Adam Kennedy talks to British DJ and music producer Jazzie B from Soul II Soul ahead of their impending Teesside return.

WITH chart-topping hits like Keep On Movin' and Back To Life, Soul II Soul became household names, solidifying their iconic status.

Evolving from a sound system DJ collective into a remarkable 25-piece band, they have captivated audiences across the world and will soon be working their magic on North East audiences when they perform at The Globe in Stockton as part of their Feel Free tour.

Life on the road is something Soul II Soul’s founding member, Jazzie B, is finally getting acquainted with.

The Northern Echo: Jazzie B

“I’m actually starting to enjoy it all,” he says. “It was one of those jobs where I knew at some stage in my career I would have to go out and play. In 1990, when I started, I probably wasn't ready, but over the last maybe 20 years I have learned how to deal with it.

"When you're on the road there's so much downtime, and you’ve got to be careful because you can burn yourself out before the show. So, I guess I'm still playing with that idea or learning.”

Soul II Soul is presently on the road across the UK.

“We are all having a lot of fun and pleasure playing on the Feel Free tour,” says Jazzie. It’s not just the band’s classics and hits that they're performing on this run. Jazzie alludes to new material from the dance collective.

“We’ve got new releases coming out, so what we're doing is tucking them in the show as well. And like the old sound system days, we're watching the reaction from the audience, which is absolutely priceless.”

With the band's upcoming tour, there's something there for everyone.

"In essence, you're going to literally have a bit of everything. It's a great time for us because of what we've just gone through and what we're about to embark on, which is new music. I guess they say enjoying the seeds that you've sown,” explains Jazzie.

The Northern Echo: Jazzie B

The roots of Soul II Soul can be traced back to the late 1970s.

"We started in 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee. And that's where I got to really, I guess, vent some frustration. But more importantly it kicked off this whole journey for me. From playing out, which I prepped for at least six weeks, to what I'm doing today I still get a sense of the same sort of butterflies and anticipation. All the shows are very important – the early ones as well as the older ones," explains Jazzie.

Jazzie recollects the band's early appearances and events like the Notting Hill Carnival.

"Things like the carnival, it was much more rooted, I guess, within our community, being the Caribbean Community of the UK or London at that specific time. But again, I was blessed to be travelling up and down Britain in my sound system days, connecting with our musical families and communities up and down the country,” says Jazzie. “For me, I guess the gigs and the tasks that we go on, I just feel that I'm blessed to be able to be in that position, and even more so for people to be interested. And the fact that in some cases it's helped people's lives, if not changed them.”

Jazzie adds: “I'm just a custodian of the Soul II Soul collective, but I personally get so much from that. It makes me so happy just to see people happy as well. Of course, even more so when it's your own ideas and your works and people are enjoying that."

The Northern Echo: Jazzie B

Soul II Soul is a musical entity which became pivotal within club culture.

The group will be performing at The Hacienda Returns event in Manchester on December 2, the club having been synonymous with dance music in the UK.

Speaking about the Hacienda and club culture, Jazzie says: “It's important to me, and at the same time, I've realised how it is important to other people.

“I feel like I gave birth to some of the stuff that's going on. And what's interesting now that I’m a great great grandfather is watching the family and all the different people who are spawned from that. It’s just lovely to still be around – and that's why I'm looking forward to coming up to the Globe in Stockton to see and engage with my musical family once again."

Music isn’t the only important element of club culture. “Music, fashion and sport all are inseparably linked, whether that's through the apparel or just the people who endure that. There is a link – we've all heard those things. And they're very important, especially for younger people when you're coming up, because that helps to shape all the things you're going to be getting into,” explains Jazzie. “For me, it's very tribal. Where you are trying to find people who are like-minded when you're growing up.”

When Soul II Soul came up with songs like Keep On Movin and Back To Life, did they know they were on to something special at the time?

“We called the album Club Classics. So, I mean, it goes with the title,” he jests. “No doubt clearly what we're talking about today, the writing was already on the wall. I guess the difference was that maybe some of us had the ability to see it and work with it.”

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Moving forward, Soul II Soul is concentrating on their upcoming UK shows. "What's in my head right now is the Feel Free tour, and particularly heading up there to The Globe in Stockton. I can only go so far in terms of planning, so you will have to bear with me. Beyond that there's a good bit of kit on social media that gives you updates.

“I'm personally looking forward to that happy face, a thumping bass for a loving race, as we keep on moving because it's only fair play to bring it all back to life.”

Soul II Soul will perform at The Globe in Stockton on Saturday, November 25. For tickets and more information, please visit