Jahmings Maccow

Genre: Reggae

Jahmings Interview With The MuzicNotez Crew

  • MuzicNotez Crew: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you Jahmings, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. So what motivated you to start playing music?
    • Jahmings: Thank you for the gratitude. It is an honor to be interviewed by MuzicNotez Magazine and Crew.

      First off, I can answer the question by going the family route, because on both sides of the family there are musicians and that played a role, or go the higher inspirational route which played the biggest role. So let me answer the question more of the second route by saying, I physically started out living with parents in a local musician house in The Valley Anguilla, by the name of Freddie Carty, that would later on advise me and steer me on this musical path. The story was told to me this way. I was the first born to my parent an inexperienced couple starting out in the world with me by renting a room in this house, and because of their first encounters with this world economic system. Some kind of economic verbal altercation went on between them, and during that altercation my mom told me that my father accidentally stepped on the neck of my toy guitar that he had bought for me and broke it, and I started crying, which almost exacerbated the situation even further, because he started to yell at me and my mom was yelling back at him, telling him to stop yelling at me.

      I don’t remember any of that, but this I do remember. When I was three or four and my sister who was born one year behind, our mom moved us to the neighboring island of St. Kitts, where we were enrolled in our first School, an all day Sunday School, and I remember the very first Sunday we walked into the School, they were singing this song called “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder ” I turned to my sister and sang back almost all the lyrics, if not all the lyrics of that song to her, and I told her that song is mine, because I knew it before that day. This was a big motivation for me because this was the first time I heard the song sang by anyone physically, even though the song was written by James Milton Black in the 1800′s. Even at that stage I knew something was going on divinely with music and myself, but I didn’t know what at the time.

      Some people would say that I heard it on the radio, or back in that musician house back in Anguilla, but you must remember my parents were a young couple starting out and a radio back in those days was a luxury most people could not afford much less a young couple just starting out. As far as that musician playing any kind of music in the house, that would have been a bit too noisy for an infant.

      Knowing what I know now as a Rastaman. Music is an inspiration, and we as Rastafarians know it’s coming from the Divine Source, and we also know that some musicians come through in this life with it intact into the Soul. So it’s not so much a motivating thing for me in these times, but more of a duty and an honor to deliver the music to whoever want to hear it.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: What age did you begin?
    • Jahmings: Like I mentioned to you previously, divinely it came through intact into the Soul from the very beginning. So it’s not a physical beginning age thing for me, even though it is for other people, which is Irie too, because it’s coming from the same source. The only difference is some people have to re-learn it physically.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you play?
    • Jahmings: That started with my mom. Little before I started grade school in St. Kitts my mom was able to travel to the US Virgin Islands in search of work. When she arrived back she bought me my first musical instrument the Harmonica and she also bought herself back a radio. I used to hear her singing songs off of the radio. One song in particular I used to hear a lot around the house was by John Hurt called “Nobody’s Dirty Business”. I thought that was cool. Then I started to listen to some of local musicians in the area and as I started growing I started to listen to a mixture of reggae bands and artists and rock bands from the US and London, bands like The Wailers, Desmond Dekker, Bob Dillon and The Beatles just to name a few.

      When I was ten I moved back to Anguilla for a short while before I moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands and then on to the USA. During my short stay in Anguilla, to my amazement I ran into one of the local musicians who I used to listen to a few years back in St. Kitts that had a local band going on in Anguilla, who took me under his wings and let me wet my feet as a musician. There is a lot more to this story, but it is a little too long for this interview.

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      A few years later when I moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands to live with my mom who was already residing. I used to play with some of the local musicians in the area. My mom who was my biggest supporter at the time started noticing my development and encouraged me to look at singing more seriously. She gave me full access to her Soul and Blues collection, which I listened to from sunrise to sunset daily.

      Few years later when I moved to New York City I was introduced to the music of Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter and other rock guitarists. From there I started to listen further back to Delta Blues Guitarists. So as you see the influence and the molding came from many sources.

  • MuzicNotez Crew: If you could play with any other musician or band… who would it be? (past or present)
    • Jahmings: Right off the bat I would say to you The Wailers, and I will tell you why. Reggae Music is Rasta Music and there is no other band deliver that music better than The Wailers, but because this is a Rasta thing and not a one man thing we have to give way to one another. Let me briefly explain before I go on what the movement of Rastafarianism is. When a Rasta use the terms I and I. It mean (One) of the (Same). Back to the question.

      Because I Am a Rasta, I can not let the ego take precedence over that. What I mean by this is The Wailers is really Bob, Bunny, Peter and their time and era was to lay down the foundation musically for other Reggae Musicians coming behind them as part of spreading the Rasta Movement around the world. Yes in that era I was playing music, but I was still a little youth still learning my craft, and The Wailers was seasoned musicians doing their job, and for me to even think of being a part of that in that era, would have only slowed them down trying to do a job. A student is not teacher and a teacher is not a student. I was learning from them, so that when my time come I can do my part.

      You can also look at it this way a parent and a child relationship or relay race team. The job of a parent is know or learn all the ways of life so they can pass it on to the child. The job of a relay race team is for each runner to position him or herself in a timely fashion to hand off the baton to the other runner. So to answer your question correctly as a Rastafarian Musician I use the relay race team scenario, if every relay racer is part of the team, then I would have to say every reggae musician is part of The Wailers including me. So I AM playing with The Wailers.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
    • Jahmings:
      I narrowed it down to a few, but I will have to go with the concert on The White House Lawn 0n July 4,1984 because of the significance surrounding it.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
    • Jahmings: The ultimate goal for me personally as musician, is to linkup Blues, Rock and Reggae into one because of the history between them. Let me explain a little further about that. Everything starts with the Blues. The Blues was birthed out of the pressing down of the spirit or limiting the (Free Will of Spirit). That is like someone walking into your home and telling you in your own home what to say or do. You would not tolerate that. You would rebel against that. That is the exact essence of Blues. Rock was birthed out of Rhythm & Blues. Rhythm & Blues is a combination of Blues and Jazz. There again it goes back to the Blues. Reggae was birthed out of Ska and Rocksteady. Ska was birthed out of Rhythm & Blues, but the music is played off beat. Instead of playing the music on the 1 + 3 it is played on the 2 + 4. Rocksteady is just a slowed down version of Ska. Reggae is just a slowed down version of Rocksteady. So as you can see everything goes right back to the Blues.

