MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you again, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
How have you been since we last spoke? What’s new?
- Jahmings Maccow: Greetings! It’s an honor to be back here with you guys. To answer your question, I’ve been working on some new catalog releases and writing some new materials and several other ongoing projects in the works!
MuzicNotez: Your latest release is from 2018 entitled ‘Trod It Through’, what’s this single mean to you?
- Jahmings Maccow: That is a track, that reshaped my musical focus from roots reggae to reggae rock; stemming all the back into the late 80’s, in New York City! The track came about while I was experimenting on my guitar around reggae, blues and rock licks at rocket rehearsal/recording studios on the westside in mid-town Manhattan New York City! That’s how far back that track is coming from.
I had just gotten back to the big Apple, off of a disastrous gig from overseas, with some members of catch-a-fire band! At the time the band had new management and artist development with Colombia
Records A&R management team and B.T. Express Band Road manager, which started with The Enforcers, prior to the division of catch-a-fire band, that I was still under with the enforcers band.
After the catch-a-fire management issues, which eventually led to the separation of the band, am not going to use the word breakup, because anything breakup can’t be put back together. (“A valid Rastafarian quote from Peter Tosh”)! After that separation I met up B.T. Express Road Manager, who I had known previous back at Cine 42 Theater, before becoming part of my management team, introduced me to the CEO of Columbia Records A&R Operations Department, and the band leader and members of B.T. Express, who at the time was under contract with Columbia Records. That meeting took place in lower eastside of Manhattan!
Days later I met with Barry the CEO of the Columbia Records A&R department of operations and Joe the road manager for B.T. Exxpress Band in midtown Manhattan to sign an artist/band development contract. At that time, I was just putting The Enforcers, band members together and working with the band finical developers/investors, who was investing in the band PA System and other band equipment’s! Things was moving pretty rapidly at that time with the new band, even some members of GQ Band, who were living in the Bronx, at that time, were trying to get onboard to help out the band, by discounting some of their equipment’s to help out the band, because at that time their band was in dissolving mode!
At that time the finical developers for the band, had high expectation for the band to be recording albums and intents records promotion on the road. Their vision at the time, was for the band to be like the British rock band, the rolling stones, but some band members were divided! Some members just wanted to stay more at home and work with incoming reggae artist from Jamaica and do studio work at Bullwackie Studio and other surrounding local studios works, with local reggae artists in the area!
That alone wasn’t going to cut it for the finical investors! Bullwakies Studio in The Bronx, was just like another Studio One in Jamaica, where up and coming reggae artists and reggae bands were given the chance to develop their skills behind other established reggae artists and reggae bands, but the payoff was just that, development, with
little or next to no cash payouts. I did that for a little while, but I knew that alone wasn’t sustainable, because the band had bills to pay back to the investors! So, I partially left the band and regrouped with some of catch-a-fire band members to go on tour around the eastern seaboard to help pay the band bills down, and at the same time still continue to develop my skills around touring!
When I got back off of that tour, before I can even get back to my home in New York, I was invited via telephone to go to the home of The Fat Boys in New Jersey, they were having a party to kick off their upcoming tour and one of my camps representatives in New York wanted me on hand to discuss pairing up with the Fat Boys tour! When I got there one or two of The Enforcers Band members were present at the house, to discuss the possibility of doing the tour with The Enforcers Band, but I was already committed to touring with the new, reunited catch-a-fire band members! Weeks later before the tour was kicked-off, it was cancelled!
Back in New York I received an invitation to do a gig overseas, which I passed on to my manager to handle. Weeks leading up to that gig, my manager advise me to think of canceling that gig, because of insufficient tickets sales, transportation coverage, and per diem coverage! The new management teams were trying to put the band back on the right path, by making all the right moves! The one thing I learned back then; you don’t let your emotions get into the way of business, because I didn’t know back then, that the invitational personal/promoter, was an inexperienced promoter.
