3 Years Of Soul

Roger Bong DJing at a past Soul Time event HIKO ARASAKI PHOTO

Roger Bong DJing at a past Soul Time event HIKO ARASAKI PHOTO

Metro‘s former music columnist Roger Bong is back — well, just for this week. The busy owner of blog-turned-record label Aloha Got Soul is celebrating the third anniversary of his monthly Soul Time in Hawaii spin nights at Bevy, and we sat down with him to learn a little more about the event’s history ahead of Saturday’s celebration.

Metro: I know that you first started Aloha Got Soul as a blog to document records from Hawaii that you found, partly because you were homesick while living in Oregon. How did connecting with this music help?

Roger: When someone feels homesick, there are usually a couple of things that connect them back to their home — food being the first thing, and music a close second next.

Why did you want to share the music you were discovering with others?

I believe in the importance of documenting music before it becomes lost to time. When I had the initial idea to start a blog, there wasn’t any information about the music available.

How did Soul Time get started?

It was a natural progression to go from collecting and documenting dance music from Hawaii’s past into hosting a party that highlights some of this music, mixed with funk, R&B, disco and soul music from all areas and eras. Soul Time in Hawaii grew from a 2014 collaboration between me and a DJ in London, Cedric Bardawil, who was really into music from local artists like Lemuira, Mike Lundy and Aura. Together we launched the party in our respective cities to highlight this kind of music from Hawaii.

There also are parties in cities besides London, correct? How did those get started?

The Soul Time parties in London and Honolulu launched simultaneously in 2014, although initially we only did it as a one-off. The response was better than we anticipated, so we started hosting it monthly. A year later, in 2015, a DJ from Chicago named Sol Son emailed me with the idea of expanding to his city. Like Cedric in London, Sol Son was really digging on local bands like Kalapana and Aura. He was passionate about bringing the essence of the party to Chicago, so we launched it in January 2015.

What are your favorite records from Hawaii?

There’s a beautiful record, it’s called A Life In A Day by Justin Thyme. It’s a progressive jazz-fusion suite that was recorded live at UH Manoa. The band originated on the Big Island and was headed by Gary Washburn, who is the music teacher at Honokaa High School & Intermediate School. He composed the album as a suite about the cycles we experience in a day and in our lifetimes. It’s available online. You can listen to it on Spotify.

What can people expect at the anniversary party?

Each year, we celebrate by spinning Hawaiian and local records for the majority of the evening. Our first anniversary, we did a full eight hours’ worth! It gives us the chance to showcase all the records from Hawaii that we’ve found and fell in love with over the years. Kinda geeky, but definitely unique!