INTERVIEW: SOULECTION’S ANDRE POWER

Soulection — if that name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe it’s about time to come out from whatever rock you’re hiding under. The label slash collective has been gaining steady progress since their inception in 2011 under founders Joe Kay and Andre Power, who have stacked the label roster higher than we can stack the empty Red Bull cans in our office. We caught up with one-half of the big dream duo, Andre Power, to talk about being the new kids on the block, why we both dig singers and worldwide takeover. 

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LA CANVAS: You guys started Soulection in 2011 and it just seems like everything surged upward: your popularity, fans’ reception of the music coming from the crew, it all just seemed to escalate in a short amount of time. Can you elaborate on what that’s been like?

We started with an idea, and that idea actually kind of switched once we got things going. We got the first compilation two years ago that drew in a lot of supporters and fans for us, and from then we had a lot of friends that wanted to help us out. I don’t know, everything just seemed to flow together a lot better and faster than we expected it to. I mean, there was no real plan in the beginning but everything that has happened in the last two years has definitely been a blessing. Me and Joe coordinate a lot on ideas and thoughts and we get a lot of help from the team when it comes to proper ways to market, proper ways to promote ourselves and things like that. Every aspect that we’re doing we try to not put a whole bunch of pressure to become somebody else, but just to keep doing what we do and let it flow.

LAC: Have there been any challenges or setbacks along the way?

Probably one of the biggest challenges is the communication between artists – especially because we work with a lot of artists overseas. There is so much coordination that has to go into maintaining those types of relationships because you have to factor in things like time zones and language barriers. I mean, it’s been tough, but this whole thing has been a huge learning experience for all of us.

LAC: At what point did you guys start bringing on the rest of the crew – Sango, IAMNOBODI, Esta – did things just start to fall into place?

Yeah, me and Joe were diggin’ all these crazy beats styles we found on SoundCloud, MixCloud, different blogs and stuff like that. I know we heard of Sango a long time ago, like in the very beginning — it’s funny because a lot of us became friends before we started talking about the business side of things, we were more mainly focused on the music side. So Joe and Sango were talking every day, me and Esta talked like once a week – IAMNOBODI was just making amazing music so we brought him on. We’re kind of really organic in that sense because we find a sound that fits – The Sound of Tomorrow – and we kind of just flow with it. We check out the artist, their past and current work, and see if they have what it takes to help us make what we’re vibin’ for in the future. We just have that keen air for what’s dope.

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LAC: Yeah, we definitely feel that. We follow you guys on Facebook and you’re always posting dope tracks, whether its someone from Soulection or someone else’s.

Yeah, and that’s part of it too, we’re not selfish about if there’s another label out there that’s also making amazing music. We’re not going to tell you to not listen to them and to only listen to us. And the end of it all, it’s about sharing good music and keeping what we’re doing alive. Because there’s a lot of people who don’t like to look back once they get to a certain level; we don’t ever forget about the music, at all.

LAC: Being out in LA, with other crews like HW&W (Recordings) and Team Supreme, is there some kind of… friendly competition of sorts between you guys? I know you’re all homies, but…

As far as competition goes, there isn’t really any (heavy competition) but it’s like a sport. We’re all teammates at the end of the day; we’re all there for the same reason, we can all learn from each other, we can sit down and share ideas, have conversations, share goals and focus on that. But I guess you can say that there is a different kind of friendly competition, nothing too deep like East Coast and West Coast. It’s all love.

LAC: That party on Saturday, though…

I cannot wait for that. I’m performing and doing all the visuals, so all the live projections for the show. So I’ve been working that all week, making sure all the performances flow together; it’s a nice little challenge to have. Just sucks that I hurt my leg this week.

LAC: Yeah, man, what happened?

We were at Kaytranada‘s show at the Pagoda (in San Jose) last week and we were all on the stage partying hard, and I took a step back and missed the stage and sprained my ankle.

LAC: Red Bull Music Academy did a piece on you guys, basically placing you at forefront of LA’s beat scene. What place do you guys think you hold in it? Coming from Low End Theory and that entire beat scene, being named the new kids on the block, that must mean something.

It totally means something. That’s the best way to put it – we look at a lot of movements as being generational things. So we look at ourselves as part of the next generation that’s part of what Brainfeeder has done, what Stones Throw have done – because they’ve paved the way for us, because if it wasn’t for them there may not be a Soulection. We’re here to be the present day of what they have created for us and for LA and the music scene. At the same time, we’re definitely there to help the cats that are coming up behind us, because we know there are guys ready to take our spot already, you know? We just want to keep growing and do what we do and push people to follow what we’re doing.

