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Flevans continues his mission to bring funk magic to the masses with his latest single. On "Realisation", he teams up with south coast songstress Laura Vane in the next chapter of a songwriting partnership that has taken clubs and airwaves by storm.
"Realisation" takes the best parts of the groove and feel of 80’s boogie classics and updates them with next level 2020 production skills while an extremely catchy hook makes certain this song will be in your head all year long. Formerly with Tru Thoughts and now signed to Jalapeno Records, it’s fair to say that Mr Flevans has got a type… that type being Brighton labels with an ear for quality. Having accumulated numerous national radio spins across the BBC and winning high profile fans in the shape of Zoe Ball, Don Letts and Craig Charles, Flevans has developed his song based writing even further with his latest studio album "Accumulate" out at the beginning of May 2020.

20 Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Ask... Shawn Lee


How would you best describe what you do to the uninitiated?

I make records! As to say I’m continuing the tradition of making music that connects the past to the present and into the future. I’m a musical magpie and I’ll mess with any style I like thru my individual perspective and process. 

Where would you say you are with regard to your career right now?

I’m well in to it! Having said that, there still is a lot more stuff to do. I feel like all the seeds I’ve been planting all these years are just now starting to bare fruit. It’s been a really gradual process man. 


Which song (not neccesarilly yours) best sums you/the band up and why?

What a fool believes by The Doobie Brothers is one of my all time favourite songs. I’d say it inspires me a lot with my group Young Gun Silver Fox. 


Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration (musically or otherwise)?

SL-Musically thats a tough question as I admire so many different people. Here are a small list: Ennio Morricone,Shuggie Otis,The Beatles,Jeff Porcaro,Steely Dan,Stevie Wonder,The Beach Boys,The Dust Brothers,Money Mark. 


Is there anyone amongst your influences that you think would surprise people and why?

SL-Good question. I’m not sure about that to be honest. I do love Andy Williams tho. He has an incredible voice. I really rate him and prefer him to Sinatra to be honest . Fight me ! Ha ha ha 


What are you most proud of?
Making a living from what I love to do for the last 40 years ! 


In the quest to get the music ‘out there’ have you ever done or agreed to anything you’ve later regretted?

Every step a long the way has been necessary and kept me moving forward so no. I’ve always continued making my own music no matter how busy I’ve been working for others. That’s key... 


What’s the most ridiculous request that’s been asked of you/the band?

Apple wanted to use one of my songs for free ie: a \"gratis license\"! Rotten Apple -get the fuck out of here. 

What do you think is the secret to a good working relationship amongst musicians?

Respect,friendship and humour play an essential role. Also, loyalty is paramount and allowing people to put their own personal thing into it is important too. 


If you could have played on one song (that you don’t), what would it be and why? 
Tough question but maybe drums on Alabama Shakes as the drums are never as good as they should be. 


How do you make the balance between music and personal responsibilities?

No sleep! Ha ha ha That’s one of life’s constant battles ya know. The struggle of the juggle! I just give it a 100% every day and know good and well there is never enough hours in the day. 



In light of the internet and downloading do you feel that fans are missing out on the record buying discovery/experience?

SL- It’s never too late to buy a physical LP or CD even if you grew up with online music. I don’t stream music personally but my only problem with the Spotify &Youtube’s of the world is they don’t pay fair royalties. This must change. 


Do you think that success is your motivation and do you have a preset gameplan for your music/the band?

SL- My initial motivation is always making music that I love. Doing that and learning all the while during the process is success. Finish and release and go out and play the music for live audiences. Repeat this scenario over and over!!!!


DJ’s are now as famous as a lot of the bands they play, what are your views on this and do you think it’s deserved?

I have been doing my own radio show on Soho Radio for nearly 6 years and also occasionally DJing in clubs. The DJ should never be bigger than the music that they play. I know a lot of DJ’s,some of them are quite famous. I know who is for real and who is lost in their own self importance and ego. DJ’s spread music around the globe and it’s an important part of the musical eco system. 


