WHY KORE AND DAVID LEFT INFINITY
Olorioko brought Infinity to limelight, but it hasn't been their enduring strength. Infinity's enduring strength has been its tenacity . The resolve of the group to do bettesr than just that. Not only that . Since the exit of key pioneering members of the group, their replacement was quite effected with a lot of ease, albeit with some sense of loss which they've reluctantly admitted .
Like they like to always say, Infinity is evolving and not just trying to beat any group . Another interesting feature of the group is its creativity as can be appreciated in hit tracks in the Seven Laws of Infinity which is due to hit the airwaves presently . In this interview with Samuel Olatunji this bunch of creatively intelligent and prolific songwriters and producers took the opportunity to tell their fans far and near why it appeared that they've simply fizzled-out after Olorioko. Excerpts:
It seems Infinity has disappeared.What happened?
Actually, we had some little challenges. First, we had a deal; a marketing contract that turned awry, so, that affected our coming out with something new and with the exit of some members of the group, people readily thought everything had ended. They thought Infinity no longer exists, so when they want to engage Infinity in anything socials, what people thought was we don dissolve. Those were basically our challenges but coming out with our first work was like a new challenge for us , because that was our debut. So we were very much in tune with the artistic side. We weren't much in tune with the business side to this whole thing. So basically, it was a thing that slowed us down a bit.
What's still holding you together when it seems the house is falling apart?
Joseph: There isn't really a question about the house falling apart . A lot of people might not realize this, but before people got to know us when we came out with Olori Oko, someone had left the group years back. We were ten years already when we came out with Olori Oko. I think in our second year , one of us , Francis Alabi, left the group. He is now a Barrister.
We are very good friends and we were together recently. We have stuffs we intend to do together very soon. After he left, Sunny came in. You know, the fact that somebody left doesn't really have much to do with anything per se; and the fact that Kenny and David left was not because of any issue but they had had their plans to go solo at some point in time. After Olori Oko had been released and we made our impact , they thought it was time for them to push-out their solo efforts , which we didn't have any issues with.
Can Infinity still regain top spot?
Sunny: Yes, we are definitely working hard at it and we have always known that our work is not just what we do, it is by the grace of God. Though we are talented, it is still God that will take us to that place that we all expect to be .We still believe that we can claim the top ,because the work that we have right now, for me, is better than what we had with Olori Oko. Olori Oko is good for us, but it's not up to the standard we wanted as Infinity.
We like the song, we like the video and everything about it but it's still not where we are going. Olori Oko is just a stepping stone , even though it's wonderful, it is still not where we are going. So we believe that we can still do ten times better than what we have done. The album we have done so far which is titled Seven Laws of Infinity, has seven tracks and so far they are better for me than the old album… far better, so we can still claim the top.
Joseph: The response to the singles we have put on radio from this new album has been amazing. The way people have responded , you know they listened the tracks and they were like 'Oh Infinity?', because we are not doing the exact flavour we made with Olori Oko. We have always tried to make people understand that we are evolving.
We don't restrict ourselves to one brand of music. Like we have a rock track on this album, which is Ife. We put that song on radio and in four days, it went to number one. It's one of the most competitive on the music chart in this country.
Joseph: Top seven at seven on Rhythm Fm. It went to top of that chart within four days and we were there for weeks. That was amazing. Olori Oko did not come close to that until the video came out, but these songs without the videos have been amazing. The other song, Sepe, which we put on radio featured Lord of Ajasa, and was produced by Sheyman , but it's already being pirated just months after we put it on radio. The response to these tracks has already proved that what we have on this album will surpass Olori Oko .
It's even in the bible that different parts make the body. With some members gone , is Infinity still the same?
Samson: The truth is David and Kenny are very unique people. They are very talented and very gifted and we do really miss them, but the truth is Infinity is an entity that can't be boxed. We are evolving, that's the truth. Before Sunny came in, we were an A capella group. We sang harmony in parts, music without accompaniments. When Sunny came in, we started producing.
