Yaadcore ADD

Reggaeland On The Fly - The Yaadcore Interview

03/23/2022 by Gardy Stein

Reggaeland On The Fly - The Yaadcore Interview

Yaadcore seems like the embodiment (=core) of what modern Reggae music from Jamaica (=yaad) is all about. Not only is he blessed with the notorious good looks and coolness most every islander commands from birth, he also is an intelligent businessman full of creative ideas and, not self-evident in these times and circles, steers clear of any conspiracy theories, as far as we are aware.

While making himself a name as DJ during the last decade, founding the Dubwise Jamaica parties and also providing the massive with fine mixtapes, he now delivers a firstling that showcases his talent as producer AND vocalist. For his debut Reggaeland, he has called upon fellow beatmakers from all over the world to skilfully refine their tracks with his casual style and, not even a week after its release, he receives accolades from fans and colleagues alike.

Reggaeville managed to catch the bubbly artist en route to a live show, and while the connection was a bit shaky, Yaadcore's answers were not at all. Read on to find out about his journey so far and the stories behind the songs:   

Where do I catch you?

I'm on the road to Vermont right now, I have a show there tonight.

Ok cool! This interview is about your upcoming album, of course, but since it's the first interview that we do with Reggaeville, I'll start with some other subjects first. Where does the name Yaadcore come from?

Well, the name Yaadcore really came from a T-Shirt brand that me and my friend own. The Soundsystem that I had before was called Borderline, but then we had to change that name and then at the same time the T-Shirt brand was kind of on pause because our inventory got stolen.

Oh no!

Yeah, out of something bad will turn something good, so after changing the Soundsystem name to Yaadcore, my name was Rory Yaadcore at the time because I was DJ Rory. As my popularity grew, people asked me if I was Rory from Stone Love, so I decided to take off the Rory and just go with Yaadcore.

Was that the same inspiration for your label 12 Yaad Records?

That's definitely coming from Yaadcore! It's an interconnection from that and the 12 Tribes of Israel, you know.

When did you put up the first party in Jamaica?

The first party that I did in my Reggae DJ career was 2013, in December. That was when I started Dubwise Jamaica, and then in 2014 it was a weekly event that gained prominence over time. As I grew, I was able to do my first tour and I decided to call it Dubwise Jamaica, so that was really my first international prominence or identity.

We know you as DJ and producer also, as you came up with the wonderful track No Fenke Fenke in 2018. Now you release your debut album, and, honestly, to me it doesn't feel like a debut at all because you are such an established figure in Reggae. Does it feel like a debut to you?

Yes, it definitely feels like a debut album, because we still have a lot of growth to do as an artist, still have a lot of fans to gain as an artist. So yeah man, it's definitely a steppingstone and we are looking forward to how the people will receive the album. It's one reason I did this album at this point in time, to really convince people that I am an artist and not just a DJ, and to do that officially I had to put some form of package together to really show them that it's a serious journey, you know.

For sure! And 14 tracks is quite an impressive number to come up with. I mean, other artists start with an EP or whatever, but you release this massive set of tracks… How does this number come about?

(laughs) I was supposed to release an EP first in 2020, but it wasn't the right timing with Covid just a come and whatever, so we kind of hold out. Then during the pandemic, we been doing like crazy recording. Originally I wanted to go with 12 tracks for the album cause I realized that, alright, time is passing, I can't really put out an EP again because I been doing singles within that time same way, so if I put out an EP it would be basically all the singles that I released already. So I decided to do a project with some more songs, and these songs now were specifically chosen at this point in time to really get myself this identity and place myself as an artist as well. I have way more tracks sitting on the laptop, waiting to come out right now! (laughs)

Oh, so we have a lot to look forward to!

Yeah man, definitely, the other album is already done basically, it's drafted out already, so I have an idea of what's coming next.

That's cool! And from these 14 tracks now, there are a lot of producers from all over the world: Jamaica, USA, Germany, Switzerland... did they send you the tracks or did you reach out to them?

Naturallly, tracks are being sent to me, not necessarily for an album but wanting to produce a track with Yaadcore. Oneness Records in particular, how I got that riddim, it was actually sent to a different artist and I was helping that artists to write their song on the riddim. I fell in love with the riddim, I wrote my song and sent it to them and was like, 'Yo, mi like di riddim and mi do a song pon it, what y'all think?' So, that one in particular wasn't really meant for me... Ready Now just the same, at the time when I wrote it I was mostly focused on producing. The producer sent me that riddim with a co-production in mind, so I was listening to the riddim one day in the studio, and my friends were there and they were like 'We ready now!', kind of saying we are ready to leave, and that inspired me to sing the hook right away and I just wrote the song right after that. 

Songs come in different different ways, you know. The Micah Shemaiah riddim in particular, I asked him to go on that riddim as he told me that he was putting it out, I probably was one of the only DJs who ever played this riddim. I tell him that I would really be interested to try write a song on it, and so Nyquill came about. We give thanks for that.

Indeed, that's a great one! Turning to the features now, you have Richie Spice on Nyquill. Is he a longtime colleague that you had in mind for that one?

We are definitely colleagues now, at the time when I reached out we weren't colleagues as yet, but, if I have a Marihuana song, there is no better collab to get than Richie Spice, you know (laughs). I reached out to one of my friends who is good friends with him and his team, I shared the idea and they liked it. I wrote the first four bars for Richie Spice, and he came to the studio and did the ending part for the verse, so that was a cool vibe.

Same question about I Wayne and Pressure Busspipe, how did that link come about? Ready Now was the first single that you released as singer, and now you published it again as remix with these two artists.

