Interview with I Octane

February 25, 2014


With his versatility in singing and deejaying, roots music and dancehall and every fusion in between, I Octane is arguably the complete package as a Jamaican vocalist. But being so many things at once presents a unique challenge to Clarendon’s Byiome Muir, who has dreamed big from the very start of his 30 years. When I Octane was interviewed in the run up to his Robert Livingstone produced, VP distributed debut album Crying To The Nation he talked of himself as a brand as much as an artist. It was unusual to hear a purveyor of spiritual and reality messages so adept with the jargon of the marketing world. Now as he readies to drop his more reggae oriented second effort My Journey, helmed by DJ Frass and distributed by Tad’s Record, he is keen to show that there is no contradiction in what he represents.

Angus Taylor spoke to an older, more reflective I Octane about his new record and how he approaches the balancing act of his career.


On where he is on his journey…
“I Octane is more of a mature individual in terms of how I view things from my perspective. It’s not just about getting the brand Octane out there by any means – it’s about getting the brand out there with substance behind it. It’s more like a worldwide appeal than just the local market. It’s not just Jamaicans alone. I want to tap into every market, every nation, every generation. That is why I wanted to go in the studio and do an album like this”

“You have a lot of Octane songs out there that people love. But I think for me this is one of my best works so far. It’s really a spiritual vibration in terms of music. It’s more of a worldwide appeal in terms of bringing a spiritual vibration globally”

On why he is working with DJ Frass and Tad’s Records this time around…
“Crying To The Nation was a great album. Robert Livingstone is one of the best producers in Jamaica. But I never got the opportunity to capitalise on that album in terms of my being there physically. The album itself was there but the machine behind the album was absent. I was to tour on the album but that never came through for me. To get the artist and the album in one sequence was a problem.”

“I am an independent artist and the previous company that was dealing with the album wanted to get the artist into a contract to move with the album. It wasn’t my vision to tie myself into a company. But Crying To The Nation is a beautiful album, Robert Livingstone is a great producer and I give thanks for that.”

On how My Journey is different…
“It’s more English oriented. It’s a wider appeal than the previous album. I have not just Jamaican artists on it. I have Gentleman, I have Ky-Mani Marley – that is a different outlook for Octane. I also have Alaine who is one of Jamaica’s greatest female singers. If you compare to Crying To The Nation, this album has a totally different melody pattern and power, the pronunciation is more clear, and it’s more of a soothing album. You can see growth within Octane. I did not write the songs on my own like the previous album. I have co-writers, with different ideas, so I can broaden my perspective and the world view.”

On why both albums were unified albums and not patchwork compilations…
“Each album needs to have its own identity. This is the reason why I haven’t saturated the market in Europe already – because I want to travel with a solid record. I don’t just want to do some club shows and cheat the business. When Octane is travelling it’s all about the product I Octane and not just come and try to scrape a few dollars here and there.”

“Plus I think whenever I’m doing a project for whichever producer – we all come together and sacrifice a lot of things and come to one conclusion that we have to invest time talent money into this album. So that even if the album doesn’t become the number one album worldwide, every individual that cops a copy can know that this is a great album. It’s not just a compilation with some songs you heard before where I put it together and tried to cheat the business. I’m not that type of individual.”

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