Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
Melbourne’s Reggae scene has flourished in recent years with new sound systems springing up all over the city playing foundation Jamaican music with heavyweight bass. This UK style of operation started in Melbourne with Heartical Hi Powa with new crews emerging like Tallawah Hi Fi and Higher Region Sound System. The more Jamaican style parties are held down by the original Chant Down Sound and vintage traditions are kept alive by the Funky Kingston family.
How did you first get involved in radio?
I started on a Hip Hop show at a pirate radio station in North London called Sweet FM back in 2005. I was just editing audio and getting starstruck around my favourite rappers coming in and out of the studio. I was blown away by the work ethic of everyone involved and the willingness to risk legal consequences for getting the music out there.
How did you first get exposed to reggae and why is it that you love reggae so much?
I first heard Reggae on the sound systems in the UK where I did my highschool. The sound and vibe is completely different when it’s played on the street with heavyweight bass. Jamaican bass culture is part of the fabric of Engligh street culture, so everyone grows up listening to sounds that evolved from Reggae like Jungle, DnB, Dubstep, Grime etc. There’s a serious toughness to Reggae which can be missed when listening for the first time. Reggae is often associated with easy listening in a beach holiday environment, but it’s ghetto music from the concrete jungle’s of Downtown Kingston. It’s protest music, the voice of the suffers.
You’ve been on the air at PBS now for 2.5 years, how did you first come to be a part of PBS?
I’ve been doing Riddim Yard for 2.5 years but I was doing fill in shows for years before that. My first spot was on NYE in 2012 hosting Ronan Hamill’s Hip Hop show Hippopotamus Rex. I’m a patron member to that show now because I grew up listening to a lot of what Ronan plays, like Task Force, EPMD, Rodney P & Big L
What is it like working at PBS?
It’s the dream job… which is why we do it for free! I encourage anyone with an interest in real music to get involved at PBS
What is PBS all about?
It’s the home of little heard music. We represent the sounds and cultures neglected by commercial broadcasters who are focused on selling ads. Our announcers are independent and free to give honest opinions and play real music without watering it down for mass consumption. PBS also supports local musicians, live venues and independent record stores to ensure a healthy ecosystem for the scene to flourish.
The show ‘Riddim Yard’ has amassed a whopping 574k followers on Facebook, how does social media tie into the show that you run on Friday’s from 11am to 1pm?
The socials are good way of getting the show out to people overseas. The majority of the followers are in Jamaica, USA and Europe. I post the link to show each week so people can listen back to it on the website. Social media is a great place to share music and promote events but is otherwise a vacuous hole of vanity which leads to depression 🙂
PBS Radio 106.7 Festival will be running from the 13th to 26th of May, what’s planned for this festival?
Everyone pitched together to support the station that has been supporting Melbourne’s music scene for over 40yrs. There’s nothing quite like PBS anywhere in the world: A dedicated music station with specialist programming by expert DJs that is run by the community.
What do you like to do away from music?
Who are you listening at the moment?
Luluc, Kendrick Lamar, River Fury, Anderson Paak, Cable Ties, Cardi B, Wagons, Fontaines DC, Kasey Musgraves, Migos, The Justin Walshe Folk Machine, Travis Scott
Who are a few of your favourite reggae acts?
The greatest voice I’ve heard across any genre of music is the Crown Prince of Reggae Mr Dennis Emmanual Brown RIP. Locally, there’s a great producer called Naram who makes world class throwback 80s digital dancehall on the Red Robin record label out of NZ. Also, Australia’s first Indigenous Reggae band No Fixed Address have record called Black Man’s Rights which stands up amongst the finest music to ever come out of Jamaica.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019?
I’ve got a brand new Reggae show starting on ABC International called Island Music which will be broadcasting across the Pacific Islands. I’ll also be backstage at Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica this July to see the newly freed Buju Banton in front of his home crowd.
Any secrets that you care to share?
I love Mary J Blige
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Anything cooked by Reggae selector DD. And hanging out at Plug Seven Records on Smith St