Hawaii is one of the last places on Earth to ring in the new year (which means we get to watch the world's fireworks and celebrations online before enjoying our own). And while we really wanted to get this out to the world before 2019 was pau, we figured it'd be best to save it for the new year and start 2020 off with a bang.
FRNT BZNZZ's new release is a surefire winner for radio and dance floors in 2020. Have a listen:
Not just another tender modern-boogie duet, “Was It Love” on the A-side finds Nick Kurosawa launching this 114 BPM proto-house heater with his recognizably earth-shattering voice. Alongside Kurosawa is young singer Jolene, a fresh talent whose lyrical abilities can clearly put old relationships to rest. Jolene’s vocal prowess sets the bar high for herself and others — “Was It Love” marks her recording debut on Aloha Got Soul.
“GPS Signal Lost” on the B-side is a solid example of the myriad directions FRNT BZNZZ explores with ease. Real name Ted Deoliveira, the producer pushes his burgeoning catalog foward with a groove akin to balearic boogie. “GPS Signal Lost” transports us with its chugging drum track moving steadily along with synths chords carried on the back of a funky baseline, smooth sax and cutting guitars.
It was in a quaint second-story Manoa home that I first heard this track. Filmmaker Filipe Zapelini and I were winding down after a few days of shooting for the in-progress AGS documentary film. Ted Deoliveira and Nick Kurosawa dropped by. At some point Ted looked at Nick and asked him something to the effect of, "Shall we spill the beans?" (although I could be wrong, because I can't imagine Ted ever saying that haha). Nick nodded, and Ted played the first version of "Was It Love".
It blew. me. away. I must've been screaming with excitement – wtf! Hearing Nick's voice in this context was refreshing; a house boogie vibe that reminded me of the Dan Kye project that Jordan Rakei released a few years back on Rhythm Section International.
But then an unfamiliar (to me) voice emerged, just as powerful as Nick's. "Who is this?!" I asked, amazed. This was my introduction to Joelene, a young talent whose vocals brought the track in question to a new level. Blew me away, again!
It would be several more months until Ted and I settled on a B-side for "Was It Love". It needed something to balance it out. I kept pitching the idea to include another Joelene track (yes, there's another!) on the flip — after all, I couldn't help but feel so in love with her voice; I wanted to hear more. Ted nixed that idea, in retrospect I'm glad he did! It would've taken away from the weight of "Was It Love".
Coincidentally, "GPS Signal" came about as a reaction to the music Filipe was showing us. Ted wanted to created something in the same sphere as what Filipe had played for us while hanging out in Manoa. With the talents of his uncle, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, and Honolulu-based Toronto-native Jabari Prevost on the keys, Ted weaved together what we agreed is a solid B-sider to the hard-hitting "Was It Love".
Now available on 7" vinyl and streaming everywhere.