In Conversation With Jazzy B And Opolopo

“Something for the mind as well as the butt!”

We're very excited to be hosting top Soulful House night Groove Odyssey’s 7th Birthday party this Saturday the 12th November

In addition to Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez, GO residents Bobby & Steve and Groove Assassins / Leroy Burgess in The Box, 103 will be home for the evening to Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B and DJ / Producer Opolopo. We caught up with them as they're gearing up for the main event on Saturday.

Jazzie B has been a constant presence in UK club culture ever since the groundbreaking Club Classics Volume 1 was released in 1989. Aside from writing and producing for Soul II Soul, Trevor Beresford Romeo is also a successful radio DJ and in-demand club DJ, still tours internationally, he ran Motown in the UK for a while, has produced and remixed for the likes of James Brown and Public Enemy and has been showered with accolades including an O.B.E. during his long career. We managed to grab a moment in his notoriously busy schedule for a brief chat.

MoS: Can you remember the first time you played at Ministry? What was it like?

Jazzie B: It was a long time ago!

You’ve obviously been DJing for a long time, what kind of changes have you seen over the years?

Club culture is very corporate and lucrative now. Clubbing has changed so much.

And what has remained the same?

There’s hardly any clubs left these days, good ones that is. It feels like they’re closing down every month. WTF is going on in London? But it’s never over, thanks to  the likes of Ministry Of Sound, Mikee from Groove Odyssey and the man dem. Supporting the scene the way they do. This allows opportunity for new artist to flourish. Doing classic club nights and promoting DJ’s is what its all about.

So you’re playing for us on 12th November. Name one artist or track that you have lined up for us?

Keep an eye out for Children of Zeus, who are an up coming UK hip hop / street soul outfit.


Joining Jazzie B in 103 on the night will be uber-producer and DJ Opolopo, whose back catalog reads like a ‘who’s who’ of soulful house labels. To date he’s collaborated with or remixed the likes of Gregory Porter, Omar, Steve Arrington, Lisa Stansfield, Shaun Escoffery, Azymuth and more, and is currently riding high with his big remix of Leroy Burgess’ "Barely Breaking Even" on Groove Odyssey which got to the number one slot on Soulful House Chart. We spoke to Opolopo about his musical influences and current plans and projects.

MoS: Can you tell us a little bit about what got you into playing soulful house – what was it about the genre that drew you in?

Opolopo: The musicality of it. In soulful house there's a place for nice chords, arrangements and melodies. It's very rewarding producing and writing that kind of music as it has the elements of proper songwriting together with dance floor aesthetics. So there's something for the mind as well as the butt, haha!

Your name is from the Yoruba language, (one of the four languages of Nigeria) and means “Plenty”, so, firstly, why did you choose a Yoruba name? And, secondly, what’s behind it?

Many years ago I needed a new artist name for an album project. Since all of my music is basically of black origin I started to look at the language of the African slaves that were brought to America. I found this word "opolopo" that could mean "plenty", "plentiful" or "variety". Since that album was a bit all over the place with many styles, it seemed like a good fit. It also looked good graphically and happened to be a palindrome.

Your recently dropped a remix of Leroy Burgess’s “Barely Breaking Even” - why that track?

It's always a great challenge to tackle a classic, trying to make it your own without butchering it. When asked by Michael Hughes from Groove Odyssey to remix it I jumped at the opportunity.

Can you tell us a little bit about your ideas and influences behind the remix?

I wanted to preserve the atmosphere of the original, replicating some of the percussive elements and sticking with the boogie and disco feel while re-harmonising and reinventing the track.

You’re playing for us on 12th November... Name one track you have lined up for us?

I'm working on a tweak of Sylvia St. James' magical Motherland track. I'll definitely play that if I finish it in time.

And finally, what do you have in store for us for the rest of 2016?

Apart from cracking on with remixes I have new EPs for both Mahouse and Z Records in the works.

Get your tickets to Groove Odyssey's 7th Birthday here

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Written by Harold Heath

09 Nov 2016