      Now let me tell you why personally as a musician I feel obligated to linkup Blues, Rock and Reggae. I just talked about the Blues, now let me talk about Rock. Rock Music played a big part of the Hippie Movement of the 60′s. I know the history of what Rock Musicians went through of that era, it’s kind of the same thing Reggae Musicians went through in the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and is still going through up to this day, for the Rastafarian Movement. They both are fighting for the same cause. Freedom of the People.

      So my message to musicians in general is each one should do his or her part to the fullest, it don’t matter at what level or stage you are. If you are a seasoned musician do your part to impact your achievements that are in front of you. If you are a developing musician, work hard to develop your craft. And most importantly it is a collective endeavor as a team, to achieve the same goal, and not a me against you thing.

      I also want to say the same principles should apply to fans. Work together as a collective society for the betterment of a (OneSelf) One Aim and One Destiny achievements. OneLove!

  • MuzicNotez Crew: Out of all your songs or albums… do you have a favorite? What is it? And why?
    • Jahmings: It’s hard for me pick out any one song, but if I had to pick one, I would say “Everywhere I Go”. One of my early songs I recorded back in New York City as a single in the 80′s. And my reason for picking this one is, without giving a long explanation behind it, because it would be too long for this interview. The song is a Rastafarian Song that is addressing the falling spirit in pergamos who tried to setup an evil council there as a stumbling block and a control mechanism, to control Rastafarians and people throughout the Earth.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: You performed at the “Rock Against Racism” tours in ’83 and ’84. I know this is a packed question, but can you tell us a little about your thoughts on that?
    • Jahmings: That tour for me was a bit of mix feelings for me. On one hand it was an honor to be part of a dual Continent Movement for the equal rights of all People, and on the other hand it was a little bit ruff for me to come out of myself to put forth a foot when it was mostly needed for the Rasta Movement, because the Movement had just experienced a void one of its core Leader in Robert Nesta Marley. That left the Movement in a kind of disarray and on top of that the assassinations that was carried out on Rastafarians in Jamaica, across the Caribbean, Florida, New York City and London, but it was a responsibility that had to be taken up by all Rastafarians and I and I was glad to do my part for the benefit of the Movement.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: What is the difference between reggae and reggae rock? What are these genres to you, and how did you fall into these genres? Ever desired to collaborate in any other genres?
    • Jahmings: The difference between reggae and reggae rock is reggae is strictly played on the 2 + 4. Reggae Rock varies, sometimes it’s played with some instruments playing on the 1 + 3 and other instruments playing on the 2 + 4 at the same time, with reggae vocals overlaid and other times it’s played on the 1 + 3 with reggae vocals overlaid. That’s the difference between both styles of reggae.

      As a reggae musician I like the freedom and creativity to fluctuate between both styles. One is the root and the other is the branch. Sometimes I like to stay to the drive of the root and other times I like to branch out and be a little more creative.

      Yes, if the time and opportunity presents itself in the future. I wouldn’t mind doing some collaboration with other blues and rock musicians.

  • MuzicNotez Crew: You took a 17 month break from the studio and touring. What did you do on your break? How does it feel to be back at it again?
    • Jahmings: The 17 month break leave gave me some well needed time to do some writing, bring in some new pieces of equipment into my studio and go through some mental recordings for the upcoming new materials, for the new CD. Like Mozart say everything starts in the mind, which I happen to agree with.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: You’re back in the studio recording your 3rd album, what can we expect from this album? How will it be different?
    • Jahmings: Am very happy to be back working and am very excited experimenting with the new gear that was bought into the studio.

      The new album will be a follow-up to the “I” EP, with one or two experimental tracks on there.
  • MuzicNotez Crew: With your long career in the music industry, how do you believe the internet helps or hurts the industry or you as a musician today in comparison to the past?
    • Jahmings: Since my youthful days coming up as a musician in New York City, I didn’t have the full sense or knowledge of the music industry. Particularly getting signed by a label, but what I noticed was, the artists that came before me, who was signed by those major labels, because they didn’t have any Indie Labels in those times, and if they did, they were few and far in between or practically not visible, but getting back to my point. Most of those artists who were on those labels were in one way or another not happy with where they were with those labels. Some had royalty issues others had creative restrictive issues and on and on…

      Back then with my limited knowledge of the business, one thing was clear to me, if you want the freedom to be creative in whatever manner you want, you have to do it in an independent way. I also see that people like what you are creating, you can distribute your creativity to them in an independent way. This was in the 80′s. In the 90′s when the internet came on board and I saw distribution companies like Liquid Audio, Amazon and others and DAW Software companies like Pro Tools, Soundforge, Samplitude and others I know this was the revolution for the Indie artists and musicians. The freedom of creativity and an outlet to distribute it.

      So I would say the internet played a major role in a big way, allowing the Indie artists and musicians the freedom to create his or her music and distribute it a major way, including myself.

  • MuzicNotez Crew: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
    • Jahmings: I want to Thank MuzicNotez and Crew for taking the time to sit down with for I and I to do this interview. And I want to send a special thanks to all fans for their support BigUp… Love Livity and Music. Jah Guide.

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