Chase and Status unite drum ‘n’ bass, reggae and jungle at the head of Rebel Sound. Saul ‘Chase’ Milton smells victory.
THE RED BULLETIN: Introduce your comrades-in-arms to everyone.
Saul Milton: We’re bringing together three generations of sound. You’ve got David Rodigan who’s the reggae Godfather. Then Shy FX himself is a real legend, the second generation. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be making music today. His tracks, like Original Nuttah, shaped the face of urban music in the UK. We’re the third generation. We’ve taken the mantle and carried on doing what these guys do, but in a different realm.
Original Nuttah was released 20 years ago. Do you remember where you heard it first?
I was 13 years old. It was at a youth ball in central London. It was an event where you go dressed up and try to pull girls. I remember standing around, trying to get some girl’s attention, and this mad song came on. Suddenly the whole night changed from trying to look cool to being like, ‘What the f–k is this song, man?’ I went to Black Market Records the next day to buy a Jungle Mania CD compilation.
Your latest album pays homage to the ’90s. What’s inspirational about that era?
That’s when we grew up. I was at every rave, wearing Moschino and Versace, living that kind of ’90s youth London life. That nostalgia always keeps me going. I remember wearing that stuff back in the day, listening to Rodigan on Kiss.FM or on sound clash tapes your bredrin got from somewhere. Now being part of a clash with Rodigan and Shy FX is like a coming of age.
What will make you victorious at Red Bull Culture Clash?
Just the music my friend, what’s in our record box. That’s all you need in a sound clash. It is what dubs you are going to be drawing and how you are going to be conducting yourself. We’re not going to get into slanging matches or pettiness with the other crews. It is always the music. Dubplate to dubplate
Reggae royalty who have taken their exclusive dubplates everywhere from Jamaica to Japan. Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell on the secret of sound system success.
THE RED BULLETIN: Has sound system culture always been a big part of your life in Kingston?
Wee pow: Oh yes. Basically I grew up around sound systems, going to dancehalls. There was always music to be heard. The inspiration to start Stone Love really came from being teenagers in an era when there were a lot of great parties going on.
How old were you when you started Stone Love in 1972?
I was a teenager, that’s as much as I’m prepared to give away. It started as a little thing, where you play in your house, then in your yard, you build it up. I saved up all my money to add to it and make it bigger and better.
What’s the secret to creating a good sound system?
The test is the quality of the music, the quality of the sound. Someone might have a more expensive sound system than you, but you’re still going to beat him: sometimes a no-name vehicle can beat a Rolls-Royce. It’s all about the spirit.
What could trip you up at Red Bull Culture Clash?
There won’t be any problem, any obstacle. We’ve played for all types of people, in all situations over the years, and this is no different. We’ll be Stone Love, plain and simple. We’re the pacesetters. We’ll just do what we do best and be victorious.
You’ve just received the Jamaican Order of Distinction, which puts you up there with Usain Bolt and Burning Spear.
It means a lot to me. It shows that people recognise what I’ve been doing for all these years. It gives me a new burst of energy to take me onwards. I won’t be wearing the medal in London though, it will be staying safely at home.
What’s the secret weapon in your record bag?
All our dubplates are top quality, state of the art. It’s what we’re known for. That’s our advantage: we have a bag full of secret weapons.