Quadraphonix
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Quadraphonix

Mililani Town, Hawaii, United States

Mililani Town, Hawaii, United States
Band World Funk

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"Quadraphonix, Iyeoka team for eclectic night"

By Elizabeth Kieszkowski / ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com

Back from a winter tour of Malaysia, Singapore and Japan, Quadraphonix is brimming with energy and ideas — and ready to put them to the test.

This weekend, you have two chances to see them in town: at a special concert and video shoot Saturday at Ong King, and at ARTafterDARK’s Secret Sound Showcase tonight (see our Do It! picks on Page 2 for more on that).

Those who come to the Saturday show may even gain a little YouTube fame in the process.

QUADRAPHONIX returned from its Asia Tour in February, after an adventurous trip that included a visit to guitarist Shree Sadagopan’s former home on Penang, in Malaysia.
QUADRAPHONIX

Live video shoot with Iyeoka and Taimane

Where: Ong King Arts, 184 N King St.

When: 9 p.m.-midnight Saturday

Cost: $10 suggested donation

Info: facebook.com/quadraphonix.hawaii

Sadagopan’s Indian/ Malaysian background has informed the band’s latest music, self-described as a “funk/jazz/blues/Indian/ Asian and Persian blend of world beat.” It’s a global stew, for sure, with the hip-hop lyricists in Ninja Pleez rapping over Afro-Caribbean and just plain funky drum beats, bubbling bass and winding guitar lines.

“I’m proud of all the things I’ve learned here, and I was proud to bring it back to Malaysia, too …” Sadagopan said.

“Now that we’re back, I don’t want to sit around,” he said. “I want to get this band back to an international level. It’s expensive, but it’s so rewarding.”

Saturday’s video shoot is a step to help inform new potential fans and venues for the band outside of Hawaii.

In today’s YouTube era, Quadraphonix is in need of a polished video calling card.

THE CONCERT includes a performance by Iyeoka, a charismatic Nigerian-American singer-songwriter and spoken-word performer out of Boston who is gaining international recognition.

Her 2011 video, “Simply Falling,” has drawn more than 7.5 million hits on YouTube. It’s a showcase for her smoky voice — a sweet track of sensual urban soul music a la Amy Winehouse. Iyeoka’s overall style is more upbeat than Winehouse’s, though, and may also appeal to fans of contemporary funk/R&B a la John Legend.

She’s also a widely admired spoken-word performer, who met members of Quadraphonix while appearing in Honolulu.

Iyeoka and Quadraphonix developed a fast musical friendship, with Iyeoka appearing on a track from the Honolulu band’s new album, “Blues in the Ragas.”

Sadagopan said it’s possible they will appear together on tour dates in the future.

VIDEOGRAPHER Silvin Morgan is flying in to do the shoot, with the first half of the April 27 show devoted to Quadraphonix, and the second half with the band backing Iyeoka.

“Sylvan has a great eye for live acts,” Sadagopan said.

“We want to capture the energy of that, like First Friday — that’s the shows we have been doing. But we can’t do it on First Friday, that would be too chaotic,” he said. … “So we set up our own show.”

The band is hoping for an enthusiastic crowd at the show, building live energy for the video. While there’s a $10 suggested cover charge to help cover costs, including flying in a videographer, Sadagopan says no one will be turned away.

Sadagopan said he expects to have cameras on the ceiling, with a videographer roving the audience as well.

“Every time we play at Ong King, the audience is right up in our face, and I love that,” he said.

“I asked, ‘How can we capture that?'” - Honolulu Pulse


"Taking heart from Quadraphonix"

BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com

My special love is music, and it’s my “work” to keep tabs on performances and events in Honolulu.

Sad, right?

It can be tough, though, because Honolulu has a lot to offer. In the last 10 days, I’ve been out to musical performances by the Dukes of September (with Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen), the Melvins (Lite) (on a world-record-breaking tour stop), Jon Cleary and Delta Spirit, who stepped up to play a makeup show when Hallowbaloo was shut down for the Oct. 27 tsunami scare.

These were all big shows, in their own way.

But in the middle of all these staged performances, I also had the wonderful experience of listening to Quadraphonix jam in their practice space, getting down to basics in a way the band has always embraced by playing knee to knee, rigged equipment, spontaneous passages and all.

I searched out the band’s Kalihi studio on a steamy, rainy night, and found them in a warren of spaces behind a karaoke joint.

Inside the place, I heard the music — intertwined drum and conga, a winding guitar with a South Indian line and laid-back bass to pull it together.

The two MCs of Ninja Pleeze raised the feel higher, rolling words off each other, righteous, then goofing, getting a laugh. Then it all came back around to a world-beat sound.

The music was warm (as was the cramped space) and full of heart. And hearing the members play together with such spirit reminded me why I do this thing I do.

