This is the second part of Eight For Eight's recent interview with Dan Boyle of the Rolling Lion Studio. We continue our discussion of his recent work with Jamaican legend Lee Scratch Perry, “The Upsetter”. In Part II we talk to Dan about his latest productions, working in the studio with Scratch, and other topics of interest to Upsetter fans.
848: It’s common knowledge that Mr. Perry has been involved in many, many tracks (possibly as high as 10,000), as producer, vocalist and engineer, so there is a huge amount of material to select from. What are some of your personal favorites among his work, both obscure and popular?
DB: For me, the best stuff is the true roots sounding tunes. Everything from the Black Ark days is just outstanding music: Bird in hand, Blackboard Jungle amongst my favorites. Then his tunes for others: Max Romeo's music he did is by far among the best. I was recording Max in his house in Jamaica this year and he is incredibly humble about Lee - huge respect!
I love the fact that Scratch has re-invented himself and is touring again - he will tour forever! Whatever he does is amazing, he is LEE SCRATCH PERRY. His work with Dub syndicate is nice, but he himself said, he hasn’t done a true Black Ark style album for so long that he feels it is now time again to go back to the roots. The core of his sound. This is why this project is so exciting - Scratch is truly excited about it!
848: Will this project, which you are calling something like Scratch Back On The Controls, have traditional releases including CD, vinyl and remixes, and when roughly do you expect its official release?
DB: Traditional releases: special vinyl and CD. It should be fully complete early 2012, the last sessions in Jan and Feb. We may do a big festival this year and have Lee showcase it live on stage with all the new tunes!
848: Will this project involve other artists? We know, for example, that Max Romeo has been recording with you and want to know if he, or others, will be on the product; also do you know what the format will be like - e.g. showcase style with songs and dubs, a mix of vocals and dubs or like a split product of all songs followed by all dubs?
DB: It’s going to be a very, very special release. The format is Song, Horns/Flute cut and then a Scratch dub with Lee himself dubbing on the desk. Three cuts for each song so the “sounds” (sound systems) can enjoy it too!
We’ve been toying with the idea of Max and The Congos but its sounding so good with just Lee so that we may not use anyone else. Christine Miller, one of the best female harmony singers, is going to be on a few tunes doing some cool backings. Perhaps at a later date I will do cuts of the “riddims” with Max and the guys …
848: Will Scratch do any vocals or is he strictly at the mixing board and doing production?
DB: Scratch is doing vocals on every tune! Plus dubbing!!
848: Do you have a label associated with your studio? We know you’re looking to put this project out on a major label but, as in Jamaica, will there also be parallel releases on a “local” label?
DB: Probably released locally in the UK and licensed in the rest of the world, we’ll see; its not decided yet.
848: Do you have any fun things to share with us about your experience with Scratch - any stories or moments that stand out and made you laugh or wonder in amazement, or that were simply very interesting, that the readers might enjoy?
DB: Yeah Man!! Scratch just seems to create stories! I was at the desk mixing one of our tunes, Scratch was behind me and my buddy Nick Caro, who does photos was there also. I turned around and Scratch was gone! My studio opens out onto a long garden and I looked round the door and saw Lee at the end of the garden standing on my raised flower bed doing something to my Eucalyptus tree. I got close and he had a large nail in his hand and was scratching Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in large letters into my tree!!! It has stayed as it was, really deep, so my tree has Scratch’s touch forever. Funny thing is, when he came back in, he hit one of the riddims, and if you listen carefully, he drops a Eucalyptus lyric in the intro!
Scratch is highly intelligent, but extremely creative and with that comes a level of eccentricity. One day I pick him up in a car and he’s feverishly writing lyrics in Scratch code on his laptop in the passenger seat. The next time I pick him up he jumps in and asks, ’’Have you been watching the XFactor? There are some cool artists on it man! I could produce them well!’’ And he probably could … he is Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
848: Are you and/or Scratch developing new rhythms for your project or will you be mostly reworking and/or remixing existing ones?
DB: All new riddims man, completely original - the one Blackboard Jungle cut is the only re-working, but that just had to go on the album. When we did it, it sounded raw!
848: What are your next steps in getting this project finished and how can we keep in sync with your progress? In particular will you be adding more previews to SoundCloud or some other website?
DB: A couple more sessions on vocals, then we will be finishing the mixing and dubbing. Some rough cuts are up on Soundcloud, just search Rolling Lion Studio. I will be leaking snipits on that page so keep an eye on it. Some of the cuts I will be putting on Soundcloud won’t be on the album but will be special Scratch and I versions we have done on the way!
848: Thank you Dan, for filling us in and keeping us up to date on this important project.
- The original interview was recorded by Kelly “Eight For Eight” Maurice & Dan Boyle, Nov. 26, 2011. Part I of the interview was published in this blog on Jan. 23, 2012