Getting To Know… Sonic Soul Orchestra

Getting To Know... Sonic Soul Orchestra

f: How did you first get into making music? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Back in the 90’s Interstate records had two studios one in Haringey then over in Bow in the UK. Richard Purser from House and Garage Nice & Ripe label fame was the first guy I made records with.

f: What was the first dance record you bought? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Good Question! Let me ask you what is dance music? Does Paul Weller’s Style Council’s ‘House’ Album count, or Young MC ‘Know How’? I suppose my first real house record I bought was Mr Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’.

f: How would you describe your sound? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Some Kind of Disco! (Have I just created a new genre. lol) It’s really a mixture of classic house with the best of the Nu School thrown in and always with great songs and vocals.

f: Who were your musical influences and did they have an impact on your sound today? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Quincy Jones always got the best out of the artists and musicians he worked with. Rick Ruben always proving the point you don’t have to play to help make great records. Frankie Knuckles – from the first time I heard him play at the Sound Factory in NYC, I wanted to make records like he made and played. We were lucky enough to visit the booth with Satoshi Tomiie playing live keys over the top, it was a magical experience.

f: You launched Interstate Records back in early 1990, what was your first release? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Children Of A Deeper Society ‘Move On’,  licensed from New Jerseys Movin’ Records. But the first ever record I put out was Park Avenue ‘Don’t Turn Your Love’ on Classic Club Records, again licensed from Movin Records with the addition of Tony Humphries mixes.

f: What has been your own most successful release to date? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Probably Colonel Abrahams ‘You’re The One For Me’, from the Interstate days and now with the current Tinted Records version including remixes from Dr Packer, Ricky Morrison and Bonetti remixes.

f: You took a hiatus from producing music for many years to manage global tours for some of the world’s biggest artists, which sounds really exciting, please tell us a bit about it and who you’ve worked with.

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Yeah, I got bored with running the admin side of the label back in the late 90’s and the opportunity came up to tour manage artist Fayleine Brown, who was the front person for Lovestation (Fresh Records). They where one of the first dance acts to have top 40 success with their Ashford & Simpson cover ‘Teardrops’. I kind of liked it and fell into the UK circuit of Tour Managers and learned the ropes. My first big break was being asked to work with the Black Eyed Peas on a European festival Tour. This was just before their break through hit ‘Where Is The Love’ came out. So by the time the tour came around the record had come out and they were on the journey to mega stardom. Myself and my biz partner at the time tagged along for the ride, which in turn led us to work with Lady Gaga and Rihanna. 20 years later, I’ve been round the world a few times with some amazing artists.

f: If you had to pick one, which was your favourite tour and why? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Always Rihanna. Such a great person, a hard worker and so talented – the key ingredients to become a superstar she is today. I was with her for 6 years straight from the ‘Umbrella’ single.

f: So you’ve recently started producing and releasing music again, working with the likes of Kathy Brown and Colonel Abrams, among others.  What inspired you to get back in the production saddle? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Lockdown! Obviously Covid killed the touring business for a couple of years, So with time on my hands, I got back into DJing to stop myself losing my marbles and really enjoyed it. So I dug out the old Interstate dat tapes and decided to update some of the catalogue. Again, I really enjoyed it, so its moved on to producing new tracks not just catalogue updates.

f: You’ve just released ‘Happy People’ featuring Phillip Ramirez on Tinted Records, what can we expect to hear? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Some Kind Of Disco! Classic soulful house vibes mixed with the new sounds of today, only for Happy People!

f: The release also comes with remixes from Jay Vegas and Demarkus Lewis, what did they bring to the table? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Jay’s mix is modern Disco at its best, and Demarkus gives us a taste of what he does best with his deep underground soulful vibes.

f: You’re based between The UK and LA, how does life compare between to the 2 places and where do you do most of your producing? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Wow, a big question! There’s good and bad about both places. I am fortunate to be able to go between both due to my day job. But if I’ve been in LA for too long, I really miss the UK / European culture. It’s not the same watching West Ham football team win in Europe in a fake English pub in Santa Monica, haha! With regards to recording, most of the musical and writing element takes place in the UK with my musical partner Kevin McPherson. But the mixing and finishing can be in LA and London.

f: What piece of studio kit is crucial for the Sonic Soul Orchestra sound? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: It’s not really a piece of equipment, but more of a mindset. With my heritage and love for the new disco genres and sounds, I think it comes through in the music. And of course the keyboard skills of Kevin. In the words of Carl Craig  – “we take from the past to create the future”. That sums up some kind of disco for me.

f: Who are your 3 favourite current producers? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: Michael Gray – king of the home county soul boys. He’s the meaning of consistent! Ross Couch – deep with emotion. Jay Vegas – all the genres of the new Disco sound in one! 

f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about? 

Sonic Soul Orchestra: I’ve got another 2 Kathy Brown tracks coming up, along with a homage to one of the great Balearic classics.


Sonic Soul Orchestra ‘Happy People’ (SSO Classic Vocal Mix) is out now on Tinted Records.

Sonic Soul Orchestra ‘Happy People’ (Jay Vegas and Demarkus Lewis Mixes) will be released on Traxsource promo July 7th.




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