Taste Nasa

Top Five One-Hit Wonders

Words: Tom Goldson
Picture: Maddie North

Leroy Clampitt alias Taste Nasa riffs on his all-time favourite one-hit wonders and the pop-tastic impact they had on him.

Taste Nasa is songwriter-producer Leroy Clampitt, the world’s sole purveyor of what he dubs “Soft Dance Music”, which, in Clampitt’s words, “makes you want to dance, but only really lightly”. Raised in the small Waikato town of Pirongia, 21-year-old Clampitt made the bold move of relocating to Los Angeles, throwing caution to the wind to join former Kids of 88 frontman Sam McCarthy’s new outfit Strange Babes and developing his lo-fi approach to disco jams with his solo project Taste Nasa from his bedroom studio. From his new home in LA’s Echo Park neighbourhood, Clampitt has befriended highflying Kiwi expats like The Naked and Famous, Kimbra and Lorde producer, Joel Little – and the future of Taste Nasa is looking brighter by the day.

A true-blue fan of pop music of all stripes, he also has a strange fascination with one-hit wonders and the often comically tragic backstories behind the musicians who enjoyed one global hit before fading into obscurity.

1. Oran “Juice” Jones – The Rain

“That one’s a really killer track because he has this huge, unshakable confidence like he’s a really well-known artist, but he never followed this one up. In the video he has a really nice apartment and he buys his girlfriend minx coats and things like that, and it’s kind of like this made-up thing he’s built up – and everyone for this one song believed him. It’s got the best spoken word bit at that end, too. Genius.”

2. Darude – Sandstorm

Darude’s a pretty boss dude, but that’s really his only track that was a hit. Sandstorm has the silliest synth melody – if you had that melody on any other instrument, it would sound ridiculous. The synth works, though – it was so perfect and unique that everyone latched on to it.”

3. Alice DeeJay – Better Off Alone

“This one’s in the same vein as Sandstorm – big dumb dance fun. I’m a real sucker of big techno pop songs. I like the melody that drives the whole thing and there’s a ton of melancholy in it.”

4. The Bittersweets – Hurtin’ Kind

“The Bittersweets were a girl group from Ohio and I love this song so much. I’ve never heard any other music from The Bittersweets, but that one cut just slays me.” 

5. Ben Lumis – They Can’t Take That Away

“I really like Ben Lummis, I like the whole idea that he won the first New Zealand Idol series and everyone watched it. He had this amazing song written for him and was never heard from again. He’s a bit of a myth to me – me and a mate saw him playing pub covers at the casino a couple of years back, and his voice is still so nice.”

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