029.2: Sly Dunbar

An interview with Sly Dunbar for a special midweek issue

Sly Dunbar

Born Lowell Fillmore Dunbar, Sly Dunbar is one of the most influential drummers of the 20th century. As Sly & Robbie, Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have provided the rhythm section and/or production for numerous artists both in the world of reggae (Lee “Scratch” Perry, Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru) and outside of it (Grace Jones, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock). Joshua Minsoo Kim talked with Sly Dunbar via WhatsApp on May 11th and 12th, 2020 to discuss his collaborations, how his drumming has evolved, and his recent album with Robbie Shakespeare and Sasu Ripatti, 500-Push-Up.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Hello! Is this Sly?

Sly Dunbar: Yeah this is Sly.

Hi my name is Joshua, I was supposed to interview you right now.

Yeah, yeah, alright then, yeah!

Is that okay, or do you want to do a different time?

No, I can do it now!

Okay, perfect! How are you doing today?

I’m good, I’m good! And you?

I’m good, I was just working so I’m a bit tired. But I’m still good, I’m happy I still have work.

Okay!

I actually wanted to start off by asking you about your childhood. What’s the most memorable memory that you have from being a child?

(laughs). A memorable memory as a child. Growing up I was very poor, I always loved music. At Christmas time they used to have stage shows at the theaters—my mother would send me to them. Growing up listening to The Skatalites and to all the Jamaican music, like from [Jackie] Mittoo.

Going to school, I went to Trench Town Comprehensive High School. This is where all the stars used to live, in Trench Town. Walking down the street you would probably see Alton Ellis, Bob Marley, Delroy Wilson. That was fun. Going to that school, I told myself that I wanted to be a musician, this is where I wanted to be, you know? I was supposed to leave and go to another school, but I didn’t go because I wanted to be in Trench Town. So I stayed there until I left, maybe at 13 years old. I started pursuing music very serious and I told my mom I didn’t want to go back to school and that I wanted to pursue music, and she said okay.

I did my first record around 14. By 15 I did the second record, which has a song called “Double Barrel” by Dave & Ansell Collins, it was a million seller. From there I kept going, going, going non-stop.

Your mom was okay with you deciding not to go to school, or did she only agree once you had that hit record?

No, she agreed! She never said no, she just said, “No problem!” She always loved our music, and she knew I loved music. Maybe she had a dream, because I can’t see why she said okay. But maybe she had a dream and didn’t tell me she had a dream.

What sort of music were your parents listening to? Were they fans of the same music that you were into growing up?

Oh, no, my mom used to listen to Louis Armstrong and Harry Belafonte. She listened to a lot of Harry Belafonte. I think she probably listened to other stuff, because she worked at the airport and when the foreign artists would come in she would tell me that, “Cheryl Lynn is coming in today” or whatever, they used to parade from the airport to where they were staying, you know? You could see them in the car, waving to people and everything like that.

Did your mom play instruments?

No, she didn’t play. She was just a lover of music!

Ah, ok. I read that someone said it looked like you were fishing when you first started drumming—

Yes! (laughs). The first time I worked at a drum set, somebody said “Sly’s gone fishing” and I said, “Wow!” (laughter).

Do you feel like your drumming style has changed a lot over the years?

Yeah, I think over the years I’ve grown to find my own style. I listened to a lot of different drummers. I respect all drummers. I think every drummer is good. I don’t think I’m a great drummer, just, I do what I feel, you know? And sometimes it works. I’m always thinking, “Africa!”, because I think Africa is really great. When we speak about drums, the first thing you say is “Africa” because that’s where you find all the new ingredients, the vibes and grooves, everything. North American music is good, everything is good; Africa is the main source for me. 

I would transform everything back to, like… playing the track drums is what I would play on the hand drums—I’d change it to the track drums and play it.

Who would you say were the best drummers from Africa?

Well I don’t know them personally. There was one who died the other day, his name was Tony Wilson, I met him. But I don’t know other drummers. I’m talking about people who play hand drums and things like that. These are the people I used to watch because there was a certain kind of rhythm that they used to play. I would listen to what they used to play and transform it, I would hear it and I would break it up.

You said that you don’t consider yourself a great drummer. What do you think makes someone a great drummer then? If you’re not a great drummer, what does it take to be a great drummer?

