ETM Chats to:. The Layabouts

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So one of my favourite vocal house groups, the Layabouts, were recently in South Africa.  There are no word sto describe the elegance of this act.  Their music is something that I have become very intense with.  Beautiful vocal house!

I had the honour of chatting to Oliver Lazarus of the Reel People crew, and he hooked me up (very grateful Oli) with the team for a quick interview.  This is a very special moment for me.  Take a read and share this awesome opportunityJ


For those who are unaware of the Reel People/ The Layabouts brand, tell us a bit about who you lads & ladies are, and what you do.

We are Leigh Darlow and Alex Paschali, both passionate music lovers, with my experience being in dance music production and sound engineering, and Alex’s being in Guitar playing and music theory. Together we have a tight working relationship and both bring our knowledge to the table while producing and remixing tracks. Our love for all things soulful has lead us down the path of working full time with Oli and Tony at Reel People Music, with our main focus on producing house music with a soul / deep influence.

Now, you did a tour in South Africa earlier this year.  How was the experience?

The experience was great! First time for us in the country and we were treated very well. We truly had some amazing experiences and met some great people along the way.

You toured with the talented newcomers Mi Casa during your time here.  What do you think of them as a unit?


Mi Casa is certainly the type of band you wouldn’t get in the UK, so this was very new to us. The guys were great and we loved hanging out with them. Musically they have some really good ideas and we can see their sound developing over the course of their following albums. I actually mastered their first album and I am very close to what they do now. Expect even greater things!

Did you get a good response to your visit?

The gigs were quite split in terms of attendance. The gigs were concentrated in to 6 shows, in 6 days, in 6 different cities; so it was expected that not every one would be packed out. But highlights included Durban, Pretoria & East London. The vibe and reception was amazing and we had a great time.

I just read a tweet where you guys are referred to as “the kings of vocal house.”  I certainly agree!  What does statement mean to you?

We think its amazing people refer to us as that, but for us we just do what we do and hope other people like it. We are influenced by so many other artists on the scene, so to us they are the kings of vocal house not us!

The depth and definitive style of The Layabouts’ music is incredibly emotive.  It really taps into the subconscious of the listener.  Is this a recipe that is adopted during the production of your tracks or is it just part of a natural unconscious surge in studio? (I feel like such a psychologist with this question.  Feel free to lie down on a leather couch whilst answering this one! Haha)

We both have such a passion for music that I think a combination of different mindsets make the process possible. We’re both into different styles and we keep an open mind when it comes to working with each other.  So when it comes to studio time, we both throw a few ideas in to the mix and go from there. With all this taken into account we listen to each others ideas and help grow our sound.

The UK seems to be a breeding ground for incredible vocalists.  Both male and female.  Vocalists like Shea Soul, Imaani, April Morgan, Pete Simpson, Darien, Tony Momrelle, and so many more. Are they sourced out by you guys, or is it mostly via demos that are sent to you and/ or the label?

A lot of these vocalists have grown within their adopted scenes already. The collaborations between the label and us come naturally. All of these guys mentioned have been successful already in their own right. What house music can do for a vocalist is steer them in a slightly different direction and open them up to different audiences. Which is where The Layabouts come into play.

What is the response to this particular genre of music in the UK? Is the reception to your music better in South Africa, where House/ Dance music seems to be a thriving market?

The soulful house scene is an older scene in the UK. In SA it’s a lot fresher with a younger crowd. This is where things start to differ. There are many more South Africans wanting to party to the music, where in the UK it’s died down a little bit. There is still a strong following in many parts of the world, but for sure SA has a strong relationship with the music.

You recently did an amazing remix of Lulo Café’s “I Wanna Love You”, featuring Nothende.  Have you had the pleasure of meeting him? What is it about that particular track that made you want to remix it?

We met Lulo on our tour of SA. He is a top guy and we still keep in contact. Originally Carlos Mena of Ocha Records introduced the track to us. We knew we could work something with the vocal and we are very happy with the final product.

Are there any more SA artist remixes that we can expect in the near future?

We haven’t got anything lined up at the moment as we have been busy working projects with Reel People Music, but you never know for the future.

Who is your favourite South African producer at the moment? And who would you like to work with?

We have many favourites, Black Coffee, Culoe De Song and a few of the younger guys, such as Lulo Cafe, Da Capo, Essential I and Native Roots.

What can we expect in the coming year, musically? Possible to give us a sneak peak?

Were working on some original tracks with artists we haven’t worked with before at the moment and a really tasty remix. We can’t tell you too much more on that but it’ll be worth the wait!

