Issue 77

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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What's up guys? How's it going? Yeah good cheers. Tell us how you got into music and formed the band. Correct me if I'm wrong but Essex isn't renowned as a reggae hotspot! The guys have all jammed for years in New Town, Colchester. I gather reggae brought the boys together. I'm from London and the boys found me by shining a crown in the sky batman style. On the Essex point I'd say that a lot of good reggae comes from a lot of places man. Italy isn't renowned for reggae but Alba Rosie is smashing it at the minute. Mungos HIFI are from Scotland, YT from Ipswich. I guess it shows just how significant a contribution West Indian culture has had on the world at large. It's a global beast. Big tings a gwan. Who are your musical influences? There's 8 of us with a whole load of influences. I guess we owe a lot to the likes of the Studio 1 generation, to Gregory Isaacs, Derrick Morgan, Jimmy Cliff, Laurel Aitkin. Then there are the bands like The Slackers, Hepcat, The Aggrolites and Westbound Train who have influenced us down the years. What was the inspiration behind your new track 'Pack Up Bye Bye'? Ha! Wouldn't you like to know! Suffice to say, be you a guy or a girl, you've probably felt the emotion that was at the root of that one. In a nutshell - love ain't always all it's cracked up to be! Which track of yours encapsulates who you are and what you're about? It depends on the day. We play around a lot with different grooves. I'm lovin' the rocksteady at the moment. I'd say that 'Pack Up Bye Bye' is as much of a Kings tune as our more trad ska tracks. The thing is, we've a bunch of new music on the way that will come to define us. Guess you'll have to wait and see! When can we expect a new album or EP? We're looking towards recording in the new year for release summer 2016. Why do you think UK reggae and sound system culture thriving at the moment? The UK is reggae music's home from home. My old man's generation brought the music here 65 years ago and since then it has gone full circle without losing its relevance. Today we've got acts/ producers like Prince Fatty, Gentlemens Dub Club, Mungos HIFI, The Skints, YT, Mad Professor and a bunch of others breaking down stereotypes. Then you've got the work of Rodigan, unearthing UK talent and giving them airtime to international audiences. What message do you want to pass on through your music? I'd be happy knowing that people like our music as much as we like making it. Each song has its own thing. That said, music is a powerful tool and we live in dark times. Reggae at its heart is the essence of conscious music and as such we hope we spread a positive message. People gotta find their own way. We just gotta learn to jump and we'll fly soon enough. Meanwhile there's dancing fi do. Where can people catch you live over the summer? Festy season is here again so plenty of tents and fields. Looking forward to Boomtown, Brightlingsea, and Rebellion. Come check out our dates on Facebook yo. What's the best festival you've ever been to, either as punters or performers? Every year we come back from Boomtown with virtually no memories but the certainty that we've had the best weekend of the year. #doesboomtownevenexist!? What's on the cards for the rest of 2015? We've a couple of singles and videos in the pipeline a couple of collabs planned and a European tour booked in for September. Fun times. What's life like on the road for such a big band? Ha! We often compare it to herding cats. I guess its like going on a road trip with the extended family but with high hats, harmonies and hangovers. Where is your dream place to play? I think the next stage for the band is to crack the international festival circuit. I'd like to get us on at Sunsplash as it's one of the biggest reggae fests. What has been the highlight of your career so far? And what has been your shittiest moment? There's been plenty of highs. First time Rodigan played us on the BBC was up there. Mum used to play me his show as a Pitney. Touring with The Slackers was an education as was our tour with The Aggrolites. Shittiest moment? There was this one time at band camp... What is your definition of success? Getting goosebumps when I play a song I wrote. How do you prepare for a show? Any pre-stage rituals? Nah we're usually just happy to have got there on time! Oh and writing the setlists out. No exaggerated fist pumps to the Rocky theme tune I'm afraid! Who is the biggest troublemaker in the group? Dunno what you're talking about bruv we're all choir boys! Them horn section boys are a bit rude tho! There was this one time when Rob our trumpet player (known as Big Papa to his friends and family) played an A instead of an E in rehearsal! Shocking behaviour! What are you listening to right now? Roots Manuva – 'Join The Dots' What's the first record you bought? Ha! I remember having The Jacksons 'ABC' on 45 when my voice was high enough to sing like Mike. What's the most embarrassing song in your record collection? Like a lot of boys from my manor I was well into my R&B until jungle arrived. I still "believe I can fly" occasionally and once in a while I even have a little "bump and grind". If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? I'd be MOBO nomination man. Launching music careers in the nick of time. If you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would it be and why? Concrete, empty pools are very dangerous indeed. 7 55 Issue 77 / 2015 REGGAE / DANCE HALL " The UK is reggae music's home from home " Essex-based ska-reggae collective New Town Kings have been tearing up the scene since 2007, putting a modern twist on that classic Jamaican sound. Lead vocalist Dabs Bonner took some time out to tell us all about life in a big band Interviewed by: Christina Dean INTERVIEW NEW ToWN KINgs

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