Music Interview | posted 04.11.2011
Akalepse of Truth & Soul
»It's all for love really«
Truth & Soul is home to artists like Lee Fields and The Expressions, El Michels Affair and Bronx River Parkway. Record collector and DJ Akalepse is as A&R a part of this creative circle. Valentin Menedetter met him for an interview.
Text Valentin Menedetter , Photos Valentin Menedetter
2995-akalepse20111-www.hhv-mag.com

Truth&Soul is your label of choice when it comes to Funk, Soul and everything related. Home to a whole roster of artists by the likes of Lee Fields and The Expressions, El Michels Affair, Bronx River Parkway and many more. The recording approach is straight vintage, the preferred output medium is Vinyl – 45s are their thing. The label has a long heritage with Funk and Soul Music – it originated from the Desco label, which was founded by Philippe Lehman, who founded Truth and Soul later. They gained worldwide recognition with their Lee Fields record †œMy World†. Valentin Menedetter met the label’s manager and A&R Dj Akalepse.

How did it all begin?
Akalepse: That’s a long story: There was Desco Records – Philippe (Lehman) was one of the guys behind it and then they split and Phil started Soul Fire; one day he didn’t want to do it anymore and he left it to Jeff and Leon and they started Truth and Soul out of it. So it’s actually a continuation of a label called Desco – two labels later.

You guys also do production for artist that are not signed to the label…
Akalepse: That’s the thing, Truth & Soul is two things – it’s a production team and a record label, so it’s two different entities. So as a production team there’s a manager and he brings jobs in. Leon and Jeff would do writing sessions or produce people’s album. They produced the whole Aloe Blacc album. They did Iggy Pop and a song for Adele for her first record; Amy Winehouse remixes and all kinds of stuff.

Audio: Lee Field’s Honey Dove

How did you start working together?
Akalepse: Jeff was heavy with the record collecting. I met him at a record fare. I was looking for the Lee Fields 45 called Honey Dove. I wanted to get a copy. So I asked him about it. He offered me to come to the studio and pick one up – the rest is history.

How long have you been working for Truth and Soul?
Akalepse: I’ve been with them for about four years.

What does your work at the label involve?
Akalepse: As a manager and A&R I deal with the daily business. A big part of my job is to find projects for Jeff & Leon to produce. If I come across a dope artist I bring him to the label.

»A lot of people don’t realize what Truth and Soul is. A lot of people confuse us with Daptone and think it’s the same thing.« (Akalepse) So one of your projects is Lee Fields and his band – the album did pretty well, has that changed anything for you guys?
Akalepse: Yes, every success story strengthens the name – and that record is a knock out. We got all kinds of positive feedback. A lot of people don’t realize what Truth and Soul is. A lot of people confuse us with Daptone and think it’s the same thing. But it’s also my job to change that in the future. We’ve got some stuff coming out – another Lee record and another record with a group that you’ve never heard of because we put them together.

Besides from working at Truth and Soul you’ve been a Dj for a long time already, doing parties with Rich Medina, many other people. How long have you actually been DJing for?
Akalepse: Fuck I’m getting old. I’ve probably been DJing for like 17 years…

What was it like when you started djing out there? All the changes with Serato…* Akalepse: I’m lucky that way, because I grew up at a time where it wasn’t like that at all. Not even Serato and stuff but you had to be dope or else it wasn’t going to work out. I don’t know if that makes sense. That’s a big question. (laughs)

Well to phrase it differently, how did you get started, what amazed you about it?
Akalepse: I was heavy into music, always listening to New York great radio and Hip Hop was just amazing, it was coming out really well.

So the Hip Hop got you stuck on DJing?
Akalepse: I mean as kids we were like 14 years old, rapping, djing – me and my homies we had a group. I didn’t have a Dj residency at a nightspot for nine years. I played for nine years until I even tried that so that’s how it was. Just DJing for love really, backyard parties and stuff, growing up – things here and there.