One thing that I thoroughly enjoy about the Reel People brand, is the YouTube channel.  The content that you guys upload is sensational.  Can I make a suggestion? If you don’t mind.  For the acoustic versions of the tracks; would it be possible to upload the chords and keys for us fellow musicians to perfect? The acoustic take on “Perfectly” could certainly be the catalyst for many potential romances!:)

The acoustic mixes are something that naturally progressed from the songs we’ve written.  Whilst wrapping things up on tunes, Oli would bring in a camera crew, Alex would pick up the acoustic, and Leigh would engineer the stripped down versions of the tunes you hear on YouTube. It just adds another take on what we do. When we’ve got some time we’ll score the tunes for you!

Just before we wrap up; is there anything that you would like to add to the interview?

We just like to thank all our fans and everyone that has supported us over the years. It’s been a great journey and we’re looking forward to catching up with you wherever you are!

What’s The Layabouts schedule looking like in the next few months? I know that the Reel People crew are headed to Botswana for the New Year? What else can we expect?

We can’t wait to get out to Botswana for New Years! Reel People Sound System featuring the incomparable Tony Momrelle and The Layabouts will be a cool combo! As far as the New Year, we’re really eager to finish up the new songs we are currently working on.

Then finally; Is Russel Brand really an alien? Love that dude!

Russel Brand is quite a legend! The answer to that is yes! It takes one to know one ;)

– Hahaha! Fair enough.

The Layabouts are very popular amongst the South African dance community.  If you have not heard, you can find their album “Pioneers Of House: The Layabouts”, released by Soul Candi.  You will not be disappointed! It is one of my favourite compilations.  It’s perfection from start to finish.

You can check out The Layabouts on Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.

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Soul Candi:. 10 Years 2001 – 2011 [Classics & Future]

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Celebrating their 10 years in the music world, today Soul Candi are releasing what I’m guessing is going to be one of their best cd bundles yet: 10 Years. 10 Disks. Enjoy.

Disc 1 : DJ Mbuso – Phezulu Classics 

Long-serving DJ, co-founder of Soul Candi Records, Mbuso has been instrumental in the evolution of SA house music. Even during his student days at Vaal Tech Mbuso was a musical force to be reckoned with. The self-proclaimed “King of Funk” hi-jacked dancefloors and radio waves alike; catapulting his style and sound into our consciousness virtually overnight. In 2005 he parted ways with Soul Candi and took Phezulu Records to new heights. He’s the original instigator, the party-starter whose production abilities boast matchless originality and flair. Rightly hailed as a groundbreaker, Mbuso’s lustre has never dimmed.

“Soul Candi defies definition. It’s bigger than words. From day one it represented change, a turning point. A revolution. Soul Candi meant moving away from everything we knew: the end of black and white music being separate; breaking free from the major labels. Soul Candi created a new identity, a new fashion sense and a new tempo of music. It’s a movement. When our paths split it meant change too. Change means growth.” ~ DJ Mbuso

Disc 2 : Terance – Music Box 

Unlike many, Terance is inspired by smooth, soulful grooves with the sweetest vocals. He joined the Soul Candi family in 2004 and whether he was behind the counter of Soul Candi’s record store or rocking a party his obsessive love of music commanded respect.

Terance’s award-winning Music Box mixes are renowned for spellbinding vocal tracks that get the entire dance floor singing along and he has travelled extensively sharing his distinctive take on house music. For all these reasons he finds his place among the country’s respected DJs.

“Legendary is an overused term in the music industry, but Soul Candi truly deserves that title. Over the last 10 years in the country they have created inspirational & memorable moments in the music industry. I hope you enjoy my selections. Creativity is key.” ~ DJ Terance

Disc 3 : DJ Fresh – Fresh house flavas 

His ‘Fresh House Flavas’ series started a revolution in South African music and transformed DJ Fresh into household name. Unique in his ability to connect with all people, Thato “Fresh” Sikwane’s powerful presence on the mic and behind the decks quickly established him as one of the scene’s most accomplished players. His name is inextricably linked to the history of house music in South Africa yet he remains at the forefront. Trends and music might shift but one thing remains constant: DJ Fresh rocks in a way that’s guaranteed to ignite any dancefloor, anywhere.

“To me Soul Candi means passion for music and resilience in an ever evolving industry!!” ~ DJ Fresh

Disc 4 : Simon Dunmore – Defected In The House 

He’s a key architect of the soulful house sound and the founder of one of the most successful dance labels of all time. Simon Dunmore is not only Defected’s head honcho but a high calibre DJ renowned for having “the best ears in the business”. Soul Candi finds constant inspiration in Defected’s commitment to house music’s legacy, their glittering club nights and, most importantly, their ever-evolving music. We hold our long-standing relationship with Defected in very high regard.

