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Interview Joan Reggae Drummer by DJ Ness Afro

We first discovered Joan back in 2020 on Instagram, after a time of musical hiatus due to the Covid, he began his more personal adventure, creating his own brilliant channel dedicated solely and exclusively to the world of drums in Reggae and Dub. Currently this Instagram channel has more than 43.000 followers and the content published has so much repercussion it led him to record with musicians all over the world his first debut EP « DUB Explosion » out on Two Flames Records.A real explosion of DUB, where the common thread of the songs is the drums. Here is his interview as he speaks about The Impressions, Daptone Records or his passion for reggae drumming…
– There is a big spiritual feeling in your music, is spirituality important for you to create music?
Reggae music itself is a spiritual music and you have to feel the groove to be able to play, at least that’s how I understand it and have always understood it. For me it is important to reach this spiritual point when playing drums or guitar, any instrument, because it means that you have arrived where you wanted to arrive.
– Can you tell us how you got into THE ART OF REGGAE DRUMMING?
When I was 16 years old, a friend introduced me to the album “Legend” by Bob Marley and The Wailers and I was impressed by Carlton Barrett’s drumming. Later I discovered Skatalites on an old tape that was recorded for me and the same thing happened to me with Lloyd Knibb. And then I sat on my drums and I tried to copy all their tricks, but I went crazy, because before we didn’t have as much information as today, we only had their music.
– Tell us about your favorite reggae drummer and what you learned from them?
As I have told you before, my favorite drummers are Carlton « Carly » Barrett and Lloyd Knibb of The Skatalites. What I love about the first one, it’s his feeling and his snare sound. He also has unmistakable hi hat tricks. You can be listening to a song and with just the first hit of his snare you already know it’s him. It’s unique and inimitable. Knibb is also quite distinctive and I like how he pounded the drums and especially when playing the Nyahbinghi-influenced Burru Style. He also had the habit of playing very loud. I love it!
– This EP has musicians from all over the world, how did you organize the process of the production?
It was crazy because I went into the studio without having a single song. I just had in mind the performance and the different drum beats for each song. We recorded everything in one day with a clapperboard and some reference but with a lot of attitude.
When we finished recording drums, we started working together with my trusted guitarist Arturo Landaeta and we made the different riddims. It was really fun because he lives in Madrid and I live in Catalonia, and I would send him voice audio with bass lines or some guitar riffs and he would play them. It was really fun, and sometimes difficult, but we did it.
When we had all riddims done, I contacted the different collaborators. I was very clear about what I wanted in each song. For example, for the intro I contacted Mauricio Bongo from Brazil and told him “I wanted a nyahbinghi intro at 60 bpms and ending with a lot of noise”. And so he did. Another example, I told Lluís Domènech that I wanted a Tommy Mc Cook-style flute and I think he understood me perfectly. If you work with people who speak the same musical language as you it is very easy to understand each other.
– Who is behind the label ´Two Flames Record’ and how did you meet?
Two Flames Records is a label that I’ve made with my brother Ireneu Grosset, where we will be releasing all our productions. I take this opportunity to say that…please, pay attention to the new that we are going to release shortly, you will like it!
About Ireneu we have known each other for 20 years and music has always united us. We worked together on different musical projects and I love him a lot. He is an excellent musician, very good producer and above all a friend. He never has a NO for my crazy things and they are not few. I really appreciate him!
– Also the amazing sound engineer Ireneu Grosset?
Yes, Ireneu is the one who has done the production of the album, the mix and the dub of course. It was amazing because I sent him all the recorded tracks and said “here you go, now do your magic!” And the guy added his keyboards, and his things such with excellent taste. And then I mix it and make the dubs. We really enjoyed the Dubs because we went to the Dr Dubwiser Studio for a weekend, which is an analog studio that still has equipment like the ones before without computers and it was a very spiritual thing. I remember I told him “don’t be afraid of the Dubs. Do things you would never do on a record, let’s do something different!” And so it came out.
– He played a big role in the making of the album?
Yes, as I mentioned before, He played a crucial role. In fact, everything I do, I do with him, he is my friend, my brother and my partner.
– You are very much Into the Echo Chamber, tell us how you see the evolution of Dub from King Tubby to Mad Professor today?
In my opinion King Tubby was a teacher and a pioneer of Dub, there is no doubt… He had to modify his studio to create his own unique sound, since at that time they had very limited technology compared to years later.
On the other hand, Mad Professor began just when the digital age was entering the 80’s where technology was already much more advanced and electronic music began.
For me King Tubby will always be the best, but I think that Mad Professor has known how to follow in Tubby’s footsteps very well.
It is very easy nowadays with the help of a computer to make effects with plugins and go crazy with Dub, and it is to be admired that Mad Professor continues with his analog studio, and his recording tapes, being faithful to the origins of the Dub. For this reason nuff respect to Mad Professor.
– How did you meet the legendary band Impressions (Curtis Mayfield)?
Playing with the Impressions was one of the biggest musical experiences of my life. One day Binky Griptite from Daptone Records contacted us and told us that they had some gigs with the Impressions in Spain and if we wanted to back them with him as musical director. It was incredible! They gave us the set list and we knew all the songs, since we were big fans. We rehearsed a lot and this was noticeable at the concerts. We did four shows: two in Madrid, one in Barcelona and the last one in Girona. And I remember this last show like an incredible show, very good vibes… It was a blast!
– Tell us how you started to collaborate with Binky Griptite from Daptone Records?
The first time we worked with Binky was in 2009 and the truth is that it was a great experience, especially at the level of production and recording in the purest « old school » style. He brought some old mics from the USA, we recorded the drums with only three mics and it really sounded really great. He is a guy who has listened to a lot of music, both Soul and Blues, Reggae or Rock’n’Roll. Even now he works as a Dj in a New York radio station. Talking about New York… When we traveled there we were able to visit Daptone Records and he showed us the studio and everything around it. It was a place that breathed Soul, truly magical, because the most important Soul records made today have come from there. It was a great experience.
– Finally Spain is a major country regarding Reggae, tell us who is your favorite singers and is there any bands from the 70’s or 80’s that you like?
I think The Franco dictatorship did a lot of damage here in Spain and we are about 20 years behind culturally if we compare ourselves with other European countries like France for example. Believe it or not, there were no Reggae bands in the 70s or 80s. The first Jamaican music came out of Barcelona in 1985 and was the first band to introduce Reggae and Ska to Catalonia, they were called Skatalà and for me they are some references together with Dr. Calypso that began in 1989. Both are the soundtrack of my youth.

For more info about Joan Reggae Drummer :
– Instagram
– Facebook
– Website

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