Andrew De Silva from iconic Melbourne R&B outfit CDB (Central Dandenong Boys) was on the phone to talk about the group getting back together for the release of a phenomenal retro release that brings old and new fans face to face with the best of the 90’s. “Tailored For Now. Eleven R& B SuperJams.”
“We’ve been doing a few shows over the years, you know “one offs,” and everyone in the band has been doing really busy stuff with their own lives and their own music projects, it was two years ago after a team up with Salt N Pepper and I was talking to the boys and the penny dropped.”
“I said to the boys. “We need to do a full 90’s experience.”
“That’s who we are with the harmonies, the swing, the dance moves. The project was born.”
“These songs are like a soundtrack, these songs really shaped the 90’s, they’re very close to our hearts. Move over 80’s the 90’s have taken over!”
For those readers young enough not to realize, it was the age of Boy Bands and CDB were one of Australia’s top R&B acts, selling out major venues across Australia. The R & B scene back then was really fresh and really new, it was underground. Nowadays we hear it everywhere and it is really big, but back in the 90’s it was something new. Something exciting.
R & B wasn’t really on mainstream radio until CDB introduced it. People started accepting it.”It was a very interesting time,” explains Andrew.
“It was new to people. Seeing four dudes wearing basically the same outfit, singing and dancing and coming from Dandenong. It was unexpected! We used to do lots of in-stores (when there were record stores) Kids would ask us “How do you like Australia? What’s America like?”
CDB were unique. CDB were Trailblazers! They stopped youth music in its tracks!
“I Just Got Paid,” was my favorite track from New Jack Swing. Ok it’s a little out of center, a little out of the norm, but I liked it. “It was never really a big hit in Australia, it was never played on the radio, only some of the nightclubs played it.”
“We wanted a track right at the cusp of everything, right at the start.”
“She’s Got That Vibe,” was my second favorite.
“it was very hard to choose them. We sat down as a band and nutted everything out. The album was recorded in a record time of under two months. I produced the album as well. I was in overtime. We wanted to do some of the heavy hitting songs of the nineties but we also wanted to do some songs that were big in Australia, that only R n B fans would know well.”
Andrew is totally enthusiastic about the project. ” We wanted people to say “Oh man I can’t believe that they did that song! I can’t believe it is on the release!”
The 90’s time is lost forever now. Did you decide on any old fashioned studio equipment that would give you this 90’s sound, when recording the album?
“We wanted to make sure that we had that CDB sound, that CDB sound on this release. That was very important to us and we hoped for our fans. We took every song and said “how would we do this track?”
“We used a “talk box” on a couple of the tracks. “We Just Got paid,” has an intro, the “Talk Box,” was a tube like thing, a kind of hose and you attached the other side to a synth, so you are basically playing a synth from your mouth. That’s how you created that sound.”
I took a tactful note. The guys were, well, a little older (like 15 years) did they have to have jugs of lemon cordial, glasses of salt water or sugar lollies, just to keep their vocal chords in reasonable condition?
“The only thing that has changed was back then it was McDonalds, have a couple of drinks before the show and that’s it.! Now I go to the Gym regularly, I look after myself, I stay away from the junk food.”
Who was the guy who was most out of shape in the group who had to really work at it?
Andrew laughed loudly. ” I’m not letting anything out. But now if you have a burger, it’s on you for a week!”
“Music is a blessing. Songs can’t change.”
Times do so I grabbed a moment to ask about Andrew’s favorite 90’s movies.
“Boys In The Hood,” everyone loved the sound track, the fashion, it was like “What are they wearing, where can I get that?”
The story lines were also hard hitting. We used to watch those shows over and over. They had a big impact on us. “It ws the one liners, the speech the ideas, I think it had a big impact on us back then.
Eleven R& B SuperJams is just available now from Warner. So get it, it might even be a good gift for Mothers Day (are we all that old?)