The New Newcleus
Classic (and I mean really classic) hip-hop and electro heads can rejoice in the fact that Brooklyn based synth pioneers Newcleus are swinging by Wrongbar this Saturday to throw down a set as part of ACTIVATOR, DMONEY's bi-monthly showcase dedicated to 70's and 80's RnB, early electro and hip-hop, funk/boogie and the music it has inspired.
First, let's rewind some 30 years. It began in 1977 as a group of teenagers throwing one-off DIY parties under the DJ collective Jam On Productions. As punk was exploding across the pond and just starting to take foot in New York City, this group was pumping out breaks and beats, later leading to the breakdancing craze. In 1981 four core members, Cozmo D, Lady E, Chilly B and Niqué D, decided to create a recording group and their sounds soon became underground classics in night clubs around the world. Jam On Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song) (audio below) was the first single released n 1983, and it is still being sampled and mashed up today. They had also established themselves as one of the first self-contained Hip-Hop bands, playing all of the instruments themselves live.
Now let's fast track to today. This Toronto show is one of only a few the band are playing, and actually the first time they have ever played here, or anywhere in Canada.
The current incarnation sees all the original four, with the exception of Niqué D, who retired from the music scene. Chatting with Cozmo D earlier this week, he says "Al T, an original member of Jam-On Productions, has replaced Niqué D. Also, the Toronto show will be missing Chilly B, who doesn't have a passport to get into Canada."
Their early shows were full on party machines as D describes. "In the '80s we had a full band, with Chilly B on bass, me and the ladies on synths, and our road drummer Tracy G. We also had Niecy D doing background vocals and our dancers Lil O Me, Kid Fresh and Slam doing wikki-wikki vocals." Although the dynamics have changed over the decades, he promises, "We will be rocking with live synth, vocoder and wikki-wikki voices."
D cites his influences back then were all Brooklyn DJs who had pioneered rockin' the streets. "The biggest were Count JC, Grandmaster Flowers, and App Superhog." Currently he's more into listening to jazz influenced sounds as a means of "keeping my vibe fresh." In the studio his direction is more Funk, Electro, even Drum & Bass and House. All these different genres have made him rethink the direction of the group. "With music being so categorized now, we decided to diversify what we are doing. The Electro stuff we have kept as Newcleus, but the more Hip-Hop and Funk oriented stuff we have decided to release as Cozmo D & The Jam-On Crew. We will performing a few of those tracks this weekend, and hope to release an album next year", he states.
It's finally Toronto's time to get Wikki Wikki Wikki!!!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Wrongbar, 1279 Queen Street West
Tickets in advance at Rotate This & Play De Record.
Also at the door, but recommended to get there early.
Written by Bryen Dunn.
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