Sometime in early 2021, Kyoto-based musician and producer HALFBY reached out with a new track he'd been working on, entitled "Beach Baby Be Mine". To our surprise, the vocalist was Richard Natto and the song a new, original composition with music by Halfby and lyrics by Natto.
We listened over and over to that demo version and fell. in. love. It was hard not to get the catchy riff and verses out of our heads! Then, Halfby asked if Roger would be willing to make a remix. Sure, why not? It's been years since he'd made any music of his own, but the opportunity was a unique one and couldn't be passed up.
We met Halfby a few years prior thanks to a mutual friend, Jun "JxJx" Saito, who had given us a copy of Halfby's INNN HAWAII as a gift, an album that was largely based on samples of Hawaiian music and island recordings.
Halfby's newest album, Loco, featuring vocalists from Japan, Hawaii, the United States, and Thailand.
The collaborative 7-inch vinyl release features the original version of "Beach Baby Be Mine" on the A-side, and Roger's remix on the B-side. Hope you like it.
Available in Japan on November 1st, 2022. (There's a chance that limited copies will be available on our website and at AGS Honolulu soon.... Keep an eye out for those!
Here's a translation from Japanese to English (thanks Google~) originally written by Ryohei Matsunaga (Rhythm &Pencil):
"Richard Natto's participation song "Beach Baby Be Mine" from the new work "Loco" will be released on 7 inches in collaboration with ALOHA GOT SOUL! Coupling includes REMIX by ALOHA GOT SOUL boss Roger Bong!
- About the work -
I feel that Hawaii for HALFBY is "reverse saudade". Translated as "nostalgia," the feeling is a mix of familiarity and sadness that comes from thinking about one's hometown. The reason why I feel it's the opposite is because I see expressions in his music that seem to find 'loco' (hometown) in places that shouldn't be where he comes from.
I sometimes think that HALFBY's sampling and cut-ups resemble tourist photos. There is a well-aimed shot, and sometimes a snapshot taken by chance becomes an important record. Sometimes, you may have a relationship with the person reflected in the photo and start exchanging words. "My name is Richard Natto. I sing," he introduces himself, and the music begins. HALFBY's music invites you to such delusions. Good dance music touches the heart as much as it touches the body, so it's easy to do that.
Richard Natto is a Hawaiian singer-songwriter. He made his debut in the 1970s with the duo Thoma & Nat, which he teamed up with a friend who admired Hall & Oates. Known for the cover art of a baby's buttocks, his first solo album "Not Just Another Pretty Face" (1980/Look for it and listen to it because it's the best), which is still quietly loved today, was originally supposed to be Toma & Natto's second album, but A work that was supposed to be finished alone to dissolve the duo. That slight loneliness made his sweet singing voice sound even more naive.
I listened to Richard Natto's singing voice for the first time in a long time on the HALFBY album. I was surprised to find that naivety in his comfortable guitar cuts, sweet and sour chorus, and his singing voice, which should be easily over 60 years old. And I want to hug you. HALFBY pours gorgeous rawness into bouncing tracks. The remix by ALOHA GOT SOUL's Roger Bonn is also wonderful because it focuses on the irresistible loveliness that resides in Richard's voice forever.
Locoboy Richard, who has lived in Hawaii dreaming of a world beyond the beach, must have always had a "reverse saudade". I think everyone involved in this single has that feeling, and it literally became a groove (groove of the record). I think it's a lovely double cider."
For Japanese-speaking readers:
TITLE：Beach Baby Be Mine feat. Richard Natto
LABEL：SECOND ROYAL RECORDS / ALOHA GOT SOUL
A: Beach Baby Be Mine feat. Richard Natto
B: Beach Baby Be Mine feat. Richard Natto ( Remix by Roger Bong )