Melting Pot

Archive for the ‘Be Our Guest’ category


It was hard sitting on this one as long as we had to, but I’m finally glad to be able to share this guest DJ set and interview with Deano Sounds of the Cultures Of Soul record label. Clifton from Funky Sole had suggested to Mr. Sounds that it would be a good idea to swing by while he was in town doing a guest set at their funky soiree. Due to the fundraiser we weren’t able to broadcast it when he was in town and with the past couple weeks of special programming, we just had wait a little longer. I think you’ll find that it was very worth the wait as Deano Sounds mixes together a collection of things that have been (or will be soon) reissued from Cultures Of Soul, with a few choice cuts from elsewhere (JJ Julian!!!!). Matter of fact, having that extra time between when we recorded the set and broadcasted it on-air worked out for us all, because it gave him time to write down a full playlist of all the tracks. Enjoy the sounds and good luck digging for these!

Deano Sounds Interview: Recorded 10-11-2013
Guest DJ Set from Deano Sounds for KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 10-11-2013

Stevo – Pay the Price
Evans Pyramid – No I Won’t Can’t Get Arrested
CS Crew – Doing the Good Thing
Afro Kelenkye Band – Jungle Funk
Mighty Mo and the Winchester 7 – The Next Message
Pearl reeves – Cool with A Groove
Cuppy Records Studio Band – I Keep Forgetting
Darling Dears – And I Love You
Jade – Siesta is Over
Emanuel Taylor – You Really Got A Hold On Me
Vashonettes – A Mighty Good Lover
Everyday People Unlimited – Soul Living
JJ Julien – 100 Pounds of Pain
Roy Roberts – So Much In Love

Haitus Kaiyote Performs At KPFK

Haitus Kaiyote Performs At KPFK

I’ve written before how enamored I am with Australian group Hiatus Kaiyote, and when the opportunity came up to have them in the studio I jumped at the chance. Due to the fact that the fundraiser was still ongoing and we couldn’t use our usual performance space, we weren’t able to accommodate all the usual audio requirements, but that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Haitus Kaiyote KPFK (3) Since they knew ahead of time that they wouldn’t be able to present their “usual” sound, the band worked out a more stripped down performance style, that according to them, was the first time they were playing like this. The group performed 4 songs, 3 of which, “Mobius Streak,” “Malika,” and “Lace Skull” are featured on their EP Tawk Tomahawk, as well as a song that is as of yet unreleased, “Borderline With My Atoms.” This stripped down approach produces a very different sound than fans might be used to but as singer/guitarist Nai Palm mentions in the interview it allows you to hear the music in a different light and take note of elements in the songs that you might not have noticed with the full production (It was only after I mixing together everything later that I realized I missed an opportunity to talk to Nai about the influence of Jeff Buckley on her singing style, something that really comes through on the performance of “Lace Skull” here that I hadn’t picked up on originally). In the interview we talk about how the group came together, how they feel about their sound and the reception they’ve gotten back home in Australia and worldwide, and they provide some insights into their processes of making music, a bit of background to their song “Nakamarra” and also discuss the work that is yet to come. Big thanks go out to Angela Barkan, Scott Barkham and Brian Kelly for their help getting everything together behind the scenes, as well as Mark Maxwell of KPFK for the splendid sound. Wherever you are, if you get the chance to see Hiatus Kaiyote, don’t sleep on it, there is some serious talent on display here and we were lucky to have them in and honor us with this unique performance.

Hiatus Kaiyote on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 10-29-2013


Robin Hannibal towers over most every producer in 2013 and not just because he is in fact quite a tall fellow.

