Addis Pablo, along with associate and business partner Ras Jammy (Triniyard), are poised to change the way reggae music is delivered to the people. “We will take the music directly to the people. Through the internet, social media, and touring, the vibes will go straight to the people.”
Let’s take a trip across The Red Sea, East Of The River Nile, down the Valley of Jehoshaphat, Up Warricka Hill, and down 555 Dub Street. A place where the mystical sounds of dub-melodica can be heard thundering from the skies like the seven trumpets of the seven angels of the Earth’s Rightful Ruler. A place with a constant Rising Sun. Please Sun Rise. Where Africa is Free By 1983. A place where no one is hungry and everyone is in a Lover’s Mood because they all know that Jah Will Provide. Where the Rockers dance to King David’s Melody as they Chant To King Selassie I and rejoice on this Day of Judgement. For this is a place that young Addis Pablo knows well – a world created by his multi-talented musician father, Augustus Pablo.
Raised primarily in Jamaica by his mother and father, Addis recalls his fondness for the man most of us know as Augustus Pablo.
“Like most little boys, I just wanted to be with my father all de time, you know. So I spent a lot of time in the studio with him, especially in the 1990s. When his health started to deteriorate you could see it. The toll the business took on him both internally and externally, it was painfully obvious. He became less and less active. I remember he used to take me on bicycle rides through the mountains. We could no longer do things like that. I was 9 years old when he passed.
I think for those who seek the knowledge and study the music it is be obvious that my dad is like a pillar or a cornerstone. So many people have been inspired by his sound, as well as his person. Being a creative man and doing what he heard and not what others heard, he could hear and create sounds that will stand out for all of time.
Well I know a lot about him in terms of his putting everything into musical aspirations from his direct connection with the MOST HIGH. As much as he was a traditional fundamentalist Rastafarian he was very humorous at times and had a clever intelligence towards the ways of the world and issues. He was just a very dynamic individual it’s difficult to describe him in words.”
Aside from being credited with producing the two best reggae albums of all time, King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown (1976) and Hugh Mundell’s Africa Must Be Free By 1983 (1977), Pablo played on the most influential classic roots reggae albums of the 1970s as a session musician, many times going uncredited. Using a strange instrument called the melodica, or “blow organ,” he created an influential sound that would define classic roots dub for the next 40 years. In fact, his sound is more alive in music today than it ever was when he was recording. Much like Lee “Scratch” Perry and The Wailers, he is responsible for developing a whole new sub-genre of music that is exponentially more popular today than it was 30 years ago.
Washington, DC. October 2012. I was stunned when Rodigan announced it. As I sit listening to the legendary BBC Radio selecta somewhere past midnight, Rodigan breaks the commercial with the announcement:
“The son of Augustus Pablo – the new single from Addis Pablo – “Call Of The Righteous” – from The Prophecy EP.”
I recognize the sound and vibe instantly…the soul-soothing melodica of Augustus Pablo’s rockers sound. They say that a drug addict is addicted to his or her drug of choice since birth, it’s only when they try it for the first time that they discover what they’ve been missing the entire time. This sound was my drug of choice, and I knew instantly that I would be struggle with it for the rest of my life. A life lived in absentia “east of the river Nile.”
Like many of the great classic reggae tunes that I listened to as a youth, the sound of Augustus Pablo would change my perspective on music forever.
I snap out of it. “Call Of The Righteous” is fading out. I have to find a copy of this now! Google directs me to a Soundcloud page. Suns Of Dub. Interesting play on words. Says young Addis:
“Suns of Dub is a brand that me and [my associate and business partner] Jamal Trinyard Layne have created. he coined the name and I have helped to spread the sounds by adding my versions and vibrations through this brand its basically as you said a record label not in the traditional sense since we don’t really sell that much music yet we try to give as much to the listeners and followers we use soundcloud to host our page and it has been very receptive at least in our eyes we have received over 40’000 listens from tracks we have uploaded we plan on expanding with more producers artiste and Dubbanizers however we are of course keeping it regulated to what we prefer or what reminds us of what we prefer so it’s a platform for exchange of listens feedback and a direct connection to fans and persons who are interested in our type of sound vibration.”
Upon speaking with Addis Pablo at length about his career and plans for the near future, one thing is clear: Addis Pablo and the Suns of Dub have a very unique perspective on recording, producing, releasing, and marketing their own brand of music. In my opinion, they have all of the elements needed to put themselves in the best position to be successful in this business, the most important being the music.
Addis Pablo has the ability to channel the vibes of his legendary father through his own unique style of music. Now, that may sound strange, almost metaphysical, to those who have not experienced Augustus Pablo. You don’t listen to Pablo. You experience Pablo
“I am here to represent for the sounds that are created out of Jamaica. Yes. Now the world has adapted, and began to create, their own sounds as well, which is great because it has helped to spread our music even further and created many genres that are influential on the now generation. So as a member of this generation I plan on contributing sounds which I feel are complimentary to the works set by the foundation such as my father, [King] Tubby, and Mr. “Scratch” Perry. I will be innovating and developing on their sound.
I have released several dubs on my SoundCloud. It’s just for people to listen and enjoy. I will not try to make it seem like I am saving the sound [to release later]. I’m reminding people of where it all started. Inspiration from the MOST HIGH. I don’t plan many of the moves I make I JUST LET THE MOST HIGH CHANNEL THE ENERGY SO when I get this inspiration I can create. People have been doing this music thing who don’t know or don’t seek to know the roots, and don’t have interest in dubbing. Why is it you don’t hear more quality in proper dub. So I do intend to set a standard for how creative and innovative we can be with our sounds, and since the young generation has shown great interest it’s a motivator to focus on dub if it will get them into the vibrations.
This music is music with a feeling. You don’t just hear this music, you must feel it. The way this music is recorded, [tracked], and pressing it to vinyl is key. Vinyl has that element that gives this feeling. You know what I mean. It’s an unspoken thing. This is why the Suns of Dub have a plan to transform the vinyl experience. We are lookin to put out a nice, quality product that someone would like to own not only for listening but for collection as well.”
The music is solid. This is a man with the talent of few. What has always intrigued fans of reggae is the way in which these musicians, most of whom were extremely poor and without proper musical training, were able to compose such intricately beautiful pieces of music. This is especially true for Augustus Pablo, who created musical compositions that impress even the harshest of critics. It is almost unthinkable when you listen to Pablo’s work that he never received a formal music education outside of a basic course or two at Kingston College School. Pablo has his own take on this:
“I would like to say that talent is a gift from the MOST HIGH and it is through direct inspiration and instruction from the MOST HIGH Haile Selassie I who inspires us to create and contribute these types of sounds. It’s the sounds of creation and we are just the instrument. So we don’t need to go to school to learn that because most, if not all, schools don’t accept that message, at least within the institution. Of course there are some great musicans, it’s just that with our sound it’s not something you can read. It’s just in your mind, heart, and soul. Through the melodica and other instruments we are able to express the sound vibration. I do get suggestions and advice on chords and techniques from musicians like “Chinna” Smith , Keysie Ozuine, and a few of the closer musicians that have been molding me as I seek the vibrations. So I would say that is my training. No institutes. Just inna di yard.”
So, according to Addis Pablo, the Suns of Dub will take the music directly to the people. Tapping into a generation raised on the internet and social media, Suns of Dub have been releasing original music through SoundCloud, MixCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, You Tube, ReverbNation, and similar web sites, even going so far as to provide free downloads of many of their tracks. Addis believes, as does this writer, that the music stands on its own. By saturating the web and social media, the music will inevitably find the people. Those people, in turn, will turn on their friends to the music. They will tweet a track, or post it to Facebook, or You Tube. It is then re-tweeted or re-posted by 2-3 additional people. This creates, for lack of a better term, a “snowball” effect in that once it resonates enough with a few people it will keep rolling and growing. Maybe the tune resonates so much with the people that it goes viral. As you can see, a solid melodica-laden drum track that vibes with the people can easily go global in a matter of hours.
Why take the risk of foregoing the well-worn path through a proper producer and record company with a distributor? Addis Pablo has his reasons, and they are all logical. One reason for taking the music directly to the people is the manner in which his father and his father’s contemporaries were treated by the music business. We all know the horror stories that have become almost folklore regarding shady producers taking advantage of some of the most talented musicians ever to walk Jah earth. Not to mention the black hand the Jamaican drug lords had in the dancehall rage of the 1980’s, where gifted and talented artists became indentured servants to the filthiest and most brutal thugs on the rock.
“In some ways this industry killed my father. Sure, he was very sick externally, but the sickness caused to him by this business took its toll internally, in the soul and in the mind. So I believe that this internal sickness made his external sickness much worse. You know, he toured Europe a lot and this was when he was older. I think being on the road, living in those conditions, being away from home and your family, it will take years off of your life. But this is the business he chose. It’s the business that supported our family. I remember getting royalty checks for like 3 cents American. 15 cents. It makes no sense. But I will not go that route. I will not allow that cycle to continue. The Suns of Dub will take the music direct to the people. I believe that the MOST HIGH inspires this music and HE has a plan.”
How do the Suns of Dub know that the music will reach that “critical mass” of people? Because their unique style of dub spans several popular genres. While a tune like “Call of the Righteous” is strictly a classic melodica-laden rockers style dub reminiscent of his father’s music, tracks like “13 Months In Zion” (from the album of the same name) could be classified as Electronica or Atmosphere. Other tracks sound more like Chill or Spa. Yet still others sound more like Dubtronica or Dubstep. It’s not that they are abandoning the foundation of classic roots while venturing into other genres. They are simply expanding their musical palate and influencing other styles. The music is always fresh, original, unique, yet familiar. Most importantly – it vibes.
As for his plans for the near future, I ask him about upcoming projects and also touring, which is a vital element of his plan to take the music directly to the people.
“Well the “Call of the Righteous” track as well as the King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown version with Chevaughn from Csharp is a part of a project that me and Rory Stone Love have been working on for the past year. We have about 11 more tracks of the same live roots nature to unleash when the time is right. Some positive vibrations we will be putting out as an album in next few years with singles to help promote and spread the vibes.
I am also working a tribute album to my dad blowing some of his tunes that he created with Clive Chin in the early stages of his career, including a few off of his debut album This Is Augustus Pablo and tracks which he played piano organ or synthesizer on that were unreleased as a part of the Randy’s lost archives. We plan on launching a single in June 2013 and depending on the vibes, upload a preview to SoundCloud and YouTube on New Year’s Day.
Also, we are currently in discussions with some promoters and booking agents in Europe for a Rockers international tour with members of the Original Rockers such as Ricky Grant, Delroy Willams, Tetrack, and Bunny Brisset. We are looking forward to adding more of the foundation members of the Rockers International brand. So far the reception has been good, so of course we will announce the dates, times, and location when we confirm.
You can check out my Dub version of the single “Pablo Inna Di Yard” known as “Pablo in A Dub” which I was told by Kent Carter of WKCR in New York is a reminder of the traditional roots sound because the track was laid down at Channel One in the early 80’s, so it still has the original sound and tone. Not to mention it was created by the Original Roots Radics Band.”