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  Offworld Music
Record label catering to innovative music, artists and producers - from drum&bass to hip hop and electronic.

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  THE LATIN PROJECT

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

To say that the The Latin Project is a duo is like saying wine is made of grapes... you have the facts right, but are missing the subtlties that make it more than juice. Jez Colin and Matt Cooper are the multi-instrumentalist, songwriters and producers that provide the English ingredients and cutting-edge electronic skills. Fermented with collaborators such as Rio-based instrumentalist and vocalist Junnor Homrick and Brazilian singer Katia Moraes, the result is the sultry Latin meets Western infused essence that is The Latin Project.

Click here to watch our Latin Project video interview

This collaboration would grow into "Neuva Musica," their debut album that like Jazzanova and Masters At Work, fuses underground dance music with organic components like live instruments and analogue vocals. The first single, "En Feugo" was a UK garage-inspired flamenco styled number released with such success that motivated Jez and Matt to undertake three years of travelling between Los Angeles, London and Rio to complete their album.

Our first taste of The Latin Project was on the Electric Monkey boat party in Miami earlier this year. Their live performance is intoxicating. Joined by performers exploding with enthusiasm, the show rocked the boat from one end of the bay to the other, and we were hooked. Back in LA, we caught them again in a more mundane locale, but were still entranced with their electric energy. (See photos.) We jumped at the chance for an interview!

-- feature by Jennifer Warner

 

NEWS FLASH

Latin house legend, Little Louie Vega (Masters At Work) has just completed two remixes of the lead single, "Lei Lo Lai," which will be available in mid-July. With its hard-as-nails beat and strumming guitar work, "Lei Lo Lai" exemplifies the group's trademark fusion of Latin instrumentation, sultry vocals and infectious grooves. States Vega: "Igniting the passion of traditional Latin and contemporary music, this project takes it to another level!"
LISTEN TO LEI LO LAI MP3 HERE

 

OFFICIAL BIO

Inspired by a genre that is dominated by beat and club aesthetics, but lacking in musical sophistication, English natives Jez Colin and Matt Cooper pooled their wealth of musical expertise to start The Latin Project. "We wanted to blend some of our favorite established Latin musicians with the most up-to-date electronic production," says Jez. "WeÕve always been fans of Latin music," adds Matt. "Not just restricted to the dance floor, but crossing over to something you can listen to at home as well as dance to: a contemporary record with songs and performances. We tried to do something with all those elements."

Meeting in 1996, Jez and Matt started working on The Latin Project in 1998. Both co-produced and wrote material for the project, with Matt adding keyboards and drums. A multi-talented musician, producer, writer, remixer and programmer, Jez co-founded in 1993 the groundbreaking acid jazz group The Solsonics for whom he played bass. In 1995, the Solsonics hit the road as a supporting act on the Queen Latifah tour with the Fugees, thus giving Jez the opportunity to hone his live performance skills and showcase his talents to a broader audience. After they disbanded in 1997, Jez relocated to Los Angeles and turned his attentions studio-ward. Among his credits are remixes for Maxwell, Sade, Stevie Wonder, Jo‘l and Bjork, as well as programming on the current project for William Orbit (of MadonnaÕs Ray Of Light fame).

Living in London, Matt has been working under the guise of Outside, producing five albums on UK label Dorado Records. His standout single "To Forgive But Not Forget"--affectionately known as "the jungle track with the mad violin," a mini-anthem of sorts--has been featured on numerous compilations. Additionally, he has worked on all D*Note albums, co-produced and written for forward-thinking jazz greats Incognito on their new album, which also boasts India Arie, Paul Weller and Terry Callier. Matt recently completed a Southeast Asian tour with Incognito and a worldwide trek with David Sylvian.

The collaboration that grew into Nueva Musica began initially with Brazilian multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Junno Homrich (whose credits include the Emerald Forest soundtrack) and another Brazilian singer, Katia Moraes, of the band Sambaguru. The first Latin Project single "En Fuego"--a UK garage inspired flamenco styled number, part Basement Jaxx, part Gypsy Kings, with a remix from Nickodemus and Osiris--was released on Giant Step Records summer of 2001 to enthusiastic response. Encouraged by the interest "En Fuego" had created, Jez and Matt began pursuing the idea of a full-length Latin Project album. Over three years of international travel between Los Angeles, London and Rio resulted in a deeply personal expression of The Latin ProjectÕs attempt to explore the limits of Latin-based music.

From his previous endeavors, Jez feels he has brought "a true sense of how to incorporate programmed and computer-based music with live musicianship" to The Latin Project. From fiery percussion, keyboard solos, flavorful guitars, joyful trumpets to sub-bass and hard-as-nails beats, these ingredients create the structure for a myriad of styles that incorporate everything from nu-jazz to broken beat, downtempo, dub and ambient moods, all sifted through a Latin-inspired filter. "Nueva Musica surpassed what we had originally set out to do," says Jez. "Initially we had one or two collaborators. We ended up working with a more eclectic and wider base of talent that we ever thought possible. It evolved into something that was more worldly than we had planned, much to the benefit of the project."

Jez and Matt selected collaborators for Nueva Musica carefully and thoughtfully; among these are Freddie Crespo, erstwhile percussionist and vocalist for Tito Puente, on "Lei Lo Lai," which also features Robbie NevilÕs inimitable guitar touch. Marc Antione, a master of the Flamenco guitar, plays on "En Fuego." Jo‘l Virgel, a West Indian via Paris vocalist/percussionist sings on "Universal" and "Brazilian Love Affair," the latter a cover of a 1980 George Duke tune, which features him and Katia in improvisational mode. Jo‘l and Katia reunite again on songs "Clouds," a journey from a rainforest to the Carnival and "Sonhando" (translated to "dreaming" in Portuguese). Peruvian singer Violetta VillacortaÕs haunting vocals permeate "Estoy," bolstered by the dub-heavy effects of Andreas Allen. Additionally, Terence Trent DÕArby, under the guise of Sananda (Jez mixed and did production for his current album, Wildcard), collaborated in the writing of the track "Windows," a dance cut featuring a piano montuno. Nueva Musica ends on the spiritual high of "Rio Negro," a voyage of discovery down the "Black River."

"ItÕs probably better now than at conception," states Matt. "We werenÕt taking it quite so seriously then--there was just tracks that came together. Now we can say we did a record and weÕre pretty pleased with it."

 

 

 

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