20 years of Coppershot

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer reporter morgans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

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WHAT started out as a hobby for three music-loving teenagers attending Campion College in St Andrew morphed into the sound system Coppershot Disco.

Now, 20 years later, Shawn Anderson, Jason Henriques and Matthew Gray are elated at reaching another milestone.

"I really never thought about it reaching this far, as we started it as a hobby... we weren't serious. But it has grown and we have made it through 20 years, which is the biggest accomplishment of all," said Gray, CEO of Coppershot Disco.

According to the CEO, they began using small speaker boxes at school barbeques and birthday parties.

To date, the sound system's roster comprises over eight selectors who have played in the USA, Europe, the Caribbean, Japan and Canada.

Commenting on the sound system culture throughout the years, Gray said he has seen a drastic shift from a team effort to an individual, and a decline in creativity.

"It was more than a man walking with a laptop. Selectors are now going solo. Back in the day, the sound systems would have their own signature dub plates and styles. For example, a Stone Love would have a Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder Dub that no other sound would have. Stone Love was a 'downtown' sound system while Renassiance was the 'uptown' one. We were in the middle," he said.

For the next 20 years, Gray said he and his team will be looking more towards the international market for bookings as the local dancehall culture is dying.

"There is not much being done to preserve the dancehall culture, and countries in Europe and places like Costa Rica are diving into it. Hopefully, we will see a resurge of dancehall in the coming years," said Gray.




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