Kabelo, Kahn kollaboration

By Therese Owen/iol.co.za:

Kabelo and Kahn Morbee are very special and talented musicians. Their longevity in this highly competitive industry proves not only talent but tenacity, determination and perseverance.

So when Kabelo told me that he wanted to record with the lead singer of The Parlotones and eventually get the group as a whole involved, I had to witness their creativity.

On Monday, feeling a little worse for wear after the J&B Met, I arrived at Treehouse Recordings on a hillside in Hout Bay, my heart beating in anticipation.

From the beginning there was a positive and creative vibe. Kabelo in particular was glowing with happiness, his aura confirming he was in a deep creative zone. Kahn was also in studio mode, although he was a little freaked out because due to a chest cold, he could not reach those famous high notes.

“This has never happened to me before,” he said anxiously. “Its like waking up one morning and not being able to walk.”

Cedric Samson looked him in the eyes firmly and said with the experience of an older singer: “You’ll be fine. We’ll administer hot tea and honey every half hour.”

Samson and his partner Nick are producing the harder tracks on Bouga Luv’s new album. Called Immortal, it is tentatively set for a July release.

They played two tracks for me, which were heavy-rock-meets-hip-hop, with Kabelo’s customary aggressive rapping.

“If I don’t break new ground with this album, I may as well work in a bank,” he said of his new sound.

“From day one, even in the TKZee days, we were trailblazers. So, it’s not so much about a new direction, but rather about how you market that sound.

“What fascinates me about The Parlotones is their approach to the industry from a business point of view. They realise that the music industry is 90 percent business and 10 percent music. Having said that, I am still cognisant of where I have come from, so I am working with other producers to also include safer songs.”

There are plans to work with HHP and maybe even Lira, none of whom has confirmed yet.

“The album is called Immortal and it has to live up to its name,” Kabelo concluded.

Kabelo and Kahn played the track, which had a catchy chorus and at times sounded melancholic. They had yet to lay down the vocals.

The song is called I’ll Do It Again. “Yeah, but we’re thinking of shortening it to Do It and selling it to Nike,” quipped Kahn. “We’ve already put the plans in motion.”

This is a clear joke on The Parlotones’s commercial success, with KFC in particular, which some purists see as selling out.

The two musicians sat at the recording desk, sharing ideas, with Kahn giving his input, much to the delight of Kabelo.

They put on their headphones and headed for the mics. They complemented each other, as if they had been a working team for years.

Kabelo is freestyling, while Kahn is feeling out the chorus. When Bouga Luv threw my name in the mix, Kahn cracked up laughing. This is fun!

“I love the fact that Kabelo raps with a South African accent and not an American one,” said Kahn later on.

In the meantime, Kabelo was working on lyrics for the song, pen in hand. He turned to Nick who was sitting next to him fiddling with sound.

“I dated this girl for 10 years and I was wondering, you know, with the title being I’ll Do It All Again…”

“We were talking on the way here,” Kahn confided quietly to me. “I suggested that lyrically he work from personal reference.”

That’s one of the most beautiful aspects of Kabelo’s personality – his ability to listen and take advice. But this comes from the fact that underneath all his worldly bravado, he has an untainted childlike innocence.

“Maybe this is a cathartic album for him,” continued Kahn. “He has a track called Cocaine and another called Demons.”

Kabelo emerged from his writing and asked Kahn: “Have you ever heard of the saying ‘a fit of pique?’”

“A fit of p-e-a-k?,” replied Kahn. “Yeah, a fit of pique,” said Kabelo. “I’ve often heard Billy Gundelfinger say it a few times. It means seriously pissed off.”

“Hmm, maybe you can say ‘you didn’t fit into my peak’,” Kahn paused for dramatic effect, “so I bought you another hat.”

I could have stayed another few hours with these delightful men but musicians need privacy to get it down pat.

Kabelo’s last words were: “I’m having fun right now. I have been too formulaic in recent times but this industry needs a new way of thinking.”

“The Parlotones have come on board with this project as a brand and that for me is so exciting!”

There are plans to eventually play the track live. And then of course there is video.

Now, considering The Parlotones’ track record of world-class videos, that should be something to watch out for. Can’t wait.

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