You’ve been working for Groove Attack as well…
Akalepse: Yeah that was forever ago…

So you knew the music business from both sides…
Akalepse: Yeah I mean you know Djing was also a big thing with making mixtapes, mix CDs when that came around. But you know cassettes first and that’s basically a small record label you know – you’re producing and distributing a record, so I just knew that hustle. And then I got that job at Groove Attack, it was like a paid internship. It was really part time but it was dope, cool people. I mean Groove Attack there was dope music coming out then. You know the J-88 is a Groove Attack record.

How did you get into Groove Attack?
Akalepse: I think it was one of those things, in that era you used to be able to go to labels and get promos. You had to state your case, you had to try to convince them that you were dope enough to give you promos, some shit like that. That’s how you would get them, so I was there getting promos. And Kareem and me were talking and I don’t even know what happened – one thing led to another.

Audio: El Michels Affair’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya

You are running this party with Rich Medina, called Props. But before that it was Little Ricky’s.
Akalepse: We were both djing at APT for a long time, Rich was there a long time before me. The first night I ever went to APT I went on a Wednesday, it happened to be Rich’s birthday and I remember it clear as that. I had sent him a mixtape, but the first time I was meeting him we didn’t know each other at all and I remember going into APT, just being blown away. That was a crazy night, that was an influential night of my life – going in there and watching Rich do it like that. At a certain point I started doing Wednesdays and that’s when Rich was there, and we didn’t really know each other, we talked, said what’s up through that we became real cool. And Rich was the one who thought of putting a high price tag on it – I didn’t really consider it being our party, but Rich did. He knew about the value of the whole thing.