‘At Defected we have been working closely with Soul Candi for almost all of their 10 years. They are a House music label run by House music enthusiasts and, because they do what they do from the soul, they have managed to make a huge success of it! They have consistently supported our releases and producers and we are very happy to have them as our South African partners.’ ~ Simon Dunmore

Disc 5 : The DVD 

Soul Candi is a real home-grown music business success story. From a tiny basement record store in 2001 to the most recognisable name in South African dance in 2011, representing some of the highest profile artists in the country and producing some of the most anticipated social events, this 15-minute mini-documentary explores how fans, artists and Soul Candi staff (including the elusive CEO himself) look back at its ten year legacy. From humble beginnings to achievements, little-known facts to success secrets, industry experts and Soul Candi fanatics share their points of view.



Disc 1 : Lulo Café – What About Soul?

“What About Soul?” The question and the answer came the from inimitable Lulo Café. This suave soultser seduced the entire country with his superb DJs sets and soul-drenched selections; both of which blend his multitude of inspirations into a unique and addictive sonic worldview. He’s one of the most recognisable names in the game for one simple reason: he always delivers an enthralling experience.

“It’s an honour to be part of a team of music loving peeps, I’ve been with Soul Candi since 2006 and we are a family united in music… 10 years later and still at the forefront! Soul Candi is home!” ~ Lulo Café


Disc 2 : Euphonik – For The Love of House 

Five years ago no one imagined that a house-obsessed kid from Nelspruit would change the face of South African house music. All that changed when Euphonik dropped ‘For The Love of House’, listeners rapidly realised that this was the future at work. With his anthemic productions and show-stopping gigs, Euphonik injected new energy into house music and worked his way into South Africa’s hearts and charts. South African dance music had found a new voice.

“Soul Candi has always been the house of house. Soul Candi does more than sell records. Soul Candi understands house music, lives it, breathes it.” ~ Euphonik

Disc 3 : DJ Shimza – Deep House Chronicles 

Soul Candi’s Deep House Chronicles aims to illuminate the unsung heroes of South African house, to shine the spotlight on the DJs who steer clear of mainstream and pursue their own sound. These DJs demonstrate individuality, determination and musicality, they embody the Soul Candi ethos. DJ Shimza is a champion DJ. Literally. He’s won no less than four DJ competitions— achievements which have taken him out of his hometown, Thembisa and right around the world. His battle skills and finely honed track selection account for his accelerating popularity but his bottomless passion for house music is what will ensure that this young prodigy continues on his upward voyage.

“Soul Candi to me means a lot to me but mostly it means the beginning of bigger things!” ~ DJ Shimza

Disc 4 : DJ Whisky – Candi Roots 

Soul Candi is proudly South African and we are committed to unearthing Mzansi’s finest new talent. In 2010 we launched the Candi Roots series to showcase the best home-grown music and producers. 100% local. 100% rocking. Allow us to introduce DJ Whisky. Inspired from an early age by his late father’s fusion and soul records, this self-taught producer moved from Witbank, Mpumalanga to Jo’burg in 2007 to study video production. While qualifying he stumbled upon some music production software and it wasn’t long before this naturally gifted producer transformed his music obsession into a full-time profession. In only two years his tracks were being played by the country’s most influential DJs. Say hello to the future of South African house music.

“Soul Candi is a land of opportunity, I’m living proof. Ten years ago I was introduced to house music listening to DJ Fresh and Mbuso, today I’m part of their biggest release in history. With Soul Candi nothing is impossible.” ~ DJ Whisky

Disc 5 : Harael Salkow – F.A.M.I.L.Y

In 1998 Harael’s great love affair with vinyl began and it was in a record store that he met friend and future partner Mbuso. In 2001 the pair bought that very same store and Soul Candi Records was born. At once an incisive entrepreneur and a compulsive creative, Harael Salkow’s trademark workaholic approach has steered Soul Candi to its double digit legacy. Soul Candi owes its longevity to his dynamic leadership and relentless passion which spills over into his emotive and enduring La Dolce Vita series. Packed with sun-kissed tracks which glow with soulful ambience, Harael’s mixes are reflective of his instinctual feel for great records— and great records are and always have been at the heart of Soul Candi’s success.


“Soul Candi to me: a family of people whose only constant is change.” ~ Harael Salkow

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Mi Casa:. Soul Candi’s Latest Signing

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I first spotted the name Mi Casa on twitter a couple days back and saw that Dr Duda was involved in the project so I had to check it out further.

Not only is the talented producer Dr Duda involved, but also volcalist/guitarist J-something and Mo-T – who is incredibly awesome on the trumpet. Now, these 3 highly talented individuals are creating some of the most chilled out, soulful tracks I have heard in ages.

