Sabo is a pioneering organic house DJ who heads up the highly influential record label, Sol Selectas.
Sol Selectas has an eclectic sound ranging from downtempo to Afro house and its roster includes music from the likes of Satori, Be Svendsen, Armen Miran, Goldcap, Unders and Namito.
The new release on Sol Selectas celebrates the label’s landmark 100th release and it features original music from Sabo, plus a remix by Hyenah. Sabo is a skilled producer who releases most of his own music via his own label and this latest offering is an upbeat Afro house track titled ‘Bomeno’.
Not only is Sabo a talented producer, he is also an accomplished DJ who has travelled the globe to play headline sets at prestigious festivals and underground events.
We caught up with Sabo to find out more about Sol Selectas landmark 100th release and some of his passions outside of music…
Hi Sabo, it’s great to be talking with you today. Could you start by telling us what part of the world you are based in, and how would you describe the local music scene?
I live in the Valley outside the American city of Los Angeles, which is also known as The City of Angels. There is a thriving local scene here with lots of great events happening every week. Unfortunately, I’m out of town a lot due to my busy DJ schedule so don’t get to attend that many local gigs.
You are well known for your love of travel, and looking for music that embraced different cultures. What are some of your favourite destinations, and is there anywhere you are yet to visit?
There are so many amazing places in this world of ours, and I’m grateful to have visited so many of them. Some favourites I have recently been to are Egypt, Bali, Morocco and Turkey. The people are all so kind and give so much hospitality, which always makes you feel really welcome. Very soon I’ll be visiting Japan and Chile for the first time and I’m super excited for those trips.
Have you been to Australia before, and what are your thoughts on the country, as I know you have signed some Aussie artists to Sol Selectas such as The Oddness and Thankyou City?
Yes, those guys make great music. I did a tour of Australia back in 2018, but that was my only time visiting the country. Australians like to party, that is for sure! I’d like to visit Australia again as the people, nature and food was great, so I’d love to explore more of the country.
Talking of Sol Selectas, congratulations on getting to the milestone 100th release. Please can you tell us about it, as I understand it features your own music?
Thanks! Yes, the 100th release is a single from me and hopefully will be my own personal motivation to work on another full-length album this year. The title “Bomeno” takes its name from the Ewé religion of the African country Togo and represents “the mother of Bomé”, which is the sacred land where all people are believed to come from and return to. Recently, I feel as if the world is forgetting that we all come from the same energy and when our time is done here, we all return to that spiritual source. Hopefully, this song will help remind people that we are united as species and only politics/media create the illusion of division.
Your new release also features a remix by Hyenah so I’d love to know why you picked him and what you think of his rework?
Hyenah is a dear old friend and I love his recent Afro productions, so it was an easy choice. I’ve been sending tracks to him for a while now with the hope of getting him to do a remix and finally the stars aligned. I’m really excited to have Hyenah on Sol Selectas and the 100th release seems fitting for such a great producer and DJ.
Sol Selectas is known for being one of the labels that helped pioneer organic house/downtempo and its sub-genres such as afro house. How do you think these genres have evolved these last few years?
I think they have evolved quite a lot and these days there is so much more variety of music from these styles for people to choose from. Sure, you do hear a lot of watered-down copies out there, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when I hear something fresh from an aspiring producer. I’m really stoked to see these genres now getting more main stage appeal in the West, but for me, this is the sound I’ve been excited about for over 20 years, as there are parts of the world where this music has existed for quite some time.
Also, could you list three of the Sol Selectas releases that you think have helped the success of the label?
There have been so many great releases on Sol Selectas that it’s hard for me to pick my personal favourites, but some of the ones that have sold exceptionally well are or have a special meaning to me are…
Sabo – “Singing Game” (Acid Pauli Remix) – This is the first release on Sol Selectas that my now wife – Helia – did the cover art for. Her input really established our look for the brand with imagery that perfectly matched the Sol Selectas sound. It was also the first single taken from my debut solo album and I was fortunate enough to have the legendary Acid Pauli do a remix. It was a release of firsts which made it memorable and a bit of a landmark, but Acid Pauli’s version is a timeless classic. His mind-bending interpretation really helped us to gain respect in the industry.
Unders “Syria” (Satori Remix) – The original version was already a hit, probably our most streamed song to date. But then Satori made this remix and it really put us on the map. This song became an anthem and the cover artwork is also beautiful.
Namito “Stone Flower” – This may be the first and only time we did a release with just one track on it, because we knew it was too good to be put with anything else. It sits somewhere between downtempo and deep house, and has such a killer bass line. It covers a really famous Persian song, and at that time, nobody was putting out music like this. It really set a high standard for this organic style and to this day, it’s still well received… especially if there’s a Persian or two on the dance floor.
Organic house/downtempo are generally quite chilled types of electronic music, so it was interesting to hear that you are also a thrill seeker who likes to skateboard. Tell us more about this, and the type of skateboarding you are into?
Yeah, I’ve been skating for over 35 years now, this was my first passion before I got into music. It moulded me as a person and helped make me the artist I am today. Skateboarding makes you look at the world in an entirely different way and it will definitely teach you to be determined, as you got to take some heavy slams before landing a hard trick. Back in my sponsored Am days as a teenager, I would skate everything, street, ramp, pools, even vert. But now, I just like to cruise around the street parks and take some runs on the mini ramp. It’s like meditation for me, as I turn off my phone and just concentrate on landing tricks with style. When I am on a skateboard, I forget everything else that’s around me and lose myself in the moment.
What are some of your other passions, is there anything that also influences you musically, as I can see that the Sol Selectas sleeve art seems very well thought out for each release?
I love to cook and eat, which goes hand in hand with travelling to new countries. Different cultures have spices and recipes that are exciting to try and I love learning about new cooking techniques. I love bringing those discoveries home with me, as I try to replicate them or add my own twist. All those experiences really influence my sound and definitely inspire the cover artworks Helia creates. Her art tells a story, it perfectly visualises the music we release. I’m so proud of her work, as her covers really capture Sol Selectas’ original style and aesthetic.
Thanks for taking the time to talk today, is there a message for fans or anything else you want to add before we finish?
Thanks to FLOW for the support and for letting me share my thoughts here. Extra big thank you to all the Sol Selectas fans who continue to support and play our music, as well as for believing in this sound. I love to see people dancing with positive intentions at our events and I cannot wait to share all the beautiful new music we have coming in 2023.
You can buy Sabo’s new single “Bomeno” featuring a remix by Hyenah from HERE.