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22. Svibanj 2022

[english] Rico (O.B.F): "Reggae to me is the roots of mostly all the music I like"

Interview with Rico from O.B.F

On the eve of the performance at the 20th Seasplash Festival, we bring you an interview with Rico from O.B.F. sound system. He is coming to the festival with Sr. Wilson, and we talked about what it is like to build such a demanding project, about ideological issues, we found out more about the collaboration with Nazamba and Linval Thompson in "Curfew Drop" and his impressions when he first met the Croatian dub scene.

Reggae hr: You are known for your versatility in making music. What inspires you, why did you choose dub / reggae as a genre?
Rico (O.B.F):
Reggae to me is the roots of mostly all the music I like. The drum pattern. The heavy bass line. The anti establishment and militant message. It's the people's music spread by huge sound systems back in the days in Jamaica and nowadays all over the planet. Dub, which is a mixing technique, is bringing the original reggae track to another level, u can spice it up, remix it, deconstruct it and break the barriers of genres adding effects and giving your reggae tune a totally new dimension. That's what makes it more Interesting to me, pushing boundaries and experiments.

Reggae hr: You started out as a soundsystem playing squat parties but very soon your production gained popularity. What was it like to develop a sound system, production and Dubquake evenings at the same time?
Rico (O.B.F):
Ahhhh yes not easy work, u need to Use your time wisely and have a solid partner and of course. nuff energy. I always saw my dad and my mom work a lot and from an early age and they teached me that if you want to follow your dream, you'll have to work hard, and that's what I did from when I was a youth, not at school. Tho... But as a hustler lol... Anyway I'm lucky enough to have a solid OBF team surrounding me. Everyone has his own important role In the crew, Stef is the brain, she coordinates, manages and organizes the whole team, events and the agenda. G is in charge of the Sound system side, helped by the O.B.F Boxmen team, the records label is now run by Andre and Zach. As you can see we're quite a big team now. But it took us time to set this up properly, almost 12 years. We have learned from the elders, experienced the autonomous way, and of course we are always working with the close family which makes it much easier.

Reggae hr: In essence, your music is colored by activism. In the last single “Trouble” Lasai says “Put down the gun, put down the knife, put down the glock”, how important is it to you to convey a clear message through your music and why?
Rico (O.B.F): When you look around you musically, it's all about big 45 and big rari, lambo and all that things, it's reflecting our society, no disrespect, I love some of theses tunes but we are trying to bring a different message to the younger generation, which is more close to our vision, peace, love equal right and justice.

Reggae hr: Ideologically, do you think you are changing the world by your actions?
Rico (O.B.F):
This is a hard one, I can't say if this will change anything but it did for me when i was young.

Reggae hr: You are known for performances and releases with numerous vocals (Charlie P, Shanti D, Sr. Wilson, Eek-A-Mouse, Killa P, Belen Natali, Pupa Jim, Aza Lineage, Biga * Ranx, Nazamba, Tippa Irie…), how do you decide who to host?
Rico (O.B.F):
It's quite simple, I mean.. the connection is important between the singer and I. It's more than a professional collaboration, it needs to be a family thing, and I need this family vibe to build a proper project in the studio. Concerning the sound system and the live performance we only worked with the official OBF family members like Charlie P, Sr. Wilson, Belén Natalí, Shanti D, Junior Roy and Nazamba because we have a real connection on stage.

Reggae hr: How did the collaboration with Nazamba and Linval Thompson in “Curfew Drop” begin?
Rico (O.B.F):
The whole story with Nazamba and Linval started as a sign from the star. We were working on the 1st Nazamba album and we were looking for a veteran artist to collaborate with us on the project. Unfortunately the artist we wanted first was not available, anyway after a couple of days, still looking for someone to collaborate with, Nazamba is walking in central Kingston and literally bumped into Linval Thompson, and this is how it started. He took his number and asked him if we could talk for any further musical collaboration. The next day, I called the legendary producer, played my tunes to him on the phone and we had a maaaad crazy vibe! A year later as a big fan of the Channel One, Roots Radics style, I decided to propose to Linval to work on a collaboration with Dubquake Records. We chose “Curfew” with Linval Thompson before the pandemic and as a new sign from the star that tune took another dimension when the pandemic started. Nazamba added the bridge between the “Curfew” that happened back in the days due to the political tension in Jamaica and the pandemic curfew that happened recently.

Reggae hr: Which story is behind Dubquake Records, you have over 50 releases above. Is it a platform exclusively for your work or can other artists contact you?
Rico (O.B.F): I created Dubquake Records mainly to release our stuff but recently we produced projects for Charlie P, Iration Steppas, Telly*, Samity, etc.. . We even dedicated a new branch for the new generation of producers which is called Dubquake new generation series. Many other projects with O.B.F and ad well many different artists  are in the pipeline and ready to drop soon.

Reggae hr: You have performed all over the world, what is the most important thing for you when you come on tour?
Rico (O.B.F): When I'm on tour. First: sleep is important if you want to give your best on stage. Second: the connection with the local crew is very important, learning new culture, new habits, trying new food and flavors. Reasoning with the locals is very important as well, to understand the code and the vibe of the country.

Reggae hr: Croatian audiences are waiting for you at the 20th edition of the Seasplash Festival with Sr. Wilson,  what can we expect from you at this great anniversary of the festival?
Rico (O.B.F):
Croatia has always been a special place to us because we have a strong link with the local dub scene and especially the veterans Radikal Dub Kolektiv. We met each other more than 15 years ago in Poland and we have been totally astonished by their show. Since that day we have kept a strong link!! You know what it means? Feeling like home surrounded by friends already sounds like a good plan to me. Ready to maaaaash up the whole thing in Seasplaaaaash!

[croatian] Rico (O.B.F): “Reggae je za mene roots sve glazbe koju volim”


Video sadržaj


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Egoless - "DUBTERNAL" - najbolje od digitalnog-analognog i hibridnog zvuka
Solo Banton & Irie Ites - “In this Time” - relevantan zapis današnjeg vremena
Haris Pilton - "Showcase" - old school steppers zvuk u maniri najvećih i najdugotrajnijih roots himni
Sassja - "Chwakka" - eksperiment je uspio