Getting To Know… Soul Avengerz

Getting To Know... Soul Avengerz

Getting To Know… Soul Avengerz

F: Hi Paul, it’s a pleasure to chat with you today, how are you?

Soul Avengerz: Great actually, thank you for asking.

F: Where are you from?

SA: I grew up in London’s Stoke Newington area, Dalston etc, a very different area to what it is now!! 

F: Who did you listen to growing up and do they influence your music career at all today?

SA: I was a massive ‘soul boy’ in my teens, collecting vinyl at a really early age, making mix tapes for all my friends at 13-17 years old. I got my first set of decks at 16, all in one Citronic set up, then saved like mad to buy Technics 1200s when I started full time work at 18. My early mix tapes started with artists like Change, Loose Ends, Cheryl Lynn, Jocelyn Brown, SOS Band, Melba Moore, Luther Vandross, Mantronix, Prince and Sharron Redd. By the time I was 17, I was going to Land Of Oz, Camden Palace and The Astoria in London and my mix tapes were a mixture of early Acid and Chicago House, although I do remember doing some Balearic tapes too, must of been around 1991 by then. So yes, all the artists and genres have been quite an influence on my production career.

F: How did Soul Avengerz come about and was your first release? 

SA: Wayne and myself had been Djing around London since 1989. Wayne used to run these cool parties called ‘Dirty’ and around 1997 he invited me to play at one of them. We got on really well and I became a resident with him and Soul Avengerz was born. In 1999 we went in the studio with a legendary engineer called James Reynolds and the rest as they say is history. Our first release was ‘Can U Handle It’ and our second release was signed to Full Intention’s D-Tension label – which was a massive honour for us and gave us the confidence to keep going.

F: Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create / personal favourite? 

SA: The one track that I would say is my favourite is the one that took the quickest time to make – ‘Love You Feel’. The original white label was made in half a day! But when we received interest from a big UK record label, we recreated the whole sample and had the wonderful Angie Brown re-vocal it. That was just incredible to recreate every single element of the original disco track and then re-sample it to give it that French house feel.

F: Congratulations on your fantastic remake of the house music classic ‘Musical Freedom’ with vocal legend Adeva on Fool’s Paradise, please tell us a little about how it sounds?  

SA: This track is part of my DNA since back in 1990 when the first Paul Simpson version came out. I was obsessed with it, played it death and even throughout the mid 90s would finish my set with it or close the party, if I was on last. Some classics have been rinsed and some are yet to be discovered by the new generation.

I always thought this was a track that meant so much to us back in those hazy days, but has never been rinsed or re-hashed since. I’ve brought it up to date whilst retaining a dash of nostalgia, its has uplifting piano’s, bumping beats and a great performance by Adeva.

F: So Adeva totally re-vocalled the song, how did you guys meet and what was it like working with her?

SA: In today’s world you don’t actually get to meet, or work in the same room / studio together! So we have never actually met, I had cleared the publishing with Paul Simpson’s team a while ago, but couldn’t find the right vocalist to cover such an iconic voice. I almost put it to the back of my mind, but when I was flicking through Instagram, a short video popped up of Adeva singing live at a recent gig and my first reaction was – WOW! She still sounds amazing, then I thought, why don’t I reach out to her, play her my updated version with her sampled vocal and ask her if she would be interested on re-vocalling it – Her manager came straight back and said she loves it and we quickly turned it around working remotely.

F: You’ve worked with and remixed some of the best names in the biz including Ten City, Queen, Axwell, Inaya Day, Nightcrawlers, George Benson, Kaskade, Beyonce, Blondie, Alison Limerick, Shapeshifters, Joey Negro and Katherine Ellis to name a few. What have been your highlights?

SA: I can’t pick a favourite, like choosing a favourite child! If I could which unfortunately I can’t – I would love to have been in the studio with Prince. I did have one amazing experience that I’ll never forget – going to Jocelyn Brown’s house and her signing a vocal with her whole family over one of our tracks – to this day I am gutted we didn’t make that track happen. But wow, sitting in her living room, the hairs on my arms standing up, what an amazing vocalist she is, and to be totally honest with you Byron Stingily and Adeva would be right up there and I’ve managed to work with both of those in the past 12 months!

F: You’ve seen the music scene change a lot over the years since you first started out, how does it compare to now and looking back what precious advice would you give to yourself? 

SA: Of course the scene has changed. Technology has played a huge part in that, but when I think back to how small it was in 88-89, there were a handful of nights scattered around the UK, and now you get to fly around the world playing house music, it blows my mind! The biggest advice I would give myself would be to make the most of it, back in the mid 2000s I would be playing around the world in countries like Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, Egypt, Serbia, Australia and across Europe, visiting some amazing cities with beautiful cultures and I would sit in my hotel room, ordering room service and getting some sleep before the gig, missing out on seeing some amazing places, that is my biggest regret.

F: Any tips or advice for aspiring DJs and producers looking to break through on the scene?

SA: My motto has always been the same, not actually sure if it’s the right advice anymore, but I’ll stick with it – Be true to yourself, make music you love and not what you think is on trend, if you get some success enjoy it and don’t be a dick! 

F: Which dance track holds the most precious memories for you?

SA: Wow, I don’t even know where to start – I guess I’ll always reflect back to when I first started playing out. So tracks like Ten City ‘That’s The Way Love Is’, Phase ll ‘Reaching’, Sha-Lor ‘I’m in Love’, Frankie Knuckles ‘Your Love’, Nightwriters ‘Let The Music Use You’ and Robert Owens ’Tears’ – I could go on and on for ever with this question.

F: Who are your top 5 current producers?

SA: Another hard question – but for longevity I can’t look past any of these legends: Michael Gray, Dave Lee, Mark Knight, FloorPlan and Mousse T.  

F: What else are you working on that you can tell us about?

SA: I will always keep making music and being creative, it’s in my blood. For my day job I actually manage music artists, I have a group of amazing talent – Martin Ikin, Cassimm, Crusy and Essel, who tour the world regularly, playing a new sound to the new generation of clubbers. My job is to hopefully help and guide them through the pitfalls of this industry.

Soul Avengerz, Adeva ‘Musical Freedom’ is out now on Fool’s Paradise.

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