KDW INTERVIEW WITH DJ STRYDA
*STOP PRESS*STOP PRESS*
Dj Stryda and his crew just launched recently their new heavyweight sound system "NEGUS MELODY" and soon Stryda give us update pon this new project by this powerful Bristol crew"
WELL WE READ THAT YOU INTRODUCED Y'SELF
TO REGGAE AT A VERY EARLY AGE...
That’s correct, I first started picking up on reggae at the age of twelve years old. I got access to the music by tuning into the various reggae shows on the radio at the time.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE MUSIC SCENE IN BRISTOL WHEN YOU APPROACHED IT. WHAT MADE YOU MOVE TOWARD REGGAE IN GENERAL AND SPECIFICALLY TO A RADIO SHOW?
Bristol is known worldwide now as a musical city. There is a scene for most music types whether they
are mainstream or underground. The Bristol roots scene, being underground, needed searching out. By listening to the radio I would hear adverts for up and coming roots dances taking place. I attended my first roots session at fourteen years old along with my bredrin Digi Step.
This experience blew my mind, the heavy bass, the scent of herb,
and the one love vibe, I was hooked! At fifteen years old I went to
my first Shaka dance, well, need I say more? Seeing his glass valve amps, ancient speaker boxes, one deck, and watching him give praises in an almost trance like way resulted in the roots vibe being imbedded inside me, never to depart! In terms of myself getting on the radio, well that happened about three years later. At eighteen years old a group
of friends and I spent the majority of our social lives in the local ghetto ragga dances of the time. This resulted in my bredrins Darkman and DJ Technique establishing links with the renowned Bristol based
radio station Ragga FM. After running a series of radio shows on the station Darkman invited me onto his show to answer the phones for him. This in turn led to myself getting a foot in the door and presenting my own roots show, and that’s how it all began.
WHAT IS REGGAE ABOVE ALL?
It is a heart felt music. Roots reggae in particular is the voice of the poor expressing his or her cries of frustration
and want of better times. It is a vehicle for delivering a message, highlighting the wrongs of the shitstem. As Bob Marley said, “reggae music is news.”
HOW IS THE SCENE IN BRISTOL COMPARE NOW TO WHEN YOU FIRST ENCOUNTERED IT?
Well myself only being twenty three years old means my time spent in the scene isn’t enough to see any huge changes.I find that it’s much the same now as when I was fifteen years old, even many of the same faces are still in the crowd. It remains very much an underground scene, which needs a lot more organisation and financial backing. I like to feel that I have made my impact both on the radio and in the dance, which has helped push the music forwards somewhat.
WHAT DOES THE NAME STRYDA MEAN?
It means a roots reggae dancer. For example, steppas and striders dancing in the arena.
TO BE HONEST INI THINK THAT SUFFERAH'S CHOICE IS THE BEST NAME FOR A CULTURAL RADIO SHOW.EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY YOU CHOOSE IT?
It was my bredrin Asher from MessenJah Sound System that suggested the name. I immediately loved it and used it for the show. As I mentioned earlier, roots music is the voice and cry of the poor and therefore is the sufferah’s choice. A trip to Jamaica at nineteen years old only strengthened the need for using this show title. Moving in areas such as Seaview and Waterhouse in Kingston I witnessed the level of sufferation and the way reggae music was used daily as a form of comfort, upliftment, and release. Unlike most music, reggae is not about escapism but very much about reality. So I am not the sufferah’s choice, the music is.
YES TO ME IT REPRESENTS THE EXACT MEANING AND AIM ,BUT WHAT IS YOUR AIM?
My aim is to spread reggae music and to put out as much positive energy as I can to the people.
Just to know that the radio show has uplifted and helped someone stay focused throughout the week fulfills my aim.
WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHO DO YOU PLAY FOR?
I play for Passion FM currently. I am the presenter and producer of the Sufferah Choice Show.
There are many people who have involvement behind the scenes whether that is, editing jingles, taping the show for me, giving me a lift to the studio, or just offering some positive criticism. Many people are involved in my eyes even though they may not even realise!
DO YOU PLAY JUST UK STYLE OR YARDIE AS WELL?
I play both UK and Yard style. However, I give more emphasis to the UK produced music because very
often the yard selection is already being catered for in the conscious segment of the various bashment shows.
UK selection is strictly down to us to promote, for example if I didn’t play a Blakamix tune then people simply
wouldn’t hear it on the radio, but I left out a Sizzla tune they may well still hear it on a dancehall style show.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOTH STYLE?
Well on a basic level, UK style is roots music produced in England and Yard style is reggae music produced in Jamaica. However, the actual structure of the rhythms being created often distinguishes a Yard style from a UK style tune. You can still get Yard style music made in the UK, for example tunes by Mafia and Fluxy or some tracks on Levi Roots Sound Box label. With the UK style we have used inspiration from the reggae greats of Jamaica and come up with our own unique style which is now being taken across Europe, Japan, and Australia by the again unique UK style sound systems of Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti I, and Iration Steppas. On a deeper level though, as my bredrin Kama Dread once said to me, “bwoy, na categorize it too much ca it all come from the African drum sound so it’s all African Roots music still!”
