Originally a three-piece house band laying down sweet and sour improvised grooves for dinner guests at various Fortitude Valley establishments, a chance encounter with a live-to-air freestyle rap session on 4ZZZ introduced the Soul Mechanics to the lyrical wizardry of Master Wolf. The EP’s opening track How We Jam recounts the genesis of this collaboration.
"I first heard Master Wolf freestyling on a radio program late one night and was blown away by his skill. I thought that what he was doing would really compliment what we were doing. I literally tracked down his number the next day and called him to see if he wanted to collaborate with us." reflects Brian L'Huillier (bass).
The foursome began playing live shows around Brisbane, letting things marinate on stage - Master Wolf freestyling over Soul Mechanics' deep groove improvisations - eventually, after recurring themes were reworked and re-imagined during live shows, four ideas stood out as worthy of recording.
To try and capture the essence of the live experience, the band shacked up for a weekend in Dave Kemp’s (drums, vibes) Gold Coast hinterland studio and, true to their ethos, the four musical skeletons were jammed on, fleshed out and the results recorded and presented in this EP.
Sounds like: Tone Lōc, George Duke, The Roots
It’s always difficult to replicate the energy of a live show on tape, especially the unpredictably brilliant chaos of an improvised set. These songs are a snapshot from 2 years of exploring musical wormholes and lyrical gymnastics. Sometimes the same chord was ridden for a few bars too long and sometimes ‘place’ was rhymed with... ‘place’, but no matter the outcome, the musicians and audience alike were part of a unique musical moment. This EP serves as a memento to those times, but also as a standalone piece of work, joining the forces of deep soul and jazz with a punchy lyrical flow.
As if offering the EP as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp wasn't enough, as an added perk, Dave has tastefully infused some secret herbs & spices of Rhodes, Vibes, Percussion and the all important G-Whistle to the already heady brew of drums, bass & guitar to create some extra flavour to the bonus instrumental versions.
‘Explorations With Master Wolf’ is out April 3 on limited edition cassette (20 copies) and across all major digital platforms. Launch party on April 6 at Unite in Fortitude Valley as part of DragonFire Music’s ‘Freestyle Fridays’ event, a local gathering of budding MCs and hip hop enthusiasts.
Fast facts about Soul Mechanics' Explorations With Master Wolf EP:
Each member of Soul Mechanics is a school teacher by day, rock star by night
Recording of the core instruments - guitar, bass and drums was done live, all in the same room
The cover art image was taken by Dane Beesley in Fortitude Valley
Dave had to take regular breaks during recording to tend to his herd of alpacas who live in the adjacent paddock to ensure the quality of their fleece for the coming spring shearing season. His international alpaca wool market clients demand only the fleeciest of fleece*
Soul Mechanics and Master Wolf are available for phone, email and in-person [Brisbane] interviews. Please contact Valley Heat Records for more information, request to premiere, interview or other content options.
SOUL MECHANICS are a heavy soul and jazz jam band with influences ranging from Wu-Tang Clan to Herbie Hancock. Members bring together styles and ideals from rather diverse musical backgrounds: Brian is an indie garage rocker having played with Dead Shades, The Daybridges and Lovers of Modern Art, Jason is of the avant-garde ilk, heralded for his collaborations with Ubique Trio and Lawrence English (Room 40) and Dave is a jazz man, with his own established outfit (Dave Kemp Group) as well as playing percussion for the QLD Symphony Orchestra and Lion King theatre productions.
MASTER WOLF has been at the coalface of Australia’s underground hip hop community for the last 15+ years, initially as MC Skinz – one of the most underrated but most consistently active MCs in the country. Now emerging with his first ever solo project MASTER WOLF, Skinz has finally arrived on his own via a career that’s seen him supporting legendary international artists such as KRS-One, Grand Master Flash, Chali2na, Cut Chemist, Lyrics Born, Mystro, Foreign Beggars and Homebrew.
Master Wolf - raps
Brian L'Huillier - bass
Jason Elliot - guitar
Dave Kemp - drums, vibes, percussion, melodica
Valley Heat Records is an independent Brisbane-based record label, formed in 2016 by two guys with wild tastes and even wilder beards that specialise in small run cassette and 7" vinyl releases, as well as hosting select events.
Champions of the local scene and lovers of both familiar and faraway sounds, VHR bring you tasty musical nuggets from surf to swamp, hip hop to noir, garage to funk and everything in between.
* Dave does care for alpacas. He does not sell their wool or any other part of them. He loves them.