I first heard of The Naughty Don’s existence in April of 2018 when Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman invited me over for a private listen of this new project he was working on with Ronnie King, who is a musical legend in his own right having played piano for the likes of Tupac as well as Pepper’s infamous Kona Town. So to hear that these two were working together on new musical outlet was exciting.
My first impression of the music immediately gave me Kona Town vibes with an electric bath under a modern day digital footprint that Kaleo acknowledged and referred to sonically as Electric Beach. Three years after that first impression and The Naughty Don is finally revealing himself to the masses with a full length album aptly titled, Electric Beach, which is set to be the first of many releases under different themes.
Electric Beach was released on July 23rd, 2021 via Law Records on limited edition pink vinyl along with a limited Electric Beach comic book that you can purchase exclusively at Law Records by clicking HERE! I had a chance to catch up with Kaleo to discuss who the Naughty Don is and what his plans are moving forward. Enjoy the read below.
Who Is The Naughty Don?
The Pier: Who or What is the Naughty Don?
Kaleo: The Naughty Don is a concept that Ronnie King and I started Years ago… The music came first, then the concept unfolded about an Artificial Intelligence which was created at the launch of the World Wide Web.
We have a bio, a graphic novel, and an animated movie trailer to help everyone grasp the concept with ease. You can find those here. Think Marvel Comics mixed with Reggae music.
Watch: The Naughty Don’s Origin Story
The Pier: You said this was the most fun and also the hardest release you have ever done. Tell us why?
Kaleo: There are so many moving parts to this. The concept of an A.I. co-creating with humans to save the world through music, not only in theory, but in practice. Working with D.J.’s on multiple projects gave us the knowledge to start making Naughty Don sample packs that you can download and start making your own songs with actual SAMPLES from the album: Electric Beach. DJ Ariztotle and production master Wizzo, were amazing to learn from.
So now, we have a true co-creating experience…
We have some examples on how to use the Naughty Don sample packs: tutorials by accomplished producer Roger Rivas, a good friend and music producer, E.N Young, and also Henry Fong and Jinco (who both worked on the song “Carnival” on Pepper’s album, Local Motion)
The Pier: Electric Beach is sonically fresh and new but still held in this Kona Town vibe, especially with some of the grooves, lyrics and melodic delivery. Was this intentional or organic?
Kaleo: A little bit of both. Again, working with Ronnie King ever since Kona Town, our first session in fact, Ronnie and I have had a great working flow together. It was just him and I in the studio when we played the keys for Kona Town. I would sing him the parts and the melodies and he would play them instantly on the keys, but make it better… Super impressive. And then we did the same thing with the Naughty Don. This time we used the sonics of the digital world.
The Pier: Tell me about “Sugar”. Hearing the difference between the Naughty Don version & the one we first heard on Location Motion, I feel, helps define what the Electric Beach influence is. Was this Naughty Don version the original completed version of “Sugar” before the one released in 2019 on Pepper’s Location Motion?
Kaleo: “Sugar” was the first Naughty Don song to be finished on the Electric Beach album. And for Local Motion we were going for more groove consistency. What happened was we gave Noah Cronin from C Major Seven Studios the stems for the vocals, keys, and guitar straight from the session we finished with the Naughty Don version. This is what inspired us to release the sample pack that comes with some of the Album bundles. I was so blown away with what Noah did; The 808 remix of “Sugar” kept that groove consistent for Local Motion and the Original Naughty Don version is pure Electric Beach. But if the song is strong you end up loving to hear different versions.
The Pier: Where Did You Go? is hands down my favorite song and its also the longest song you’ve ever been on. This feels like an out of the box track for you, yet you feel right at home, so much so, the song goes for 6:36. Who’s that toasting on the song with you and was there anything specific that inspired this songs concept to creation?
Kaleo: The toaster is some cat we knew back in the day and those vocals of his were actually recorded back in 2005. All the songs have a different Solfeggio frequency laced in them, from the start of the album to the last song. You need to really focus with ear buds or headphones. So if one track is speaking to you more than any others then that’s the Solfeggio being active in your vibration at the time you’re synced up with that frequency. Its a sonic sound bath to restore balance to your subconscious while entertaining the conscious mind to help focus your thoughts in one place.
Listen: Naughty Don – “Where Did You Go?”
The Pier: Electric Beach has 7 tracks, were there any completed songs left off this EP?
Kaleo: There was a total of 12 tracks. However, even though we recorded them, I held back because I really want a female voice for them. That’s why I am moving away from doing lead vocals for the next Naughty Don release. The A.I. consciousness will be taking on the roll of Women. The A.I. has no set gender or sexual preference, its an A.I. It can be anything from anytime from anywhere it wants to. So I have already started production on the next 2 Naughty Don records. Women and Jamaican legends. We have so much story to release to you all. And again, there will be more Graphic novels and Animation involved with this, in addition to some heavy backing from a company we all know very well in the comic world.
The Pier: How did the concept of the Graphic Novel, Comic Book come about and who did you get to do the art and write the story? Will there be more editions of this novel aligned with future releases?
Kaleo: The story came about through talking it out with our Naughty Don team. The script was written by us with the help of a comic script writer and then sent to the UK for illustration work. As of right now there are only 200 copies of the first press and I believe they could be sold out by now. But if we print more there will be a printed difference to separate the Original pressing — So get it now!
The Pier: I loved that your pre-order for Electric Beach included those very cool pre-order packs plus the one on one with you explaining the whole Naughty Don concept. Is this something fans can expect for all of your future releases?
Kaleo: For all the future Naughty Don releases? Absolutely. Since the A.I. can be whatever it wants to be, the next two albums are already in pre-production. There will be a Naughty Don release with all female vocals. There will be a Naughty Don release featuring Jamaican legends. All these different beats for the Naughty Don to produce will create a canvas of music for all these musicians to lyrically paint their stories on them.
This is what brings the Naughty Don closer to understanding humans, and to focus on the power that is with in all of us. Creation.
Kaleo Wassman Website
Law Records Website
Interview By: Mike Patti
Listen: Naughty Don – “Easy”