The invitational personal/promotes called me personally to let me know that he did not like the way my manager was handling the gig, and I should disregard the ticket sales issues, because that was just a temporary situation. Radio Promotion he mentions to me, will boost up tickets’ sale! His words to me, come and do the gig everything will be fine! So, I took him up on that, and disregarding my representative advice, which turnout to be a big disaster.
When I got back to New York everybody was pretty washed! Reggae Music was at a crossroad! Dancehall was pushing its way onto the forefront, yanking the Positive Elements out of the music and replacing it with distractive lyrics. Every reggae musician at that time was
jumping onto that bandwagon, except Jahmings Maccow! I started drifting back into the studio!
One thing I remembered, when I was back in the studio at rocket! When I first went up to the Bronx to put The Enforcers Band together! The band first rehearsal was at Ras Makonnen home, a reggae guitar player, who was at the time doing studio work at Bullwakies Studio and playing behind The Meditations!
The band didn’t have a drummer yet; so, he decided to fill-in on drums for the band! We were rehearsing two unreleased roots reggae tracks that I had record two years prior to me joining catch-a-fire band’ entitled: “Running The Earth” and “Everywhere I Go” and a new rhythm & blues song entitles: “Memories”, and two new reggae rock songs entitled: “Panya Ground” and “Freedom”! I remembered after the rehearsal Makonnen was excited about the new R&B Reggae song and the new reggae rock songs, and courage me to build that branch of reggae, because that was another branch of reggae coming behind punky reggae!
So, one day I grab my guitar and a 1/2 inch 16 track tape and headed downtown midtown Manhattan to rocket studio, to work on a crossover reggae rock song entitled “Selah” which was an offshoot of “Freedom” after the session I remembered the engineer turning around to me with a big grin on his face and said to me, I would like to see that one performed live, because no reggae bands in town was playing that type of music yet, in fact when I played it for some of my band mates, they told me that wasn’t reggae.
From that point on I started exploring more and more into that kind of writing and composing, I wanted to return back to, when I started experimenting with blues and reggae!
The Trod It Through track is a rewriting and renaming of Selah! The history behind the song, is like the reflection of life itself to me; ever transforming itself, through times, environments and the evolutions of life situations itself.
MuzicNotez: You’ve also been working on a follow up release, however it’s been delayed thanks to the pandemic. How’s it coming along?
- Jahmings Maccow: I will say this! The unfolding of events locally and globally, is part of the arts for me! Whatever the environment dictates to me I reveal, whatever it doesn’t reveal to me I don’t reveal! That is one of the fundamental’s lessons I had to learn as an artist and a Rastaman. I don’t go against nature. I work with nature, because I Am Nature. So, if nature holds me up in any place(s) and commands me to write, record or promote and tour, in that time and space, then that’s what I do in those moments! So, to answer your question, because I am working with other people and musicians and the cause and effects of what’s going on have an immediate impact on their lives, my attention was turned to exploring new songwriting and other solo projects, to add to my catalog collection, until I can resume the album follow up to Trod It Through, with them.
MuzicNotez: What can you tell us about the project? What’s all expected to come with it?
- Jahmings Maccow: The album was almost completed, with just a couple of more tracks to be recorded, before the delayed by nature came! Tha album is a reggae rock songs collection. I am not sure if any of the new songs and acoustic solo stuff I am working on at present is going to make it onto the album, but I am thinking of it in some capacity! I will see once I meetup with my crew again; what vibrations I will resume from there!
MuzicNotez: What’s your writing style like? What inspires you?
- Jahmings Maccow: I am a free stylist, I like to explore musically and keep on evolving as an artist, even thou I will say to you today that I am a reggae rock artist; tomorrow I might drift off into something else! Creativity is my name and that is the name of the game; like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water, that continually seeks to branch out! That’s me as an artist/musician.
In answer to the second part of your question? The inspiration comes from the rebel.
Against the pathway blockers and the grumpy pit diggers, who goes to and fro in the Earth setting snares and traps for The Divine Inspiration and The True Nature Of JAH!
