We’ve been following Reginald since his debut ‘Do You’ track featured on Gilles Peterson‘s Bubblers compilation and have been hooked since. The 22a affiliate’s smooth stripped back production embodies funk, latin, jazz, soul, Afro, and a nod to gold era hip-hop. As with his latest album, much of his work is a journey of self discovery, searching and becoming acquainted with his heritage and ancestor’s movements.
Where We Going? was partly recorded on a trip to the Mascarene Islands in search of family roots. “The album is reflective of the search for this lineage, which branches from ancient Mauritian Maroons – whose rich heritage, music and culture includes an unrecognised, undocumented resistance to colonialism – though Swahili and Malagasy to sugarcane plantation Creole slave descendants.”
While his beats are “primarily hip-hop” and regularly defined as Dilla-esque, Reginald prefers not to label his music or categorise his sound.
“I’d not give myself a bracket if I’m honest… I’d like to just leave it open so that I could just adapt to wherever I’m playing, whoever I’m with.”
Ahead of the global pandemic, we had various shows planned with the Peckham soul artist, namely an album launch of his forthcoming Mama Odé project which collaborates with his Deenmamode Brothers.
“In the shadow of the recent social/political events, I feel as an artist an obligation to create and speak out for my people. We are still dealing with, as always, this question of race. As a person of mixed African and European descent this question has always been a prominent one. From my first hand subjection to direct racism and discrimination, to the understanding and the learning of my ancestors stories, who, born into slavery, survived, so I could be.
The truth is ugly and hard to confront. But for Black, Brown and people of colour, there really is no choice. It is in front. Most prominent. For Life.
Black music and culture has given so much, not only in contribution to art, but monetarily it has been abused. It echoes the systematic abuse of the very people who create it.
This mix attempts to ask the age old question of ‘Why cant Love set us free?’ Truly free my brothers and sisters.”
It’s been a really tough time for many aspects of the music industry with the global pandemic. That being said, it’s also been a time for reflection, growth and peace. Has the lockdown allowed you to discover or delve deeper into any particular music or artists?
The enforced solitude hasn’t dramatically changed much in the way of my routine. I tend anyway to spend a lot of my time listening, playing and producing music in solitude. If anything, it has allowed me a deeper level of focus, without distraction and kind of relieved any shadow of questioning what I spend time doing. I’ve been listening to a lot of old reggae and dub LPs and hearing new things within Afro, jazz and soul LPs that I’d not previously perceived. I’ve been playing more keys maybe… it’s just more regular practice, more time for me to sit at the Rhodes.
How have you found moving from London has affected your process in production? Has moving away from the city given you new inspiration or changed your perception or style at all?
I don’t think there has been any direct change to the music or process. As a knock on effect, the new environment has forced me to reflect on what the city gives as it is such a contrast against the more natural environment I find myself in nowadays. My perception of the purpose of creating music has maybe been challenged? It has always been partly social, but foremost I’d create music for my own enjoyment.. but now it feels almost completely social. I have an obligation to say something helpful for my people, for humanity.
What is your usual setup with regards to hardware and instruments? Has it changed much since ‘Do You’ in 2013?
My setup is virtually the same, I was forced to upgrade my recording capabilities a few years back. I upgraded my computer and sound card because my last machine was a 1999 mac running OS9 which of course died on me. My setup is still focused around the drum machine, but during the last decade I have definitely acquired many more percussive instruments and also got hold of a Fender Rhodes piano.
Since Covid, you’ve had to push the release date back for your latest LP with Bassa. How did you guys go about producing it given the distance?
We had the LP done last year so it didn’t affect us. But it has delayed the release by 6 months at least, mainly affecting the logistics of pressing LPs etc.
What’s the story behind the Deenmamode Brothers project ‘Mama Odé’ ?
This record was just what we had to make. It’s overdue. Feels a long time coming, especially in terms of vocals. For the first time since we were kids, we decided to write raps. We felt it’s time to speak our piece. As brothers we are close and have an understanding musically that needs no confirmation. We enter the studio together and seem to just get on with it.
What are the arrangements and input from each of you?
We in equal part contribute lyrically to this record. Bassa has produced most of the beats on the LP, I’ve contributed a few. We just wrote lyrically to the music that inspired it. The flow and patterns of each track seemed to inform the patter and jib of our vocals, it was exciting to create because we had a sudden energy to write rhymes like when we were kids.
I’m really looking forward to the shows we have planned once things open again. How would you describe the arrangement of the live setup for the ‘Mama Odé’ project in comparison to your stripped back solo shows?
Nice, looking forward also! It’s very similar, it’s still stripped back. A classic rap setup. 2 mics and a DJ.
What will the live show entail?
We will be performing these songs for the first time. They mean a lot to us, to the best of our ability the lyrics are wholly considered, speaking on issues of our slave ancestry, our culture and we are critical of certain aspects of the collective civilisation we are subjects of. We tell a human story calling for peace. The wider African diaspora’s true history remains untold, we also touch on this theme. Expect positive energy, critical thought and banging rap beats.
Is there anything else forthcoming we should know about?
I’m in the midst of making a new solo LP, it should be done in the next few months and is heading in the jazz direction. I’ve sent some music to certain artists in the States which will hopefully turn into something.There is a remix for Takuya Karoba, a NYC based Japanese trumpet player signed to First Word Records and CO-OP Presents are putting out a compilation LP of producers and artists which should be out in the coming months. I have contributed a track so look out for that!
Big up, take care.
Intro – Love In Yoruba
Doug Carn – Acknowledgement
Eddie Harris – Summers on its Way
Guem – Rythmes Africains, Afro Cubains et Orientaux
Weldon Irvine – Liberated Brother
Leon Thomas – The Creator Has a Master Plan
Gil Scott Heron – Enough
Nina Simone – Love o Love
Les Percussions Africaines
Syl Johnson – Is it Because Im Black
Roland Young – Loveliness
James Brown – Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud
Roland Snijders – Lenox
Gary Bartz NTU Troop – The Drinking Song
Maroons of Suriname – Outro