He is a producer, an in-house producer. He produced the whole Olori Oko album. Every song in it. So, he came in and brought in new flavour. Kenny and David basically had the deepest influence when you talk about Yoruba in the group. We'll miss that in a way, but ultimately we won't, because we've stayed in Yoruba land for a long time and we have a certain level of command of the language.
Sunny: Again, we have learnt to also adjust to a certain extent, because of live performances. Apart from writing deep Yoruba songs, since David and Kenny are gone we have learnt to somehow adjust. We have to, we don't have a choice. In short, when we went to perform somewhere, Sunny was like Kenny is not around, David is not around, how are you guys going to do it?
And we were like just allow us to finish what we want to do and when we were through, the guy was like wow! He didn't expect that somebody else would play Kenny's part and there was still another who played David's part and then we just adjusted and blended. That's the thing, because if we didn't do that, it could have been a sproblem for us definitely. Somehow, we had to adjust into the new formation.
Joseph: For us , it wasn't about trying to replace David or Kenny. The truth is that it's just an evolution. Kenny is gone, so has David and they are doing their own thing. The truth is, we will only get better, and it doesn't in any way demean the quality of our work. Trust me, we have been performing for quite a while without them now and our performances have been on course. When you listen to the album, you will understand better.
Tell me about the new album. What should we expect?
Joseph:It's called the Seven Laws of Infinity. Five producers worked on it. We had Adewole Adesonyin who produced Press On and This Love. Press On is a song for which we just produced a video directed by Gbenga Salu, the same person who did the video for Aye Ole. We also had Cobhams who produced two of the tracks. He did Ife, which has been on radio and Anthem. We co-wrote Anthem with Cobhams. Sheyman produced Sepe which featured Lord of Ajasa , and Sunny produced Amore. Wole Oni produced Wade.
The album is a full experience.
If you ask me, there is something in the album for everybody. You'll find something you can identify with in this album and it's something that is global. It's an album that anybody anywhere in the world will appreciate. That is what we are about. We always try to bring out the best of Infinity, we don't try to beat anybody, we try to beat ourselves, and as Sunny said when we recorded Olori Oko, we were just like this is okay.
We really still wanted to do much more, and that is what we have tried to do on this album . With this album, we feel okay. We have done a good job. We already have plans for the next album. We intend to do a song with Lagbaja soon and some other major players in the industry. Some very interesting concepts we have in mind that we are just trying to push forward and we are always trying to do better. It's not about beating anybody but we have to keep bringing out the best .
Why are you deviating from your genre so to speak?
Sunny:Let me explain something. Infinity is not restricted to a particular kind of music. We do a lot of stuff. We do rock, jazz, anything that is music, we are in for it. For our next production we are thinking of going to South-Africa . We are also going to the US to work with producers over there. We are going to France to work with producers as well , because different producers have different approaches. For example, when we wanted to do dancehall, we didn't sound like street, we didn't sound like Infinity, the infinity of old and we wanted something street.
So we had to call Sheyman ,because I believe that in Nigeria , Sheyman is the only producer that has done street beats he has featured in . So, I said to myself that we needed to call Sheyman and he did the stuff and ever since, this song has been wow. Sepe has the highest so far and that's what we want. In our next production we want to do songs that will sound like Osundu and the likes. We'll travel wide and look for a wild guitar that will do justice to the songs, because we want to do something new entirely. So, infinity is always doing different music at different times and at different stages.
Joseph:You see, if we write all our stuff and we produce all our stuff, at one point we will be worried. That's the truth, no matter how good and that's why Michael Jackson wrote for R-Kelly and vice versa. These guys are super, we can't deny that but they still do stuffs for each other. So, at one point you feel it's all boring when it all centers around you alone. So, having someone to come and influence your music will give it a freshness that people will love.
Diversity and the fact that we are Infinity means that we cannot be boxed in one corner, not just in the pattern of our music but also in the way we do things. Everything about Infinity cannot be restricted. Tomorrow, we might decide to go on stage with Agbada to appear differentlys. So, people should always expect surprises from us.