Well, Ready Now being my first track and one of my most popular tracks, I think it was pretty clever to do a remix for it, seeing that there are not really much remixes being done now in our day and age. So, me and the producer, we thought that these two artists would really do a good job going on Ready Now and take it to a next level, so we give thanks to them for agreeing to do it. I Wayne in particular is an artist that no really do collabs, so it really is an honor to have I Wayne on a collaboration as a young artist, you know.

Another great artist who is featuring on another great track is Jah9 on Police In Helicopter. Was it your vision to have a female voice on this one from start?

When Subatomic link me, they actually wanted me to do all of the song. I was like 'I don't think I really want to sing over John Holt, because I'm not the singer as much in that style'. So, when we were thinking about who would be the perfect person, I thought Jah9 would do a good job, so I was actually doing my verses first and then I sent it to her and tell her that I would really appreciate and love if she could a sing over John Holt part and everything. Thankfully she agreed and she did a great job!

Yes, it's wonderful! Another lady on your album is Sarah Couch, and I have to admit I didn't know her name in a Reggae context. Could you introduce her?

Sarah Couch is a neo-soul Jamaican artist, with songs that are more soothing and everything. She sent me the track for a feature with her part being done already, and I was falling in love with the track. It was an honor for me to put a verse on it, making it my track on the album, because she has a deal with Ultra Music with a dope group called DejaVilla, so she wasn't able to really put out that track at the time. That's how I got to capture it!

It's a surprise, a completely different sound on the album. Another surprise is the feature with Lee Scratch Perry, who unfortunately left us last year. Was that planned or is it a tribute?

Well, it's definitely a tribute. Somehow the Universe planned it, because when I wrote the song, I was listening to one of his interviews shortly after, and I realized that he said the same thing, basically. So I thought there is no way I can not insert that into the song! I also had a track with him called Green Brain that was released two weeks after he passed away, unfortunately, so… Lee Scratch Perry, Rest In Power, we just a try to preserve the works!

Did you get to work with him in studio while he was alive?

Not in studio, but I actually did deejay for him at an event once.

Talking about spiritual connections… The Calling is an amazing song with a very mystic video. Did you have that in mind already when you wrote the song?

No, I didn't have it in mind at all when I wrote the song. I have to shout out the director for the vision in that one, Tizzy Tokyo, she really kind of conceptualized most of that video. I helped her write the story.

There's a lady in the video who is acting like your guiding spirit or something. Can you tell us about her?

That's Mama G! She play a vital role within the uprising and the Rasta youth of today same way, we always link up around the Uprising Roots Camp yard. Mama G is an elder Rastafari woman, so we give thanks to her for her presence, and we incorporate her in that video because she carry that vibration and essence, you know.

Another interesting fact is that there are so many cameos in this video, like Lutan Fyha, Samory I and some others...

Yeah, me just did a call them and tell them, ask them if they want fi be a part of the shooting.

The title track now, Reggaeland, what does it stand for? Is it really Jamaica or some other, less concrete concept?

No man, the Reggaeland is definitely an homage to Jamaica, because Jamaica is the Reggaeland!

Wonderful song - it was produced by yourself, right?

Yes, I produced that one and also Bee With Me.

Oh, that's one of my favorites! Is the saxophone played live?

Yes, the sax play live in my studio, less than five feet away from my laptop. (laughs)

And then Shrooms… that's a very interesting song because most Reggae artists sing about Ganja, the holy herb, but you sing about magic mushrooms. How comes?

My first experience with this element, that's the manifestation of it. I couldn't really tell you how come, it wasn't planned or anything (laughs). I was just at my friend's studio in San Francisco and experiencing mushrooms for the first time. So, him gone to bed, me in the studio like three o'clock in the morning on the couch, flying out of my body… and the riddim is playing and I came up with the chorus that time, and then the next day I finish writing the song. It wasn't planned or anything.

What do you prefer, shrooms or ganja still?

Well, it all depends on what I'm trying to do, there is no preference really, it is just for different purposes. I definitely wouldn't be on shrooms as much, on a daily thing like marihuana. With shrooms, it is like 6 to 8 hours of that feeling, you know.

The last track I want to mention is Tina, I really love that upful vibe. Who is Tina?

Aaaah, everybody wants to know who is Tina (laughs). Tina is just a girl, and anybody who wants to be Tina can be Tina! This song in particular is not really from a personal experience like Bee With Me is. Really, the song is just saying: I'm here, chilling with my girl.

Coming back to the videos, I saw Tizzy Tokyo at least twice in the video credits...

Yes, she did Say That You Love Me, she did La La Laa, and she did Reggaeland, that's not out yet. Also Money On Trees, those are two more videos that we already shot that will be coming out. Ghetto Youth is already shot as well.

Ok, I'll look forward to those! You have some showcases now and a release party in New York on Monday. What can people expect?

It's just a celebration of the releasing of my album. The songs will be played in a party setting and I will naturally touch the mic and hold a vibe with the people. For the release party in Jamaica though, we are planning to do a band performance [April 8th, Freedom Skatepark, JA] and on the 23rd [of April], we will do one in LA as well in the Diamond Supply store and give away a Reggaeland surfboard. On this one, we'll have an acoustic performance.

Tell us about the Diamond Supply collaboration.

They are doing the merchandise for the album and for the Spliff A Light Spliff single [aka Nyquill], so that is how we collab and make the link up and sowing the seeds for bigger works in the future.

You also work with Itopia Life cannabis dispensary in Jamaica, I read they asked you to do a strain review series?

It was done already! I was the one who brought that idea to them, trying to promote the single Nyquill, so if you go on YouTube you can see the strain review that I did.

Thank you so much for all these exciting insights. Is there anything else you wish to share?

Love and unity! Hopefully my music can really bring people closer to themselves and closer to the creator, to really live in love, cause that's what we really chant right now. Rastafari is the light that we see that is able to make this possible.

All the best and respect for this great work!