Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2015 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 2, 2015
• From Page A29
Newcastle. It s arrogant and stupid.
You just can t cut it with the com-
petition out there.
"The music of a place is its char-
acter, it s an organic product,"
"What makes a music distinctive
is that it is rooted in its environ-
ment: that s what makes for a
unique form. If it cuts off its roots,
it becomes a synthetic product. If
you are marketing bubblegum and
popcorn music, that is not the type
of music that is enduring.
"You can see that with calypso,
prior to soca. It was distinctive. In
the 50s for a while, it even looked
like calypso would become the
most popular music. Calypso is
the Trinidadian form. And in Toba-
go we also have the jigs, reel, bongo
and limbo, part of the Tobago Her-
itage Festival. All these forms are
part of the musical heritage here
that is abandoned...There s a good
deal of (musical) ignorance here
by way of apathy and neglect of
our own forms," says Lee.
DJ Chris Leacock, aka Jillionaire,
of a younger generation, is not as
critical of local musicians and
music-makers. He thinks T&T is
producing some excellent music,
which just needs more exposure.
He is not married to strict defi-
nitions of music genres---"Death
to genres" he says---as in his busi-
ness, the mixing and fusion of
multiple styles speaks to an entirely
different sector of the music indus-
try---music as pure entertainment,
for the dance crowd.
Leacock is a DJ from Chagua-
nas, Trinidad, who s now based
in Los Angeles, and part of Major
Lazer, an electronic music group
which plays to sold out party
crowds internationally. They ve
created some big indie
dance/house hits and collaborated
with several major artists, mixing
electronic, dancehall, moombah-
ton, reggae fusion, rap and other
Created in 2009 by Mississip-
pi-born record producer Wes Pentz
(aka Diplo, short for Diplodocus---
Pentz likes dinosaurs) along with
English DJ David "Switch" Taylor
(who later left in 2011), Major
Lazer s other current member is
Jamaican DJ Leighton Walsh (Wal-
Leacock questions traditional
definitions of what constitutes
"local" music, pointing to T&T
artists working across different
international music categories:
"Orange Sky and JointPop are my
favourite rock bands. Kes makes
radio friendly pop and reggae
music. Sef Gaines, Vetta and Chro-
matic have been making rap hits
for years. Maximus Dan has been
dabbling in EDM and was recently
credited on [platinum selling] Jack
U s Jungle Bae.
"I think we have excellent qual-
ity records out there," says Leacock.
"They just need greater visibility.
Trinidad isn t just about soca hits
and struggling rapso artists any-
more. Jus Now have taken their
blend of Trinidad percussion and
UK drum and bass to Glastonbury
and the BBC Radio One playlist.
Bunji Garlin enjoyed regular rota-
tion on New York s Hot 97.
"If we want to sell more music
we simply need to create more
music. You don t need an album
deal to put your songs on Sound-
cloud...or iTunes for that matter,"
• On Monday, The Business of
Music continues by looking at
some of the great Caribbean
Singer/songwriter David Rudder:
"Keep your ears and mind open
always, good songs are
everywhere---in a bar, on the street...
all over. Don't do things that weigh
heavily on your spirit; even if it
comes from the label, you'll probably
regret not listening to your heart."
Pianist Rafael Robertson:
"No matter what happens, you
have to stay positive, and keep doing
what you do. People who persevere,
end up succeeding.
"Always learn. It is part of the
whole universe that you are
influenced by other things.
Technology has brought us closer in
some aspects: you can go on
YouTube and hear anyone."
DJ Chris Leacock/Major Lazer:
"Just keep going. Don't let anyone
tell you to give up, or change your
style, or forget about it.
Rembunction recently did a feature
with New Zealand's Weird Together.
By the time this is published he'll
probably be in Japan shooting the
"Secondly and most importantly of
all, the internet is your friend. Every
DJ and producer and singer and
musician ever is on Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud,
Snapchat and so on and so on. The
same way we discover artists from
Russia to Mexico to Africa, is the
same way that artists from Trinidad
will be discovered."
Music writer Simon Lee:
"Listen to the Caribbean region's
music and learn from it. Don't be
restricted; and don't be too easily
influenced by global pressures. Of
course you can compete in the global
music market, but you also have to
be real, to see the music from its
own place...You have to work from
where you are, and who you are,
before you can take on the world."
Jacob Edgar, talent scout and
"Just make great music, have a
cool style, be creative, and you will
find an audience."
Leacock: To sell more music we
simply need to create more music
T&T DJ Chris Leacock, right, part of the international DJ collective Major Lazer believes local musicians must
experiment beyond traditional genres.
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