Fresh Talent: Definite & Bling
Author: Stephen Jewell
Capitalrecordings's latest signing Definite & Bling, aka Brett Strathdee and Khalid Mohammed el Sharif, have such multi-cultural backgrounds and varied musical histories they cannot help but bring a rich range of influences to their music as can be seen on their debut single, Jump Up.
Strathdee, who is of Scottish and Maori descent, played guitar for late '90s Wellington band Tetsuo before moving to Auckland, where he provided bass for D-Dub. Meanwhile, el Sharif was born in the United Arab Emirates to Palestinian parents before moving to New Zealand. In addition to Bling, el Sharif operates under the name Saccie, as who he has recorded tracks for Sugarlicks Records and Mai Music.
The pair are also members of eclectic samba collective, Batacuda Sound System and were originally drawn together by their mutual interest in "old school hip hop, rock, funk, reggae, soul, jazz, dancehall and Motown."
Strathdee teaches junior music at Marcellin College and apparently had only been making beats for a month before he "gave Bling a tape and it went from there."
"Definite & Bling make funky, uplifting and rhythm oriented hip hop, which captures a raw vibe while still being accessible to all listeners," says Strathdee.
The first track that Strathdee and el Sharif made together was Freestyle No. 1. This is included on the flip of Jump Up, which was released on 12 inch vinyl in June.
"Jump Up came out of a freestyle jam," says Strathdee. "It was thought up, recorded and finished within a few hours. Reaction from friends and family was instantly positive so we sent it out to a few labels for feedback."
Strathdee and el Sharif performed Jump Up live on Top of the Pops in late July and an animated video has been made for the song by Paul Hershall, who recently took out the best animation category at the Kodak Music Clip Awards for Flash Harry's I Love Lo-Fi.
"The video basically just puts us out there more," says Strathdee. "It's good because it's quirky and different."
Strathdee and el Sharif are also working on an album which Capitalrecordings hope to release in time for summer.
"It will be a diverse hip hop record full of beats rhymes and life," says Strathdee.
In the meantime, Aucklanders can catch Definite & Bling at Vanilla in Parnell every Thursday night and on Base FM 107.3 (www.basefm.co.nz) every Wednesday from 4-6pm.