Island visit inspired Bobby’s cruisy vibe
BOBBY Alu (pictured) never imagined getting in touch with his Samoan roots would provoke a sense of maturity in his music. The local soul-reggae musician, real name Charles Wall, took a trip to his mother’s islander hometown last year, emersed himself in the culture and came home with a traditional tattoo. ‘‘The islander vibes were really inspiring – it’s amazing how easy-going they are and how slow everything is,’’ Alu says. ‘‘The experience helped progress my sound. It’s still soul but it has hints of pop and upbeat fun tunes.’’ Alu says his tattoo is a reminder of his time in Samoa. ‘‘They use a blade and dip it in ink, then they hammer it in your arm,’’ he says. ‘‘It friggin’ hurts. My arm swelled up for a week. It was at the end of the long trip. I had been through a lot myself. I was born in Australia, so never spent any time there. It was so good to make that connection and have a symbol of my time there.’’ Alu released his debut album in 2010, a time when he felt he was ‘‘still finding my sound and feet’’. Alu is halfway through making his second album and says this time around, things feel more solid. ‘‘You could say it’s hinting new territory,’’ he says. ‘‘The album will be called Take It Slow and I guess we want to let people know it’s OK to relax. I like to have a refreshing and casual outlook on things with upbeat, happy tunes.’’ Alu’s six-piece band has been involved in the creative process for Take It Slow. Alu promises a ‘‘slamming’’ show this weekend. ‘‘We are really looking forward to it,’’ he says. ‘‘There will be some crazy percussion solos and heaps of new songs. It should be a fun night.’’
– ROSE SADLEIR
Bobby Alu plays Mandala Organic Arts at Mermaid Beach on Saturday.