To date, what has been your most memorable gig (either as a performer or as a fan)?

SL-Playing North Sea Jazz Festival with Young Gun Silver Fox last year was a real highlight. The crowd was incredible and it was a real moment in my musical career. I had my wife and my kids with me too and it was so special.I’ll always cherish that night 


How do you overcome pre-gig nerves (if you get them)?

SL- I don’t get nervous before playing to honest. It’s only when you do a live TV that I feel a bit of nerves Live TV is a mofo!!


When did you last write something?

SL- Last week. I’m always writing, it’s a fluid thing. I love it !!!


Have you ever reached a point where you’ve thought about throwing the towel in and walking away (and if so, what persuaded you otherwise)?

SL-Honestly no. I’ve come way too far to do anything else. I don’t do music to make a living-I’m living to make music! You know what I mean?!I’ve never had a back up plan so there is no other choice than to make it work. 


What are your views on electronics muscling in and replacing live instuments during recording?

SL-I think there was a point when it got too easy to do with apps,VST’s and simulations and it made people lazy. Also \"Electronic\" music wasn’t the new thing anymore and it has become so mainstream and banal. When anybody can do it on their Iphone in Garage Band dragging and dropping loops it’s pretty low brow.I’m now replacing people’s midi parts with hardware physical instruments so the tables are turning. 


Lastly, thank you for your time. What made you agree to answer these questions?

SL- I’m always happy to spread my love for music. I always have time for that. 


Dr Rubberfunk might not be medically trained, but he does know a thing or two about treating your ears, as he returns with his fourth album "My Life at 45". 2018 saw Dr Rubberfunk step back into the limelight to release the first in a series of four "My Life At 45" limited 7” singles - each of which have promptly sold out and won praise & support from the likes of Bandcamp, BBC 6Music, Fatboy Slim and Blues and Soul Magazine.
Having established himself in funk, soul, blues and jazz circles with a ton of high calibre releases, the good doctor holds a reputation for quality productions, with a hands-on approach, both in front of, and behind the mixing desk, as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and producer. The new album brings together stunning vocals from John Turrell, Izo FitzRoy and Stephanie Whitelock, whilst the instrumental tracks, showcasing the talents of long-time collaborators Jim Oliver, Jonathon James and Ben Castle, make it clear just what a crack production outfit the Doctor has put together.

The Devonns dust off the golden era of 70's Chicago soul with their self-titled debut album on Record Kicks

Straight from the streets of Chicago, Illinois, The Devonns (pronounced "De vaughns") are the brand new soul outfit and the latest addition of the Record Kicks’ family, whose self-titled debut album that drops April 3rd, is an assortment of influences taking us back to the heyday of soul.

 Drawing influences from bands such as The Dramatics, The Isley Brothers and Leroy Hutson, yet bringing in their own unique modern twist, influenced by artists such as Jamie Lidell and Raphael Saadiq; singer Mat Ajjarapu explains how unintentionally, the rich heritage of Chicago’s history with soul music influenced him.

 “The city was at the epicentre of a lot of good music back in the 50’s all the way to the 80’s, a lot of the labels specialising in soul were based in the Chicago and we even had our own sound known as 'Chicago soul'. Through several years of crate digging it surprised me how many songs I loved were recorded in this city, for example one of my favourites is this great little song by The Natural Four, produced by Leroy Hutson ‘Can This Be Real’, and released via Curtom Records”.

 The band started in 2016 after multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mathew Ajjarapu dropped out of med school and found himself unemployed and drifting. Listening to music constantly at the time, he found inspired to put a band together and create his own music. Pairing up with some of the best musicians Chicago has to offer, he founded The Devonns: the rhythm duty is entrusted to Khalyle Hagood (bass), Ari Lindo (guitar) and Khori Wilson (drums).

 The release took almost two years to complete as Mat explains: “I am a perfectionist, I had a very specific vision in my head about how it should sound and I wasn’t going to rest until I achieved it”.