Well, what it takes to be a great drummer… Some people at the start probably take drum lessons and everything like that, they probably can read the music. I cannot read, I've never been to school for it. I’ve realized that African music, they have a certain feeling and a certain groove. I listen to what I call Motown style, though, these are some great musicians. I listen to music from Stax, Philadelphia, Phil Spector and all those people, The Beatles. There's a groove, and when the groove hits—once the drummer finds that groove, then everything will be fine until everything is finished.

I learned from a lot of different people, musicians. I’m not a drummer as, like Al Jackson Jr. from Booker T. & the M.G.'s. In the old times I listened to Earl Young. All drummers! I would sit and listen to different drummers and see how they perform and record. And live performance, I would learn from that.

One of my favorite drummers is from Jamaica. He’s called— he used to play with The Skatalites— his name is Lloyd [Knibb]. He’s the one I really learned a lot from. We talk about groove and he just had this sound, he was awesome. I learned a lot from him, how to really approach sound from a different angle, and to play with that kind of strength, and that kind of freedom, you know?

Is there a particular song that you feel like Lloyd Knibb played on that you feel like really blew your mind?

He played on a couple of great songs. He had a song called “Smiling”, he played on one of the first songs from The Wailers, “Simmer Down”, he played on that. He played on “Latin Go Ska,” he played on a tune called “Addis Ababa”. I think that was really great because then he was playing what you call Afrobeat. In 1960 he was playing that! The song is called “Addis Ababa,” by Don Drummond & The Skatalites, just listen to what he’s playing. He played some wicked, mean grooves, and I learned a lot from him about how to lock into the rhythm.

So you developed your own style from learning and listening to all these other drummers. How would you describe your style then? If someone were to point out your tracks—and people are able to do that! I can listen to one of your tracks and sometimes be like, “Okay, this is Sly playing the drums right now!” I was wondering how you would describe your own style.

I don’t know if I’m able to describe it because I listen to the song, and I try to learn the song, and then I put myself into the song—not just playing, but performing the song. And I listen to the chorus, if I could change the beat in the chorus to a different groove, then come back into the verse. There’s a song I did on a Grace Jones album called “My Jamaican Guy,” and when she comes to the chorus, I change to the kind of funk I was playing then. But she was singing, most of the time I play to what she’s singing; most of the time I pay attention to what they are singing, and I try to play along with the bassline. Sometimes I listen to the bass rhythm as a standalone. A lot of people describe my style, but I can’t even find some words because I play some little weird thing sometimes, and if fits a song, and if a producer says a little thing about it, he says, “I like it,” then… I don’t know if there is a name for my style that I play, I don’t know.

We can just call it the Sly Dunbar style.

Yeah, they call it the Sly style, you know? (laughter). Because nobody knows what I’m gonna do!

Do you feel like you always have to change things up, that you have to make things unpredictable when you’re playing on track?

No, If I’m playing on a song that I like, if the monitor on my headphones are really good and if the sound is—for example there is a song I did for Grace called “Private Life,” and you can tell I was really enjoying the track. It’s one of my favorite recordings, and I think I nailed it, you know!? (laughter). I think I nailed that track. When people would come and say, “Play that intro in ‘Private Life’!”, and I’d be like, ahh! There’s a couple of songs like that that I like, but I think “Private Life,” I really like the way the drums sound.

There are a couple of Black Uhuru tracks I like, some of them I can’t remember. Black Uhuru was really the art form where we were able to project ourselves, playing Reggae in the French style because of the kind of song they were singing. I think playing for Peter [Tosh] was the same, but Black Uhuru kind of took the cake, you know? We were producing Black Uhuru—when we would do anything with Peter Tosh, we were like band members performing, but we had a chance with Black Uhuru to say yes or no to everything. There was more freedom.

You’ve worked with a lot of people we’ve already mentioned—you just mentioned Peter Tosh. What’s a memory that you really cherish about playing and spending time with him?

Spending time with Peter was great because he was the one who introduced Sly & Robbie to the world as a unit, touring. Bob Marley was on there with the Barrett Brothers, and Peter Tosh would come on to do his solo performance. They were like session musicians, they were very poppy, pop like Jamaican. And then we would take over the position they had, and start playing sessions with Bob and Peter. I had developed a certain style of playing with Peter that sometimes when I wanted to record, it sounded like I would take it from Peter. There’s a song called “I’m A Steppin’ Razor” which Robbie [Shakespeare] helped me feel out. I don’t know what it is but I just did it, and when it plays somebody else pointed out that, “Boy, that roll is different”, and I said that was how Robbie told me to play it. I was just playing a track, what can I say? It was smoothe, and as I played I could feel that.

