New York City- Over the last few years, there’s been 2 new names in the dancehall/indie reggae world that have made everyone stand up and pay attention.
From his critically acclaimed work with Noble Society on their 2008 release “Take Charge” (Best Reggae Album of 2008- iTunes) to taking the top honors again in 2009 with his solo effort “Buzzrock Warrior”, to numerous underground dubstep & DnB releases on Liondub International & an appearance on “Cash Flow” from Major Lazer’s hit EP last year, Jahdan Blakkamore is a name that the world is paying attention to.
Right beside him is 77Klash (Two Seven Klash), a producer that has a sound that takes a totally different angle on what you’d typically call reggae or dancehall. Listening to his production, you definitely get taken on a ride thru his mind and the various influences that he’s picked up along the way.
His imprint, Klash City Records, gives him an outlet to push this new sound to the world taking your ears on a journey from hiphop & reggae/dancehall to rock-a-billy (Bosco Delrey) & electro/bassline (Disco D’s “Yes Shotta”).
In this installment of “In The Lab”, our NYC correspondent Kinetic NRG, caught up with Jahdan & 77Klash backstage at reggae superstar producer DJ Gravy’s Benefit for Haiti and this is what they had to say…
KINETIC: First question to you guys, because your music is so different compared to most of dancehall, it seems more like a Kaliedoscope of many different influences, so how would you classify what you do?
77KLASH: Jahdan, you wanna take this one?
JAHDAN: Well, I dunno if you can even put a classification on it really- boy, classification is a funny thing still, but it’s a music thing, ya know? Naturally the origin is reggae music, that’s the schoolroom, many man come up listening to, reggae, roots, culture, ya know the vibe.
I’m into anything that my heart is pumpin’, right now, it’s Dubstep & reggae roots naturally. I’ve got a project called “Buzzrock Warrior” that I’m doin, Klash featured on it and produced for it.
To categorize it, it’s bascially a dubstep project, but I also have a roots reggae project called “Babylon Nightmare” that’s coming out this summer, so I’m just doin what I love, ya know?
77Klash: Like Jahdan said it’s hard to classify into one thing or the other. I would say that it’s an amalgamation of genres all mooshed together in one sound. That’s the best clarification I can give for the music we do. It’s like heavy dancehall but then again, it’s not. I’ll just call it Jamaican music, it’s music that’s derived out of Jamaica, but it’s morphing into it’s own being.
KINETIC: Because your music is so unclassifiable- I find that I have a hard time pinpointing exactly what it is, do you think you could help us out by giving us some of the influences or records or artists that you think about when you’re working that help you craft your sound?
JAHDAN: Well, my influences vary ya know- they go from (obviously) reggae, to jazz to rnb to friggin classical even- Bach, Beethoven to Madonna & Bjork in there too. When you’re a musician- a real lover of music, a music connosieur, is going to gravitate to different genres, things outside of his or her element. I gravitate toward anything that’s really original to it’s self, anything that’s really coming with purity from the person. The kind of music we’re doing- know what I’m sayin’?
It goes 360 degrees- when you check reggae, reggae is whatever reggae music is sampling. When you check Dancehall, it’s whatever Dancehall is sampling. Hiphop is whatever hiphop is sampling. They could be sampling some banghra drums or some Indian music, but they’re not going to call it Indian music, they’re going to call it hiphop or dancehall.
My influences naturally come from black music, but, right now, you have to be VERY open minded. You’re dealing with a changing business that is rapidly evolving, and if you want to stay on the cutting edge of shit, you REALLY have to check it and focus in on your thing.
It’s not even really about what shapes us as artists but more about what we’re doing as a result of that.
77Klash: I would say influences have answer 1 and answer 2.
First one- the universe…intergalactic, outergalatic, inter-fuckin-planetary, ya know?
And second of all, 400 years of oppression is my inspiration for my music. Everything comes from me, Everything. I am the beginning and I am the end. Ya know what I am saying? One black love from the blackness, all Africa. Everything comes from Africa, the whole world. So we’re gonna bring the planets & the stars & bring em back down to Earth and just say the music is African.
KINETIC: You 2 have a long lineage within the industry, from Smith-n-Wessun- “Sound Bwoy Buriell” to a #1 track with Turbulence- “Notorious”, and yet, rather than bask in the industry success, you’ve managed to stay low profile & continued to create stuff & find yourselves being relevant, so how do you do it?
77KLASH: It’s like the race between the tortise & the hare, man. Alot of cats running past looking like they’re runnin’, but ain’t really going anywhere. Tortise still win the bumbaclot race yeh know?
(Everyone busts out laughing)
JAHDAN: Yeah man, shit, I’m with him! That’s real talk right there.
When you’re a lover of this music, ya can’t stop doing it. You can’t let props and all that get your head delusional. It’s all about the cheddar. Show me those numbers, if there’s money, we’re gonna get it.
It’s straight business, handling your shit to make sure that you’re improving your situation as time progresses and staying on the cutting edge of things. Real talk- that’s what I’m trying to do- make sure my shit gets better!
KINETIC: Can you you give us a list of say your top 5 artists or producers you’d want to work with if you had major budget to handle whatever you wanted?
JAHDAN: Tough question, but right now, in my circle, I have to admit, I feel blessed. The circle of people, singers, songwriters, vocalists, et cetera, that I am involved with really seem to be on the upward spiral right now, ya know?
