Who is in Jah Love Sounz? When and how did the crew link up?

First of all, I would like to greet you all in the Name of the Most High…Creator and no is Greater, JAH!

Well, Jah Love Sounz has had a few artists go through – Mighty Asterix, Joolz Issa, Tuffy Culture, Tommy Dan, Sistah JaBen, Captain Silva and Yellow Woman.

Most of us came from Jah Love Muzik (NZ) which was formed in 1981-2, back then it was Hensley Dyer, Tony Sims (Herbs), Asterix and myself, Oblex.B, later known as Twelve Tribes of Israel Sounds, which by then had a big crew.

Some of us came together, I guess cause we needed more freedom to move and cause we loved it that much, we needed to be performing more, as the 12 Tribes of Israel Sounds was used for ‘House Functions’ back then, and all proceeds went to the house.  So we needed to be working.  So after all the politrix and smoke had cleared, we were doing our thing. For us this is not a hobby, we take up in our spare time…we live it!

I started saving up and began building a sound system.  At first we called Ourselves ‘Don Gorgan Sounds ’96’, then we opted for the English interpretation of it, ‘Enforcer Sounds ’98’.  Still not happy with our tag, we called ourselves ‘RaggaDon Sounds ’99’, that ended up forming a club, but that’s another story.

It was when Balcher Reuben from Jah Love Muzik (JA) passed away, that I came up with ‘Jah Love Sounz 2000’ as a tribute to the brother and Jah Love Muzik (JA). Note the ‘nz’ on the word ‘sound’, no ‘d’, that represents New Zealand.

Right now in Jah Love Sounz we have selectors Oblex.B (foundation), Sistah Loc Ness, JT (apprentice), DJ’s/M.C’s Captain Silva (foundation), Joolz Issa (foundation), Rebel.D and Mega Power.

You’ve been in the NZ reggae scene for a long time. What is the musical background of the crew? What were you all doing before this? 

Oblex.B: Yes Iyah time has gone by quickly. Before, I was kicking it with some unruly characters, that’s another story, but it was reggae that changed my outlook on things in life, it is powerful music, I loved it, I took it seriously.  I started jamming, went to Bart Stokes for some music leassons, took up the bass, played in a band for a time called ‘Indeka’, jammed with the 12 tribe band. Did support act for the Wailers & Mad Professor. Did some Sound Engineering for 2nd Power Band and African Herbmans Band from NYC.

Capt.Silva: When I was a youth at school I DJed for our school discos and I had a collection of Disco, Pop, R’n’B, Bob Marley, Wailing Souls, Burning Spear, etc, etc. I moved to Auckland from Palmerston North and joined T.T.I.Sounds (12 Tribes of Israel Sounds) as a selector with Mighty Asterix, Oblex.B, Hensly.D & Stoney Gad. We had numerous house parties with T.T.I.Sounds and then started doing live gigs at venues like the Gluepot, PowerStation, Lunar Bar and the odd cafe that was there at the time.

Jah Love SounzNot long after that I picked up the mic and started MCing/Rappin’/toastin over versions, dubplates. We started to tour around NZ as the Dancehall Stars, Blacka Benji, Digi Gad, Joolz Issa, Yellow Woman, Tuffy Culture, Oblex.B and Green Hornet. We did some live performances with T.T.I.Band, Rasta celebrations, fund raisers and things like that. I have been with Jah Love Sounz  for a while now, still making the irie noise out there with a solid crew ready to make you groove, yeah move the house inna dancehall style.

Jules Issa: Yes, I started with the band ‘Stix n Shanty’ but it wasn’t till I joined a sound system where Oblex.B headed where I found my grounding in Reggae music. 1993 to 1995 Deepgrooves and I made the album ‘Found In You’. You can sometimes hear the album playing in the background of Shortland Street.

I did some travelling overseas and sang with Sister Carol, Luciano T.T.I Band (JA). 20 years plus in history we have, we all have our special talent to the sounds, it takes all of us to make Jah Love Sounz, we are as strong as our weakest link, and that’s pretty strong.

Rebel.D: I hit Auckland in ’85. In ’86 I started a band called ‘Revelation Steppers’ as a drummer/singer. I worked with other bands like Natural Mystic, T.T.I.band, Herbs,  Unity Pacific, Indaka, Zioneers, House of Shem, sang with Maxi Priest, jammed with the Wailers, sang with T.T.I.Sound off and on, did the support act for Inner Circle.

I’ve also worked with the Mighty Asterix, Joolz Issa, Che-Fu, Oblex.B, DLT and Adijah. I hooked up with Jah Love Sounz in April 2007, we have done some good gigs since, we won the Soundclash of the Radio’s in July 2008. Big ups KFM! Oblex is one heck off a selector, and that’s for real.

Who/what do you find your musical inspiration from?

As a selector I was inspired by selector Ilaweh from Jah Love Muzik (JA),  Armagideon Sound, Studio One Soundsystem and Duncan Campbell (95bfm) in the late 70’s. Musically I love all reggae, But the conscious lix of freedom, equality, unity, love and oneness is the main inspiration, That is why we loved Uncle Bob & Herbs so much…they are true inspirations.

What kind of musical styles do you forward?

Roots, Ragga, Dancehall, Dubplates, Dubstep, Jungle. Originals and covers.

Oblex BHow have you see the Auckland and New Zealand reggae scene change over the years?

Well back in 1977 they wouldn’t let Bob Marley and The Wailers in the country (what doz that tell ya?)  It was hard to get gigs on the main streams as in town reggae was frowned upon cause of  ganja, and the people it was attracting were rough looking etc, etc. We saw ourselves as pioneers, there were no other soundsystems back then, that we knew of.

We did a lot of House parties, and got the odd gig in cafes and community/council events (the first Grey Lynn Park Festivals). It was a slow process. Over a time the lovers of teggae were growing, we were slowly getting gigs in town…the right reasoning, and club owners were giving us a go.

After a short while more selectors were getting into the reggae scene, the likes of Dubhead, Stinky Jim, SlowDeck, Big Matt, Jafa and others, this was great to see. Reggae is more in demand and is growing.  Forward ever! Backward never!

What do you think are the ways forward for NZ reggae?

We need to see more of it on the main stream TV and hear it more on main stream radio, all the things the underground is doing.  Come on catch up! The more exposure the better. Still a lot of reggae crews are out there doing the reggae thing. We need a collective to bring us together and nice up Aotearoa with the irie Reggae vibes. Big ups for all dem reggae events happening now…we need more!

What are your plans for 2009?

Well more gigs for one. At some stage we are hitting the studio, We wanna get our stuff out there. We’ve been making riddims and we wouldn’t mind putting them to the test.

Any last words for the massive?

If it’s in your heart, don’t just sit there, go do it!  Reggae is not dead. One love to all the Massive, thanks to all dem reggae lovers that have supported us through the years. Respect!

Check us out at our MySpace page and also check out ‘The Reggae Jam Session’ with Oblex.B every Monday 8pm-till late.  One love one blood.

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