Interview with Dread Daze
Dread Daze (referred to as DD in this article) is a DJ coming straight out of Los Angeles, California. His real name is Najashi (pronounced na-ha-she) and he was born 29 years ago in New York, but raised in Kingston, Jamaica and Los Angeles. Najashi got the name Dread Daze in 1984. At that time it was just Daze as he says, "I was always in a daze, in my own zone". Then in 1990 when he started to grow dreadlocks, the name was transformed to Dread Daze.
Growing up in Jamaica meant that DD was exposed to music constantly and he recalls, "Music was always in my Grandma’s house from the English musicals, Calypso, Reggae, Blues… All of it and off course my man Nat King Cole. The sound systems were magic seeing Jack Ruby, Nicodemus, Peter Metro, Yellow Man, etc". It wasn’t until he heard Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5 song ‘Nasty’ that he decided, "I can do that". DD got his break in 1987 when he performed in a contest done by Wharehouse Records. He did not win, but caught the attention of a record man from Sleeping Bag Records. Although it never worked out with Sleeping Bag, DD says, "It was a valuable lesson".
Since then, DD has worked hard and has released a cover version of the Pharcyde hit ‘She Keeps On Passing Me By’ called ‘Smoke Trees’. The single was produced by J-Swift who produced the Pharcyde’s first album. Dread Daze’s version has been "bubbling in the world underground" since it was released in Decmber 1999. Although DD has released a cover version, he states that he does write all his own lyrics.
DD works in a group comprising of Kia Gaskins on vocals, Troi Russel on drums, Taurus Hamilton on guitar, Craig Brown on percussion and Duante St. Louis on keyboards. Initially the group was just DD and Kia, they then got together the rest of the members in 1998. As yet they are not signed to any record labels, but they have toured Los Angeles, parts of Canada, the Bay area and North America. They would love to tour the UK as they have been told, "The UK is the bomb. People are very cool".
As an artist involved in the music business, DD has some views on the industry and believes, "The creative vibe is being taken away". The way women are portrayed in videos is also a bome of contention as DD says, "A lot of videos have a false view of women. They make them as money lovin, party drinking, so whatever because you a big baller mentality. Is that the mothers of the future?" DD would like people to not just be real, but also true to themselves.
His views on the Reggae industry are succinct in that he thinks, "They are trying to play us out or should I say diminish our role in the history of music… We need to elevate in the game that is why I am glad that my man Beenie Man is getting commercial radio play".
DD feels "blessed" about his accomplishments so far in the business and says, "Things are going on an excellent progression". He advises up and coming DJs to "pray and ask God to guide you and good people to you. Handle all your business yourself if you can and give the people love and quality in the things you do and the most important, stay humble".
In his spare time DD enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. He would have been a writer if he had not taken the musical path in his life following in the footsteps of his father (RIP) who was a writer.
The group are planning an album for independent release in early 2001 as well as a tour around the same time. His final message for his fans is, "continue to vibe with Dread Daze… the universe is ours". He might only be a small part of the universe, but Dread Daze is making his mark in the world and he’s definitely one to watch.
To book Dread Daze, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out their website at www.dreaddaze.com.
Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Dread Daze - 3-track EP (2001-05-24)