THE BAND has recorded a new album, after concentrating on life in Hawaii for the past several years. Now Quadraphonix would like to take its new music out into the world — including to Malaysia, where guitarist Shree Sadagopan was born, lived until he was a teen, and first took up music.

Quadraphonix has launched a Kickstarter fundraising drive to support a tour. The band self-financed recording and mastering CDs. With support from fans, the band plans to go on the road beginning in January, 2013.

At the time I’m posting this blog, the band is still striving to raise $1,800 to reach its $5,000 goal, with a deadline of Nov. 8.

With the aim of playing gigs in Malaysia, Japan and the West Coast of the U.S., this support will only cover a portion of the expense — but if you’re a fan, consider kicking in. For a Kickstarter donation at a certain level, the band will deliver the album, a free digital download of previous album “Just a reminder note,” and an unreleased live album, in addition to exclusive merchandise.

“BLUES IN THE RAGAS” took two years to record. It’s the band’s second full-length release, and drops on Nov. 9.

I’ve been able to listen to the new music, and it’s worth hearing. While the band continues to explore funk, jazz, hip-hop and world-beat grooves, Sadagopan’s digging into his South Indian heritage provides the buzz of something deep and distinctive.

Sadagopan provided me with an inside look at “All That Was Given,” the fifth track of the album, with guest vocals by Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo. It combines lines in Sadagopan’s first language, Tamil, and it is exceedingly warm and affecting.

Here’s a key verse, as provided by Sadagopan:

Koduthathelam Koduthan avar yarukage Koduthan
(All that was given by the creator, who was it given to)

Orutharuka Koduthan ilai Orukage Koduthan
(Was it given to one — no. It was given to all of us)

Koduthathelam Koduthan ilai orukage koduthan
(All that was given by the creator, no, it was given to all of us.)

“I only used the main verse as it sums it all up!” said Sadagopan. “This was written at time where South India was really suffering from political corruption and rich getting richer. Unfortunately not too much has changed.”

The digital version of “Blues in the Ragas” also includes the song “Manaparai,” a harvest song. Quadraphonix’ take is inspired by the exploitation of Indian farmers by commercial interests, including the sale of expensive GMO seed that often bankrupts the growers, Sadagopan said.

QUADRAPHONIX PLAYS a CD release party Friday, Nov. 9, at Fresh Cafe — stay tuned for more details on that, and look for updates on the band’s Facebook page.

I’ve been a fan of Quadraphonix for more than 10 years, reaching back to the era when Susan Copp played double bass with the group. So it’s especially satisfying to find that the band has found a way to thrive, taking inspiration from completely fresh and enduring traditional sources. - Honolulu Pulse by Star Advertiser


"Hands Up! crowd hooked on Quadraphonix"

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Staff Writer

The first edition of Hands Up! on Jan. 31 got a big up from an enthusiastic crowd moved by a superb live performance by Quadraphonix.

With irreverent dancehall master Eek-A-Mouse set to take the mike at Hands Up's second outing later this month (and rumors of other premiere hip-hop/urban acts floating around town), promoter Matty Liu seems intent on carving out an inventive Honolulu monthly that deserves to succeed. The formula appears to be simple enough.

Take some DJed R&B, hip-hop and dancehall in the early evening, and cap it with a larger late-evening helping of live sounds from a mix of changing musicians. Blend both with a large dance floor and stage, a cavernous and kitschy venue like the Hawaiian Hut, and a no-frills layout that allows the music to set the evening's pulse.

Quadraphonix didn't start playing until about 11:30 p.m. But it was clear who the crowd was there to see from its immediate approval of the band's opening salvo — a gathering storm of Latin-tinged percussion, dreamy atmospheric guitar work and funky bass.

From there, Quadraphonix — guitarist Shree Sadagopan, bassist Susan Copp, drummer Jonathan Heraux and percussionist Eli Clemens — didn't disappoint. By the time the band was fully into its multiminute sonic wanderings through hip-hop, jazz, world beats, funk and psychedelia, a crowd that had seemed subdued beforehand was suddenly wide awake and alive.

Having experienced the consistently solid talents of Quadraphonix in smaller venues in the past, I was afraid that the slightly Jabba-ish Hut's lack of intimacy would diminish my enjoyment. Instead, the band owned the room from the outset, sculpting a trippy aural wonderland that filled the room and seemed to elicit every conceivable move on the roomy dance floor. Skanking, b-boying, Woodstock-era twirling, grinding, frat-boy side-to-sides, it was all there.

Table service at the Hawaiian Hut was excellent throughout the evening — fast and friendly. Our drinks, however, were another story. Prices were reasonable enough, but having my whiskey sour arrive blended (it should never be prepared that way unless asked for) in the tiniest of juice glasses wasn't. The result was a drink almost fully watered down by the time it was delivered. My partner in Night Stuff's cosmo arrived in a larger juice glass (not a problem) with ice (definitely a problem). Order a bottled beer, though, and all should be well in the world.