So this is always what happens when we are in the studio: someone is there, someone will say, “Play this, beat the drums like this, make it roll…”, and I just listen, if I hear the music is very happy then I try to use the drum to make the music have a happy feeling. I listen back to Motown and all of those great recordings, some of those were very happy, so that's what I try to play, with that kind of groove. That is what I learned from live mixing too, it made the track happy.

I’ve read that the way you mic’d your drum set was very important. I know you used multiple mics, like up to 12 for something on a drum set—

It depends on if I’m using all these pieces of drums. I used to have an electronic drum set. Sometimes I’m only using two tom-toms, sometimes I use four tom-toms. Sometimes I use two hi-hats playing, and I’ll use a single mic on the tom-tom and everything. I would never use 2 mics on a snare, I don’t like it. I think it takes away from the sound of the drums. Around two years ago we did a recording for this album… (thinking) the album is called Nordub, and they had mics on both sides of the drums. They get a real—I love the drums from that. If you get the chance, listen to it. They mic the drums on the top and bottom. I’ve never seen so much mic coming on the drums (laughter). They got a good sound, and I really like it. We did it in Norway. It was very good.

We did this album for Serge Gainsbourg, it was French, called Aux Armes Et Cætera, something like that. We got a great drum sound on that. The Channel One drum sound was very good too.

How much time do you usually spend setting up for your drums, and figuring out what the mics are going to look like before you—

What happens is sometimes myself and the engineer talk about drum sound, and I would pinpoint to them what I’m looking for in the sound. We would spend an hour or two trying to get the drum sound set up and everything. Basically we explain a short example of what we want in the song. Jeffrey Chung was quick at picking up the drums. There’s an album out called Sly, Wicked and Slick, with a track called “Rasta Fiesta,” I think the drum sound on that was really, really good. Jeffrey Chung was the one who recorded it. I explained to him how I wanted the drums to sound, and he got it. Channel One was good for what we got down there as the drum track. It was a four-track recording, until they got 16.

So basically myself and the engineers—you’ve got Joe Gibbs, we always talk about it—always figure out how we want the job to sound. The best sound they can get, as long as I’m comfortable, we’ll go for that. Sometimes I play a little hard, sometimes I play very soft.

I remember reading that you and Robbie came of age with shows like Woodstock, and that you felt the same vibe. What were you trying to do then? What was the goal?

What I learned from Woodstock is that the sun shone down on all the people playing, and they were all jamming the music. They take the music from being outside and everything, it was great. I was watching the film, and I said, “Wow! Someway we’re going to do reggae like this.” 

The band I used to play in, at night we would play the funk. The funk, we would extend it and play all these jams and these grooves. We were mimicking Woodstock, looking back at Woodstock. But we started recording using the same kind of input for Black Uhuru, and then using some of the same thing for Grace Jones and then other records. Playing the long parts, changing the drum groove, going into a jam. All these things I really learned from Woodstock.

What are the goals that you have now? You’ve been making music for decades. Do you still have things that you want to accomplish that you haven't done yet?

Yeah, I think I still have something. There are some albums with some patterns that I haven’t recorded yet. I’ve played these live, but have to record them. Sometimes I don’t have the song to play these drum parts in, so I’d have to go in the studio, play the pattern, and they record it, and then Robbie will come to play the bass out. Robbie does the same thing, he’ll come in and play the bassline and then I’ll go. So there are some things left that I think I want to do. 

There’s still some things that I want to accomplish, you know? I was looking back at Africa, and the development of music in Africa, which—the African music and Jamaican music lie hand-in-hand together. At this moment with the Jamaican music I think I can do a great job. People want to dance. I remember everybody saying that we wanted to make dance music, that Black and white music. We want to make dance music for everyone. I think the music has to blend, you achieve more in dance music, so I think I could really give more.

With all the machines you have for making music these days, we didn’t have those when I was growing up. You can get these machines, doing loops and all this percussion where you can preprogram something and play with it. I think the sky's the limit right now. When you sit down to make music there’s so much reference you have to work with, you know?

You’ve been playing electronic drums, and the regular drums for a long time. What do you see as the appeal to playing electronic drums?

