Interview With Jazzwad
Are you familiar with Bounty Killer's track "Coppershot," Capleton's "Bun Down Dreadie" or even Sizzla's "Anytime Now"? If you are, have you ever wondered who is the mastermind behind those rhythms? Wonder no more and meet Jazzwad.
Born and raised in West London, Paul Yebuah aka Jazzwad, was exposed to music from an early age. The UK Reggae group, Aswad, used to rehearse in his Godmother's spare room and his mother, Lorna, worked at an independent label, Grove Music.
For the last 10 years, Jazzwad has been based between Jamaica and the UK, working with the likes of Sly & Robbie, King Jammys, Bobby Digital and Stone Love, but he got into production after being a session musician. He recalls, "I used to mainly build beats for the main producers and the man that's making the beat, he always has the idea. Sometimes these producers are getting all the credit when it's the man that created the beat who comes up with the idea. So, you can only go so long giving your creations and not getting the credit."
Thus, Jazzwad started producing his own rhythms, with the first popular one being the General rhythm heralding hits such as Bounty Killer's "Coppershot," Colin Roach & Galaxy P's "Miss Goody Goody," Sanchez's "Are You Still In Love With Me," and Alton Black's "I See The Clock On The Wall."
He went on to produce plenty more popular rhythms including the Fiesta rhythm that was running Dancehall during a lot of 2001.
Jazzwad has his own label called Jazzwad Music and his first release on that was "Bun Down Dreadie" by Capleton, "Reggae Stars & Reggae Boys" by Bounty Killer, and "Anytime Now" by Sizzla. He was proud of this achievement, as "Bun Down Dreadie" was number one in the UK for over two months.
When we caught up with Jazzwad, it was in Germany during the Splash! Dancehall and Hip Hop Festival and he worked the stage with Bounty Killer during his set. We wondered if this was a regular thing, but he says, "I only work with Bounty Killer still. Other than that it would be Scare Dem Crew and now Elephant Man."
Jazzwad used to be with England's Ruff Cutt Band in England and then teamed up with a band with a similar name called Ruff Cut in Jamaica. His role was as a keyboard player and using the sampler.
His ideas for rhythms come from anywhere and he says, "I always make my riddims wid de idea of a movie soundtrack in mind. Not just a regular. Something dat sound different, not just Reggae." Jazzwad also worked on traditional Reggae rhythms and worked with Garnet Silk on tracks such as "Kingly Character," "Music Is The Rod," "I Am Vex" and "Bless Me." He has also worked with Gregory Isaacs on the track "Danger In Your Eyes" and London's own Don Campbell. Jazzwad says, "I work on his first album, See It In Your Eyes."
When asked how he feels Dancehall music is progressing, Jazzwad says, "Dancehall has always been growing still although it gets a little fight from time to time, but as you can see, there's a lot of success out there. It can only get bigger. Shaggy's pushing out the word of Reggae and Dancehall at the same time." He believes the industry should be cleaned up because "it can be dirty still. In all forms of business there's dirty tricks and corruption, but we know seh Reggae is a clean music. It's a music weh people love worldwide and you know Bob Marley is the man of the century. Everybody looks to this music for inspiration from time to time, so I just hope it stays clean and positive and starts selling platinum like it should."
The future for Jazzwad includes getting his own studio and pushing out good music. He also wants to keep "family and friends happy" whilst "living life to the fullest."
For all those aspiring producers, Jazzwad advises, "Be original and be creative. Try not to listen to others for ideas." It's obvious he didn't ...
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