The more they stand in the pathway; The Stronger the Inspire Comes! One thing is Guaranteed. Jah Say’s to the grumpy pit digger. He will bury in it.
I will add to that, only a fool ± believes he or she can stand in the pathway of an oncoming Mack truck. This is where my Inspiration Comes from. The Intelligence JAH, Seen! The Movement of JAH People.
MuzicNotez: Your last interview in our magazine was very popular, always has received a lot of traffic. How does it feel to have so much support from your fans?
- Jahmings Maccow: Man, that’s great to hear that reggae rock have so much influence around the world, stemming out from roots reggae, and it’s an honor to be a part of that movement and the fulfillment of reggae around the world in general. “Special Thanks To All Reggae Rock Fans Around the World”, because they are one of the biggest parts of the movement. So BigUp Ounu-Self! Nuff Respect!
MuzicNotez: What’s another artist you would like to collaborate with?
- Jahmings Maccow: In the Fulfilment musical realm, collaboration is an ongoing thing, musically for me.
I remembered when I was at Dick Grove School of Music, in Sherman Oaks, California. A “Bob Hope” funded affiliation of Berkeley University, in Berkeley, California! I was on a spring break in the bay area, walking down to Fisherman’s Walf in San Francisco, without giving away his name or his instrument, because when it comes to the media, he is a very private person, so nuff respect to that.
As I was forwarding through, he was playing one of his tracks off of his newly released cassette single entitled: “Summer Nights”! I stopped and started to video tape him, he immediately stopped me, we connected eye to eye, then he said to me very respectfully, that he would rather not be videotaped.
I bought a tape off of him as a supporter of good street music and musicians, he then gave me a cassette copy of the newly released single! I liked the entire three tracks single, but I was drawn to that particular track he was playing, when I came upon him, because I was
playing some of the same scales modes at Dick Grove! So, it was an immediate connection between both of us.
On another occasion, I was in Santa Monica, LA and I came upon two blues street musicians, a blues guitar player and blues singer/guitar player, I was checking out their acted!
When they took a break, the guitarist walked over to me, out of all the people who were standing there, and calmly said to me straight up, “I Feel You”.
That’s the musical realm I trod through. It’s not just a physical collaboration thing a gwaan, it’s a spiritual thing too, but about collaborating with anyone on the physical plane question?
No particular one comes to mind immediately! It can be a big label name recording artist/musician or the smallest good street artist/musician, on the streets corner.
Except Con artists, pirates and hog-pen spirits, because they are stagnant, none productive, none creative and unclean spirits.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
- Jahmings Maccow: There is some new catalogs projects I touched on earlier in the interview, that I don’t want to give away too much info on at the moment, but I will say this, lookout for some new reggae rock tracks and some unplug/acoustic stuff, in addition to the follow-up album to “Trod It Through”! Also, the promotion of those finished projects, through new outlets and platforms! So, stay tuned.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
- Jahmings Maccow: Without mentioning any names at this moment, because of malicious internet trollers and for safety purpose of my musical colleague! I would like to give a big shoutout to the contributors of the works/projects. You know who you are! “Special Thanks”!
I also want to take the timeout to advised Inde artists/musicians, Indie Producers and Indie Record Companies, be careful of unsolicited contacts, via emails, text messages and phone calls, from people posing as artists and musicians, seeking out artist collaboration, music producers and recording contracts!
It might not be what you think. This is an era of the internet anybody can post whatever they want; just because someone say that they are this of that, and put-up a page with some photos and exaggerated info on it doesn’t mean diddle-squat!
So, if you decide to respond back to anyone like that; make sure to scrutinize the info very closely and checkout their background carefully. Someone tried to pull some b.s. Like that with one of my Jamaican reggae/dancehall producers, Facebook colleague, but they fall short, because of his level of intelligence. So, with that sad! BigUps to all hard-working Indie Artists, Indie Musicians, Indie Music Producers, Indie Record Companies and most important Indie Media Outlets! Nuff Respect!
Big Thanks to the MuzicNotez Magazine and Crew, for the interview!