 “This is a definitely a throwback soul record, as well as being drawn to the lush and intricate arrangements of Motown, I was also inspired by the more lo-fi works of smaller labels such as Chess and Capsoul, and I wanted to capture the magic they had in those recordings in our record, as everything feels too precise nowadays”, clarifies Mat.

 It was thanks to his engineer Mike Hagler, who introduced him to Paul Von Mertons (Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, Elton John) who arranges and conducts for Brian Wilson’s live touring show and after a 45 minute phone conversation about what Mat wasn’t keen on, on the album, he realised Paul totally understood where he was coming from.

 After a few months wait for Paul to get back from touring they entered the studio with “Paul’s players” and as soon as they hit record, Mat explains: “I was getting chills up my neck, it was one of the happiest days of my life, and finally we had nailed it!”.

 The introduction of percussionist, organist and guitarist extraordinaire Ken Stringfellow best known for his work with REM since 1997 who features throughout the album really was the icing on the cake for Mat. “Ken is a family friend and had previously collaborated on my older brother Phil Ajjarapu's solo album. It was incredible to be in the studio with these two giants".

 Tracks such as "Come Back"; which Mat wrote in ten minutes on a $300 Daneelectro Singlecut guitar initially, came to life, with Paul’s rich string arrangements.

 It still took a few months to get the recording process finished but finally after a torturous nineteen months the album was finally finished. The result is an album filled with lavish string arrangements and catchy melodies which take us on a nostalgic musical journey inspired by chic 70s soul, yet the band don’t hesitate to add their own unique and elegant contemporary stamp to the record.

Daptone Records present another sure-shot single from their good friends, and top-tier tunesmiths, The James Hunter Six. The A-Side, "Brother or Other" blast out of the speakers with an explosive 7 stroke tip-of-the-cap to Motown's legendary drummer, Benny Benjamin - courtesy of long-time Sugarman 3 stalwart, Rudy Albin. This track finds James and co. exploring more of a straight-forward soul sound than previous efforts. Seasoned generously with a gorgeous piano melody and timely message, the tune settles into a mid-tempo groove that has enough dancefloor bounce to get folks on their feet. The flip, "Never" is an evocative beautiful ballad that's right smack in James' pocket: a slow, rolling rumba that'll make you wanna sway with the one you love, or the one you long to love.

Following the release of their latest album “Pleasure Centre” at the end of 2019, Kraak & Smaak turn their attention to one of the most blissed out moments on the project – “Don’t Want This To Be Over”. Vocals come courtesy of LA dream pop purveyors Satchmode and perfectly capture the west coast vibes of the album (much of it written in LA). First up on the remix tip is French touch funk machine Jean Tonique who delivers a delicious mid-tempo version that literally has the word beach bar stamped through it.
North London duo Saison step up next with a tougher house mix that firmly cements their positions as remixers du jour for 2020. Finally Boogie Angst favourite Knight One takes it straight back to the west coast circa 1976 with a Rhodes and vocals excursion that perfectly suits the vibe of the song.  Kraak &Smaak are a dutch trio from Leiden, Netherlands who have conquered the world with their eclectic brand of electronic soul. From peak time dancefloor to the small hours chill out, this band can deliver. As well as being producers, DJ’s and a world class live band, the boys Oscar, Wim and Mark also run the chart-topping Boogie Angst label.

Omar Lyefook MBE is without doubt, one of the greatest soul music talents the United Kingdom has produced in the last 40 years. If anyone has doubts about that, then they might want to consider the list of legendary artists who happily line up to collaborate with him musically, or simply sing his praises - from Stevie Wonder, the late Leon Ware, Erykah Badu, Common, through to Carleen Anderson, D'Angelo, and Soul II Soul's Caron Wheeler, Angie Stone and U.K. artists Courtney Pine, Rodney P, Kele LeRoc, Natasha Watts and Estelle, all appreciate his truly original and unique voice, musicianship and songwriting talent.

