Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Reel People: Really saying somethin'

Reel People @bluesandsoul.com
Reel People @bluesandsoul.com Reel People @bluesandsoul.com Reel People @bluesandsoul.com Reel People @bluesandsoul.com

Soulful House, dance, r&b/urban enthusiasts can all rejoice in the news that Reel People Music are about to release a new album of new and previously released tracks entitled Golden Lady. Fans of Reel People̢۪s danceable grooves, sweet vocals of guest artists and world renowned musicians will not be disappointed by their latest offering. Blues & Soul̢۪s very own sweet boy [Editor: You wish! lol] Ricardito was able to speak with the label creator and founding member of Reel People, Oli Lazarus about the past, present and future of their music.

On the album:
The album is based around the Reel People label and its music; as it̢۪s not made up of just Reel People but also artists on the label. We had been recording for over the last 18 months and had all these soulful tracks that worked together; that̢۪s how it came together. It is a mixture of tracks originally recorded for Reel People; some of them have come out as digital singles but we felt they deserved more love and a place on an album. Then there are other songs that I worked on or mixed that I liked for artists on the label.

On Reel People remixes
Since the first album we’ve always been lucky that remixes have been part of the project. You’ll find the originals sound more soulful/urban, and then the mixes are more dance and big in the clubs. We usually approach people to work on remixes for us; usually people that we have been following and really like their stuff. Sometimes people just do it off their back too and send it to us, or people will play it in clubs as part of their set. For the last album 7 Ways to Wonder there was a remix album that was released. The song ‘Star’ on our current album has a remix by Rasmus Faber, and ‘Sure’ has remixes by Frankie Feliciano and also The Layabouts, who are on the label.

Why Golden Lady?
I have always loved the song ‘Golden Lady’ for as long as I can remember. This version is based around the Jose Feliciano version it’s still very Brazilian, but then there is also the vocal by Tony (Momrelle) which sounds soulful like Stevie Wonder, so it’s a fusion of the two. Hopefully it comes across as a celebration of music.

A 30 second history of Reel People
Well Reel People was started by me and Tom Davidson, a music engineer in 2001. I was then introduced to Mike Patto in 2002, and after six months we worked on our debut album Second Guess which was released on Papa Records. Following on from that we toured the world for five or six years, during which time Defected Records re-released Second Guess with additional tracks, and a live disc. In 2007 we then released 7 Ways to Wonder on Papa Records, and the remix album six months after that. After that Mike left, and I then started working really closely with Tony Momrelle in running the Papa Records label.

Best tour experience
Wow! There have honestly been so many. I would have to say touring Japan around 2004 and we were invited to play at the Tokyo Jazz Festival which at the time was being run by Herbie Hancock. We played in front of 8,000 people and it was also broadcast live on television. Anyway at the end of each day Herbie Hancock would invite some of the artists to play with him; like a jam session. Herbie picked me to play some beats, along with Mike Patto and Vanessa Freeman that night, along with Toto and other jazz greats.

Bizarre tour experience
We got asked to play at ‘T in the Play’ some time back. We arrived and basically everyone was off their head on drugs and stuff. So whilst I was playing my beats I turned to my left and a fight had broken out; someone was getting glassed and everything. I turned back to the guys on stage who were looking at me and we just kept playing.

Musical self description
I would describe myself as a lover of great quality music. I have a lot of ideas of how we can create something special musically, and I have always happened to be around some really talented people and been to orchestrate that into something special. On this album we have had a high level of musicians, and it̢۪s been a blessing to have them. People like guitarist and percussionist Chris Franck, guitarist Tony Remy, bassist Julian Crampton, and percussionists Thomas Dyani and Oli Saville. The feeling behind the music has always been part of what makes the Reel People magic.

Music industry struggles
Well the music industry has been in recession for a while, especially if you look at how music is sold has changed. Making music, marketing and promoting is so hard, especially to try and recoup money. Musicians should be making decent money but they cant these days, so I know many who have quit the music business. It̢۪s frustrating as you have bills to pay and musicians to pay too, but we are not playing to 20,000 people for ten months a year to make lots of money. It̢۪s tough and it̢۪s a real shame; people don̢۪t realise how much you throw into it.

2011 plans
We are going to Japan next week doing some Dj’ing and some personal appearances with Tony. Then we are going to shoot a video for ‘Golden Lady’ in France, I think it’s important we have a visual for it when it’s released in April. There will also be live versions of some of the songs too to put out as bonus material. Then Tony will be working with Sade on her tour, but Reel People will be out with full band towards the end of the year. We will also try and call the other artists we have worked with previously and see if they are available to tour; it would be nice to catch up with them.

And finally the quick fire triple
3 songs you wish you had written?
Stevie Wonder̢۪s Golden Lady, Marvin Gaye̢۪s What̢۪s Going On, and Chaka Khan̢۪s I Know You, I Live You.

3 artists that have passed that you would̢۪ve loved to work with?
Teena Marie, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye

3 songs that take you back to your childhood?
Well my dad was a big Maze fan so I guess it would ‘Joy and Pain. Also ‘Peg’ by Steely Dan, and ‘Always There’ by Incognito.

Album ‘Golden Lady’ will be released on February 28th 2011 on Reel People Music.
Words Richard 'Ricardito' Ashie

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