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Soljah - Interview with Les from Soljah

06 Apr 2014 // An interview by Dilemma

The Clash of the Titans Tour, (Soljah and King Kapisi) kicks off on Friday night, how did this tour and you guys teaming up come about?

I did some work with Kaps prior to this tour so I guess we musically connected and between Kaps and our managment team they sussed out that him and his wife would do this Clash of the Titans tour with us. We are very blessed to have them on the road and sharing the stage Kaps has got some awesome new beats can’t wait to get hold of the album.

I saw you are playing you’re Auckland gig in Manurewa, usually it's Papakura if you are playing out South, why there?

I guess we played there because there pool tables only cost a dollar everywhere else is 2 buks ha ha.

Do you feel more of a connection to audiences from places that have backgrounds like your own, cause not many NZ artists play gigs in places like Reparoa and Manurewa vs  playing somewhere like Auckland city or Christchurch?

If we were playing to an audience with our backrounds we would be giging in hay barns and sheds lol as a musician you pretty much just play were your team books you. Any gig is a good gig so you jam up where ever!

What is the most exciting thing that you have planned for the tour?

For me I’m hoping to catch up with a couple bands on the road the Merchants of Flow from Christchurch who are supporting us too and my kuzzies group Under the Sun from Wellington and try put a collab together in the short time we have in these places as long as we got somewhere to lay it down won’t takes us that long I don’t think to get an idea down and ready.

Which venue/place are you most excited to play at or for?

I’m prob most exited to go and jam up at Christchurch because we haven’t been there for a long time and our whanau down there need a good time out to get their minds free from all the ratsh*t things that been going on down there.

If there was another artist or band that you would like to add to the tour, who would it be?

I would put a band called Ihi on the tour. I meet the guitarist-singer when i jumped off the bus in Auckland on way to lay some traks with King Kaps and looked up there jams after that and they have an awesome sound, singings mean and harmonies are on. I’m a vocals fan aye and these guys are on point so I’d bring them on the tour.

This tour follows the release of their highly anticipated album Aotearoa, and you were nomintated for best roots album at the 2013 NZ Music awards, how did that feel, were you surprised?

I knew what it meant and what an achievement it was but it didnt really sink in until I jumped into that limo with my Soljahz then placed my feet on the red carpet as i looked up at cameras and people thats when the feeling of accomplishment had sunk in. In all the years of practice paying off even though we didn’t win it still felt as though we did being there amongst Aotearoa's top musos.

What is your fav king kapisi song?

Fav King Kaps song….. Fire Proof and Down with the King if you don’t have it its available for free download, I’m not exactly sure were but I'm sure it won't be too hard to find - jam it up whanau!

You have been playing a lot of festivals recently, which do you enjoy more, going on the road playing smaller venues or rocking out one night only on the big stage?

I think Soljah is more made for the bigger stages at night with heaps of people and lights and smoke and free crakers back stage ha ha nah definately we are a big stage band I think all the boys would agree however it is still awsme when we come home to places like Maungaturoto tavern and rock out for our peps they still put on a bloody an awesome night.

If we were on your tour with you guys what would we have to watch out for?

If youz were on tour with us you would have to watch out for the Les man and Benno after party duo people will often egg us on to jam jam but they dont realise that once you turn on that tap it keeps running alllll night it's how we do as the same with most other Kiwi jammers.

Do you think that this is the start of some collaborating for the two of you?

We will definitely look into doing a colab with the brutha Kaps I’ve had a jam with him before at his set up and he has the phat beats unheard I’m sure we can suss something out before the Clash of the Titans tour finishes up.

What is coming up next for Soljah?

Up next for Soljah were just going to keep throwing you fullaz singles and getting together an album ready to drop this year hopfully jump on some more red carpets and keep hitting them big stages and eventually heading overseas to share our music with the world.


About Soljah

Soljah are a five piece unit based in Kaipara and Auckland New Zealand, consisting of five heavy weight musicians who are creating waves across Aotearoa with their mesmerising live performances and ground stomping sound. Heavy distorted riffs with rhythms that knock you off your feet, bouncy drum and bass to put you back on your feet, and tight vocal harmonies that drip with catchy melodies.

While listening to Soljah's music you will discover an eclectic blend of influences. The heavily distorted guitar lines mixed with jazz harmony come from the master mind of guitarist Les Watene, who has a degree in Jazz. The four on the floor bass drum can be attributed to Tawhiri Littlejohn's history of playing reggae music since he was young. The soulful vocals of Ben Ratima are reminiscent of a love for old school artists such as Stevie Wonder, and the percussive slapping coming from Raniera Littlejohn's bass oozes funk and soul. Nicely finished off by a touch of RnB comes from Jacob Nansen on keys.

The five musicians that make up Soljah have been painting their flavour throughout NZ in the music of many well known NZ artists, as they are all highly sought after session musicians, called on by the best for various recording projects and performances. Between the five of them they have played for NZ artists such as King Kapisi, Anika Moa, Savage, Che Fu, Vince Harder, Nesian Mystic, Annabel Fay, Ben Lummis, Josh Leys and Sons of Zion.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Soljah


Year: 2013
Type: Album
Moving Up
Year: 2010
Type: EP

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