It was our great pleasure to bring Robin Hannibal in for an interview this past Sunday on Melting Pot. We’d been in contact most of the summer with the hope of bringing in Quadron to perform, but things never quite panned out. Given the year that Robin has had, with highly acclaimed records from both Quadron and his other “main” project Rhye, it made good sense to just have Robin in to discuss both of these bands as well as his own side project Bobby. The interview with Robin and Coco in 2010 stands as one of my favorites that we’ve done, and I think this one is a nice sequel that definitely doesn’t disappoint. We spent essentially the entire show focusing on the music that Robin has created with Quadron, Rhye, Bobby, Owusu & Hannibal and Denmark’s Boom Clap Bachelors, spanning the last 7+ years. As you’ll hear, we cover a lot of territory with these multiple projects, get more insight into Robin’s creative process and approach to orchestrating the sound of his groups. We spent so much time talking that we didn’t have time for a guest DJ set that we’d originally planned on. But hopefully we’ll be able to bring him back sometime in the near future. Until then, enjoy the interview!

Robin Hannibal Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 10-06-2013

Music played during the Interview:

Rhye – The Fall – Woman (Innovative Leisure)
Quadron – Neverland – Avalanche (Vested In Culture)
Bobby – Tame The Shrew – Single (Quieres Chicle)
Rhye – Last Dance – Woman (Innovative Leisure)

{In addition to an almost month-long hiatus from the radio show, I’m going to take most of the next week off from the blog. I’ll be back here next week, until then enjoy the music, especially THIS one!!!}

Ruben Molina of the Southern Soul Spinners was our guest this past Sunday.  Molina has been a collector since the days of his youth in 1960s Los Angeles, and much like KPFK’s Bill Gardner is truly a living encyclopedia when it comes to soul music.  Ruben Molina KPFKIn addition to having written two books, The Old Barrio Guide To Lowrider Music 1950-1975 and Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture, Molina is recognized as a true historian when it comes to these sweet soul sounds.  This style of music, whether we call it “Lowrider Music,” “East Side Soul,” “Souldies,” “Firme Rolas,” “Sweet Soul/Funk” or “Deep Soul,” always seems to hit the spot.  The idea for asking Molina to come in was related to conversations with Soul-Sides Oliver Wang and with my Wife over the last several months.  Molina was more than happy to come in to talk about the music and spin some tunes. I’m not sure there have been so many records that I knew nothing about but once I heard them I instantly, obsessively wanted to have in my collection, than you’ll hear in this set.  I have a feeling you’ll be feeling that way too as soon as you start listening to it.  There are some slight tech issues, twice the power cut out on us, which causes the sound to drop out and then start back up at 33 rpms, but that’s just to prove to you that the set was all on original vinyl! Don’t worry, I’m sure Ruben will be back in the near future to play even more music, but for now…Enjoy!

Guest DJ Set from Ruben Molina for KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-28-2013

Passionettes – My Life Depends On You – Soul Burst
Desciples of Soul – Peek-A-Boo – GV
Masqueraders – One More Chance – La Beat
Enchanting Enchanters – No One In This World – Ben-Mo-Keith
Dimas III – I Won’t Love You Again – Clown
Mandells – Think Back – Trans World Sound
Doc & Sal – Cry and Wonder Why – Dynamic
Dream Team – There He Is – Gregory
Wasters – Accept My Love – UNI
Reggie Soul & the Swingmasters – World Of Ecstasy – Capri
Voice Masters – Two Lovers – Frisco
Kickin’ Mustangs – Take A Miracles – Plato
Little Janice – Since You’ve Been Gone – Pzazz
Three Stranges – I’ll Be Alright – ABC-Paramount
Magic Tones – Nothing Better Than Love – Mah’s
Cheryl Williams – I’m Your Fool – Bengee
Coronadas – You Can Do Me Some Good – Bright Star
Deceptions – Of All The Hearts – Brooks
Royal Chessmen – Beggin’ You – Custom Fidelity
Wendy Rene – After The Laughter – Stax

Matthew Sweet (6)

This year has really been good to me. Here’s another interview from an artist who had a major impact on my youth and influenced how how I hear music and pushed me to discover a variety of artists that I wouldn’t have sought out if not for the work they did with him. Matthew Sweet ‘s Girlfriend came out when I was 16 and a Junior in High School, Altered Beast was released just as I graduated and was about to enroll at GSU. I’ve worn out CDs and cassette copies of both of these records over the past 20 years, they’ve been required listening on road trips all over the country and been the soundtracks for new love and heartbreaks alike. These records also led me to other cherished groups that included the featured gutarists Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd and Ivan Julian, such as Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Television and John Zorn, as well as cementing my great love of harmony and in the process opened up my musical tastes in ways I’m not sure I even fully grasp.