Playing electronic drums, I was looking for a different sound to come into reggae because I think the acoustic set had peaked—that really peaked out. I think there were a lot of records that were done with the same acoustics and everything. It felt like everyone had to hear something else playing like a drum, but not really the sound of a drum. I bought an electronic drum because in Jamaica the recording of the drum was getting a bit sloppy, it was not good again. I wanted to put my sound in a drum where I would go to the studio and I could get the same sound.

When I bought the Simmons [electronic drum kit], I realized I could really get the drum to sound the way I wanted it to, I could lock it in. Every time I would go to the studio and I’d have a song to play constantly. For all these different songs I’d want to bring back a kind of different flare to reggae, but I would just have a drum, and I would always have to play the same thing on the acoustic. And I made it work! The first time I played that drum was on The Rolling Stones track, “Too Much Blood.” I played snare on it. 

Nowadays, do you usually want to play electronic, regular drums, or a mix?

I play acoustic. In the early days it would be easier to travel with the electronic kit. I used to travel with a drum kit on the plane, it’s gonna cost you so much money. That’s the trouble with it. I don’t travel with it no more. A lot of people want to hear the Simmons because I played that on all these different songs and people love it, they were in love with that sound. The way I tuned it gave it a special sound people really love. I’m hearing right and everything still, but I think my brain is not that good no more, and that the drum itself, I gave it to the Institute [of Jamaica] to use as a showpiece. But if I could get a SD5K I would buy it!

You’ve worked with a lot of people, who would you say was the person you worked with that was the most inspiring for you?

Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones!

Why Mick Jagger, why Rolling Stones?

There’s a bunch of people I worked with that were inspiring. I think it’s because they were the biggest group. This group I liked for a long time, but it was the biggest name I’ve ever worked with even up to today. They’ve for a long time been one of the biggest names.

But there are a lot of people that I’ve worked with that were big. Joe Cocker, Gwen Stefani, No Doubt, Herbie Hancock is a big name, Fela [Kuti], I did a track with Fela. I’ve done some work with Manu Dibango. I’ve done some work with so many people— I’m trying to remember all of the names.

[audio gets muffled and phone call breaks up, we decide to talk again the following day]

Hi, how are you?

Okay! I’m good, looks like it’s working now. Sorry about yesterday!

Oh it’s okay, things like that happen sometimes you know?

Right, right, it happens!  Alright, so I just wanted to get right to it, I don’t want to waste too much of your time. Yesterday I remember you said that you never learned how to read notation for reading the drums.

No, I can’t read music. 

Do you think it was actually a good thing for you? Do you think not learning it helped you feel out the grooves more?

Yeah, I think so because the grooves are based off of my not reading, so I play like that, you know? I go the extra mile to find things and to get things to work.

Can you give an example of when you went the extra mile to figure out the beat for a song?

There’s a song—do you know Mighty Diamonds, do you know the Serge Gainsbourg song “Lola rastaquouère”? I feel it’s with that, that was the first thing like that ever played in reggae before anything else. I just figured a way, how am I gonna use it to play this kind of funk? I was thinking about Africa— for the records, I’ve never played that way inside a record before. On the record it sounds like I was playing (imitates sound of the drums on “Lola rastaquouère”), but I was really playing a lot more than that.

It can be like the Grace Jones album, Private Life, when it came to the solo I changed the part written for the solo of the song. I started playing different and I came out with a rimshot thing I was playing. Every time, grooving is like a can of worms, the major thing is the groove, you know?

Yeah, for sure. What was the nicest thing about working with Grace Jones? Can you talk about her a little bit?

With Grace Jones, I enjoyed that. We did three albums for her. It was fun going down to record. Every time it would take about six weeks to record. It was fun. It was fun working with the rest of the musicians like Mikey Chung, Monte Brown, Wally Badarou, Barry Reynolds and Robbie. It was fun going in every day and working with Chris Blackwell, the producer. Before the sessions he would take all of the skins off the drums and put on new skins. One day I was sitting over the drums, I was going to test them, and I was like, “Okay!”, it was like fire from my hand. And the same thing with the double bass, and the same thing with the guitar. It was working together, and we just kind of started playing a groove, trying to get the best groove that we could get.

The thing that I really like about reggae is how it feels like such a communal style of music. Everyone feels like they are part of it, everyone is always credited. The engineer is always super important, all the different musicians are important. Who are your favorite engineers that you’ve worked with?

