Tell us a bit about your time growing up in St Catherine, Jamaica and how it affected your music career
DB: Growing up in Jamaica was both a difficult and enjoyable time. I was only 9 years old when I left my Mom in Birmingham to go to Jamaica and it was a very different life there so it took a while to adjust.
One of the good things about going to Jamaica in the 1980’s was being immersed in all the great Dancehall music that was emerging at the time. Artists like Tenor Saw, Beres Hammond, Papa San, Ninja Man, Frankie Paul, Sanchez D, Pinchers and many others were Superstars then and I studied and learnt a lot from.
I got involved in the Soundsystem culture at about 14 years old working with my Uncle Graybeard who used to select and sing on a sound called Small Axe. This was my platform to learn how to ride riddims properly, perform to a crowd and build vibes!
You returned to the UK in 1990, a game changing era that saw the Brit Hop sound of London Posse and others morph into the proto breakbeat hardcore sound of Shut Up & Dance & The Ragga Twins. At that time you performed as the opening act at the British Reggae awards. You were rocking the dancehall circuit alongside the man once known as UK Apachi. Can you give us your snapshot of that time and era and what it meant to you personally and artistically?
DB: I look back at that period with fond memories. It was a great time for Dancehall Music with artists like Buju Banton, Capleton, Cobra, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer asserting themselves as standout artists. Some of the artists from the 1980’s were still going strong and dancehall was a serious force to be reckoned with.
As you mentioned I met UK Apachi at this time and we began building a name for ourselves on the Dancehall circuit but it was tricky to get established as the UK Dancehall scene was already locked by the time I got here. There was a label called Fashion Records with Artists like Topcat, Tenor Fly, General Levy, Sweetie Irie, Nerious Joseph amongst others so I always felt I got here a bit too late to join the UK Dancehall elite.
Apachi stumbled upon Jungle through Shy FX’s early hit “Gangsta Kid Feat Gunsmoke” and ended up recording “Original Nuttah” on the exact same instrumental. I got involved with Jungle as a result of my affiliation with Apachi and ended up recording a track called “Who Run Tings” a year later in 1995. At this stage I wanted music to be my profession but I wasn’t taking it that seriously. I was dabbling in music and studying to be a qualified youth worker. Youth Work was my priority then. There were some exciting moments performing on Soundsystems across the country and at venues like Hammersmith Palais. I remember performing with UK Apachi, Shy FX, Gunsmoke, Juxci D’Nero and the full Sour Recordings Crew in Manchester (It was one of (if not the first) big Jungle Dance in Manchester and we literally tore the roof off. Lots of gunshots and lots of vibes! It was a very exciting time and we got to tour across Europe and help spread Jungle to the wider world.
The rise continues as you work alongside the cream of the Jungle/DnB scene and release a critically acclaimed album in 2014. How did you make the transition from Reggae to Jungle/DnB and how did the album come about?
DB: The transition from Dancehall to Jungle was natural I think. Jungle has deep roots in Dancehall amongst other genres of music so it was a natural progression. The Ragga Twins had already set the trend with their background in UK Dancehall systems.
Established Dancehall Artists like Topcat had already been sampled nicely into Jungle tracks and Producers like Remarc were sampling soundsystem clips into tracks so it felt natural to become a part of Jungle scene.
The idea to make an album came about in 2010, I had committed over 18 years to Youth Work and I had an urge to pursue my musical ambitions. I started recording a range of tracks and shopped around for a Label. After looking around I finally found the perfect home at V Recordings where Bryan G and I worked closely together to refine the drafts I had developed. The final product was my first album “One World Many Cultures” of which I am very proud.
Let’s talk a bit about your new track ‘Wish Upon A Star’ with Rowpieces.
About a year and a half ago I decided I really wanted to make another album and started working on some new tracks towards this. I was so impressed with the Remix Rowpieces made for one of my previous tracks “Spread A Little Love” I had to get him involved in the project. He sent me some instrumentals and I loved all of them the first one I recorded was the backdrop to “Wish Upon A Star Feat Rowpieces” and so the journey began.
I wanted to make my first release on my label something special and accessible to a range of genres and music lovers so I called on some other talented friends across the musical spectrum to get involved and the EP was born!
Any last words/shout outs?
I would like to thank God for sustaining me everyday, my Grandparents for raising me with discipline and respect, my Wife and Children and Relatives for giving my life balance, my Brothers and Sisters Potential Badboy, Dawn Wilson, Codebreaker, Navigator, Soulsource, JSilver, Lady MC, Col South, Aries, Cesar NoFace and Marcus Visionary for being bonafide from day one and finally Rowpieces, Battery, Hypertone The Lost Soundsystem and N-Type for helping me to make a great EP!!!
David Boomah- “Wish Upon A Star Feat Rowpieces” EP is out now