Interview with ...
What made you become an engineer ?
When I was working at the biggest records store Aquarius, one day Maurice Johnson owner of Black Scorpio came to the store and saw me doing my work real good then he asked me if I had ever been into a studio before. I said no, so he invited me to come and took a look when I went and saw what it looked like I said : yes this is what I want to do and from that day that was my dream.
How did you learn the mixing process ?
When I was working as an apprentice at Black Scorpio, there was this engineer Mikey Riley, I watched him every day till I finally got it. The first song I mixed was ďRappa Pam PamĒ by Junior Reid
Which engineers work inspired and influenced you ?
I was inspired by Bobby Digital and he got a great influence on me up till this day.
We talk a lot about artists, musicians and producers, but not enough about the engineers. What is, according to you, the contribution of the recording engineers in the musical productions.
According to me, the engineers play a great factor in the music cause we do every thing. All the artists do is delivering the song how we need it to be done we do the most important part but we donít get established like that.
You worked for how many labels before Penthouse?
I worked for JR Production and Black Scorpio before Penthouse.
How did you get connected with Donovan Germain ?
Germain knew me from I was working at the records store. When I left JR Production, I lived down the street from reggae singer Jah Thomas who was a great friend of Buju Banton, so he told Buju that I lived down the street and I was not working so he came by that same day and we both went and saw Germain and from that day I was employed by him. It was around 1991.
What is Donovan Germain's singularity comparing to other producers?
Donovan Germain is totally different, the type of music he produces is more about what is happening in this world, his listening ear is one in a million comparing to the other producers.
Penthouse Records ruled the dancehall during the 90s thanks to a recognizable sophisticated sound. Can you describe how you elaborated this sophisticated sound ?
The sound that comes out of that studio is unbelievable, itís different I donít think it is really the studio alone which does it. It comes with the engineers too because they are the ones who got to find the sound in the studio which is not every one who work in that studio can find the sound. So I give respect to the few that find the sound in that studio. The sound gives you the vibes to dance, itís clean round and bright.
Did you mix songs in Penthouse studio ?
I never mixed any song but I recorded some.
Among all the singles you recorded for Penthouse, which ones are your favourites ?
My favourite song is ďComplaintĒ by Garnet Silk. Thatís the one I love the most.
When and why did you leave Penthouse Records?
I think I left in 1994 or 95 because Star Trail was going to get their own studio and I wanted to get my chance of being the main engineer so I left Penthouse.
Except Star Trail, did you work for other labels after Penthouse ?
There is only one label I work permanently for after I left Penthouse, it is Star Trail. I worked for a lot of labels back in that time like Kings Of Kings and Stone Love and others, I donít really remember but I know it was a lot in that time.
Are you still in touch with the other Penthouse engineers, musicians and artists ?
Yes I talk to Michael "Collie" Cooper every now and then and Andrew Thomas some time I got Tony Kelly as my friend on facebook so we still link.
You recorded in Penthouse studios with some greats riddims makers and engineers. Can you tell us a little bit more about them and the way they work ?
To start with Steven Stanley he was the don dada for the show, he is the most rated in that studio his sound that he finds in that studio no one got it so he is in a class by himself. Dave and Tony Kelly are great, they sound as brothers, it is a little bit different but they got it. Andrew Thomas is my joy out of it, he is just fantastic. Andre "Rookie" Tyrell is bad he comes from Dave Kelly school so you know the sound he got. Coolie was coming up real fast finding the sound too but i should say they all got their own sound and it sounded. Wonderful
What would you hold dear to you the most from your Penthouse experience?
My most dear experience is in the time when Buju Banton was getting future to the world all that time was some moment that I couldnít forget at all, those memories will always stay in my mind.