You can find the releases of hhv.de right here.
Related Articles
Music Review | posted 14.03.2013
Ghetto Brothers
Power Fuerza
First and foremost, the Ghetto Brothers were a Puerto Rican gang in the New York of the 1970s. At some point, they reached for their instruments.
Music Review | posted 09.03.2012
Lee Fields
Faithful Man
Lee Fields is the most famous non-famous in soul and funk. His new album will – once more – not bring him the attention he’d deserve though.
Music Review | posted 09.07.2014
Lee Fields & The Expressions
Emma Jean
Lee Fields has always been reliable. However, »Emma Jean« doesn’t fire as well as his previous records used to.
Music Review | posted 15.07.2011
Booker T. Jones
The Road From Memphis
On his new album The Road From Memphis, Booker T Jones tells the story of his journey from his hometown, Memphis, all the way up to the Olympus of Soul.
Music Review | posted 28.10.2011
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Soul Time!
Only a year after I Learned The Hard Way, the great Sharon Jones and her accompanying band The Dap-Kings are releasing another album.
Music Review | posted 04.05.2012
Regional Garland
Mixed Sugar: The Complete Works 1970-1987
This collection offers symphonic Soul, Blaxploitation-Funk-instrumentals and tender ballads.
Music Review | posted 31.05.2011
The Sweet Vandals
So Clear
Timeless, warm and rough sounds defying all notions of sensationalism: The Sweet Vandals are stepping forward with a great album.
Music Review | posted 12.02.2010
Whitefield Brothers
Earthology
»Earthology« has everything that’s needed in order to reach a similar status within in the next ten years as the Poets of Rhythm’s debut.
Music Review | posted 19.10.2011
Kashmere Stage Band
Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974
An anthology on Now-Again Records gives us the opportunity to re-inspect the legendary Kashmere Stage Band from Texas.
Music Review | posted 26.10.2011
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Bulletproof Brass EP
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble of nine from Chicago is grooving again. This time, they’re heading towards space.
Music Review | posted 13.04.2012
The Black Seeds
Dust And Dirt
The Black Seeds play new music in such a serene manner that it gets all the more exciting for the listeners.
Music Review | posted 14.05.2012
The Sugarman 3
What The World Needs Now
The Sugarman 3 are back! And to answer the album title’s question right away: it’s frolics and swinging hips!
Music Review | posted 22.06.2012
Monophonics
In Your Brain
Records like this one happen when people blank out the last 30 years of music history and just carry on at the very time when funk turned into disco.
Music Review | posted 17.08.2012
Kelan Philip Cohran & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Kelan Philip Cohran & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Fathers and sons, united on a record – it’s obvious who calls the shots here, even though the youngsters are actually in the majority.
Music Review | posted 29.10.2012
Martha High & Speedometer
Soul Overdue
30 years ago, Martha High was a background singer for James Brown. Now she is releasing on of the retro-funk-records of the year.
Music Review | posted 22.04.2013
Apple And The Three Oranges
Free And Easy
This record has everything a man can want from funk in order to have his passion revived.
Music Review | posted 21.05.2013
The Sweet Vandals
After All
The Sweet Vandals are anything but a one-hit-wonder. The funk-combo proves it once more with their new record.
Music Column | posted 12.07.2021
Records Revisited
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
With »Maggot Brain« Funkadelic 1971 goes to the dark side of funk. The triumphant pleasure principle is interspersed with dystopian eschatology, and juxtaposes the celebration of life with an oppressive doomsday mood.
Music Review | posted 18.08.2010
Sylvia Striplin
Give Me Your Love
A promising naked shoulder shows under the opulent white fur on the cover of »Give Me Your Love«.
Music Review | posted 14.03.2011
Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band
No Time For Dreaming
Charles Bradley is releasing his debut album at the age of 60.
Music Portrait
Records Revisited
Daft Punk – Homework (1997)
In 1997, the French duo Daft Punk released their debut album »Homework« and since then have had an almost unprecedented career. At that time, the album was not yet mainstream, but creaky, crackling house music.
Music List
End-of-Year review 2021
Top 50 Albums
Much like every cloud has its silver lining, this year had some fantastic music to offer – something to hold on to in difficult times. These were the 50 best albums released on vinyl in 2021.
Music List
End-of-year review 2021
Top 20 12inches
12inches are mostly, but not always, made for the club. A look at the 20 best records in 2021 shows that in this year, not only was dance music rethought – but that also quiet counterpoints were set.
Music List
End-of-year review 2021
Top 50 Reissues
Another year goes by, another list of visions of futures that have yet to become reality is being published. These 50 records from the past dreamed the loudest of a better tomorrow.
Music List
End-of-year review 2021
Top 20 Compilations
Music, and even more so the people behind it, always find each other – even over distance if necessary, be it spatial or temporal. These were the 20 best compilations released on vinyl in 2021.
