Killamanjaro and Bass Odyssey out of Jamaica belong to the top league of sound-systems. Both names are closely tied to some of the most epic encounters in sound-clash history. Their legacy, skills and dubplate stacks tower over many. With Vision they talked about the music and their vocation.
Muppet from Trelawny representing Killamanjaro.
Is sound-clash nowadays more in demand?
Yes, people want the sound-clash back again. But it needs to be maintained, as you don’t want to see a sound-clash this year and next year it nah gwaan again. Clash is part of Jamaican culture.
Jaro is known to be one of the biggest clashing sounds. How do you feel about being in charge?
We as selectors run the sound. Muppet, Freddie and Problem Child play Jaro now, we have a legacy to protect and can’t make Trooper set it as a killing-sound alone. When ah war ah war, then we go out and deliver; Jaro kill the most sound. Anytime a sound rise and waan dead and park up, you know ah Jaro dem call pan.
Do you think dancehall is getting to much attention?
First you had records then CD’s and now laptops. The world is changing. I don’t separate reggae from dancehall, it’s all Jamaican music. However, wi haffi hold on pan wi music and clean it up. It nah mek sense to come out with music lasting three, four months. I want music your little pickney can listen to and rate the same way.
Also what happened to the selectors? They need to know the producers and the label’s name.
I was in Jamaica when Steelie died and a man on the radio said: ‘name five songs Steelie and Clevie produced’. I was around some likkle laptop and pouch selectors who couldn’t even name three songs.
Young selectors: unuh do unuh research right now! Unuh haffi go way back when!
Lexy Lex from Bass Odyssey
Do you feel the pinch of the stricter enforced Noise Abatement Act?
There are always two sides to a story. We as soundman and selectors like to hear the sound play heavy inna di nighttime. But you also have people who haffi go ah road in the morning an want to sleep. The solution I think would be designating certain areas in Jamaica, like bush and hilly parts, where you don’t disturb anyone. We as Jamaicans also need to come out to a dance a bit earlier.
Do you get annoyed if you go to a dance, a riddim is dropped and your favourite song is not played?
In one way yes. Because you go to a dance to enjoy yourself. If you have a song on the riddim which is your favourite you might feel a way. On the other hand, majority always counts. If you have two songs on a riddim that mash up the place it might be hard to play one particular song. One song can kill your jugglin.
What would you say about radio-presenters and sound-systems who do nothing for young artists?
You haffi go inna di filed, do your research, pick one or two youths of whom you can say, him song yah nice. Some man nowadays wont play a song if they don’t get paid.
Dat nah nice, because we sell our culture and soul neatly. Bass Odyssey put a lot of young artists on the street. If Squingy never did noting for Lexxie, Damion and Worm, telling the people ‘dem yute ah di future’, we would not be here. Squingy pass an gone – rest in peace mi general.
How do you see the complaints about dancehall music getting more attention and airplay than reggae music?
We all are human beings who evolve, before reggae there was rocksteady and before that ska. Music gets faster and evolves. We have not passed reggae music, its a foundation for building dancehall. We are still in process where we are expanding. Maybe 10 years down the line you have something quicker than dancehall, but its the same reggae music that made it happen.
We as selectors also have to lead and play more One Drops (roots reggae).