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Encyclopedia entry for 'Swoop' LETTER:

Formed in 1991
StyleFunk, rap, soul
 Original line-up: Roland P. Kapferer (vocals), Joshua Beagley (guitar, keyboards)
 Albums: Thriller (Freakzone, 1993), The Woxo Principle (Mushroom/Festival, 1995), Be What You Is (Mushroom/Festival, 1999).

History
Sydney-based band Swoop was one of a number of young outfits that emerged during the early 1990s exploring diverse musical avenues on the traditional Australian pub-rock scene: d.i.g.'s acid jazz, Juice's hard funk, Def FX's techno-metal, Skunkhour's funk'n'rap and Caligula's techno-pop. Swoop started out as a funk and rap duo based around Adelaide musicians Roland P. Kapferer and Joshua Beagley.

With the recruitment of a full band, Swoop's sound began to take on a soulful, funky groove with a rock backing. Swoop issued two independent records in 1992 on the Freakzone label, the 12-inch EP Positivity's Groove (May) and the single `Jelly Funk' (August). By that stage, Fiona Ta'akimoeaka had joined as lead vocalist. Her crystal-clear, tuneful vocals lifted the band's appeal considerably. Swoop's second single, `Everybody Loves The Sunshine' (December), featured relaxed and catchy melodies.

Swoop's debut, full-length album Thriller (October 1993) produced the CD single `Do It' (August) and the CD EP Raw Funk Power (`Everything I Do from Now on is Going to Be Funky') (November). `Do It' became a surprise hit in Japan when it topped the disco charts. Swoop undertook a tour of Japan in early 1995. The band appeared on the compilation Undertones Vol. 1 (1993), a collection of Australian soul, funk and jazz tracks from U.T.E., Banana, Wicked Beats, Step It Up, Fonké Knomaads, Urban Poets and the Carl Orr Band.

At the end of 1994, Swoop signed to Mushroom Records. The deal resulted in the album The Woxo Principle, which came out in November 1995. The album gave rise to the CD EPs `Neighbourhood Freak' (November 1994), `Rock Dog' (July 1995) and the super cool'n'funky `Apple Eyes' (November). In January 1996, `Apple Eyes' reached the national mainstream Top 10 (peaking at #9). The song also logged #32 on the 1995 Triple J Hottest 100 list. The Swoop line-up on The Woxo Principle was Kapferer, Beagley, Ta'akimoeaka, Breadman St Ledger III (keyboards), Alex `Gob' Hewettson (bass), Chris O'Brien (drums) and Armando Gomez (percussion). Swoop issued a new CD single in September 1996, a cover of the Captain and Tennille's 1970s hit `Do that to Me (One More Time)'.

In 1997 Swoop toured Japan on the back of the success of ‘Apple Eyes’, which went to #3 in Tokyo and Top 5 in a number of other cities like Osaka. The band also suffered a number of membership shuffles. Drummer Chris O’Brien moved to percussion to give way for American Allen Murphey (one of the best funk drummers in Australia), Fiona Ta’akimoeaka left to be replaced by part Maori, part Samoan, part Scottish singer Rebekah Jane, and Breadman St Ledger was replaced by a new Japanese keyboard player.

Swoop recorded a new album with producer Ashley Cadell in late 1997. The first CD single, ‘Blood Runs Hot’ came out in May 1998, to be followed by the album, Be What You Is, in January 1999. The second single, ‘Remedy’ (also issued in January), was another classic slice of funky pop’n’soul.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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