Music

Wide awake

Producers keep it clean on debut

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Friday, June 21, 2019

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Debutant music producers Russell “Russ Buss” Gordon and Ronaldo Castanheiro believe they and their counterparts must take responsibility for negative songs and their impact on youth in a crime-ridden country. Both agree that music has a profound impact on youth, and violent lyrics adds to friction in Jamaica where over 1,000 homicides are recorded annually for the past 20 years.

“I believe that producers have a responsibility with what comes out of the studio. Producers are the creators along with the artistes, so it is a shared responsibility. Music is a very powerful thing and it influences people,” said Gordon in an interview with the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

He added that: “You have to look at the market and see what's trending and put your own spin on it and make it unique and engaging.”

In recent months, a number of songs with violent themes have been released, including Jahvillani's Wileside Government; they are popular with hardcore dance fans. While he is against mixing violence and music, Gordon also supports creative expression.

“The violent content may be a bit bad for the youth sometimes. However, it's music and the artistes are expressing themselves. I wouldn't really fight them for putting their experience on record, because a lot of the artistes sing about what's happening around them. If that is what they feel or experience, it may not be negative in some instances,” he reasoned.

There are no hostile messages to songs on the No Sleep, Gordon and Castanheiro's maiden rhythm which was recently released. Most of them are by upcoming acts like Skorcha ( Gyal Criminal), Quada ( New Gyal Alert), Vivid by Projexx and Grim by Artikal.

“What was strategic was the way we released the rhythm. We first released Quada's song because he is the most familiar artiste, just to allow it to gain traction. Then, we released the other songs in an effort to make people more receptive and open to listening to the other songs. And so far it has worked well,” said Castanheiro.

This is the first production for 21-year-old Gordon, a past student of Campion College, who is a selector with the Coppershot sound system. Castanheiro, who is also 21, is a former student of Jamaica College who has been involved in production for six years.

For Castanheiro, the No Sleep is an opportunity to show what he has learned over the years.

“I have been in music production for about six years but those years were a development stage for me. I taught myself music theory, how to mix and master songs, and familiarised myself with different technologies. Now I am confident in my work, so I decided to link up with Russ Buss to release the project,” he explained.

Given their backgrounds, Castanheiro said joining forces was natural.

“I had a vision to co-produce the rhythm with someone who was already out there in the streets because I am more of a studio person. So, I linked with Russ and proposed the project to him. The whole rhythm had an energy behind it and everything just flowed,” he recalled.

Gordon, who has been with Coppershot for the past three years, said the No Sleep has whetted his appetite.

“This project has motivated me to continue doing production, it has been a great learning experience.”


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