Music List
End-of-year review 2021
Top 20 Tapes
So now the mainstream has discovered music cassette, or at least how to make a quick buck with it: how do we feel about that? Well, we don’t really care, we’d rather put tapes from obscure labels and artists flying under the radar into our Walkman.
Music List
End-of-year Vinyl Review 2021
Top 20 Books
From the ultimate 2Pac oral history to a re-reading of Daft Punk’s legacy and the B-sides of music history, these books shaped a year whose first half gave us plenty of reading time.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Autechre – Chiastic Slide (1997)
With their fourth album as Autechre, the two Mancunians said goodbye to the reference set and began their singular journey into unheard sound and massive grooves.
Music Portrait
Dengue Dengue Dengue
Guest Mix
The Peruvian Dengue Dengue twirl hula-hoop ryhtms into the club. For us, they’ve exclusively put together this 60-minute mix, with music that will have you sharpening your arrow tips, licking green frogs, and taking the first prize at drumming class.
Music Portrait
Chillhop Music
The Magic of Passive Listening
Chillhop is music for a world where everyone listens, but no one pays attention. The Dutch label is nevertheless successful — and knows why.
Music Portrait
Faust
Why Don't You Eat Carrots?
Adventures kindly supported by the major label: the band Faust from Hamburg was one of those rare cases in the early seventies when a record company, if unknowingly, would support artists whose music sounded very different from the rock concepts hitherto known.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Stars Of The Lid – The Tired Sounds Of (2001)
The most monumental silence of all time: With »The Tired Sounds Of«, the two US musicians Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie aka Stars Of The Lid created in 2001 one of the most important ambient albums of all time. With over two hours of sounds, drones and loops, they gave the genre a totally new depth.
Music Portrait
Holy Hive
Introspective lightness
With their debut album »Float Back To You«, the New York trio Holy Hive presented a folk-soul balm for the sore and bare nerves in 2020. On the self-titled follow-up Paul Spring, Homer Steinweiss and Joe Harrison continue on the chosen course, but sound even more intimate and personal.
Music List
Palmbomen II
10 All Time Favs
Pictures and sounds could never really be separated from each other with Palmbomen II. His new record, »Make A Film,« provides the music for the moving pictures that we all have yet to shoot. What music inspires him when composing film music, the Dutch producer has told us now.
Music Column
Records Revisited
A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory (1991)
It doesn’t get much better than that. At the beginning of the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest brought the flow to the point with their second album »The Low End Theory«. Without aggressive male poses, but with jazz, breaks and vibe.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)
1991 – what a year for rock music. The albums by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers released September 24, 1991 made rock become popular again. But »Screamadelica« by Primal Scream changed the whole genre.
Music Essay
The Beat Era in the GDR
Hostile takeover
Records from the Amiga label are widely available in Germany. In addition to pressings of international stars such as Michael Jackson, the Beatles or Bob Dylan, there was also a lot of music from the GDR itself that was released. Some of it is worth to be rediscovered.
Music Interview
José González
Taste Is Like Your Bum
In 2003, Jose Gonzalez covered the song “Heartbeat” by The Knife and instantly catapulted himself into the hearts and study rooms of so many. Now he has a new album, »Local Valley«, released. We had the opportunity to interview him.
Music Portrait
Loredana Bertè
Somehow Incomparable
Loredana Bertè is being lauded as the »Queen of Italian Rock.« This is not only musically inadequate, for Bertè never represented the status quo and instead repeatedly questioned it. She was and still is an outsider out of conviction.
Music Column
Records Revisited
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (1996)
25 years ago, »Endtroducing« was released, a hip-hop album that brought Björk together with Metallica and Finnish fusion. DJ Shadow was digging in the cellar for it. And found gold. He covered what he found with a touch of melancholy and created an album that seems to have fallen out of time.
Music Portrait
Sarah Davachi
Echo of the infinity
Intensity is the word that comes to mind. In her music and in her movements. Sarah Davachi is an artist on the border between ambient, composition and drone. Her sound feels like someone stroking the soul with a fingertip. Now her new album »Antiphonals« is released.
Music Portrait
Dais Records
Sound as a collection
Between experiment and expectation, the contemporary and the past, Dais Records dares a delicate balancing act in aesthetics. Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin make waves where linearity experiences conscious disturbance – and follow the tracks of exceptional labels.
Music Portrait
Leslie Winer
The Unknown World Star
