Interview: Perfect Giddimani

September 17, 2013

PerfectIn seven years Perfect, of Bamboo, St Ann’s parish, now resident in California, has put out as many albums. Some, like 2008’s Born Dead With Life for Austria’s Irie Vibrations and 2011’s Back For The First Time with California’s Lustre Kings, have been critically acclaimed as modern roots reggae classics. Other more experimental efforts have divided opinion. But regardless of what the critics say, anyone who interviews Perfect is guaranteed good copy. This week he releases his seventh set for another Austrian production unit – Sam Gilly’s hardworking House of Riddim. And for his fourth interview with Angus Taylor this likeable singular character talks mento music, his reputation as a taskmaster with reggae bands, homophobic lyrics, and why he is proud to be a Bobo Shanti.

Your new album Over The Top is with House Of Riddim. How did you link with them?
I’ve been working with House of Riddim over the past six years – both on and off stage. I’ve been recording for them ever since our first single in about 2005. And we have done a lot of shows in Europe. We have done too many shows! We have always had a good relationship when it comes to work and we have maintained that over the years. We’ve built on it and until the time came when we thought it was good for us to produce an album.

I’ve seen them backing artist after artist at Reggae Jam. It’s clear they have a lot of endurance and stamina. How do you find working with them?
House of Riddim and I – we have this special connection. It’s not like the regular artists that venture to Europe where House of Riddim does the backing. Sam the leader and I are in contact every day and they have gelled into my set and my performance. They naturally know what I would be capable of doing next more than another artist. They understand my hand movements, my body language, my facial expressions. We have built something that is not the norm for any other artist they would back on stage. I have never had problems with House of Riddim. In the first years we used to work we would have little problems on stage where musically we’d overlook it because of professionalism on stage and carry on through. But I have never had a serious problem where I would say “Don’t play for me” or “Get off the stage” or “I don’t want to work with them again” or anything like that – never.

It sounds like you do sometimes have problems like that with other bands!
Yeah man, I have had problems with bands before! Where for some reason the drummer or the keyboardist has made too many mistakes which you can’t afford to happen on stage. Something that you have discussed with them but it’s still happening. It’s a no no. You give people a chance to learn but if after trying to learn a couple of times the same thing happens that a good keyboardist or a good drummer should know then it’s just not working out. Once or twice is good enough. If you are a real true musician. If you are practising your craft that is a bit different but for a keyboardist or a guitarist who has been playing professionally for ten fifteen years and you are talking to them over and over again like a kid then it’s just not working.

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