Exclusive interview with Tha Feelstyle
Kas Futialo aka Tha Feelstyle is a New Zealand/Samoan Hip Hop veteran in New Zealand, having been the first ever winner of the first MC battle in New Zealand, way back in 1987 it is not surprising that he has been involved with the culture since the early 80's and that he has been in more than a few groups ranging from early Wellington Hip Hop outfit Noise In Effect to Wellington's own Rough Opinion (with Kos from The Footsouljahs and DJ Rockit V) to The Overstayers from kua (with King Kapisi and DJ Raw (The Footsouljahs) and the Mt Vaea Band.
In eager anticipation of his upcoming new album, Firepower For The Peoples, the follow up album to the outstanding album, Break It To Pieces his first solo album released in 2004, which won 3 awards at the inaugural Pacific Music Awards in 2005,
• Best Hip Hop album
• Best Male Artist
• Best Song
* The music video for Tha Feelystyle's award winning single "Suamalie/Ain't Mad at You" was filmed in Samoa and directed by well know New Zealand video and filmmaker Chris Graham.
I picked Tha Feelstyle's brain on a few topics and this is the end result, I hope you enjoy all of the interesting information here and make sure to purchase his new album when it gets released and pick up Break It To Pieces as well.
Kas also released a Samoan language album only titled Lokokasi in 2008, on Samoan Hip Hop Sounds.
Talofa Kas, please give some background on yourself for some of the overseas readers that might not know about your past, where were you born?, when did you come to New Zealand and was is it a struggle for you and your and Family?
I was born in Samoa in the out backs of Sataoa where the hospital was like 5 hours away , so the old ladies of the village delivered me into this world and so the journey begins.
I grew up mainly in the city, Apia in a neighborhood called Lalovae'a , so i had a great balance between the overseas influence of music , tv and movies to the Kerosene lamps of the out back village where i was born.
In the 80's i was sent over to NZ for a better education as a child. But i really didnt want to come over , it took me a little while to get use to the idea of coming over and lived with my relatives.I was a street smart kid from the get go, i remember getting off the plane and waiting at the airport for 5hours for my uncle to pick me up.
I sat there and asked myself do something about it or face defeat , lucky my bags had an address written on it if was lost they can send it there.
I sat there practicing what ever English i could summon up , walked out to the taxi stand , scan for an island looking driver and asked him to take me to the address on my luggage. to make the story short , i got there , my uncle came out of the house and said ' I thought you were coming next week ' lol i was only 8years old at that time?
How well was Break It To Pieces received overseas, did you get good distribution for that album, would you say that the Break It To Pieces album is the one you are most proud of your new upcoming one?
The Break it to Pieces album ' received amazing feed back from overseas DJ and made their top 10 albums of the year etc.
I don't think it got a distribution push that i believe it should have deserve.
But i am proud of it and it did what it set out to archive and contribute to the growth of Aotearoa Hip Hop.
Who are some of the guests and producers on the new album, why has it been so long between releases?
The new album is completely different in weight compares to the last one.Im working with Juse from MTC on some songs , Victor Keil a talented Samoan Producer and another uso name Andrew . But I'm more active on shaping this album like a director, i co-produce everything.
Some of the guest artists on this album IVA LUMKUM , LADI6 and TEMPLE JONES , RIDDLEZ , ADEAZE , ADONIS , KELLE FINAU . .Between the first Break it to Pieces ' album i worked on 6 other island albums counting my Samoan album called LOKOKASI its my way of keeping Samoan Hip Hop music alive .
So its a natural progression that i am excited to release the follow up FEELSTYLE album , after all i am the best of both worlds lol
Who are your some of your greatest influences back in the days and of artists out today who do you admire and respect?
Back than music influence me any type of music , i was fixed.Especially when you come from the islands you only hear the songs on the radio we never used to see who sang them lol so music videos was like god.And i just love rap thats what it was , all sorts 7A3 , KING TEE , SCHOOLLY D , KRS ONE , JUST ICE ,GHETTO BOYS , POOR RIGHTEOUS TEACHERS , LOW PROFILE , PUBLIC ENEMY , AUDIO TWO etc
And today's artist i like MOS DEF, TALIB , LIL'WAYNE , KANYE, JAY Z only the complete artist
Did your old group The Mau aka Rough Opinion with Kos (Footsouljahs) ever record enough material for an album?, also please let us know what other groups you have been involved with over the years.
With Rough Opinion , we wrote a hell of a lot of songs , but manage to record one song for a Safe Sex program called LIPS lol the song was called 'DAM DEM FUNKY HORMONES '
The first group i put together was The Island Rappers or Ti Rappers. Than Righteous Indigenous Quest and i had the same Dj as Noise in Effect...that was Vini.
So i join Noise in Effect , soon it evolved into the Mau / Rough Opinion. As Gifted and Brown started i was like the extra member of the group but because Gerald made music i liked we started a group called Conscious Navigator and we did play for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers when they played at the SHOW BUILDING in Newtown.
The Overstayers from Kua was a concept group invented while at Danny Ds house with King Kaps at the time.
So it became me Dj Raw and King Kapisi.
Haha yes I remember that "Dam Dem Funky Hormones", I was in the video and was wearing a T-Shirt that had "Wednesday Night Jam" scrawled on it lol...okay, In your opinion Kas, what do you like and what do you dislike about New Zealand Hip Hop, are you happy with the current state of it?
I like the potential about NZ Hip Hop , im not really a hype type of person , meaning don't talk about how good you are show me how good you are.
A lot I see is that we lack creativity , our scene is like a poor duplication of what already exist overseas , but by saying that , if you want to be the next Drake or Mos Def make sure your better than them .
The new album title is great, what is the meaning behind "Firepower For The Peoples"?
Firepower for the Peoples ' is basically like a audio food an electric current to motivate you to own the moment that your in.
How would older fans go about getting your older tracks like "Walls of Steel (with Erhmen)" and "Hibiscus Milk" and "The Anthem"?
I apologize to those people that are in search of those tracks .I myself don't have a copy but consider those very important to where I'm standing at right now.
Anything you would like coldrockdaspot readers to know about you and your music?
If i can make or inspire someone to make a difference in there life than its all worth making music.
Its not about the fame or money , that shit is easy to gain.
A good album is a good album.
This has been great and really helpful so thanks a lot Kas and best of luck for the new album and your career.
My pleasure many thanks Jaz.
Special shout out to Martha at muzicheadz.com
The long awaited debut album For The Ancients (I will do a full review of the album at a later date ) from Wellington's finest ...