Everywhere may sound like a cliche, but, thats the truth. The streets, films, philosophy, science fiction, collaboration, and always from the club, the dancers and the dj tradition/culture. 'Captured' on Soul Heaven is a perfect example. Writing lyrics to that melody, was inspired by the vocalese jazz tradition of writing to complex instrumentals. There's a group called Quite Sane, that was a big influence. And the song is a lost-love song, inspired partly by an Araki photograph of his cat, and also the writer Brian Massumi's ideas on the power of memories. I always want to learn something when I work. What I learn may not be new to the whole world, but so long as its new to me...
Is London really that exciting? Tell us about how the scene has changed there.
Yes, London is always a buzzing ball of energy. It's hard for me to say how the scene has changed, because there is not one scene, just an untold number of overlapping scenes that are constantly being born, shifting, dying, reinventing... so every person has their own scene, you find the things you love most, and live there. But sometimes there are moments when you can't find that perfect club, a time when that thing you love most is between dying and reinventing. As a teenager and in my early twenties I loved the Paul 'Trouble' Anderson nights, amazing soulful house music all night, and all these fantastic guests like Michael Watford and Barbara Tucker. And at the same time there was what Gilles Peterson was doing. In both cases the energy of the dancers really inspired me. Then there was Coop, and broken beat, which was so exciting. And again, a lot of dancers made that club their home. Nowadays, for me at least, it feels transitional, like the next great thing hasn't yet arrived, but is coming. Musically there's always brand new hybrid forms and a lot of things at once. The UK Funky House with people like Donaeo and Fuzzy Logik, the "beats" scene of Floating Points and Dorian Concept, the massive Dubstep world and great people like Benga, and house music is more popular than its ever been, so people like Phil Asher, and Simbad and Karizma, Osunlade, and Dennis Ferrer, everybody knows who they are, which is great for the scene, but sometimes you need those smaller clubs too, and some space to dance! Which also requires great spaces with great sound systems, that invite you on to the dance floor.
Is this your first trip to Asia to perform? If not how do you think the scene in Asia compares to the scene back home?
Yes it is my first ever trip to Asia and I'm very excited!
What do you have in your pocket right now?
Nothing interesting. Keys, money, phone, fluff.
What does Soul Heaven mean to you?
Soul. Family. Integrity. Openness. Opportunity... Since I first started talking to Fleur and Soul Heaven its been a fantastic relationship. All the team are really great people and I love them. They have managed to make something very successful without changing or compromising the core offering of soulful music. We see often in music where people get successful and see how they could be more "successful" if they compromise the music. Soul Heaven is never going to do that.
What were the first and most recent records you bought?
The first records that I remember, when I was a young boy, were, Tommy Boy 'Greatest Beats' compilation, Michael Jackson 'Thriller', the soundtrack to 'Breakdance The Movie', and Now Thats What I Call Music Volume One. Most recent, the Lil Louis album. Too many to mention really, does what I get sent count? I'd buy them if I wasnt sent them anyway. See www.bopstar.tv <http://www.bopstar.tv> for a huge list of stuff I've been buying and playing. Nathan Adams and Zepherin Saint, and Jose Carretas, both on Tribe records, the Mark De Clive Lowe remix of Yameen featuring Lady Alma, Shake The Dog featuring Monique Bingham, the Phlash and Friends album... its a list that goes on forever.
What are your views on the global soulful house scene?
There is so much great music right now! From Nomumbah in Brazil, to Black Coffee in South Africa, to Opolopo in Sweden, to many of the original US heads like Glenn Underground, and the songwriters like Monique Bingham, Tamara Wellons, and Sacha Williamson, and never forgetting the incredible Peven Everett, and Louie Vega on top form right now... its very inspiring. And the house dance movement has taken root with a lot of young dancers, on it seems all continents. The most soulful stuff, is the stuff that I love, and that hasn't been as popular with the mainstream as the techier sound in the last few years, but there's still plenty of us that champion that real soulful vibe, the "beautiful" stuff, even if we're a minority. If Soul Heaven has its way, the beautiful music will be the next big sound. If not, it doesnt matter too much. The beauty is there for us regardless.
What have you heard about the nightlife scene in Hong Kong and what are your expectations?
Actually, I haven't talked about it with anyone! So I have no preconceptions as such! I am very curious now!
Will you experiment with the food and try dishes like chicken feet in black bean sauce?
Most definitely! I'm a very fussy eater at home, but rice and steamed fish is a favourite food for me, so I think Cantonese food and me will get on very well anyway! And I will try anything once!
If you’ve not been to Hong Kong, do you hope to see ninjas and Bruce Lee look-alikes flying across buildings? Or will you settle with tall steel and concrete structures with massive basement vaults?
I'll be most disappointed if there are no flying sword-wielding ghosts or tree demons to contend with! I guess no one dresses like the women in 'In The Mood For Love' either??! Now, back to my castle, time for tea, dont you know!