Another engagement hastened our exit 45 minutes into Quadraphonix's set. But a line waiting to get into Hand's Up! when we left, and still more people heading to the Hut while we walked to our car, signaled a party that would likely continue kicking up to its 2 a.m. closing.

I'm looking forward to Feb. 28 already. - Honolulu Advertiser


"In The Groove"

Ho'olaule'a takes
a jazz/funk spin
By Gary C.W. Chun
Star-Bulletin

IF not for the help of a well-connected friend on the mainland, the local band Quadraphonix would have to have been satisfied with their debut CD being a low-budget, locally-recorded affair. Instead they'll be releasing music they recorded in, of all places, Nashville, Tenn.

Specifically, Bellmont University, located in country music's industry town, and according to drummer Jonathan Heraux, "the biggest music production university in the U.S."

Quadraphonix's jazz-tinged, hip-hop groove will be in full effect at Chaminade's first-ever ho'olaule'a tomorrow night. Event promoter and president of the university's music club David Wei is proud of the lineup's diversity, which also includes reggae acts Ooklah the Moc and DJ Big Bar, funk-punksters Lose Money, just punksters Hellbound Hounds, hip-hoppers Microscopic Syllables and Scottie Soul spinning house dance tracks.

Over the band's year-and-a-half lifespan, Quadraphonix has distinguished itself from the rest of the local underground music scene with its sophisticated "fusion of jazz, Latin, hip-hop and funk" said Heraux.

"We all sound the way our musical backgrounds are," said double bassist Susan Copp. "I come from a classical background with now a jazz influence, Jonathan is jazz-based with a rhythm-and-funk background, (guitarist) Shree Sadagopan is an ethnic Indian from Malaysia who brings those musical influences ..."

"Along with a Latin feel from Carlos Santana," Heraux added, "and Eli Clemens has that Afro-Cuban training on the congas." (The band's featured rapper, MC Kilowatts Mongoose, who Heraux credits as "a great dancer and performer," didn't make the trip, so his vocals were recorded here).

Not only has the band's sound evolved over the years, but, according to Heraux, it's developed over long-term relationships with the other members. "Susan and I started in a band called the Triads seven years ago, Eli and I played in a band called Fungus five years ago and Shree and I go back 10 years when we both played in the Leeward Community College Jazz Ensemble. So, from the Triads, we've become Quadraphonix."

There's more of a spontaneous feel to the band's live performances, something the quartet hoped would translate in studio recordings the band originally cut here. But thanks to Heraux's friend who attends Bellmont U., Quadraphonix found themselves in Nashville in late February.

"The university's got the best recording facilities I've ever seen," Heraux said. "And that's coming from someone who's a recording engineer! A friend of mine who goes to school there gave our CD to a professor who teaches there. He listened to it and liked it so much that he asked him, 'why not invite the band down here to record?'

"All of the recording time was free -- the only thing we had to pay for was airfare. This was actually my friend's project for his senior thesis. We were there for close to a week," he said.

The group didn't do much sightseeing there, although Copp said she was dumbfounded when she spotted a Hilo Hattie's shop in the Music City (the 10-gallon hat/ aloha shirt fashion statement??). But the former Kamehameha grad said the band maintained its organic groove by laying down live takes of their now-rerecorded CD.

With a working title of "Just A Reminder Note," Heraux said that the CD should come out in a month after the Nashville-recorded tracks get mixed down by local engineer Reid Scelza. Copp said she hopes tunes like "Psychedelic Jazz" ("my personal favorite," she said) and "Cobra" (based on a 2000-year-old snake charmer rhythm), will help sell the CD.

Heraux and Copp agreed on the band's emphasis on playing original material. Copp said that the closest they've come to covering someone else's music is their interpretation of Dave Brubeck's famous opening piano line on "Take Five," transposed to her bass line and then giving Brubeck his props by titling it "Took Five."

Quadraphonix's most visible gig (before tomorrow's) was opening for the Black Eyed Peas on the Maui and Honolulu gigs last year, although the band has done the brief tour-by-van around California, specifically San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

"In San Francisco, we went from one extreme to the next in the kind of gigs played on the same day," Heraux said. We first played in what could be described as a ghetto to a five-star restaurant later in the day. And basically all we did was alter the groove a bit for the restaurant, softer and smoother than what we played earlier."

Heraux and Copp are proud to be choosy in their choice of gigs, usually eschewing having to play what is usually background music for pickup lines in a couple of Honolulu's clubs with a "meat market" reputation. "No one in the band is gigging solely for the money -- we're not going to just stand there and play music that's going to be ignored," Heroux said.