IN GENERAL DO YOU FEEL THAT ROOTS MUSIC HELPS TO MOVE TO RASTAFARI OR NOT?
Of course, from the days of Bob Marley right through until now reggae music has been the tool to spread
the message of Rastafari and unite the people. A one must just go careful not to base all faith on the lyrics of every
reggae tune that they hear as being gospel. Some artists make mistakes and sing the wrong thing, and not all artists have the same reasoning on a subject. So yes the music helps move Rastafari forwards but a one must still have the ability to pick the sense from the nonsense.
YOU PLAY OUT TOO,WHAT MADE YOU TAKE THIS STEP?
Well it just seemed a natural progression to take the music from the airwaves and into the dancehall.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING NUFF PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU IN THE DANCE COMPARED TO THE RADIO?
Many times very nervous! It is the real test to play in the dance. You can get very relaxed in the comfort
of the radio station but to actually come face to face with your audience is another thing. Playing on the radio differs greatly to playing in the dance. When transmitting on the airwaves you’re entering into people’s homes.
They may be cooking, putting the youtts to bed, driving their car, or even at work. In the dance however people
are all coming specifically for a night out, they want to dance, and they want to see vibes as well as hear them.
So we have to fulfill their needs to suit both radio and dance situations. Although radio is my first love I also
get a huge vibe with the heights you can get a crowd on and the power you have with the tool of a sound system.
Plus I love to represent visually the voice people have become familiar with on the radio.
WHO IS INVOLVED WITH THE ROOTS SPOT CREW?
Kama Dread, Addis, and myself..
HOW DID YOU ALL TEAM UP?
Well, a few years ago I had the opportunity to present four gust radio shows on a station called Powerjam radio.
The thing was my bredrin Kama Dread had been given the same opportunity. To avoid any clashing or competition
I suggested that we team up and present the shows together to which Kama agreed. The four shows were huge
successes and after their completion we joined a radio station called Passion FM. Due to Kama’s family commitments I presented my Sufferah’s Choice Show weekly and was often joined by Kama to co present the Roots Spot Show.We had many special guest passing through the shows one of which was a mutual bredrin of ours known as Addis. After a series of shows with Addis as a guest we invited him to join The Roots Spot Crew to which he accepted. So it was then three the hard way and due to both Kama and Addis being older than myself we combined their experience with my youthful drive and resulted
in the unstoppable force of The Roots spot Crew!
IF I’M RIGHT YOU ARE THE SELECTA.HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE MUSIC,WHICH STYLE DO YOU PLAY AND WHICH ARTISTS ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCE?
Well although on the flyers it states that I’m the Sufferah’s Choice Selecta it doesn’t mean that my role is
limited only to selecta. That title is meant in terms of myself selecting reggae music and reggae music being the
sufferah’s choice. I also take the mic and operate the controls and so do both Kama Dread and Addis.
I choose my selection on vibes and message content. I play strictly rootsman selection inna King David style.
Too many artists to mention in terms of influencing me, they have all played a part.
HOW DO YOU FEEL RESPECT TO THE SOUND SYSTEM SCENE IN UK?
I feel that we have a very unique and special sound system scene in the UK. I would like to see bigger
attendance to sounds other than the established main players. Overall though a very positive vibe with the UK
roots sound that is being spread worldwide now and I feel very proud of what we have to offer.
IS THERE A SENSE OF COMPETITION OR IN GENERAL IS THE'RE A SENSE OF ONENESS IN THE SCENE??
Stryda: There is a sense of oneness on the exterior but really underneath the competition is still there.
It is nothing compared to the extreme competitiveness of the scene in the 1980’s but it is still an element of the
UK sound system scene whether people admit it or not.
YES,AND WHAT ABOUT DUBCHASM,WHO IS INVOLVED?
Dubchasm consists of Digi Step and myself. As a partnership, Digi with his musical skills creates many
dub rhythms whilst I use my contacts to promote the music and arrange for various singers to come and lay down
some vocals for us.
WHAT IS DUBCHASM'S STYLE?
Digi has a very unique sound and vibe. Having grown up together I have been able to witness his musical
talents develop from strength to strength. Digi has always been obsessed with creating the old crunchy style sound
similar to that of his influences King Tubby, Lee Perry, Scientist, and Prince Jammy. He will go to great lengths just to get the exact echo effect he requires, always taking extra steps to achieve his unique sound. I would say that
Dubchasm’s style is a combination of acoustic and digital rhythms along with Digi’s secret ingredients to give
them that overall crunchy, dusty, and extra deep vibe.
WHICH ARTISTS HAVE YOU WORKED WITH?
Well using the links I’ve acquired when interviewing various reggae artists we have managed to establish great
friendships and do some positive works with Tena Stelin, Ras Natural (InI Oneness), Ras Xylon, Ras Umi, and Addis. Digi has also become the latest member of the Shanti Ites band and Aba Shanti has remixed many Dubchasm tracks giving them maximum promotion on the sound, which has made our name known on the UK dub circuit. Infact the crowd response to the dub plate features has been over whelming.
