Any new release from INCOGNITO is a soul landmark, but the band’s new long player is something a little bit more special. The new set ‘TRANSATLANTIC RPM’ marks INCOGNITO’S thirtieth anniversary. SJF couldn’t let that go unnoticed so we caught up with INCOGNITO main man BLUEY MAUNICK to find out more about the album. First, though, we wanted to know how, after 30 years, JEAN-PAUL motivated himself to make new music…..
Simple…I am inspired by all things around me. Good days, bad days, sunny days and rainy days, making up and breaking up… my record collection, what I read and what I taste and the journeys I make with the band. I make music to accompany all the above and all the above never fail to inspire!
Why have you called the new album ‘Transatlantic RPM’?
This is an album recorded in Europe and the USA. I have been deeply influenced by music from across the pond and this album sees me coming full circle, from listening to my record collection and to working with these inspirational artists on the album – like CHAKA KHAN, AL MCKAY and LEON WARE. I also relate to coming full circle and the revolutions per minute of all the old vinyls that constantly inspire me.
Why did you choose Boz Scaggs’ ‘Low Down’ to cover… and why did you choose Italian soul-jazz singer Mario Biondi to duet with Chaka Khan on it?
Well, I used to work in a little record shop down in Tottenham, and I sold loads of imports from the USA. In the 70s one of my best sellers was BOZ SCAGG’S album ‘Silk Degrees’ which featured ‘Low Down’. I’ve always wanted to do a version of the song. Then, when I first met MARIO I knew that it was time to record that song. I thought that his voice was perfect for it. I ran the idea by CHAKA KHAN and she loved it, so here it is…
MARIO and CHAKA are just two of the big names on the album… there are also people like URSULA RUCKER, LEON WARE and AL MCKAY also long-time collaborators MAYSA and TONY MOMRELLE… how do you get people like that to work with you?
Easy really …they are my mates, and mates always help each other out, don’t they? We are all connected to the business of music as opposed to the music business. We share a common bond that allows us to cut through the red tape and get on with it.
What’s Leon Ware like to work with? Did you have the nerve to offer him much guidance?
Leon is the easiest person to get on with on Planet Earth, though I am not entirely convinced that he is from here. He is never short of a story or two. He is mischievous and a self proclaimed freak. The most fun I have ever had on a session…. And guidance? No, I just let him do what Leon does.
Why did you choose to record some of the music at Flyte Time… and what did that feel like. Were JAM AND LEWIS involved in any way?
Chaka had recorded there in the past and she was comfortable with the environment, and that’s what I do as a producer…I make people feel comfortable. A happy singer is a giving soul! I bumped into TERRY LEWIS in the hallway, and I told him I was recording with CHAKA and he stopped and we chatted for a while, but we both had work to do, so we got on with it, that’s the way it is in our world. The studio is not for idle folks! And Flyte Time is a wonderful complex… several superb studios in one building and a trophy cabinet with more bling than a SNOOP DOG Video!
What’s your favourite track on the album… and why?
‘1975’ ….. That one’s’ about my life at a time when music consumed me. I never recovered…Thank god!
And why are you releasing it on two labels – Shanachie and Dome?
Four labels really! It is also released on Edel for Europe and P-Vine in Japan. It’s the way I like to do it these days. I prefer to work with groups of people that have an affinity with my music and a shared desire to see the album succeed.
Looking back over a long and distinguished career what would you consider your greatest achievement?
In my personal life, that would be my kids. In my professional life it would be having a band that is relevant after 31 years.
What else is left for you to achieve?
Recording an album in Brazil and/or Cuba … collaborating with D’ANGELO and the ROOTS. Touring India, working with string arranger DEODATO …doing a film score… Loads! In the immortal words of the CARPENTERS… We’ve only just begun!
INCOGNITO’S ‘TRANSATLANTIC RPM’ is released on JULY 26….Go to our REVIEWS section for an in-depth review of the album…