I’d tried valiantly to bring Matthew Sweet into our studios in 2011 when his breakthrough album Girlfriend was celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. With another anniversary for the equally fantastic album Altered Beast slated for 2013, I reached out to his people and this time the stars aligned and we were able to set things up. Matthew performed four songs acoustically, two each from these classic albums (“I’ve Been Waiting” and “Winona” from Girlfriend plus “Ugly Truth” and “Time Capsule” from Altered Beast), along with his friend Paul Chastain on harmony vocals. From almost two hours chatting together about his career we have these two hour-long interviews, filled with music and stories from both albums with part one primarily focused on Girlfriend and part two focused on Altered Beast (this is the uncensored version that includes a few words I had to clean up for broadcast because of those sensitive ears over at the FCC). I hope you enjoy hearing this as much as I enjoyed putting it together, this was truly one of the highlights of my entire radio career. Big thanks to Joe Stahl and Rebecca Cayce for setting things up, Stan Misraje for his sound engineering and most of all to Matthew Sweet for his candor and generosity in sharing his time and all of his music with us.

Matthew Sweet on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 07-10-2013 Part 1
Matthew Sweet on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 07-10-2013 Part 2

Myron and EKPFK

{In addition to their record release, this Saturday at the legendary Funky Sole in Echo Park, you can catch Myron & E live and direct this Summer as part of the Stones Throw Soul Tour! Check this link for dates and locations}

Myron and E I’ve been spinning music from Myron & E ever since I first received their single “It’s A Shame” in a package of 45s from the Timmion record label back in 2010. The fact they were backed by the Soul Investigators was intriguing enough, but more than anything it was the vocals that drew me to the group, through their definitely not run-of-the mill sonority and interesting use of melody & harmony. Since then it’s been seemingly an endless wait for their full-length record to be released, but it is finally here (released TODAY as a matter of fact). Myron & E were in the LA area for a spell and sat in with me to chat about how the group got together, how they hooked up with the Soul Investigators, their now trademark soul sound and even a few songwriting secrets. We’d intended to record a guest DJ session with E Da Boss after the interview, but some asshole absconded with the KPFK mixer (there really should be a special place in Hell for people who steal from community/public radio stations), so we had to get it recorded through other means at a later date. E Da Boss is one of the residents at the 45 Sessions and he definitely comes correct on the 45 vinyl for this very eclectic set. Hopefully I’ll get a tracklist soon, but with tracks from Benny Sharp & the Sharpies, Jodi Gayles, Mark Capanni (the original version of “I Believe In Miracles”!!!) and Gil Scott-Heron I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one to the fullest!

Myron & E Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot:  06-21-2013
Guest DJ Set from E Da Boss for KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 06-29-2013


It was our pleasure to bring in Chelsea and Justine Brown of the Summer Twins this past week for a session at Melting Pot. The band has been playing a residency at the Bootleg Bar during June (still one chance to catch them TODAY and make sure you dress spiffy, it’s a prom night themed show!) and with the start of Summer, it seemed like a perfect time to bring them into the station. We talked about the inspiration for the name “Summer Twins,” their evolving sound and even touched on the touchy subject of being labeled “a girl group.” They also played four songs, “I Don’t Care,” “I’m No Good,” “I’ll Always Love You” and their super sweet cover of the Everly Brothers “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” Enjoy the sounds and look for them to do a West Coast tour later on this Summer!

