016 - Captain Planet

Despite the ever increasing globalisation of the music industry, Captain Planet is still something of a rare entity. A musician and DJ who crafts his own ‘Gumbo Funk’ sound from such a vast array of influences from all over the world, switching cultures and genre with relative ease whilst still tying them together in his own enigmatic way. The LA based producer has a knowledge and feel for an enormously eclectic range of styles and the unique results are evident in both his live sets and releases.

I asked the Captain, the performing alias of Charlie B. Wilder, to put together a mixtape for us and I am absolutely delighted to present his fantastic Métron Musik Mixtape : 016. A meticulously crafted sixty minute session, featuring exotic sounds spanning at least five continents and a whole spectrum of genres including slices of tropical, house, afro & latin. The mix focuses on slightly slower and more organic textures than Charlie’s famously bombastic live sets, and yet the dynamic thrust of those performances remains. Look out for an exclusive remix of the exceptional Nicola Cruz.

The excellently compiled Mix Tape Riot blog which Charlie adds to most weeks showcases just some of the diverse blend of influences that lead to the creation of his many releases to date, including the vibrant 2014 LP ‘Esperanto Slang’. It’s a confident and unusual record featuring upwards of five different languages and guest performances from African and South American vocalists. It’s well worth checking out over at the bandcamp page for the brilliant Brooklyn based imprint Bastard Jazz.

I caught up with Charlie to talk about his mix and what’s coming in in 2016.

JH: Hey Charlie, thanks again for contributing some of your brain to this project. Love what you have produced for us. What was the idea behind the mix, you mentioned you wanted to do something a little less energetic than when you play live?

CP: Yes, most of my recent Captain Planet mixes have been geared towards the dancefloor- basically recreating the sound of my live DJ sets which are high energy, and meant to move big crowds. But you mentioned that you really liked my "Mystery Trip" mix from 2012, so I started getting excited about making a deeper, slower, more exploratory mix. Something to help you journey inward rather than just move accross the dancefloor.

JH: What makes an interesting DJ for you?

CP: I have always been inspired by dj's who find a balance between pushing the crowd- introducing new sounds, new ideas and foreign styles- and on the other hand, giving people something familiar that makes them feel comfortable, nostalgic, and at home. You have to take risks to be interesting. A good dj is having a conversation with the crowd- "hey check out this crazy new sound! remember this? let's take a trip over here and see how it goes...". Above all else, a good DJ is in love with the music, and knows that all of us are there together to serve the music.

JH: 'Esperanto Slang’ is an incredibly bold and diverse record which has clear African and latin influences, I guess it’s a little uncommon for somebody from LA to produce a record in multiple foreign tongues - I’m interested in what brought you to that point?

CP: I have always loved travelling, and going outside my comfort zone. I also have always been interested with languages (my mom is a writer), and with the idea that music is truly a universal language. With Esperanto Slang, I wanted to play with the idea that there is an idealistic, universal, politically neutral language, that exists in music. The world is a crazy, violent, unfair place, but I am continually inspired by the power that music has in bringing people together from all different walks of life. Dancing to a shared beat is completely primal and essential to us all.

JH: You’ve clearly found ways to explore far beyond mainstream music coverage to evolve your sound and to enjoy exotic musical offerings, an approach we hold dear at Métron Musik - how do you personally go about your research?

CP: I have been a collecting records since I was 16. I started finding the original hip hop samples in soul and funk music, but then my curiosity pulled me into the world of reggae, African music, Brazilian and Latin as well. I guess it's just a natural curiosity and hunger for new sounds. When I hosted my weekly radio show in NYC ("Passport"), I would go to the public library every week and burn a stack of CD's from their "World Music" section. Eventually I had ripped almost the entire collection! I still collect vinyl, and am always hunting for new sounds, but the internet and youtube are great ways of discovering things as well.

JH: What’s new for Captain Planet, are you working on a new LP?

CP: Yes! I just started a new album which will be a collaboration with Chico Mann, who I have worked with on a couple songs in the past. He recently moved to LA and we are both looking forward to doing an entire project together. Also, I have a full EP of official remixes that will be coming out on the legendary Fania record label later this Spring. I was thrilled to have to opportunity to remix legends like Joe Bataan, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, and Mon Rivera. Finally, I just finished producing an EP for singer Brit Manor which will be coming out on Bastard Jazz records soon as well. I am always staying busy!

JH: Finally we always ask for a few recommendations for some releases we may have overlooked, I can’t think of many people more qualified to answer this question ha!

CP: Well, for starters, you can always check my music blog where I post playlists of new music that I like almost every week:www.mixtaperiot.com. In particular, right now I have been excited about:

Sidestepper - Supernatural Love
Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa
Ariquoi - Kolaba
Amara Toure - 1973-1980
Anderson .Paak - Malibu

JH: Nice, love me some Mbongwana Star too! Thanks again for collaborating with us, was great to hear your mix and looking forward to new material.

1. Midival Punditz - Baanwarey (Atropolis Remix)
2. Kodak To Graph - Sequatchie Eve
3. Lulacruza - Uno Resuena
4. El Búho - Pescado Negro
5. Chancha Via Circuito - Jardines ft. Lido Pimienta (Thornato Remix)
6. Nicola Cruz - La Cosecha (Captain Planet Remix) UNRELEASED
7. iZem - Sadeo ft. Feather
8. Nicola Cruz - Mantis
9. Sabo - Vibe Quest ft. Carolyn Sabatini (Nadastrom Remix)
10. The Acid - Ra (David Agust Remix)
11. Bomba Estereo - Mar (Jamie Prado Remix)
12. Los Folkloristas - El Coco (Captain Planet Remix)
13. Sidestepper - Magangué
14. Novalima - Tinkalamina (Chris Annibell Remix)
15. Zepherin Saint - Midnight Mawal (Jose Marquez Remix)
16. Afriquoi - Ningde Jubeh, Pt. 2
17. Daniel Haaksman - Rename The Streets (Dotorado Remix)
18. Captain Planet - Mariana Deep
19. Manatee Commune - Simple Lessons
20. DJ Raff - Sudakaizbeautiful
21. Tremor - Huella (Frikstailers Remix)

The original artwork below was created for this mix by Jack Hardwicke.

Métron Records 2018. Hampshire, UK.