LAC: I mean, I definitely see that you guys believe that moniker you live behind, “They sleep, we grind.” Via social media, it looks like you guys are constantly working at 3am.

That was so present up in San Francisco. Literally, we were like, drink, party, kick it, work at like 2am, watch (Mr.) Carmack and Ab-Jo work on a beat, take a quick 20-30 minute nap, then back at it. It was rare to have us all together so we were all on that good creative high so when you’re in a zone, you gotta run with it.

LAC: I heard you guys finally found a singer?

I mean, we’re always looking, it’s not like once we find someone, that’s it. We’ve been talking to a few people. But it’s just like with our producers, we’re constantly searching and growing trying to find people that are down to rock with us. One really good reason we were looking for a singer is that a lot of our producers like to sample, do remixes, flip beats and when you do that, a lot of copyright laws come into play and it got to a point where we just don’t want to have to deal with that, you know? Somebody takes a Rihanna song and flips it and blows up, they can’t really go that far from that song. But if we had someone to lay down original vocals, then that shit can be infinite. That was one of the main reasons, but we also want to cover all ground as far as future soul, future beats. We don’t want to just be instrumental or hip-hop. We want to try to reach every aspect of our sound and the future of it.

LAC: So what is 2014 looking like for you guys?

My god… (laughs) For me personally the biggest thing is European tours and touring the entire world really. That’s something we’ve been talking about for the past two years and something that we all want to do. It’s definitely a dream for me because I feel that once we do that our following will definitely probably double. It’s one thing to be on the Internet, but once you make that physical presence and start doing these shows in Europe, Asia, and Australia, that these people start showing that much more love to you. Off the top, 2014 is going to be the worldwide move for us.

Catch Andre, Joe Kay and Esta, along with their HW&W (So Super Sam, Bahwee, Astronautica) and Team Supreme (Lil Texas, Penthouse Penthouse) homies and hella more at the 4th Annual Asylum Halloween Party this Saturday. In conjunction with Assemblyline Collective, UPxUNDR, Swisher Society, Rif and yours truly, this is one for the books. Don’t miss it. Tickets available online only. 

LISTEN UP: MOD CREW’S YUNG SATAN

So I moved to LA for a number of reasons, but let’s keep it real, I really moved down here for two things. One: of course, I found a job. And two: LA’s music scene.

Originally recognized through Low End Theory and the likes of artists like Free the Robots, LA’s beat scene has been on a huge rise in the last few years, and I don’t know what has kids coming out with these beats, but I dig it. Is it something in the water? Hell, maybe it’s the traffic or the pollution, something!

The M|O|D crew has slowly but surely breaking ground with their trap tapes and Peng compilations, but individual artists like Arnold, C.Z. and Lil Texas are starting to speed up the breakthrough process. Add in a kid like Yung Satan, and it’s only a matter of time until these guys are headlining major show festivals.

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Yung Satan | Photo Cred: Jason “OHDAGYO” Fenmore

Disregarding any “future trap” label that might come up on your Google search of the kid, Yung Satan’s sound in a nutshell in heavy bass undertones with an overlay of 80s and 90s R&B/soul samples, like in his most release, “Tell Me.”

Chopping and screwing the samples are Yung Satan’s forte for dissecting the samples to his liking but the R&B influences are there and compliment the true-to-M|O|D nature of “club” and “trap” music. What Yung Satan does is to transform that type of “trap” and “club” music into something outside of it.

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Yung Satan | Photo Cred: Jason “OHDAGYO” Fenmore

It’s a one-two punch combo that on paper lay on opposite ends of the sound spectrum but Yung Satan’s chord progressions and high hats pull it all full circle and leave you wanting something beyond a five-track EP and a sprinkling of remixes and guest mixes.

Last night the kid and the rest of the M|o|D crew and Team Supreme threw a party at The Echo, with sets from Yung Satan himself, M|O|D brethren Lil Texas and Arnold, Colta and Djemba Djemba from Team Supreme, and many more. The good thing about being based in LA is hey, you never know when his next gig will pop up in the greater LA county area, so keep an eye on his Facebook and Twitter and in the mean time, tune in to his guest mix featured on Beatflakes.