If you're an R&B head from Melbourne, you've more than likely heard of, or seen, Declase. Their unique blend of funk, R&B and rock saw them playing many a show around our fair city, as well as landing a coveted spot on Rove Live backing Kelly Rowland.
Being both a guitarist and a vocalist, Sean Declase has now stepped out on his own after some success with Declase, his group Zoona with his brother Wayne, and the electro dance group Bass Chimps.
Sean has now independently released his debut mixtape, 'Sean Declase Is Dead', and I gotta say it's been in heavy rotation in my iPod since it arrived in my mailbox. Banging lead single 'Dangerous' features the homie GMC, the raw 'Brand New Hustler' even has Ice T on guest vocals, Kaos (from Justice & Kaos) features on 'Business', the funky 'In My Hood', interesting story cut on the title track, the hilarious (with fucking dope acapella vocals) 'Intoxicated Pt 2', and my personal favourite 'Throw Me Down', all complete a truly funky, danceable mixtape that not only showcases Sean's quality vocals, but his strong writing skills. There's even two cuts from the Bass Chimps thrown in there for the electro heads.
I caught up with Sean to chat about the mixtape, and his launch show (tomorrow night!) at Seven nightclub, Albert Rd, South Melbourne. Peep game.
What up Sean? How's things?
Things are great man, working hard at putting a new live show together, as well as working on remixes for songs off the mixtape. Still in the process of pushing "Sean Declase Is Dead", and at the same time, writing new stuff for my upcoming release through Generation Records. So I've been flat out!!
Aight, so lemme start with some background. I know you from Declase, I remember being the only judge who voted for you in the Ja Rule opening act competition! Why did the band split?
Haha were you really? Thanks a lot Marcia and Dicko!
We had been playing for about 7 years and in that time, achieved things we probably never thought we would from our first initial practices. We started off playing at family parties and just getting to know our instruments, then not too long after, we were gigging almost every week at a lot of the major clubs in Melbourne. I guess we all just moved into different ventures after that. Being cousins we still jam every now and then, it's good to know the old boys still got it!
How was that experience for you, working with your family?
Anyone who knows us, knows that were a tight family regardless of the band. The best way to describe it was just that it was heaps of fun! We all got to share in the glory together but also had our fair share of disagreements. I remember we once had a band meeting at a Chinese restaurant and we were arguing so intensely, the waiters were about to call triple 0!! That's the best thing about us all being related though, we could say exactly what we wanted, and know that 2 minutes later we would be back to laughing hysterically again! I'd definitely say it was the best time of my life...
What made you decide to go solo?
Being the youngest, the other guys had other commitments and businesses they moved on to. My older brother Wayne and i had the band ZOONA happening for a few years, which turned into more of a song-writing partnership. So we'll never stop writing stuff together. Myself and two other mates had an electro-vocal house act called the Bass Chimps after that, and we had some success both here and in the States with two of our releases. One of which, a song called 'Something About' reached the number 1 spot on America's dance download chart 'Masspool' averaging over 40,000 downloads in the U.S. The record label who signed us (Generation) offered me a solo album deal, I saw it as a great opportunity to bring out the stuff I've always wanted to do, and make it one hundred percent my style.
How did you meet Kaos?
Where else? At the bar! A mutual friend introduced us and after many scotches we exchanged details and the next week we had a track called 'Paperchase'. It featured on the ARIA nominated Justice and Kaos EP 'Turn It On', which I also sang the chorus on. Since then we've always worked on each others tracks, Kaos produced 3 tracks on my mixtape 'Dangerous', 'Business' and 'In My Hood'. We'll be working together for years to come I'm sure.
I gotta big you up on the mixtape man, shit is funky as hell, I've been bumping it flat out all week. I can hear some serious Michael Jackson influences in there, who else inspired you to make this album?
I grew up deep into Jackson, The Beatles, Stevie, 2pac, Chili Peppers, Commodores the list goes on and on. I've always just loved good music, whatever the genre. It's weird how you can hear a song and it will take you to an exact place and time in your life, happy or sad. Nothing gives you that euphoric feeling like music does...ok maybe not nothing :)
What do you plan to achieve with this mixtape?
The main aim of "Sean Declase Is Dead" is to raise the awareness that i am out on my own doing the solo thing. With my previous bands we had started to develop a following of people who dug our music, what I have to do now is start from scratch and do the same for myself. The songs on the mixtape are just a collection of music I've written over the past year, a taste of what you might expect to hear from my upcoming releases.
Who else are you working with right now?
At the moment I'm doing some work with the Black Dogs, a funk/disco Melbourne band consisting of DJ Mark John (Disco Montego), Andrew De Silva (CDB), Zoe Badwi (Release Me - # 1 Aria Hit), Danny Dharumesana (producer for Rockmelons/Kaylan). As well as writing with the guys, I'll be playing live with them, including a show on the 17th of Oct at Caulfield Cup Day.
The other one I'm pretty excited about is a girl named Samirah, probably one of the best female voices I've heard come out of Oz, and she's only 19. Your gonna hear her name pretty soon I'm sure of it, she also features on the mixtape, singing the chorus on 'Don't Save It' which in my opinion, makes the song!
What's the plans from here?
Well at the moment I'm still gigging the mixtape so I'm flat out doing that. This month I've got 7 live shows, including my launch party on Saturday the 10th of Oct at Seven nightclub. Once that's done, it's back to writing for me and getting together the songs for my album release through Generation, due out in the not too distant future.
Hit us with your contact details so the folks wanna get in touch and check out your music!