The Summer Twins on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 06-17-2013

DomLaNena (3)

The beginning of the year is a often a time where very little happens musically. Most labels have their releases prepped for prime periods of the year, so the release of Dom La Nena’s Ela in January by Six Degrees was a welcome surprise. An even greater surprise was the opportunity to have Dom spend time with us at KPFK as she embarked on her first shows in the US. In live performance, at least on this occassion, she performed entirely by herself on Cello, Ankle bells and Keyboard, using a loop pedal to give the appearance of a full string quartet. It’s a really fascinating sound and in our interview we talk about what brought her to the cello, the influence of her many travels on her music, finding her voice and how she arrived at her particular style.

Dom played 5 songs, all featured on her debut release though in very different formats, “No Meu Pais,”
“Anjo Gabriel,” “O Vento,” “Ela,” and “Buenos Aires.” The last track features the voices of yours truly, sound engineer Mark Maxwell and Dom’s husband Jeremiah providing background vocals at the very end in what I dub as the “KPFK Chorus” at the end of the interview. Truly a unique experience and a captivating snapshot of an artist on the rise.

Dom La Nena on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 05-31-2013

King (1)

Los Angeles based trio King were our guests for an incredible interview/performance at KPFK. In the spring of 2011 the group self-released three tracks as well as a music video for their song “The Story” and caused a legitimate sensation, gaining major league cheerleaders in Phonte Coleman of Little Brother/Foreign Exchange, Questlove of the Roots, Erykah Badu and even Prince. Since then, they’ve been honing their craft, collaborating with Robert Glasper on the Grammy award winning Black Radio and working on their proper debut release, which we might just see here in 2013. In our interview we talked about the origins of the group, which features twins Paris and Amber Strother as well as their friend Anita Bias. We also discussed how they conceive of their own special brand of “Soul” music, how they’ve dealt with the acclaim this early in their career and a little bit about lies ahead for King. King (3)

The group played all four of the songs that they’ve released, “Supernatural,” “Hey,” “In The Meantime” and “The Story” for us during the session. Anita sings lead on “Hey” while Amber sings lead vocals on the rest of the tracks. All of the music was provided by Paris on her Nord keyboard (you might think there had to be a bass player present, but no, it’s just Paris’ skillful left hand).With the sound stripped down a bit, it highlights not only Paris’ talents as a player,but even more the special vocal harmonies that mark the trio’s signature style. Though they’ve only released a handful of songs, King is a group where the age-old adage, “the sky is the limit” truly fits. As amazing as they’ve sounded so far, there is so much more to come from this talented bunch. I’m just thankful that we were able to bring them in so we could all bear witness to their deservedly rising star. Big thanks to Mark Maxwell for his work on the sound, to Lori Lousararian and Sofia Gold for help setting things up and especially massive thanks to Paris, Amber & Anita for spending time with us at KPFK.

King on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-26-2013

If you haven’t seen it before, here’s the video for “The Story,” the song that started it all for King:


It was truly an honor to interview Shuggie Otis this past Saturday at KPFK. In the early 1970s, Otis recorded three very different, but all equally fantastic, solo records before seemingly disappearing until a reissue of Inspiration Information by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop records brought him back into the public eye. Though I had known about Shuggie’s music prior to hearing that reissue, like a whole lot of people hearing that set was a revelation. Inspiration Information is the rare legendary record that actually deserves every single piece of acclaim it has gotten and then some. Recently Sony Legacy has reissued “Inspiration” along with close to 20 previously unreleased tracks that Shuggie recorded from the 1970s up until 2000. Shuggie has stepped back out into the public eye again and this time around it seems he’s here to stay. In our interview we talk a little about the influence of growing up as the son of Johnny Otis, some of his favorite guitar players, the stories behind some of his classic songs, including “Strawberry Letter 23,” “Inspiration Information” and “Island Letter.” We also discuss how Shuggie’s apparent absence from music was never really an absence (something KPFK and KPFA listeners already knew) and how he’s excited for the next chapter of his career to begin. Big thanks to Andrew Cahn & Eric Molk for helping to set up the interview and of course to Shuggie Otis himself for blessing us with all of this beautiful music. Enjoy!