When asked to reflect on his long, successful, critically acclaimed and deeply influential career that shows no signs of slowing up, Omar said "I feel blessed. I try to keep things moving and evolving, and when I finish an album, I always put my heart and soul into it. I'm looking at it from an outsider's point of view, because I never really see myself making the music. It's like I'm the vessel and somebody's controlling what I do, I just happen to be the one that gets the praise for it".

That modest statement just re-enforces the fact that Omar is simply a one off, a genuinely unique artist. That is a bold claim, but his sound is so immediately identifiable, that you will know you are hearing an Omar track within seconds - and that is the stamp of true originality.

This collection features many of his classic collaborations, from his evergreen worldwide anthem There's Nothing Like This, It's So, the dancefloor destroying banger inspired by the amalgam of sounds Omar heard at The Notting Hill Carnival. Also included are lesser known, slept on tracks from across his long career - and the exclusive, previously unheard tracks Pass It On ft Terri Walker andLong Time Coming.

"Omar is The Man" - Jeff Young (Jazz FM)

"You had me at Omar. He's the King... No Doubt - Tim Love Lee

Madrid-based soul/jazz outfit Beat Bronco Organ Trio have been burning up stages and festivals throughout 2019 and now the time has almost come for them to reveal their debut album “Road Trip”, scheduled for release on February 28th on LP & Digital via Rocafort Records. But first, it’s time to give you another sneak peak into the full-length with two very different tracks!
“Beat Bronco” is an uptempo funk tune with a blast guitar riff, crunchy hammond vamp and crazy drum beat. It is super tight and visceral, where the most important thing is the intention. In culinary terms, it would be like mixing spicy seafood with a very cold beer and a shot of tequila for dessert. If you are looking for an explosive song, this is what you need!
“East Baby” is a soulful mid tempo cut that was the band’s debut single on Rocafort Records. It was originally released as a 7 inch in April 2019 and has long gone sold out. Perfect for a romantic tete-a-tete with your love interest, or just to set a mellow mood to groove to.

Building on the critical acclaim of their previous releases comes the new full-length from UK funk & soul powerhouse Crowd Company. The band's third studio album "Lowdown" was produced by Alan Evans (Soulive) and features horn players Ryan Zoidis and Eric "Benny" Bloom from Grammy nominated US funk band Lettuce on all tracks.Crowd Company are known for their modern take on vintage 70s soul funk and this new release provides just the right amount of unexpected twists and turns to keep things fresh and exciting. The band features three soulful vocalists often blending exquisite harmonies, coupled with virtuoso musicianship in the form of in the pocket heavy grooves, swirling Hammond organ, tight horns and fiery guitar licks. Add to that the analog production from Alan Evans and impeccable mastering from Grammy award winning engineer Brian Lucey and you have yourself a winner indeed!"Lowdown" isn't just Crowd Company's third studio album, it is a snapshot of a band in peak form, doing what they love, and sharing that with the world.

The fourth album from ephemerals, "the third eye" sees them continue their ever-evolving musical journey. Fusing styles including spiritual jazz, psychedelia, and spoken word, to convey an identity that is unmistakably their own. The core of the work is built from the honest and incisive compositions of Hillman Mondegreen combined with the unmistakably emotive vocal delivery of singer Wolfgang Valbrun.  
Experimenting with recording and mixing techniques to illustrate the artistic concepts behind the songs has been key in the overall character of the record. Hard panning is used to group together specific sounds and instruments to the left and right to convey masculine and feminine sides within the track as within the individual. The album is a deeply personal and conceptual body of work using ambiguous harmony to discuss gender identity, polychords to demonstrate the power of being between the gender binaries, and modal changes to remove the homeliness that you find speaking to the alienation of being transgender.
Although drawn from Hillman’s personal experiences the writing is always universal, and singer Wolfgang Valbrunrelates the pieces to his own experiences of a young black man leaving the USA. The band has evolved exponentially over the course of these four albums, and they continuously push beyond the boundaries of traditional genre ideas and traverse unexplored musical territories.