WHAT ARE YOUR RELEASE AND PROJECTS?
Well Digi is constantly building tracks, never ceasing to amaze me by creating the heaviest rhythms from almost
thin air! We plan to continue working with various singers and in the near future release some seven inches to see the public’s response. Digi and I are the closest of bredrins and therefore Dubchasm works will always be there, we have had the goal to release the Dubchasm LP since we were teenagers and so far things are all heading in the right direction for that to become a reality.
FOR A WHILE YOU HAVE MOVED TO AUSTRALIA,TO ADELAIDE LINKING UP WITH MILTON NAPHTALI FROM JAH TRINITY SOUND.YOU'RE SOON TO START TRAVELLING AGAIN,FLYING JAH BANNER WHENEVER YOU GO.HOW DO YOU FIND THE SCENE IN AUSTRALIA COMPARED TO ENGLAND AND IN WHICH PROJECTS ARE YOU INVOLVED?
The trip to Australia has taught me a great deal. It has been good to link up with Milton and help spread Jah music.
The crowds here at the various dances we have played at have been the most receptive and responsive I’ve ever played to.They love the music and are so grateful for our contribution. Comparing the scene here to England I have noticed that people here have got their influences from the Jamaican reggae scene. So when we come inna UK style they are often shocked and unfamiliar with it. So I feel that Jah Trinity and myself have played a key role in spreading our unique steppas vibes of roots music and making sure the message is kept prominent. I have been involved in various projects, playing dances here in Adelaide and being flown twice to Melbourne. This month will see me fly to Sydney and Brisbane to continue spreading Jah music.The vast size of Australia has made me realise just how close other European countries are to the UK and when I return I
shall endeavor to make similar travelling moves as I’ve done here but this time across Europe.
MOVING ONTO OTHER TOPICS,YOU ARE A YOUNG WHITE MAN LIKE ME.WHICH PATH DID YOU GO TROUGH TO GET TO RASTAFARI ?
I went through the path of roots music to get to Rastafari. After years of listening to the music I felt the need to
overstand it more and in seeking and furthering this I have come to know Jah.
IS RASTAFARIANISM A RELIGION?
No. It is a livity, a way of life.
IS RASTA JUST FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
No. How can the Almighty God be just for one race, impossible! Jah loves all his children equally.
The roots of mankind have a black beginning. If life began in the Garden of Eden and one of the rivers stemming from the garden encircled the region of Cush or Ethiopia then surly the origins of man are black. At a later date Noah fathered Ham, Shem, and Japheth and hence we have the different races. So in conclusion, the acceptance of the black roots is important but don’t take the colour issue too far because remember His Majesty said that the colour of our skin must become of no more significance than the colour of our eyes. The bible states ‘let all that hath breath praise Jah’ so this breaks down all colour barriers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A RASTAFARIAN?
It means to love Haile Selassie I and live.
DO YOU BELONG TO ANY ORGANIZATION?
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO AN ITALIAN WHO IS APPROACHING TO OVERSTAND THE LIVITY OF RASTAFARI...
I would say that you must seek but when doing so you must read between the lines. Don’t base everything
on theory; practice counts for so much. Rastafari is such a mystical movement and is often not able to be described in a western ‘black and white’ way. You must open up your mind and go beyond the ways of analyzing things that the system has imposed upon you and instead reach into the depths of yourself and connect with that spiritual need.
That need is the seed that is planted in every man, which awaits his attention to nurture it and help it grow.
NUFF BREDRIN 'N' SISTREN CALL THEMSELVES MILITANT RASTA.WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE REALLY MILITANT?
To be militant is to stick to your morals and principles when faced with adversity. Some people think
it’s just the way you dress, walk, talk, or chant but I feel that it is more how you respond to situations.
In the Scriptures, Daniel was MILITANT when cast into the lion’s den because he didn’t turn his back on Jah when
faced with a crisis.
YES STRYDE GIVE THANKS FOR AGREEING TO DO THIS INTERVIEW,IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE.
WE WISH THAT YOU COME VERY SOON TO ITALY ALONGSIDE ALL ROOTS SPOT CREW TO DELIVER WORD SOUND AND POWER IN THIS YA LAND.
BEFORE WE LEAVE WOULD YOU LIKE TO DELIVER ANY LAST MESSAGE TO INI ALL INNA ITALY?
Well yes, give thanks for allowing me to put out these words. I’d like to say to King David Warriors that
your works have been noticed worldwide so please keep the fire burning. Myself and the rest of the Roots Spot Crew look forward to linking up in Italy in the near future.
As a final message I would like to say that from a country where Mussolini came and tried to overthrow Haile Selassie I, things have now come a long way when we see that this same country is seeking for Rastafari livity and now revering His Majesty. All this is a sign that Jah is in control and that prophecy will fulfill. Jah bless you all in your seeking. Haile Selassie I forever.
Contact DJ Stryda on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or check out the web site:www.falasha-recordings.co.uk/DjStryda