When will this album be ready?
We are working on an event to officially launch the album and we are looking at November or early December. We will keep the media and everyone informed when we fix the date. So, the event will be for album dropping and after that everyone would be able to get the album.
What will the event be like?
It is basically to put us back there, to let people know that we are still here, which we have been doing already. Actually, we staged one in Abuja on the 29th of August. We had a problem, because the event was supposed to start at 6 pm, but at 4:30pm, people were coming in. At 5:00 pm , the hall ( Metro Plaza ) was filled. So, for this coming event, we are going to do a very high jam blast and we'll have everybody there, even if they are not performing. They'll be there.
What actually happened when people thought Infinity was no more?
Samson: One of the problems was that we lost some money. I won't mention the name of the company, but this company had a meeting and they were thinking of bringing us to one of their events and they said 'why do we want to be Infinity, Infinity is no more. They've broken up' and when we got to know later, we felt bad and you don't know how far that could have gone, because somebody, somewhere may have wanted to invite us , but they'll just say, those guys are no more or things like that. So, for me, I would say, we lost money and apart from that, people thought the brand was no more. So, it was one of the difficulties we faced.
Just imagine you wanted to do something and you didn't have money and you knew what the cost is. It'll get to you , but somehow, you just have to be matured about it and we had to deal with the situation. We believed it was just for a while and we'll definitely get over it.
Joseph: The thing was that, inasmuch as we were in that kind of situation, we knew that it wasn't all about the fact that these guys left. It was more of the fact that we hadn't come out with something in a while, because if we did a song and came out with the video these questions wouldn't arise. So, it wasn't really about that, it was a coincidence. It all happened at the time when our absence was actually being felt in the industry when we needed to establish ourselves after Olori Oko.
Some people said you are no longer spiritual. Have you have lost the faith or has the faith lost you?
Samson:In that case, it's what people are saying that is not real. For example, if something happened and you can't get your real self back together, people can say anything they want and we are not struggling to defend anything. There is nothing to defend ,because in the process of defending something that's not part of you, you'll live your life for some other people. So, there is nothing to defend and people have a right to say what they want to say.
So, did you lose faith?
Nothing close to it. Let's be practical. If we lost faith, it will show in a lot of things. It's not just about people saying things, let them also come out and really say it. It will show in our songs, it will show in the cause we are pursuing , because by now, they would have thought we've done one or two songs that are making waves in the industry if we are living the faith but the truth remains that, Infinity is a mandate and it's a vision from God. It surpasses what any human being thinks. Of course, we can make mistakes, we have weaknesses we are struggling with, we are not perfect. That's because we are human. So, for me, I will never turn my back against this calling and against God.
Joseph: The truth is that people will always want to define you on the basis of their understanding and faith is a very wide subject. So, for us, we never try to maintain anybody's standard. We've been doing a lot of things that have been controversial .Some people even had issues with Olori Oko, so that's just the nature of the world and we have to deal with it , because there is never going to be a time that people won't talk. For us, we expect it. If people are not talking about you, then probably you are not relevant. So, we always expect that. Some people even go as far as relating to with you on the basis of what they understand or think about you but things aren't judged that way.
How far has the Infinity brand taken you?
Very far o. As far as people rating our music in America . With a lot of modesty, we acknowledge that we're one of the best artistes from Africa . In Shanghai, our song was topping the chart. Chinese people listen to our songs, they don't even understand the language but they listen to the songs. They like the video. Some people told me they were with a member of Channel O crew and they listened to our songs from morning till night. It has really taken us far.
Songs like Aye Ole and Olori Oko were actually recommended by some Unilag professors for their students for a particular course. That for me is quite rewarding. The song took us out of Nigeria and we sang amidst great people and even to ex- presidents of Nigeria, Obasanjo and Yar'Adua when he was being sworn-in. Our song was even used for campaigns in Uganda. The songs won numerous awards.