"To be in this band, everybody's gotta write," he said. Where some of the band's material could start off as simple jam tunes, all of the band members' songwriting comes from their experiences. "For example, Shree came back from his homecoming in Malaysia with two new songs."

Both Heraux and Copp support themselves with outside jobs, he as a recording engineer and soundman (he'll be mixing the sound at the ho'olaule'a) and she as a front office outlet manager. One of Heraux's functions also seems to be musical benefactor, getting instruments to Sadagopan and Copp.

Copp, classically trained on the double bass, got her instrument when Heraux paid around $700 at a local swap meet. "I think it was once owned by some grandma who regularly played Hawaiian music," Copp said, "so I'm sure it had some mana in it!" - Honolulu Star-Bulletin


"Quadraphonix gets the global blues"

BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com

Honolulu’s Quadraphonix has the gift of being joyous and righteous simultaneously.

With bubbling rhythms that draw from Latin, Indonesian and African sources, an adventurous attitude about sound that leads guitarist Shree Sadagopan to occasionally bow his guitar, and a close collaboration with hip-hop emcee duo Ninja Pleez (vocalists Amen Raw and Zen Chambers), the band practically bursts at the seams with musical ideas.
You might call Quadraphonix world beat, or free form, though band founder and drummer Jonathan Heraux objects to the “jam band” label. In fact, the band’s musical roots truly are global.

The band’s new album, “Blues in the Ragas,” out today, makes that evident.

“BLUES in the Ragas” is a clear expression of the band’s preoccupations.

Some tracks channel Sadagopan’s South Indian and Malaysian musical heritage, including tracks sung in Sadagopan’s first language, Tamil. Arabic influence is also apparent, as Malaysia is a country where Muslims and Hindus live side by side. “Arabic sounds are embedded in my head,” Sadagopan said.

Others reflect Heraux’s origins. Born in Haiti, he’s passionate about African, Latin and jazz patterns.

Meanwhile, the blues provides a common thread.

“The first form of music I played was blues,” Sadagopan said.

“We’re taking the blues and heading back in the African direction,” Heraux said. “There is a connection. … It’s really about expression, and being able to share that with other people.”

QUADRAPHONIX’S CD release party tonight puts the band up top of a lineup that includes fellow funk / jazz/ hip-hop travelers Tempo Valley and rising star Taimane. The show will help raise funds for a Quadraphonix tour, which is expected to include Malaysia and the U.S. mainland. You can’t keep a good band down, and Quadraphonix, founded in 1998, has continued to attract admirers.

The band appeared less frequently for a time, focusing on livelihood and family. But since 2010, with a First Friday residency at Chinatown club Lotus Downtown, Quadraphonix has become more prominent again.

Now, with regular appearances at hipster hangout and art space Ong King, and the CD recording project, the band’s roots and preoccupations are back in the forefront.

“No matter what, we keep on playing,” Heraux said.

HERAUX grows animated telling of a Quadraphonix performance in Japan, opening for punk/ska band Kemuri. “That was the first time I felt our music had no language barriers,” he said.

“We’ve morphed over the years, but that’s always been the idea of free-form jazz … a groove that unites you to let go of traditional ideas of what music is.”

Sadagopan recalls meeting Heraux as a teen, still acclimating to the U.S. and a move from Malaysia to Hawaii. They bonded over music in college, where Sadagopan first heard Carlos Santana play guitar.

“I realized that you don’t have to lock yourself down to just one genre,” Sadagopan recalled.

Having sacrificed and worked with little to build up to their current level of recognition, Heraux and Sadagopan are humble, praising their teachers and fellow band members for what they’ve achieved.

But Sadagopan also makes clear, “This is our life. This is what we want to do.”
- Star Advertiser TGIF


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Quadraphonix is a Hawaii-based free-form world beat band with an international following. Their sound is heavily influenced by Indian, Malaysian, African and Latin cultural music fused with Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk, Blues and Rock.

Over the past 19 years, they've performed to audiences in 15 countries, from Germany to Turkey, Thailand, Japan and beyond. They have shared the stage with legendary performers including Talib Kweli and Mos Def, Ozomatli, The Black Eyed Peas, and Eek-A-Mouse. 

The band spent the last 3 years touring with singer Iyeoka, electrifying crowds world-wide with their high energy performances. In the summer of 2017, Quadraphonix worked with award-winning choreographer Cheryl Flaharty of the IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre, and with their music helped bring the dancers and stage of the Paint By Number show alive. In the fall of 2017 they traveled to the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California  where they provided musical backing for "The Story of Everything", a work by Hawaii's first official poet laureate and acclaimed storyteller, Kealoha. Following this, they traveled to Paris as the launching point of their first solo European tour.

In the summer of 2018 they will be traveling back to California to work on a movie of "The Story Of Everything", which will be followed by another European tour.