Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Cool Million: Cool As Funk

Cool Million @bluesandsoul.com
Cool Million @bluesandsoul.com Cool Million @bluesandsoul.com Rob Hart: Cool Million @bluesandsoul.com

With their sound largely influenced by acts like The S.O.S. Band, Midnight Star and Kashif, North-European-based modern soul duo Cool Million - comprising producers/songwriters/musicians Rob Hardt and Frank Ryle - this month follow-up their well-received first three albums (2008’s “Going Out Tonight”; 2010’s “Back For More”; and 2012’s “Cool Million III”) with their eagerly-anticipated new fourth set titled simply “Sumthin’ Like This”.

Retaining the Eighties danceable soul flavours of its aforementioned predecessors, “Sumthin’ Like This” nevertheless takes the Cool Million project to a different level via guest appearances from such seasoned vocalists as US Eighties soul men Glenn Jones (the current single Tonight”), Gavin Christopher and Porter Carroll, in addition to UK songstresses Janine Johnson and Laura Jackson plus such further respected names as Marc Evans, Tim Owens and Michael Jeffriesâ€Â¦ Which in turn results in a consistently upbeat set, whose blend of retro musical integrity with modern-day studio sensibilities additionally also marks the latest release for one-time Chaka Khan/Keith Sweat producer/remixer Rob’s own SedSoul label. Whose stated aim is to “deliver high-quality soul music for adults by top-notch artists from all over the world”!

All of which affable Danish-born-and-bred Cool Million founder-member Frank happily discusses with “Blues & Soul” Assistant Editor Pete Lewis from his home just outside Copenhagen.

PETE: What did you want to achieve musically with your new, fourth album “Sunthin’ Like This”?

FRANK: “Primarily we just wanted to continue what we already have going on with the Cool Million sound - which is very much that whole Eighties vibe - while also changing the production side of things a little by using more external musicians. Like for example we used a horn/brass section on a couple of tracks, which is something quite different from our previous albumsâ€Â¦ So yeah, while I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’ve given it a totally live sound, we did think it would be nice to have a more organic feel this time round.”

PETE: Arguably the most legendary name involved this time around is US Eighties/early-Nineties soul man Glenn Jones, who features on the album’s current single “TonightӉ€Â¦

FRANK: “Well, with Glenn Jones being like one of our heroes from back then - he has the same kinda aura as a guy like Eugene Wilde, who we’ve worked with in the past - we thought it would be a great honour for us to WORK with him. So we approached him and asked him if he wanted to do a song - you know, we basically told him what we wanted to do was make an uptempo track like the stuff he’d done in the past like “Meet Me Halfway There” and “I Am Somebody” - and we were very pleased when he told us he already knew about Cool Million and would be up for DOING something with us! So we sent him couple of demo tracks, he chose the one that came to be titled “Tonight” - and we’re very happy with the RESULT!”

PETE: “Sumthin’ Like This” also boasts guest vocals from other Eighties American soul heroes like Porter Carroll, Gavin Christopher and Marc Sadaneâ€Â¦

FRANK: “Yeah, they’re basically all artists who have more or less a similar HISTORY. Like with us you could say it’s a kind of ERA thing, in that it’s very much about paying tribute to music from the late-Seventies and early-Eighties... For instance, with a guy like Porter Carroll I knew about him from a solo album he did in I think in ’85. Which, though it wasn’t a particularly good record, for me it did show that there was something special about his VOICE. So though I initially thought he wasn’t singing any more, once I eventually did find a track he’d put out just a couple of years ago I basically tracked him down to ask him if he wanted to do a SONG with us - and fortunately for us he said YES!. You know, we were basically very lucky to track him down at the right TIME, because I think he’s usually quite busy touring with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oatesâ€Â¦ Then with Gavin Christopher we’d actually been told he’d had I think it was a heart attack and was recovering but at the same time still sounded really GOOD. So that’s how THAT collaboration came aboutâ€Â¦ While with Marc Sadane I’d always liked him from the two albums he’d done with Mtume. And what happened there was when I eventually got to talk with him he straightaway told me he - like Glenn - already knew about Cool Million and would be very happy to WORK with us! Which is how we ended up doing two SONGS with him!”

Album “Sumthin’ Like This” and single “Tonight Feat. Glenn Jones” are out now, both through SedSoul Records

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To read more from our interview with Cool Million, including how the dynamic duo met and their thoughts on the modern soul sceneâ€Â¦ Pick up a copy of the latest Blues & Soul magazine at your local magazine retailer, inc; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and a plethora of independents everywhereâ€Â¦ if they don't stock it, ask for a "B&S shop save" and they will get it for you.
Words PETE LEWIS

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