Interview: Ray Darwin

September 21, 2011

Even by the standards of most reggae artists Ray Darwin has lived a full and varied life. He grew up in the Buff Bay area of Jamaica where he received musical inspiration and tuition from Horace Andy as well as Buster Pearson (who masterminded the UK’s answer to the Jacksons – Five Star). He comes from a family of academics and as well as writing, producing and arranging and harmonising he likes to paint. He has lived in the United States and currently resides in Germany. For a time he had no home at all. He’s been the hottest thing in Jamaica with his 2006 hit People’s Choice but has only just released his debut album of the same name. Issued by Joe Fraser records, it’s a whistle-stop compilation of his own rhythms and some reworked productions with some wildly differing producers and reggae styles. One gets the impression that he’s put out one long player in a 3 decade career because he has been busy with his life – which is as much a work of art as his music. Angus Taylor did an on-the-spot interview at what those in the know call Germany’s best festival – Reggae Jam, the night before Ray was to take his creations to the stage…

Ray Darwin

How does it feel to get your first album out after all this time?

Does waiting to exhale explain it? (laughs) I feel very good but even better is the reaction and the response, the magazines and the internet magazines and the German magazines and writers have been very generous and I fully appreciate it because I put a lot into it and I went through a lot. I felt like there was even more room for improvement but I had to stop at one point and say “OK, this is it!” because I’m a perfectionist and I will keep on improving till 2020! (laughs) But the point that I’m making is that the reviews were very kind, it’s very reassuring and I appreciate it.

You did some of the rhythms yourself and others were compiled from other producers. Is this a deliberate strategy? How did it fall into place?

I was building a lot of my stuff and I felt that I wanted some fresh blood, some other creative input and the unifying glue would be my songs on other peoples music. It’s always good to have variety, as the saying goes “Variety is the spice of life”. So I also identified with these rhythms and when I heard them they inspired me. So that was one reason, the other reason was that I calculated to have a multi-production input.

Read more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *