‘’I first became interested in reggae music during the mid seventies, when I lived in Manchester. It was the era of the ‘punky reggae party ‘ – they always had a mixture of punk bands & reggae bands and I heard my first sound system at one of their outdoor festivals.
At first I became aware that some of the music was different to the rest – it had a harder feel to it, with strange echoed bits of voice and piano. Eventually I discovered that this style of reggae was called ‘dub’ and from then onwards I became a confirmed dub addict.
I began collecting records, ones which cost little then but have since come to be worth a small fortune. Dances were different in those days. Most of the sounds were much heavier – you’d be literally gasping for breath because the bass put so much pressure on your chest, but in 1980 I discovered a new level of sound system, when I heard Jah Shaka for the first time in Derby.
The intensity of Shaka dances back then was something else. The music he played, the way he sounded and his dj style was unique – even though other sounds might have played the same dubs, Shaka’s cuts were always the baddest -, and everyone producing music or playing sound on this scene nowadays is influenced by him, myself included. In fact, the roots scene in England probably wouldn’t even exist now without Shaka, ‘cos he’s the only one who kept the faith & kept it going when all the other sounds drifted off into sleng teng and fast talk MC’s and ragga.
In 1981 I moved to London and started going to Shaka dances at a club called Phoebes in Stoke Newington on Friday nights. A few years later I got the opportunity to have my first actual input, when hip-hop dj Tim Westwood asked if I wanted to do a reggae show on a pirate station he was on called LWR . I did it for about six months and I used to do ‘session tapes’ in advance where I’d record dub with an MC and sound effects then play it during the show.
At the same time some local youths who were forming a sound system asked me to join as selector, owing to my large collection of music. The sound was called Humble Lion and for a couple of years we played in blues dances throughout North London, building up a reputation. Sound members came and went, then in 1987 we decided to build the sound up more and changed the name to Jah Warrior . For the next few years we played in London on our own and also with other sounds like Manasseh , Jah Tubby’s , Iration Steppas , Aba Shanti , Jah Observer and so on.
The sound system led to my first beginning in producing music. I started off doing dubplates with Keety Roots and Blacka at a studio called Vibes in East London. I didn’t really have much involvement with the music then, I just used to hum a bassline, and they’d turn it into a tune for me. I continued doing this at various other studios with other people, and began to teach myself how to play, though I still wouldn’t really call myself a musician.
Then in 1990 I had an opportunity to release some music with Mr Modo records. I put out an LP called Warrior Dub ‘ under the name Zulu Warriors and a single called ‘ 2000 Style’ with Naph-Tali , but I wasn’t ready for it at the time and I later took a long break from releasing any more stuff, whilst continuing to produce dub for the sound.
In 1995 I decided the time was right for putting out more music, and the first on the Jah Warrior label was ‘The 22nd Book ‘ , voiced by my long time companion Naph-Tali . The tune sold well and was generally acclaimed as one of the best roots singles of the year.
Since then, the sound system has taken a back seat to the music production. I’ll still play out for other people when the occasion demands, but after twelve years of carrying speaker boxes up stairs, I get more enjoyment out of working in the studio and I plan to release many more tunes in the future. Jah Warrior Records has gone from strength to strength now and is established as one of the leading independent roots and dub reggae labels in the UK. To everyone who’s been with me on the way, I just want to say thank you, and respect.’’