First off, you know I have to mention Klash, got him producing AND singing on my record & produced “Swarm”, one of the hottest tracks off my band, Noble Society’s album, “Take Charge”, so definitely have to have him in the mix.
With that formula, if I had a couple of million, if I have those people, I can’t go wrong.
77KLASH: Man, that’s a really, really tough question since half of the people I would want to work with are dead…
KINETIC: So go ahead & name em!
77KLASH: Man this a tough one, I would love to have a tune with Peter Tosh, ya know? Get him playin guitars on my shit. I would love to have a song with Nina Simone. A song with Keith Richards playing guitar. I would like to have a song with David Bowie, he’s still alive you know! I would like to do some shit with Radiohead. Definitely with Sizzla, Miriam Amadou, the list just goes on and on, ya know.
Radiohead would probably be the tops though.
KINETIC: What was the ONE record (I’m sure there’s a few), that really made you want to be a part of this? Who did that for you?
77KLASH: For me, my record, (and it’s my inspiration record), I play it before every session…Sam Cooke- “A Change is Gonna Come”… “I was born in a motherfuckin tent, I wasn’t even born in a house man, so like the river, I been runnin’ ever since.” That’s my shit, that tune gets me all worked up and ready.
Anytime I hear that, I’m ready. Light a candle and play some Sam Cooke, that’s the sound of the man working on the chain, gang…yeah, I get revved up!
KINETIC: Damn man, you’re all about the slave music aren’t you…
77KLASH: Yeah man, it’s old negro sprituals man, the anthology of black music.
Oh!!! I forgot to throw in Harry Belafonte for some party shit! “Me seh dey me seh dey”, ya know? That congoline music, when I’m ready to get happy, I put on some Harry Belafonte. But it’s all about old Negro spirituals ya know?
JAHDAN: I second that, but mine, I can’t even front, for me, it’s Bob Marley- “Natural Mystic”. My father would BEAT Natural Mystic from morning to night on our little Fisher soundsystem and we’d be dancing and watching ourselves in the mirror, trying to pick out our jerri curls tryin to grow some notty, ya know…that’s my shit, Natural Mystic.
KINETIC: What artists or tracks are you guys bumpin’ right now?
77KLASH: I’m bumpin a lot of wierd shit right now man! I been fuckin with this wierdo band called Creeps & Androids (?), they got this tune called “Creepy Girl” right now that’s got me revved up. I’ve been bumpin some Roscoe, some Passion Pit ya know. There’s this new kid from Jamaica that I’ve been feelin alot named Subverto, always get revved up when I listen to him. Vybz Kartel for the lyrics.
The playlist goes on and on ya know? I been fuckin with Jah Wobble alot too. That’s the most recent in the playlist, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, I would have to break out my iTunes out here to show you what’s really poppin’.
JAHDAN: Right now, I’ve been bumpin some Janelle Monae.
I’m rockin her shit hard right now because she really is a great performer.
I think the next decade is going to be for artists like her, that can reach inside and bringing out something new, but old, but contemporary, crazy shit. I’m also bumpin alot of Bjork. I like Bjork. For all the ladies out there, you really need to check Bjork, because she’s got something to tell you and you should really listen to her.
Also listening to some Raul Midon, he’s a great guitarist that my producer Diego put me onto. I find that he’s a very classical musician in the sense that he’s so in tune with his instrument. He’s blind, but a great guitarist and an excellent vocalist as well.
Saul Williams! If you don’t know, he got his start as a dub poet but he switches it up on people. They come expecting a scroll full words or lyrics, but he comes with some shit that freaks em out mentally, ya know?
Actually, her and the Skream remix for La Roux, were my favorite tunes for last year!
KINETIC: If you like Bat For Lashes, you should check out Broadcast too..
77KLASH: Haven’t heard of them, but I’ll check em. Been fuckin with Boards of Canada too man, they got some insane shit!
KINETIC: One last question fellas, you got anything you want to tell your fans?
77KLASH: Yeah, SUPPORT! Buy my fuckin records man!
Seriously though, ghetto people, support this sound! Don’t hate, participate, it’s great! Just support!
JAHDAN: Yeah man, same thing. Log onto the websites, check the music. All the Google alerts I get make a man feel good. Makes me feel like people are really coming to check the music.
So continue your support, straight up! So buy and download that shit straight into your iTunes or what not!
77KLASH: Play it in the clubs, play it in the parties, Have sex to it and make babies my shit man!
JAHDAN: People want to talk about the music business suffering, people ain’t buyin records or magazines anymore.
But I think that the real music purists out there, they’re looking for something, they’re waiting to see what’s the next decade got to offer- and Klash City Records, Jahdan Blakkamore, Noble Society and all of our friends are a part of that..ya know?
77KLASH: Our music is crazy and wierd, but have fun, get drunk, hook up with girls, make some babies, have sex, while out…to OUR music!
That’s why I’m tellin or fans to support it! Come to the show, spend some money on iTunes man! Shit, we’re trying to live out here to help you feel good!
KINETIC: You heard it here folks, support your artists!
Thanks again fellas, we look forward to hearing what you’ve got cooking in the days ahead, so be sure to send us some exclusives as they come available!