Paul Casserly 's Opinion

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

Paul Casserly: Slave to the rhythm

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Paul Casserly chats to MC Slave, the host of George FM's Logg Cabin Radio show.
MC Slave, aka Mark Williams, is the host of George FM's Logg Cabin Radio.
MC Slave, aka Mark Williams, is the host of George FM's Logg Cabin Radio.

It's easy to imagine the people listening to George FM's Logg Cabin Radio. I see them in their own log cabins or fishing boats or flats. Like the extended weather forecast on RNZ National - where showers are always on the way for the Chathams - Logg Cabin Radio reminds you of the geography of New Zealand.

"Greetings to the Queenstown listeners, and those of yous in Napier stacking firewood today."

I thought myself maybe a little racist for thinking the show was more tuned to South Auckland than Queenstown as the shout outs continued. During the course of the two-hour show we hear from Turangi, Whitianga and Wanaka, before I hear the words, "greetings to the Southside crew".

Logg Cabin Radio goes out around the country, broadcast via the radio in Auckland and the other main centres, and available on Freeview Ch70 and the internet elsewhere.

"Lots of people called from Blenheim last week, that was a first", says MC Slave, aka Mr Mark Williams, aka Loggy Logg, the proprietor of Logg Cabin Radio.

"I like people telling me what they're doing. They'll say we're out fishing but we're not catching anything but the music is great, or dude, please play us something to motivate us for the waves we're about to hit. I love that stuff."

Radio is wherever you're listening to it. But the man behind this show is standing behind a desk, one story up, in a dark room above Ponsonby Road.

Outside a homeless looking lady asks for some coins as a polo shirt in a Lamborghini is trying to fit into a parking space that's one size too small.

While I enjoy the schadenfreude of the polo shirt getting hotter under the collar, the silky beats of a Ladi6 remix are going out across the harbour and "coming in loud and clear in Colville bro."

I reckon the show to be the best thing on George FM. It's certainly a delightful way to spend a couple of hours if you have no problem with reggae, soul, hip- hop or expressions of "glad tidings going out to the one like Dubhead", a reference to DJ Patrick 'Dubhead' Waller, a BFM DJ and stalwart of the local reggae scene.

Williams also came via BFM where he started the True School Hip-Hop Show two decades ago. Before that, he was the Slave part of MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave along with Otis Frizzell. The pair also went on to make the hip-hop flavoured TV series, The Mo Show.

So hip-hop is firmly in the blood. But there are other influences at play too. In his day job, he is the MC for Fat Freddy's Drop, one of our most successful musical acts. So naturally you'll hear some "BBQ Reggae" on Logg Cabin Radio but there's also house music, funk, soul, even The Steve Miller Band.

"Jesus, how to describe it?" muses Williams when I demand a pigeonhole. "The concept is to be able to put anything inside the Logg Cabin, soul, funk, beats, it's whatever is good. I love my reggae, but I like my techno too."

The first thing you notice is Mark's accent, a throaty drawl that mixes Californian and Kiwi. He used to get the, "Why is he putting on that American accent?" back in the early days, but hasn't heard that for a while. For his first eight years he lived in Palo Alto, (birthplace of Apple) before moving to Onehunga (birthplace of Sir John Kirwan) for a stint at St Joseph's Convent on Church Street.

I'm not sure what the nuns would make of some of the more colourful descriptions of sex and drugs that feature in some of the tracks he plays, but I reckon they'd approve of the community spirit that emanates from the speakers.

It may not be exactly Christ-like but there is genuine warmth going out to the guys "waiting for the fish" out the back of Rangitoto or to the sisters "hanging with the whanau in Tauranga".

Like all the best radio, the Logg Cabin is a welcoming sort of place and its host is adept at making you feel part of the family. That's not to imply that it's overly talky.

Music is firmly the focus here and Slave's voice breaks are presented with the economy and rhythm you'd expect of a seasoned performer.

What about the name then? Why Logg with two 'g's?

"My old flat-mates called me log - nothing to do with the toilet. It was because when I fell asleep on the sofa they couldn't wake me."

Mix that with a bit of Snoop Dogg and Loggy Logg comes naturally. His main moniker, MC Slave, has its roots in necessity. He was "on the spot" and needed to come up with a stage name for a hip-hop contest.

The problem was solved when he thought of his favourite album at the time. It was Grace Jones', Slave To The Rhythm.

10 songs from the Logg Cabin Radio playlist:

• Damien Marley and Nas - Patience
• Lopez Walker - Jah's New Garden
• Gregory Porter - 1960 What?
• Ladi6 - Diamonds (Odyssey remix)
• Lord Echo - Bohemian Idol
• Steve Miller Band - Fly like an Eagle
• Buster Rhymes and Q tip - Thank you
• Shabba Ranks - Roots and Culture
• 4Tet - Pinnacles
• U Roy - Natty Rebel

Logg Cabin Radio, Sunday's 12 -2 pm George FM.

Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

It began with Dr Who, in black and white, when it was actually scary. The addiction took hold with Chips, in colour. He made his mum knit a Starsky and Hutch cardigan. Later, Twin Peaks would blow what was left of his mind. He’s been working in radio and TV since the 1990s and has an award in his pool room for Eating Media Lunch.

Read more by Paul Casserly

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