Shuggie Otis Interview On KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-27-2013

Here’s an short documentary on the Inspiration Information/Wings Of Love project that features Shuggie talking about multiple tracks from the album, getting into even more depth than we were able to in our interview. Hopefully this is just the first step towards the full-length documentary that Shuggie so richly deserves:

Lady (4)

Such a pleasure to sit in with Nicole Wray and Terri Walker, who together form Lady. Though the two women have had solo careers for a fair amount of time, the music they make together is undeniably fantastic.

Interviewing Nicole Wray and Terri Walker of Lady with Oliver Wang of

Interviewing Nicole Wray and Terri Walker of Lady with Oliver Wang of

Their new self-titled album on Truth & Soul records is a perfect mix of soul, old and new, and is one of my favorites of 2013, as well as a fave of Oliver Wang of who sits in with me for a tag-team style interview of the group.

Nicole & Terri, along with Vincent John on Guitar, perform three songs, “Hold On,” “Money” and “Get Ready” while also talking to us about how they formed this dynamic duo, the recording and writing process for the album, some insight into a couple of our favorite tracks from the album and their plans for the future. Looking forward to even better things from these talented ladies in the future, but for now, enjoy this session! Big thanks to Julie Underwood for setting things up, Stan Misraje for doing the sound, Clifton James Weaver III for lending us his guitar amp and to Oliver Wang for being my tag-team partner on the interview.

Lady on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 04-17-2013

Kenny Dope KPFK 2013 (1)

It was truly an honor to have the legendary Kenny Dope stop into KPFK for a quick chat and a long guest DJ session. Kenny Dope is truly a DJ’s DJ, a master at blending and mixing together disparate and diverse styles and sounds and seamlessly shifting from genre to genre and mood to mood. Over the years he’s done production work under his own name as well as collaborating with a host of talented people, perhaps most notably with Louie Vega in Masters At Work and Nuyorican Soul. For my money, Kenny Dope is the best remixer in the game (my two of my top 5 all-time remixes belong to him, the Jackson 5 “It’s Great To Be Here” you hear at the end of the interview below and his reworking of Sharon Jones “Keep On Looking”) and definitely one of the best Djs around. We didn’t get a chance to talk about too much, since he had a plane to catch and we wanted to reserve the majority of time for his Guest DJ set. The loss of a fuller conversation is definitely outweighed by the gain of an amazing 59+ minute mix, complete with a tracklist provided below! With luck we’ll be able to spend more time with Kenny Dope in the future on Melting Pot, but until then…enjoy this to the fullest and the spread the word far and wide!

Kenny Dope Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 4-14-2013
Guest DJ Set from Kenny Dope on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 4-14-2013

Kenny Dope KPFK 2013 (2)Tracklist:
Blackrock – Yeah Yeah
Rasheed Chappell – 123 feat. Dj scratch
Destruments – Freedom
Page One – Thank Goodness Gotta Good Woman
Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me
The Dells – I Can Sing
Mr. Chop – Deep Gully
The Soul Lifters – Hot Funky & Sweaty (Kenny Dope Edit)
Dibiase – Fly Me To The Moon
The Magictones – I’ve Changed
The Jimi Entley Sound – Charlie’s Theme
Marvin Gaye – Time (Kenny Dope Mix)
Johnny Guitar Watson – Superman Lover (Lord Finesse Revised)
Das Efx – Real Hip Hop (DJ Premier Remix)
Kenny Dope – Get On Down
The U.B.’s – Synthetic Substitition
Chopp Master Flopp – Peetie Swei Revised
The Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking (Kenny Dope Edit)
Brand Nubian – All For One (Accapella)
James Brown – Funky President
Chopp Master Flopp – Daisy Crazy
Emotions – Blind Alley (Stripped)
Leela James –Let Me Tell You (Bass Dub)
Lil Louis – Fable (Director’s Cut Classic Signature Mix)
Barbara Tucker – I Get Lifted (Duck Beats)
Elements of Life feat. Lisa Fischer & Cindy Mizelle – Into My Life
Kenny Dope feat. Josh Milan – Be Your Freak (Kenny Dope O’gutta Mix)
Earth people – Dance (Dub)
Intrallazzi – Pik Nik (Cube Guys Mix)
IKE – Docs Edit
Mike Dunn presents The MD X-spress – God Made Me Funky
Elements of Life – One Dream