Dr Rubberfunk might not be medically trained, but he does know a thing or two about treating your ears, as he returns with the fourth instalment of his popular "My Life at 45" series. Having established himself in funk, soul, blues and jazz circles with a ton of high calibre releases, his "My Life" series has spawned sell out runs of limited edition 45s, won praise from the likes of BBC6Music, FIP Radio, Fatboy Slim and DJ Yoda and garnered enthusiastic press support worldwide.
A side "Boom!" features the vocals of the UK’s leading blues & soul singer John Turrell who recounts the sorry tale of a man who has burned the candle at both ends, leaving him with just his recriminations and a great slab of wax on his hands. On the flip "Steppin" In” is a low slung beat fest that is guaranteed to make your head nod, as piano, guitar & Hammond ride a tight jazz funk groove. But we’ve saved the best news until last, as the "My Life At 45" single series will form part of the forthcoming "My Life At 45" album in February. As before, this 7” is likely to be another sell out run, so move quickly before they disappear!

In 2019 German funk superstars The Mighty Mocambos returned in fine form with the release of their fourth album "2066", a blistering set of funk, afro, hip hop, cinematic compositions and soulful storytelling. The mean street grooves and furious drums of car chase workout "Golden Shadow" and joyous instrumental stomper "Preaching To The Choir" were quickly identified as DJ favorites. So here they are on glorious golden 7inch vinyl to jumpstart 2020 with!
After embarking on a storming European tour at the end of 2019 that saw them thrill audiences in France, Germany and the UK, watch out for The Mighty Mocambos to announce their upcoming live shows for a chance to catch them in all their glory on a stage near you!

Italian cult combo Calibro 35 release their highly anticipated 7th studio album“MOMENTUM” on January 24th 2020. “MOMENTUM” follows “DECADE”, their previous studio album released in 2018 that had marked 10 years of Calibro 35, and it stands out as a new starting point for the project. In the last 10 years Calibro 35 have dug the golden age of soundtracks and they have been to the future with “S.P.A.C.E.”. “MOMENTUM”, as the band stated: "represents a look at nowadays and a reflection about making music right in the time that we’re living”.

Inspired by the work of artists such as Tortoise, Jagajazzist, Dj Shadow, Budos Band, Stelvio Cipriani, Ennio Morricone, Sandro Brugnolini, White Noise, Comet is Coming, JPEGMafia and DJ Signify, compared to the previous Calibro 35’s full lengths on the 10 tracks that make up the new album, band’s instruments and sounds have increased in number and complexity as well as reality. The music palette is further extended by incorporating even more synths and electronic sounds, but keeping everything true and 100% real, with all the instruments played live and with no presets or programming. The two featurings on the album serve the cause as well. On the first single “Stan Lee”, they collaborated with rapper, producer and songwriter Illa J, a former member of super group Slum Village and younger brother of the late legendary hip hop producer and rapperJ Dilla. On “Black Moon”, the combo from Milan provided the groove for London-based artist MEI. "If 'DECADE' was the sum of everything that the band had felt in the previous ten years", Calibro 35 says, "'MOMENTUM' is the prequel of what you will hear in the next ten". 

A live-in-the-studio jam feel, deep Prestige-style grooves and some of the nastiest Hammond sounds yet on a Funkstamatics release. Those are the ingredients of "The Reverend". Titled after keyboard player Rob Schepens’ long-standing nickname, the track captures the loose-yet-tight feel of The Funkstamatics’ live shows.
Band member Tim says: “With this track we really returned to our early days, over ten years ago, when we were called Euro Cinema. No overdubs, no effects, just four guys jamming in the studio, inspired by the Blue Note/Prestige hammond funk we all love. We’ve been playing the tune live recently and it’s quickly becoming a highlight of the shows. It’s just so much fun to play and I guess that rubs off on the audience!”
"The Reverend" follows up on "Happy Acorn" as the second in a series of digital-only singles the band plans on releasing in the coming months in anticipation of their fourth album, which will be a musical journey from New York in the 60s to Minneapolis in the 80s and back!