ARTICLES INDEX STAR!

MARK RAGSDALE ASKS 20 QUESTIONS TO MESSIAN DREAD

1. How did you first get interested in reggae music?

After listening to a track called "5 Nights Of Bleeding" by an English dub poet called Linton Kwesie Johnson I got totally hooked on this drum and bass driven rhythm of reggae music.

2. Is there a big reggae community in The Netherlands?

Not really that big. There used to be a bigger community. We're also a small country. But all the big and lesser big names of Reggae Music come over here to play concerts, so then you see people coming.

3. You have described yourself as a Jesus Dread. What exactly is this?

I took that from how they call Yabby You, a well known producer and singer in Reggae Music, who has worked with and even discovered great Reggae Singers like Wayne Wayde and Michael Prophet. Yabby You is the original Jesus Dread, for it is a name given to him. His definition is "I deal with Jah through Jesus Christ". You can check it on his website. Some people deal with Jah through Rastafari, he deals with Jah through Jesus Christ. I am also a Jesus Dread, because I deal with Jah through Jesus Christ. I am also a dreadlocksman.

4. Does this mean you see Selassie as a deity or as Christ returned?

No, Haile Selassie was just what he said he was: A mortal man, not to be worshipped and to be replaced by the ongoing generations. These are his words. Also when you check the Bible you can see that Haile Selassie can not be a part of the Divine Trinity.

5. How long does it take you to finish a song once you begin on it?

Sometimes it takes me weeks, and sometimes I finish something in 24 hours. One day I was working on music, and it was like Jah said to me: "Why don't you ask Me for inspiration?". I did and I made a track which was received well, it was even reviewed in an English magazine. The track is called "DubRighteous". For when you pray you are doing a righteous thing.

6. What are the differences between making music on your computer and going into a recording studio?

The difference is that I have to simulate the situations of a studio. I have to have some patience when my computer has to make some heavy processing. I have to think what I want in advance a little more. But I also have a little studio, in the meantime, so not everything is created with the computer anymore. I see the computer in the studio. The computer is the heart of the professional studio and the home studio, and the quality of computers become better and better. In a studio you can record a band, so you have to have some space and thing. That is a thing I surely miss. To be unable to record the band I am a member of.

7. Have you ever considered making an album of Roots music?

You mean, an album without dub? No.

8. Have you ever had requests to do versions of other people's music?

Yes, I am currently working on a track for Alpha and Omega, a well known Dub duo from the UK. I also make some tracks for a guy called Vicious Vic, but he's not vicious, he's a really good bass player that lays down lines that rock hard, so I make some tracks from his bass lines, and they are quite successful. I also dub some music from Sure Dread, a brethren Jesus Dread from my home town.

9. You are a member of the band Jah Roots. Is the band still together?

The band is still together. We were formed in 1987 as Messiah Calling, but we later changed our name to Jah Roots.

10. Does Jah Roots do any shows?

We used to, but at the moment we are working on recordings, at least that is the plan. We're thinking out concepts how to play Dub Reggae live. That's quite difficult to do if you want to do it right.

11. Does Jah Roots have any albums available now or in the future?

We have one demo called "In The Beginning", but even I no longer have a full copy of it.

12. Do you have any advice for people just starting out?

Don't protect your music too much. Don't be too soon satisfied with what you do and publish. Be where you must be online, and stay coming there. Reason with people. Have contact. Abide by the rules of decency as much as possible.

13. Being in Europe, do you have any opinions on the American CCM industry?

I don't really see the need for such a thing. Christians entertaining themselves, playing "world" so to speak. They avoid any music that is not lifting up the Name of Yesus, but in de same time they want to be entertained with the same vibes. It's like a world in a world, but that was never part of Yesus Message. He did not say we should separate ourselves. We should come together, like in STAR, I am so happy with that, to meet
brethren and sistren in Christ, but I am a musician and if I would be a grocer I also wouldn't only go to Christian groceries to get or give work.

14. You have a web site called The Dubroom. Tell us about it.

The Dubroom is named after my home studio. It's an online virtual sound system, where I present all kinds of reggae music freely available on the Internet. It only has to be good quality reggae music as clearly defined on the site. I have a section in which I review albums, there's a studio where you can find all kinds of things for you own musical creations, there's a lot of links, and information. I also have a music forum and a forum in which spiritual things are being discussed. There is also a "home of Messian Dread", in which one can find out about me, my music and my belief in Christ Yesus.

15. How has being a member of STAR helped you?

It helped me to discover more music created by Christian people. I like the non-denominational aspect of it as well. But I think we need to have some more activities. Fortunately these things will also be there in the future. STAR also helps me presenting my music to a more Christian audience, because out of the many Christian Reggae I have heard there is not so much Dubwise.

16. Any funny or interesting stories that have happened to you?

I am happy with people writing to me that they found one or another blessing from Jah in my music or website. I'm grateful to God for the very little things that He shows me

17. For those who don't know, what is the difference between Dub and Roots?

Well, Roots can be Dub, but Dub doesn't have to be Roots. Roots is a form of reggae, the original form of reggae, and Dub is an authentic way of remixing reggae. This can be roots reggae, or dancehall style.

18. Any plans to sign to a label or start one yourself?

Well, I have been published on a compilation album called Roots of Dub Funk, with a worldwide distribution,  on the UK Label of Tanty Records. I have also been on a compilation call Dub Meet Dub, by a label called Black Spine.

19. Do you think that people might see you as less of an artist by making music on a computer rather than in a recording studio?

Some might do it, but creating my music is just as much blood sweat and tears as music not created with the computer so to speak. Many seem to think that creating music with the computer means you got to click your own hit together, well that is absolutely not the case. Every major and minor detail in my music, I have put it there.

20.  Anything that you would like to add?

I love STAR, and what it stands for. I am happy to see people coming together in this network, all praising Jah through Christ, all on their own part of the One Way. We can come together here, and check each other out. I sometimes get letters from brethren in STAR, as fellow STAR members, showing the care that we have for each other, it is good to see this involvement.