Affiliated Soul Team (A.S.T.) is an emerging soul funk band based out of south Florida. A.S.T. was formed in 2008 by poet, songwriter and music producer Jude J. Fonixx Hazel. J is a Brooklyn, New York born and raised talent whose interest in music began at the tender age of eight.
A.S.T. consists of: J. Fonixx (Producer/M.C.); Jeff Altidor (Guitar); John Akins (Drums); Ron Kauvon (Keys) and Dee (Songstress). The band has more than twenty five years of musical experience. It draws comparisons to other more well-known bands like City High, Fugees, Black Eye Peas and The Roots.
This Examiner recently sat down with three of the band members J, John and Ron for this article. Here are a few excerpts from that interview that help to provide an insight into the band’s creativity, chemistry, passion and future goals.
AMS: Let’s go around the table and introduce everyone and list your passions.
J: My passions are creating good music and good vibes.
Ron: I started off studying classical piano and ended up studying jazz. My passion is music, which is more of an addiction.
John: I feel like I’m the best drummer that nobody knows. My influence is first the church, then R&B music. It’s just a fusion of these two worlds. Music is in my blood.
AMS: Why did you guys form the band, and what was the inspiration behind it?
J: It all started when I was making my first album Book of Jude. I had the concept for a band and my friend who was recording me asked me what I was going to call it. So I came up with the concept of Affiliated Soul. I had no one in the camp in 2005 and I had a vision of a group of people who I know or have known coming together and creating great music together.
AMS: Ron how did you become involved?
Ron: I’ve known J for a long time. We are like brothers. We started off together under the same production company. I’ve watched him grow from a beginner’s level, doing his own thing to producing other artists and really making a name for himself.
AMS: And how did you get involved John?
John: Well it all started in 2007. I was working and I was approached by J and he asked me if I was interested and we linked up like a month later.
AMS: What or who has been your influence musically as an artist and what do you feel you bring to the band?
John: I’m from upstate New York and I grew up playing music in the church. One of my best friends, growing up in New York was a drummer in the church and I really looked up to him.
AMS: So has that church influence affected or influenced your play in the band?
John: Big time! In the church you never know what is going to happen. You always have to pay attention to the director. You always have to have good dynamics, so it helped me a lot in terms of the interaction with the band.
AMS: What about you Ron?
Ron: The first group to really catch my eye was a Haitian group called Zekle, back when I was a kid. They were so unique and amazing in what they did. Their voice and harmony was so amazing. Then of course Quincy Jones, and others. I studied all genres of music, so it’s hard to say one in particular, but if it is good music, then I appreciated it.
AMS: What about you J?
J: I was a soul train kid, my dad and I would watch it every Saturday. And I remember my very first record was a Motown record by the Jackson 5 called Going Back to Indiana. I was a big Michael Jackson fan and used to dream that I was him performing with the big afro. Then in the 80’s in New York with Rakim and Public Enemy, that was the kind of hip hop music that really influenced me.
AMS: For 2011 what do you see as the future of A.S.T? Not just as a group but also personal goals?
J: I know for sure that we are going to be on the map this year because we had such a great year last year. We did a lot of different things in 2010 to market the band and now that those things are in place, from the EPK (Electronic Press Kit) to the website. So this year people can go online, look us up and see what we do. They can actually book us in London and we will bounce! On the personal level this band is a brotherhood, a family band. It gives me the incentive that we can produce good music and still be family.
Ron: I see A.S.T really taking off because we have a sound that is very unique, rich and tight. I already see it happening when people come to see us play. It’s going to get to a point where we expand to an even larger band, with more sections and musicians.
AMS: So you (J) don’t have a problem with bringing in other people?
J: Nah! Not at all! It’s a brotherhood!
AMS: And that fits into the title ‘Affiliated’.
AMS: What about you John?
John: I’m looking for us to have the opportunity to have at least three gigs per week. Because that’s really the way that we are going to get our name out there. We just started, so we have to earn our stripes, so I want to get on that level so that when we play somewhere there is more of a following and people appreciate what we do.
AMS: Okay, talk about the creative process and how that works.
Ron: When we go to rehearsal we all have input and thoughts.
John: We’re open to each other’s ideas. If Ron does something on keys I’m like aw man that’s hot. That’s dope! We try to synchronize it and make it work.
J: It’s a collaboration. There are no egos. I believe once we start recording it’s gonna be a wrap. If we go in that studio and start concentrating, you know we all have experience recording in the studio. Everybody is so talented, so gifted and so humble that man when it comes together? All praise goes to God. He put this together.
Since 2008 A.S.T. has performed at the following south Florida venues: Satoro Lounge in Hollywood; Tempo Lounge Hollywood and FIU South. For booking info, sample performances or additional information see the useful links below.
Electronic press kit: http://www.sonicbids.com/affiliatedsoulteam
Official band website: http://www.wix.com/jfonixx/soulteam
Book of Jude CD: http://cdbaby.com/cd/jfonixx