There’s a couple: Jo Jo Hoo Kim from Channel One, there was Ernest from Channel One also, Bunny Tom Tom, there was Jeffrey Chung, Mikey Chung’s brother. There was also Steven Stanley, Errol Brown. Ernest Hoo Kim and Jeffrey Chung, they did the best songs for the drum that I played. They got the best from me.

What did they do differently from other engineers that you’ve worked with?

The difference is understanding what I was all about. We are always talking about drums and what they should sound like. When they’d come in and check my drums, they would set everything up to get the best sound I could get from the drums. I used a transparent kit most of the time. Then I go for it, and if it sounds great I say, (slowly) “Yeah.” I told them about the tracks on the Sly, Wicked and Slick album, “Rasta Fiesta,” Jeff started going to work on most of the tracks. The tom-tom on that song. The tom-tom was like, massive, you know?

What’s your favorite thing about working with Robbie?

Working with Robbie is like, we’re always going to cut an edge. We follow the rules for a bit and then we break away from them. We always do a different thing, we’re always in the frame or reggae. He’s not afraid to take chances. When it comes to the music we have the same values, go in right and do that thing, getting that groove right. And every time we play we’re always going to support each other.

That’s nice, that makes sense. I was going to ask this yesterday—do you personally like to dance?

Yeah, I used to, I used to dance! Me and my friends used to dance, we used to go to this place called Soul Flow, we used to go to this place and dance like James Brown. I used to dance on television called Where It’s At, a program like Soul Train in Jamaica and I used to dance in that. There was another program called Top Ten Tunes where the top ten songs in Jamaica would would be performed on television.I used to play with Tommy McCook, band leader of The Skatalites. People like Bob Marley, all the people with songs in the top ten. We’d come on live and we’d perform for them on television. I used to do that every Thursday.

Did you go to clubs a lot to dance?

No, but I used to play in a club called Tit For Tat club. I played there from about 1970-1975. I used to play there. People would come to dance at the clubs to see the band, and we used to be there live to play the music. 

I wanted to ask, in Canada during the ’80s there were a lot of people making reggae. I was wondering, do you think there’s a reason why Canada never established a specific sound or a larger presence in the international community?

I think it’s kind of building up now. Jackie Mittoo and a lot of other musicians migrated to Canada. The time and the way it built up may seem a bit slow, but I’ll perform there— there are a lot of other shows that got a great response, like Peter Tosh in 1979. I remember when I was touring with Jimmy Cliff, playing in… what’s the French speaking part of Canada… (thinking)

Québec?

No not Québec, the next one. I performed with Jimmy Cliff there, it was good. I performed there with Peter Tosh in 1979, I performed there with Black Uhuru, with Taxi Gang. It’s always a good reception in Canada, but I don’t know why the music is different. We produced the Maxi Priest song “Wild World”— I think that was the number two song in Canada. The Chaka Demus & Pliers album Tease Me, I got a gold record from Canada which was a big deal. 

I think it’s there but probably the marketing part of it, when the record comes, you gotta market the stuff. And there are different kinds of records that are making the charts over there. But it’s still reggae, even though it has a different face.

Throughout your career, were there people who doubted the success that reggae would have?

For reggae, reggae is always pop music. Whatever happens to reggae, I don’t care, it always stands on top. The beginning of reggae is from Jamaica to the Caribbean, and we’re trying to export all the music into the outside world. Everyone has their own culture, but we have been successful in gathering the music and taking it to so many people. All over the world now there are all kinds of bands trying to play reggae for themselves. It’s working and I’m hearing more and more. Bob Marley, I think his music made the world much better for us, you know?

Do you feel like you personally ever experienced racism in the industry?

No, nothing besides what was just naturally there, you know, if a white group gets more promotion than a Black group. Sometimes if a record is good for a Black group and they give you some promotion, you can probably get some success you know? But a white group is always easier to sell, whatever the market is. 

Did it make you angry when that sort of stuff happened?

No, because I changed it. I hoped that it would automatically change one day by the kind of music we would put out.

You’ve had a lot of success. What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for?

(laughs). To be remembered for… making some great records, being in some great groups, playing some nice drum patterns, starting reggae all over. Just because I’ve been reading that what I’m playing makes you just want to dance, you just want to get to the club, this is what I’m all about. To make people dance.

Do you keep up with any of the new reggae artists? The younger ones?

