The O-town Scene

October 14, 2010

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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Music People The Big Takeover a high-energy sextet, with a refreshingly upbeat, yet groove-oriented, party-making approach to interpreting the Jamaican tradition of rocksteady, ska and reggae music. Playing at Oneonta’s The Autumn Cafe Friday, Oct. 22, 10 p.m. Sam Spokony of the O-town Scene talks to Neenee Rushie, vocalist of The Big Takeover. OS: Were you exposed to any kinds of music other than reggae that pushed you in the direction you are moving in now? When we came together as a group, one of the reasons we were able to gel so well is because we grew up listening to and playing different kinds of music such as blues, rock, rap, soul, 2nd and 3rd wave ska, gospel and contem- porary reggae. So when it came time to collaborate, we were able to produce something that is unique... pretty much creating a Big Takeover Sound, as opposed to being strictly a reggae band. OS: What are your thoughts on the state of reg- gae/ska in the US today? It is just amazing how reg- gae has the power to move people, and make strong arguments. There is definitely something about the music that translates perfectly to every culture. It started as a more grassroots, under- ground, rebellious move- ment, and now I can easily say that reggae is worldwide and super influential. OS: What makes the reg- gae/ska scene in Jamaica different than its counterpart in the US? I have observed that people are people, and people love music. Whether they love reggae or rock, dance-hall or hip hop ... people just love music. I am a little tempted to say that the Jamaican reggae scene is a little more festive and the culture is more musically oriented, but the longer I stay in this country, the more I realize the many similarities between America and back home. OS: In what parts of the country have you performed? We have played all over the Northeast, ranging from Maine all the way down to North Carolina. True reggae fans always seem to show regardless of what city we are in. OS: As independent artists releasing your own records, do you feel you have freer rein over your material and growth as musicians than would a signed group? Yes and no. We realize that being independent, we are in control of everything that happens to us as a band, and we get to reap as much as we sow, but we cannot sow as much as a record label could. If we had the minds, connections and experience that a record label does within our band, being independent would be great for us. It is difficult to work a full-time job and be a full-time musician at the same time. Yes, we have full say in every aspect of our musical and creative endeavors, and we appreciate that while we have it. At the same time, it gets hectic being the pro- ducer and the product, the manager and the client. OS: Do you feel that the technological/digital changes of the music industry as a whole have affected you in a positive way as indepen- dent artists? trying to get recognized. It is wonderful that anyone can now record an album on their laptop, book and promote a show online, but on the other hand it creates another hurdle for us to jump over in terms of standing out amidst other bands that are doing exactly what we are. Gone are the days that a music lover could walk into a record store and check out the reggae section, instead they have to sift through tons and tons of independent musicians online. thing. However, because reggae and music as a whole have become more digital in their overall nature, we can only be a reggae-influenced band, not a full fledged reg- gae band; we would need to turn back time to do that. OS: As a fellow musician and reggae/ska fan, I’ve always considered the genre to be so timeless because of the youthful energy that I associate with it. How does playing it make you feel? Being independent, getting an album recorded, booking shows and promoting shows are much more feasible tasks thanks to the technological and digital changes in the music industry, which just seems to be getting greater and greater. This makes it easier for more bands to get into the business, while mak- ing it harder for bands to get discovered; there is an abundance of unsigned/ undiscovered artists who are OS: How do you think these new changes have affected a genre like reggae, one that seems to be so distant from the idea of digitalization? Well, the real roots of reggae music have been recorded, immortalized and put aside. I do not think it is being created anymore; it just wouldn’t be the roots. Digitalization has helped with the globalization of reggae, and the spread of anything good is a great I love reggae ... there is something about the rude- ness of the rhythm section and the non-stop rebellious offbeat that really moves me, and pushes me to keep going when it gets overwhelming. I believe I was conceived to the music, and that is why it speaks to me so. When we play together and people smile, dance and forget about their problems just for the night, we are satisfied, because that is all we want. The band includes: vocalist Nee Nee Rushie, bassist Rob Kissner, guitarist Jon Klenck, drummer Sam Tritto, saxophonist Chas Montrose and trombonist Andy Vogt. 14 O-Town Scene Oct. 14, 2010

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