»Supercat, Shinehead or Sluggy were my heroes.«

posted on November 21st, 2010 by in Audio, Jamaican Artists, SEEN Interviews

WILDLIFE!After »Buckup« has been on available via name your own price on Bandcamp for one week now, tomorrow will see the official release of Wildlife!‘s new EP featuring reggae artists Major Mackerel, Sammy Dread and Terry Lynn on the microphone.

As we really like the concept of each of these artists representing one decade in dancehall music, we linked up with Wildlife! aka Samuel Riot to chat about his memories of and thoughts about dancehall music in the 80s, the 90s and in the present – as well as about some other stories behind the »Buckup« project:

Could you please sum up what these three decades – the 80s, the 90s and the present – mean for you personally (regarding to dancehall)?

I got into dancehall in the early nineties, so this particular era will always remain very special to me. Artists like Ninja Man, Cobra, Buju, Johnny P or Beenie & Bounty were the ones that got me going as a youngster. It was a friend of mine who would send me soundsystem tapes from New York that really got me into soundsystem culture, so the whole 90′s New York scene also was a huge influence. Sounds like Massive B, Afrique, LP or King Addies and artists like Supercat, Shinehead, Rayvon, Mackerel or Sluggy were my heroes.

From this point I started digging and discovering the sound of the eighties. King Jammys’ productions with Nitty Gritty, Admiral Bailey and Pinchers or Channel One’s stuff with Little John, Wailing Souls, Sammy Dread or the Mighty Diamonds – tunes you would hear on all the legendary clashes – that’s what I was into.

As for the present, I still follow what’s happening in Jamaica. And I think there’s still so much talent on the island, it’s ridiculous. The one thing that makes me nostalgic sometimes – and I’m trying not to sound like an arrogant foreign prick – is the fact that Jamaica used to be ahead of the game in terms of production, mixing and sound throughout the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. When you’d listen to a Jamaican production back then you’d get a sound, quality and energy you just couldn’t find anywhere else – not in major european productions nor from any of the big US studios. Jamaican production and sound engineering was so unique and so ahead of the time. And that’s something that somehow got lost a bit. There are still incredibly talented artists, writers and producers who come up with mind blowing creative ideas, but no one – with very, very few exceptions – takes the time or pays attention to sound, proper mixing and mastering these days. And to me this is what used to set Jamaican music apart from everything else in the past. However I’m still a fan, and you’ll definitely see me jumping around when someone drops new Mavado, Kartel, Popcaan, I-Octane etc. at a party.

How did the work you have done with your soundsystem – Goldrush International – influence this EP?

Growing up playing a soundsystem, crossing paths and sharing stages with legendary soundmen like Bobby Konders, Wee Pow, Rory, David Rodigan, Squingy or Ricky Trooper influenced not only this EP but everything I did and do in my life in terms of music.

Do you think the EP will benefit from Major Lazer’s success or are you afraid that people will look at it as a kind of knock-off despite your soundsystem background?

I think what Diplo and Switch are doing is simply amazing. They not only opened doors and won new audiences for dancehall music outside of Jamaica, I think they somehow also brought a fresh energy to the local scene in Jamaica. I hope producers and artists in Jamaica start to realise that there is an alternative »foreign market« aside from hoping to get some play on HOT 97 and having the occasional crossover summer hit.

So sure my work will somehow benefit from Major Lazer’s success, because they really opened doors for dancehall music outside the »hardcore« scene, but more important for me personally, is the success we had with the first Terry Lynn album. People started to realise that there’s something different, something fresh coming out of Kingston. And I really don’t think people could look at this EP as any form of knock-off, as I’d hope they’d be aware of the fact that I produced most of my tracks on »Kingstonlogic 2.0« back in 2007 and 2008.

What’s next for WILDLIFE!?

I got a track on Brodinski’s »Best Of Everything 2« compilation coming very soon. We’re currently wrapping up Terry Lynn’s next album and I’m working on my next release for 2011, clashing Jamaican artistes and british Punk rockers together.

And for the record:

Red Stripe or Heineken?

Heineken.

Beenie Man or Bounty Killer?

If it’s the two at their best – Killer.

Sneakers or Clarks?

Nike Ratna Boots for the winter.

Gleaner or Observer?

International Herald Tribune.

Mountains or beach?

Mountains AND beach.

Thanks, Sam, for taking the time!

Listen to WILDLIFE!’s »Buckup« EP below and grab it from your favourite download dealer from tomorrow.

WILDLIFE! – BUCKUP EP by WILDLIFE!