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Coming out of Melbourne Australia’s its a return for one of the hardest working R&B acts on the Soul n’ Funk scene, Cookin’ On 3 Burners are cracking the lid on their latest dance jam ‘Warning’ featuring the killer vocals of rising talent Kaiit. The time travellin’ purveyors of mid-60s soul, ‘70s funk and dirty breaks have been conquering the world with their infectious grooves for over two decades now and like a matured fine wine, their rich oaky tones have hit prime intensity.
‘Warning’ is the first single to come from Cookin’ On 3 Burners’ forthcoming album Lab Experiments Vol. 2 the sequel release to 2017’s Lab Experiments Vol. 1: Mixin’.
An immediate dance floor filler ‘Warning’ is a collision of past, present and future; the collaboration of the Burners’ signature deep funk and organ jazz and the inimitable style and honeyed rhymes of Kaiit who is currently pushing neo-soul to the forefront of Australian pop culture. Birthed from a mutual respect and admiration of each other’s sets at The Get Down After Party for NAIDOC Week last year, plus a lasting friendship developed from the Dig Deep mentorship program, the co-written track is a funk-fueled exploration into the future sounds of yesterday…
The Hoof caught up with Jake for a chat
20 years in the game with numerous singles, four albums with a further one on the way, (Lab Experiments Vol 2) you’ve always featured some great guest vocalists and I’m personally loving the collaboration with ‘Kaiit’ on new single ‘Warning’ so what can we expect on the new album.
“Eight tracks of heat! Seriously though, instrumentally, Vol. 2 has a tasty mix of jump up breakbeat jams (for the b-boys and b-girls) and some grittier, more cinematic numbers. Vocally, aside from our collab with the fabulous Kaiit, we have been blessed to have worked with some of our favourite vocalists from around Melbourne town including Simon Burke from The Meltdown (Hope Street Records), our old mates Kylie Auldist and Chicago born – Melbourne based king of suits Fallon Williams have a track each too”
You’re from Melbourne Australia, I spent about six months there in 2000 and fell in love with the place, it’s such a musical City, I don’t what it’s like now but at the time there was so many good record shops, quality radio stations, live bands in the pubs, a thriving club scene and of course as well as yourselves the City has given us ‘The Bamboos’ ‘Hiatus Kaiyote’ ‘Public Opinion Afro Orchestra’ ‘The Putbacks’ ‘The Cactus Channel’ and ‘Deep Street Soul’ and then coming out of Sydney we’ve got ‘Dojo Cuts ‘ and up in Perth there’s ‘Randa and the Soul Kingdom’ and not forgetting Adelaide’s ‘The Transatlantics’ of course some of these bands have been a little inactive of late so what new bands or singers have not crossed the shores to the U.K. yet, is there anyone you’re excited about coming through the scene.
“Oh man, there’s so much good music coming out of this town at the moment. She’s a bit more on the neo-soul tip but get your ears around Thando – she’s killer. There is also Fulton Street – a seven piece outfit of young cats out of Melbourne doing it right. Also The Putbacks have a new album in the works and I’ve heard a few sneaky cuts from that – it’s going to be amazing“
The Soul n’ Funk scene has always been about what’s gone before as much as what’s happening in the present, from the block party DJ’s of New York in the 70’s digging for breaks, the Rare Groove scene in 80’s London bringing back long forgotten artists or tracks, in the late 90’s we had bands like yourselves looking back the 60’s R&B scene, amongst all that we’ve had young London Jazz dancers searching 70’s & 80’s Brazil for high tempo Jazz to dance to, Hip Hop producers sampling everything right back to the blues of the 50’s.
Then the last 15-20 years we’ve had Afro Funk and all sorts of long lost African Disco, Island Soul out of the Caribbean and lately Gospel Disco and Soul. With such a thriving Soul n’ Funk scene as described above, that doesn’t come from nowhere, so is there a goldmine of Australian bands and singers from the past that the diggers haven’t discovered yet, is there a lost golden nugget of record in the land of Oz.
“There was a compilation record I picked up in the mid 90s called ‘Heading In The Right Direction’ which featured Australian soul jazz between 1973 and 1977. This turned me onto the Australian thing a bit (pre internet and all that business!) There is also a great jazz funk record called The Joker Is Wild by John Sangster, it has been reissued on wax in the last couple of years (originally came out in the late 60s). If you have a spare $350 kicking around you could grab a copy of Jackie Orszaczky’s Beramiada from the mid 70s – it’s pretty spacey but super funky”
When doing my research for the write up of ‘Warning’ I’ve checked out your website and social media accounts and looking at how you and the band present yourselves in the modern music world and I have to say you’re on top of the game, being on your own label lets you actively promote the band, you’ve got quality social accounts were you interact with your fans and one of the best artist websites I’ve seen in a while, you get your music out on on vinyl but you obviously realise you need a interesting and active Spotify account (artist playlists, gig dates, artist picks and an informative bio), you’re obviously not scared of what is happening in the music industry unlike some artists, so tell me do you feel positive for the future with the way streaming is affecting the way fans consume your music.
“It feels like the ‘industry’ has been in a bit of a spin with the whole streaming thing but maybe the dust is settling on all that a bit? As artists we do work to navigate these shifting tides however it’s really important to understand that there are some things that are within your control and some things that are out of your hands. We embrace the new and old mediums of people accessing our music, as they should be able to listen to it however they wish. The elements we have control over are writing and performing – it really is all about the live thing for us! We love writing and recording (we run our own studios and our own label Soul Messin’ Records) but it’s getting in front of a crowd and sharing in that energy exchange with an audience. Cookin’ On 3 Burners make their music to play it out and sweat it out with the people. We have a great time and we want the audience to feel the same way and feel like we are all in it together”
In 1997 three friends decided to form a band inspired by 50s -60s Jazz and Soul based on the the distinctive sound of the Hammond organ played by Jake Mason, guitarist Lance Ferguson, and drummer Ivan Khatchoyan.
“Gravel Rash/Pie Warmer” was the first release in 2002 followed by series of singles and then came the LP ‘Baked, Broiled & Fried’ in 2007 following that the trio then went on to tour and perform alongside Alice Russell, Quantic, Fat Freddy’s Drop, and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings to name a few. Dan West joined the group when Lance Ferguson left the group to form the Bamboos who we have already featured here on Music To Shake A Hoof.
Soul Messin’ came along in 2009 to huge success especially the cover of Gary Numan’s hit, ‘Cars.’ ‘This Girl’ reached the number one spot on the U.K. topping the iTunes R&B Chart, but you’ve got to check out ‘Seen through your disguise’ my favourite track on the LP bringing back guest vocalist Fallon Williams who featured on the first LP.
2014 saw the release of their third LP, Blind Bet, again critically acclaimed for its use of string and horn arrangements, featuring Daniel Merriweather, Tex Perkins and Kylie Auldist.
In 2016 French dance producer Kungs provided a remix of This Girl it became the European song of the summer and that year it was the most Shazamed dance track in the world! With over 550,000,000 Spotify streams and 300,000,000+ YouTube plays, the song hit number #1 in 10 countries and the top #10 in over 35 countries.
In 2017 Cookin’ On 3 Burners collaborated with UK based artist Emmi and released remixed material on the Warner Music label with producers Lenno, Niklas Ibach, Funk LeBlanc, and Yolanda Be Cool. They closed out the year with a slew of successful shows throughout the UK, Europe and at home reinforcing them as stalwarts of the global funk and soul community.