I am not the biggest house music fan, meaning I don’t listen to it frequently, but having family from Newark, New Jersey made me appreciate it. In the 90s I grew up hearing my mother and aunts play classics like “Follow Me” by Aly-Us and Fired Up!” by Funky Green Dogs. Decades later with DJs like Kaytranada and recent contributions from mega stars like Drake and Beyoncé, house music has now become as popular as it was in the 90s. In the Philadelphia region you can also catch local DJs like Matthew Law, Kingspy, Aura, and others rocking the crowds to grooves with fast tempos. According to Worldtown Soundsystem’s Ben Arsenal, house music is the world’s genre; it keeps folks connected, and with the release of their new project House of Love EP and upcoming tour, the music collective plans to connect with their listeners through their new grooves.
When you think of Worldtown Soundsystem, think Parliament drenched in house, Latin, and Afrobeats music. Its current members include Ben Arsenal, Gary Dann, Anessa Larae, Grammy award winning percussionist Pablo Batista, Julian Hinson, Fawziyya Heart, Dan Keller, and Zeek Burse. Jonifin Marvin, Femi Oluwafemi, Jules Starr. A little over a decade ago Femi and Ben, who both are DJs, met at a BBQ rooftop party in West Philadelphia then started throwing parties together by mixing music with live drums. The two started taking these parties to clubs and after a year did an event at The Boom Room Studios, where they met Jules and Gary, who is the studio’s founder.
Ten years later the 12-piece group coming from different parts of the world like Jamaica, Nigeria, Brazil, Alabama, Vermont, as well as the city of Brotherly Love, Worldtown Soundsystem has been making a name for themselves with grooves like “Testify,” “Freedom,” and “The Frame.” But now the group has assembled to drop their new project House of Love EP.
The House of Love EP is pretty funky and keeps you moving. Throughout the EP, the combination of Ben’s production, live music from Gary, Julian, Pablo, and lyrics from Zeek and Fawziyya makes the project feel like you’re at a party near the beach. Take for instance the first track “Water,” makes you feel like you could dance on the ocean with the sound of the beat. Yet while the majority of the EP is made to move to, Worldtown Soundsystem gets a bit serious on “Another One.” According to Ben the song was made during the beginning of pandemic and violence happening in the country and beyond. The track feels like pent-up anger getting ready to unleash, releasing the feeling of rage confusion, and sorrow.
As Worldtown Soundsystem finally share the new project House of Love, they prepare to take this love party to different cities. Beginning tonight at World Cafe Live, Worldtown Soundsystem will tour through four hubs on the east coast to connect with music lovers with the assistance of house music.
Get their full dates here, find tickets and information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and listen to the House Of Love EP below.