Thursday, Mar 28 2002 | 17:31

The Germaican crew from (far) east Germany – Leipzig to be precisce- are coming full circle with the “Exitement” album. An international team of DJs and singers from Sizzla and Elephant Man to Tolga and Seeed are dropping version after version on the Pionear & Tom build riddims Arena, Bitch, World Report, Geisha. We spoke with Pionear about the album, their postion as Germanies no.1 dancehall label ” and production team and what King Jammys thinks about all this…

Who’s part of the Germaican crew (and who’s is doing what) ?

Pionear: “There are about 7 ppl. in the crew. GERMAICAN RECORDS has two inhouse-producers, my cousin Tom and me, Pionear. There’s Ralf, the former Messer Banzani manager, who represents GERMAICAN PROMOTIONS, with the FAR EAST band, last but definetely not least is our website GERMAICA.NET with the webzine GERMAICAN OBSERVER. To the G.O. crew belong Nadine who’s interviewing the artistes, EasyKay the webmaster (also for SEEED.DE), Peanut Vendor our specialist for Ska & Rocksteady and LOKI responsible for drawings, logos etc¦”

Tell us a bit about the concept of the “Exitement” album and about the riddims that are featured on it !
” The Excitement is representing the first two years of the label, with four riddims (Arena, Bitch, World Report, Geisha), a remix riddim (Bitch RMX) and with three exclusive unreleased tunes. Like the philosophy of GERMAICAN it contains both the original Dancehall stars from Jamaica like Sizzla, Elephant Man, Lady Saw and Mr. Vegas but also German Artistes like Seeed, D-Flame and Dr. Ring-Ding. The Excitement is heading for ppl. who enjoy Dancehall, but are not nessecarily single buyers. It has never heard tunes on the World Report and Geisha riddims and is a must for soundboys who like the GERMAICAN selections.”

Germaican was one of the first German labels who put out 7″ singles. How did you sell the first releases ?
“Since the start in spring 2000 the Downbeat Record Shop has been our distributor. From the scratch and until today there is a huge interest in the riddims, especially with the most successful riddims like Bitch or FrogAss (Dickes B) from Seeed, there has been a constant demand for the singles.”

After playing Ska for 10 years as part of Messer Banzani how, when and why did you switch to dancehall ?

“We never really played Ska all the time. Even our 2nd album Skagga Yo! contained Reggae, HipHop and Dancehall. After our tour in 1993 with the 809 band who backed Junior Reid, Sugar Minott and Mutabaruka with us as a support act it became obvious in which direction we’d move, Dancehall. In 1997 we recorded an album in Jamaica, which Dean Fraser produced and that was a more classic Reggae thing. The 5th and last album was already with tunes on riddims (Final Judgement) and a straight Dancehall attitude, the tune Lion a Gentleman/Tolga combination was on the same Final Judgement riddim and released by King Jammys in JA. From that point on there was an interest in Germany and the idea of a Dancehall label evolved naturally¦”

How long are you working on a riddim and what are you doing with it afterwards ? I doubt that DJs and singers are hanging out in your yard in Leipzig all day waiting to voice a tune.

“The riddim itself takes between 2 hours and 2 days. In Germany most of the times we send the riddim to the artistes and they’re voicing it in their own studios and send it back. If the tune is not alright we talk about what to improve and work on it until everybody’s satisfied. In JA. you either work in the studio and the artistes passing through, or you call them up and give them a cassette with the riddim. You negotiate a price for the tune, work on it and record it. Back in Germany the post-production starts with arrangement, effects and the final mix and mastering¦”
How was it for you to meet King Jammys and work with him ?

“I was introduced to Jammys by Dean Fraser who did a lot for me in Kingston. Jammys is a man who’s always open to new music, sounds and musicians. He could say me is a legend, me is the king, but he’s also very smart and knows the business, like with Ward 21 they’re from the Ghetto, from the street and that’s where the new things happen. They know what’s the hype and go to the dances themselves. So it’s all about the new talents that you’ve got to find. With me now, I just played him my tunes, he liked it and said let’s try a thing, I’m gonna mix them and press them¦

Do you think German dancehall will become as big as German hip hop ? And would you like to see it happen ?

“I think Dancehall/Reggae will make it’s own way in Germany. Since we’ve got no Jamaican community over here it will never be a culture as important as in N.Y., Toronto or London. But ppl. here will always like the beat, the attitude or the songs. From there they will develop their own kind of Dancehall/Reggae singing about their own problems and views. At the same time you’ll find others who gonna either copy styles and the patois or translate the original content 1 to 1 into the german language. I think there will never be a ˜one way’ reggae kinda thing, even today you’ve got already so many different styles: Gentleman who chat in Patois only, Seeed with Dub and vocal group attitude or Flame in a more HipHop-Dancehall style¦”

What are your favourite Sound Systems ?

International
1. Matterhorn
2. Black Chiney
3. Renaissance

National
1. Soundquake
2. PowPow
3. Supersonic

What artists are on your wishlist for future collabos ?

Barrington Levy
Shabba Ranks
Super Cat

Words & interview: Oliver/Olski von Felbert

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