Martinique: a tranquil destination in the heart of the Caribbean, known for its all-year-round beautiful climate and picturesque scenery, a place that was once home to music and spoken word legend, Eugène Mona. His exotic surroundings, politically expressive voice and exposure to traditional Martiniquan rhythms form ‘Lizo’, where fiery lyrics and vivacious vibrations run wild all over the track. Thanks to the ears of the Sol Power Sound guys out of DC, we’re being re-introduced to this gem, which was originally out in 1990.
This summer, Kiko Navarro (Local Talk/Yoruba) remixes the track, exposing its emotion and groove, introducing a catchy Afro funk/house music twist, where you bear witness to the fusion of both Navarro’s and Mona’s soulful, chilled living, sun drenched lifestyles. Following Navarro’s 2018 release, “I Can Show You The Way”, we hear him generating soulful, funky, yet hard-hitting tribal rhythms. Real party music which brings us to ‘Lizo‘. His momentum this year is running high and this remix is another giant indicator of this! Throughout his illustrious career, the Mallorca native has always provided listeners with a unique sounding type of Chicago acid house, blended effortlessly with high quality, jazz infused, Afro-Latin inspired grooves that really do just make you want to move. ‘Lizo‘ is a 7 minute summer vibe all in its own right. We salute you Kiko!
The Sol Power Sound guys consistently dig up raw talent and invite fantastic producers to showcase their sound within the confines of their label, be it original material, remixes or edits. We got to have a quick chat with them about this forthcoming release, influences and more.
So I was just clicking through Juno Records, lo and behold — Sol Power Sound currently hold second place in the international best selling record chart this week! The release is fresh so clearly the label and its artists are doing something very right. How does an achievement like this make you feel?
It’s actually number 1 at this very moment! We’ve been building the Sol Power brand incrementally for almost ten years, first as a party, then through our own productions, until finally forming the label in 2015. We like to focus on consistency and quality and have gradually built awareness of our output. We now have a really strong body of work that we are very proud of, so it’s affirming that more folks are paying attention. The slow burn is better than the quick blow up. It’s more sustainable.
Organization, having a routine and some rituals helps determine how the day’s success will pan out. Is there a magic formula or schedule in use by the record label? Are there any practices that you and your artists swear by?
If there’s a magic formula, we haven’t found it! Both of us just try to do the things that play to our strengths. One bit of advice is to delegate or outsource things that aren’t in your wheelhouse. If someone else can do it better than you, don’t be afraid to ask. That can be an additional expense but you get what you pay for.
The latest EP, Tambours de Martinique, is just that, with sounds and vibes from the Caribbean. Do you have connections, be they musical, physical, or experiences in this part of the world? What is the label’s inspiration and drive behind forming such a culturally strong Record?
Our drive is the process of discovery, musical and cultural. The world is big and there are a lot of jams. It’s fun as well as gratifying to find them and share them. If you look at our back catalog, we’ve touched many corners of the globe, either through inspiration, direct licensing, or collaboration with artists. Perhaps it is driven by our digging backgrounds, but it is the curiosity and learning that keeps us inspired.
Three tracks from outside of your label that you’re currently rinsing?
Childish Gambino – This Is America (Salah Ananse Edit)
Jakki – Fun Sun Fun (Applejac Edit)
Osage – Guanguan Riddim
Bonus beat: Hallex M – Oggun feat. Carlos Mena
Are there any other current artists or labels that are really inspiring you that perhaps aren’t getting the recognition they deserve?
At the moment we are big fans of Applejac (out of Atlanta), Osage / LilDave (out of Philly) and XOA (out of the UK). They are all putting out quality work that may go under the radar. Regarding labels, Rocksteady Disco out of Detroit seems to be getting more attention these days, but their output and ethos are definitely inspiring.
Lastly, we’d love to know what is next for the label?
More jams. Deliberately and finely curated. We don’t release often, but we try to make sure that every single release is truly unique and will stand out from the clutter. We can say that we have a nearly completed Sol Power All-Stars EP plus a bunch of other things in various stages of development. Stay in touch with us to catch them when they drop!