Jumping on board the Hennesy Remix Tour by Soul Candi which features The Layabouts & Reel People, Lulo Cafe and DJ China: I suggest that you check this trio out. I pretty much reckon that they are going to be a big thing here.

Check out some of their tracks below:. So far from what I have heard, Heavenly Sent is my favorite track.

Also, you can follow the guys on Twitter and check out their Facebook Page.

Heavenly Sent by Mi Casa Music

Mi Casa – Be That Man by Mi Casa Music

For more, check out the SoundCloud Page:.

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Hennessy + Soul Candi Present:. The Layabouts x Reel People

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Hennessy has hooked up with local house label Soul Candi and together they present:. International DJ’s The Layabouts and Reel People.

The groups will  be heading to our shores for a 5 city, 6 venue showcase for a nationwide tour from the 27th of April to the 1st of May.

Check out the press release below for all the details:.

Hennessy Remixed by Soul Candi, an exciting collaboration between luxury cognac brand Hennessy and top house label Soul Candi Records will be unleashing UK house sensations, The Layabouts and Reel People. Kicking off on 26 April, a series of exclusive club tours will combine smooth beats and soulful instrumentals, accompanied by the perfect blend of eaux-de-vie within each Hennessy drink. Local acts include Soul Candi heavyweights Lulo Café, DJ China and the record label’s latest offering, Mi Casa.


The Layabouts’ work has featured on no less than seven Soul Candi chart topping compilations thus far. Comprising of DJs Leigh Darlow and Alex Paschali and with over eight years of experience, The Layabouts have worked with renowned international acts including Roland Clarke & Classic 7 as well as Stephanie Mills.

Local audiences will recognise the duo for their hit singles “Thank you” and “So Additive” as well as the popular remixes of “Tea” by Chocklate, Beneditto’s “Perfectly” and the Stephanie Mills classic “Free”


Reel People is made up principally of producer/DJ Oli Lazarus and multi-instrumentalist Mike Patto.  They offer strong instrumentation and melodic gems, alongside a series of carefully selected guest vocalists. Their recent hit “Sure” featuring US based artist, Darien on vocals was included on the Soul Candi “For the DJs 19” and “Music Box 5” compilations.


Sikhululo Maliwa, better known as Lulo Café, has now become a household name on the house music scene. His second album – ‘What About Soul’ – was awarded the prestigious Metro FM Award for ‘Best Compilation Album’.


Afro-tech and deep house maestro, DJ China, has been described as one of the fastest growing forces in the music industry thus far. Featuring hot local productions such as Culoe De Song, his album House Kollectiv Vol.3 sold out within two weeks of release.


New kid to the Soul Candi stable, Mi Casa, brings a soulful sound which incorporates J-Something on vocals and guitar, Mo-T the trumpeter and producer/ club DJ Dr Duda.


Hennessy Remixed by Soul Candi will be touring East London, Soweto, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town over the month of April. For more information about Hennessy Remixed by Soul Candi event dates, ticket sales and local and international artists, visit

Upcoming Tour Schedule:

*Afternoon events


Tuesday 26 April

Talamanca – East London

Aquarium Complex, Esplanade, Quigney, East London


*Wednesday 27 April

Azura/ St Yves – Cape Town

Azura: Mandela Rhodes Place, corner Wale and Burg Street, Cape Town

St Yves: The Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay, South Africa


Thursday 28 April

Plush – Durban

47 Intersite Avenue, Springfield Park, Durban


Friday 29 April

Latinova – Johannesburg

1 SIXTY Jan Smuts Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg


Saturday 30 April

Jack Buddah– Pretoria

Corner Tshweu and Mashabela Streets, Mamelodi


*Sunday 1 May

Sedibeng – Soweto

3166 Shikhova Street, Zone 10 Meadowlands, Soweto


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Nothende – LoveLight

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Nothende has been doing big things for awhile now – from being on Idols to Popstars, gaining a SAMA nomination and stealing my heart with her amazing voice, finally her debut album LoveLight is ready for your listening pleasure.

I highly suggest that you check out the album below and purchase a few tracks. Nothing like showing support for an amazing local act.


If you like what you hear, you can check out Nothende live this coming Friday, starting off with the UJFM Roadshow at UJ Doornfontein campus between 11am and 2pm and then later on in Pretoria at Cafe 52 for the Afrosoul Diva Tribute show. Be there by 19:40 and R40 gets you in.

Be sure to like Nothende on Facebook to keep up to date with everything, and also check out the video below for the track that really made her stand out to me.

Lulo Cafe Ft. Nothende – I Wanna Love You


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