I listen to everything, it’s the only way to go ahead is to know what’s happening. Some of the guys that are playing now, they are doing things we used to do for Black Uhuru stuff, they’re trying to play like those things. We can move it a little further so we know where we’re coming from, so we know that we created that kind of style. We keep on moving the beat sometimes, trying to pick up on new sounds. We’re changing things, adding things, taking away things. The audience would get bored if we kept on playing the same thing over and over. We always try to add a little taste of something fresh you know?

Are there any new young artists that you really like, do you want to shout any out?

There are a few young artists that I really like. I like Cherine Anderson, Chronixx, Lila Iké, some of them I don’t know the name, but I hear on the radio. They have the potential that if they have the right people make the record they can make the global charts, they could be very successful. Everybody knows how to make that kind of record in Jamaica. You have to listen to a lot of stuff. You can go back way into the ’60s, take an idea and bring it back forward and flip it.

So you made that album with Robbie and Sasu Ripatti, 500-Push-Up. I talked with Sasu last week, he told me to ask you what the meaning of the title 500-Push-Up means, so what does it mean?

I thought about that too, 500-Push-Up, it’s like what are we gonna name the album… 500-Push-Up! (laughter)

You did 500 pushups? 

Yeah I used to do that. I used to do 500 push-ups, yeah. In one row.

Every single day you would do 500 push-ups?

Not every day, sometimes I drop short, but the next day I could do it.

Ahh. Do you still exercise all the time then?

Yeah I still exercise all the time. Playing the drums, you have to really work a lot to keep all your stuff alright and everything.

The titles for the different tracks are different numbers, “(513)”, “(512)”, “(520)”—

Yeah I thought that was a great idea, it’s cute. It’s different!

Do the numbers mean anything?

I don’t know what numbers mean sometimes (laughter). Something like, I don’t know what it means, 20/20 vision, I don’t know. It works, but I don’t know. That album, it’s going to be a great album I think. Have you heard it?

Yeah, it’s good! What was the recording process like? What did you guys do?

I went in and put out all the drums before, and then Robbie went in and did the bass. We did all the drum parts before everything. First we did the drum pattern, and then everyone was just mellow inside the studio playing.

How long did it take to record everything?

The recording for that album? I think it took two or three  days, I think I did about 20 drum tracks for it also. It took a while to set up the drums right to get a good sound, but after that, everything was cool running.

How did you first meet Sasu? I know you had jam sessions with Sasu back a few years ago. What were those like? How did you first meet?

When we decided that we were gonna do Nordub with Nils-Peters [Molvær], we were going to get together. It was the first time I met him. The way he plays percussion sounds so cutting edge, so I enjoyed working with him. The relationship just builds and builds and builds all the time. I think he is a great, imaginative person. He said he wanted to come and do an album, and we said, “Okay, no problem! It could be done!”

Have you heard the album, the final version?

No! He sent some tracks to me but I didn’t get the chance to listen to them yet. I haven’t had time to listen back to it, sometimes I don’t get the time. It’s an electronic world and you think it would make things much easier to keep up with it all, but it makes work harder sometimes. With technology, you sometimes think everything would be easier but… it’s harder! (laughs).

Sometimes there are problems… as we saw yesterday (laughter). Do you have any projects coming up next that you have planned? What do you have coming?

I have a project coming, a Sly & Robbie and the Taxi Gang album coming out. We always keep working on ideas. We have all sorts of projects and different rhythms and ideas. We have a lot of recordings as instrumentals, a lot of projects that have been just recorded on tape that we don’t yet have a direction for it to go. We want to make music that you can dance to.

You’ve constantly changed things up, you’re always working with new people, new ideas—what would you recommend for artists to do if they want to continually be trying new things? What’s the best way to do it?

The best thing for them to do— they have to listen, they have to look at changes, how music is changing, where it’s going. There’s a lot of reference out there that they could find, take ideas from everything and bring it back. For example we take a lot of things out there and merge it with reggae, but we take like 5% of what’s good and bring it in, and the reggae is the other 95%. We put in some Indian drum sounds and percussion and bring it into reggae. We feel it, and if we feel that there is something great in the groove, then we pop on a bassline and put on a keyboard. Always keep on searching. 

I don’t have any more questions! Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about, that you wanted to say?

I just want people to enjoy this album that’s coming out with Sasu. I always think of you people when I’m making a record for you to enjoy. We enjoy the album while we’re making it, but once the finished product is out it’s all for you to enjoy. I just want to thank all the people that have been supporting us throughout our career. I just want to thank them for being there for us, you know?


Thank you for reading our special midweek issue of Tone Glow. Keep on dancing.

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