Björk, Grace Jones, Boy George and Sinéad O’Connor are among her admirers. William S. Burroughs was her mentor. Somehow, she also invented trip-hop. Yet Leslie Winer is known only to insiders today. That could change now.
Music Portrait
DJ Koco
Guest Mix
With DJ Koco, amazing mixing skills meet a selection of tremendous sophistication. Hardly anyone cuts his breakbeats tighter into each other than he does. The most amazing thing: The Japanese DJ limits himself to 7-inches in his sets.
Music Column
Records Revisited
John Coltrane – Africa/Brass (1961)
In 1961, »Africa/Brass" marked the dawn of a new age: for John Coltrane, it was the beginning of his Impulse! years, and for many African countries, the start of independence. Musically, it was probably his most ambitious effort.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Björk – Vespertine (2001)
Introverted standstill. Despite numerous positive reviews in August 2021 for the release of her fourth album “Vespertine”, Björk Guðmundsdóttir did not seem to fulfill the promise of her previous work with this record. Because this time she chose a completely different approach. Which makes »Vespertine« one of her best records to date.
Music List
Durand Jones & The Indications
10 All Time Favs
More than retro soul: Durand Jones & The Indications have been combining the past and future of the genre since their debut five years ago. Now their third album »Private Space« is released. Time to ask the band about the 10 records that have shaped, improved and educated them.
Music Portrait
Conrad Schnitzler
In the Midst of Disorder
Conrad Schnitzler, who died in 2011, is still perceived primarily for his connection to Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. Yet the impressive body of work that the »intermedia« artist left behind stands on its own.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Main Source – Breaking Atoms (1991)
In some ways, »Breaking Atoms,« Main Source’s full-length debut, seems to have remained a second-tier classic. But Large Professor’s production defined a signature sound for the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Music Column
Records Revisited
LFO – Frequencie (1991)
With »Frequencies«, the low frequency oscillators LFO from Leeds created one of the first techno albums. Their high bleeps and low clonks made history in techno music. To this day, it is an invitation, er, order to dance.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
With »Maggot Brain« Funkadelic 1971 goes to the dark side of funk. The triumphant pleasure principle is interspersed with dystopian eschatology, and juxtaposes the celebration of life with an oppressive doomsday mood.
Music Portrait
Hōzan Yamamoto
Meditation out of improvisation
For over five decades he pushed Japanese jazz towards spiritual spheres, without kitsch or esoteric – and just a little pathos. Above all, he garnered reputation for it back home. Even today Hōzan Yamamotos work is internationally considered an insider tip.
Music Portrait
Hoshina Anniversary
The Techno and jazz meltdown
Hoshina Anniversary makes techno. But he would rather see himself as a successor to jazz and traditional Japanese music. And the Tokyo native is not alone in this. In this sense, jazz is less what you play than how you play it.
Music Essay
Jazz kissas
Where the music plays in Japan
They offer classy retreat from a world where everyone listens all the time. And they celebrate listening to music: Jazz Kissas, Japan’s unofficial cultural heritage. Journalist Katsumasa Kusunose is now documenting it.
Music Portrait
Hiroshi Suzuki
The unknown with the trombone
In 1976, Japanese trombonist Hiroshi Suzuki recorded an album. “Cat,” which is characterized less by perfection than by a fine groove, was somewhat overlooked at one time. Now you can rediscover it.
Music Essay
Small In Japan
Japan, a Vinyl Nation? Not really.
Elaborate packaging, audiophile listening bars and the highest number of record shops in the world: Japan, a vinyl paradise? No. For decades, the medium has only played only a minor role there. A cultural history of Japan’s music industry.
Music List
Evidence
10 All Time Favs
Evidence is a producer, cratedigger and rapper, and one who in 15 years of career has never lost the desire to discover. Now his album »Unlearning Vol.1« is released. We asked about 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2021 – 2nd Drop
12 releases to look out for
On July 17, 2021, the second Record Store Days this year will now take place. Again, several dozen exclusive releases have been announced. We have again picked twelve records that we want to recommend to you.
Music Column
Records Revisited
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Released in 1986, »The Queen Is Dead« is the culmination of the British band The Smiths’ career, which lasted only five years and four studio albums. It still sounds refreshingly idiosyncratic even after so long.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Porter Ricks – Biokinetics (1996)
When Porter Ricks released the album »Biokinetics« in 1996, it was more than just a collection of their first 12inches flanked by two bonus tracks. It was a utopian attempt to expand upon the dub techno formulas.
Music Portrait
BBE Records
The influencer's influencer
Peter Adarkwah is the reason why some lives have been changed by J Dilla, why Roy Ayers experienced a second spring and why Japanese jazz albums are reviewed by Pitchfork. In other words: BBE Music turns 25 years this year.