Hot 8 Brass Band perform at KPFK

Rock With The Hot 8!

Just in time for Mardi Gras, it was our distinct pleasure to welcome the Hot 8 Brass band into the KPFK Studios last week as they kicked off a US/Canada tour in LA. Hot 8 Brass is one of a handful of New Orleans brass bands to break out from the Crescent City and bring their sound to an international audience, particularly through their recent releases via Tru Thoughts, including last year’s The Life & Times Of The Hot 8 Brass Band.  During their time at our studios, the band performed three songs, two from their latest release “Steaming Blues” and “Bingo Bango” as well as an older track, “Rock With The Hot 8.”  We talked with them about the new record, competition between brass bands in NOLA and the continuing effects of Hurrican Katrina on the city and its people.  If Hot 8 is coming to your town, believe me you do NOT want to miss this band.  Big thanks to Jaz at Tru Thoughts for setting things up and Stan Misraje for his usual sonic wizardry.  Enjoy this to the fullest!

Hot 8 Brass Band on KPFK's Melting Pot: Recorded 2-04-2013

{Just got word that Spinna will be back in LA on December 7th, at the Echoplex along with DJ Scratch and J-Rocc for a 1990s party called Flavors!!!}

Can’t express what an honor it was to have the legendary DJ Spinna in our studios this past Saturday (just before making his debut at Funky Sole), for an interview and guest DJ set. During the interview we talk a little about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on his hometown of Brooklyn, NYC, his start as a DJ and discuss at length his ideas about the effect Serato has had on DJ-ing. I literally could have talked to him about any of these subjects and more for much longer, but that might have taken time away from the guest DJ set that he blessed us with. Essentially Spinna just took over the second hour of Melting Pot with a 57 minute set, mixed live in one take, all on original vinyl, about 99% of which were 45s.

Some of the tracks that were featured in this set were Lonnie Smith “Move Your Hand,” Funkadelic “Loose Booty,” Temptations “I Need You,” Bronx River Parkway “La Valla,” Nico Gomez “Baila Chibiquiban,” James Brown “Licking Stick,” Jean Jacques Perrey “ETA,” Beginning of the End “Super Woman,” The Mighty Showstoppers “Shaft In Africa,” Mongo Santamaria “Cold Sweat,” Dandelion Wine “Hot Dog” and Shuggie Otis’ “Inspiration Information.” If you recognize others, let me know in the comments since I’ll be (and probably you too) obsessing over many of these for years to come! Enjoy the set and if DJ Spinna touches down anywhere near you, do yourself a favor and make sure to see the man live…you will not regret it.

DJ Spinna Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: Recorded 11-10-12
Guest DJ Set from DJ Spinna on KPFK’s Melting Pot

Los Angeles’ very own DJ Frane was our guest this past Sunday on Melting Pot at the nicely decorated studios of KPFK. Wide ranging set as Frane makes excellent use of the 40+ minutes he had, expertly mixed and selected, with some real surprises (Cookie Monster gets funky?!!?!? WTF?!?!?) and some seriously heavy super cuts (Nite-Liters doing the theme from Buck & the Preacher…so very necessary). Check the breakdown of the show for the interview we also did which included a little bit of Frane’s own music, but here’s his stellar set archived in case you missed it the first time around.

Guest DJ Set from DJ Frane on KPFK’s Melting Pot

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