our inspiration comes from 60's funk including Motown and Atlantic Records who produced Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Basically we pay homage to the 60's soul and funk movement, we play the music because it is fun to play especially when you play it live and people get on the dancefloor, dance and smile - it's really fun.Question:
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Papa J
: If we listen back to the 60's stuff we mostly listen to a band called The Meters who really started funk music in the 60's along with James Brown. With the new funk movement we listen to bands such as The New Master Sound and a local Melbourne band called The Bamboos; we listen to bands in the funk genre. Question:
Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel? Papa J
: Yes, everyday… no (laughing)! All of us in the band love this music, we love playing it and listening to it, we really do obviously love it. There are always times when you feel like the business side of things takes over from the enjoyable parts, which is recording and performing the music. At the end of the day it all comes back to music and getting onto the stage with friends and playing live.Question:
Do you prefer performing live or recording? Papa J
: They're two different things all together, I love both processes! Basically I mix most of our music so I get to play a big part in the sound of it. As I said before there is nothing like being on stage and seeing our singer, Mighty May Johnston, absolutely controlling the crowd, having them in the palm of her hand! They are both different, but both very enjoyable and I wouldn't be able to split it.Question:
What is the story behind the bands name? Papa J
: It's not very interesting (laughing). When we first started, I can't remember the names we had, but we began as a trio it was the keyboard player, the drummer and myself - we would play at cafes on a Sunday afternoon around Melbourne and we just played covers. We then recorded some material and a local guy wanted to put out the album but we still didn't have a name so effectively the guy at the record label came up with it and we said "let's go with that". There wasn't a lot of thought process behind it but we are very happy with it. Question:
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Papa J
: Yes, there are always challenges! The fact that we are with a European label and having to be in Australia dealing with that is always difficult. Touring Europe with five other people, in a car, with big personalities, is always a challenge. Playing shows that start at 1am and finishing at 3:30am and making it to bed at 5:30am - 6am, then getting up at 9am to drive six hours to the next town - that's a challenge! Keeping five people together in a band is hard enough, as it is - it's always a challenge to keep a band together. The reward is in the music industry, you don't do it for the money, you do it because you love it. Question:
Do you have a website fans can visit? Papa J
: www. deepstreetsoul.com
Interview by Brooke Hunter