KINGSTON-BASED sound system Code Red is the only local contigent representing Jamaica in World Clash: The End slated for the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England, on Sunday, May 1.
The competition, organised by Irish and Chin, will see a total of nine ‘sounds’ vying for supremacy.
Code Red’s Xavier “Lank” Brown and Teon “Chris Dymond” Bogle say they are pumped up and ready for battle.
“World Clash in itself is a big deal for us. It feels like the Grammys of the sound system culture; everyone wants to say they have a World Clash trophy. We are up against eight other sound systems in a stadium that holds about 20,000 patrons. It’s a lot of pressure but at the same time, with it being the final staging of World Clash, for us to be the only sound chosen to represent Jamaica and the Caribbean brings us a great sense of pride. It shows that the hard work we’ve been putting in over the past few years has been paying off,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.
Brown continued, “We’ve seen a dip in clash culture over the years, with the same old sounds clashing amongst themselves while the crowds get younger and younger. Hopefully, what we’ve accomplished so far as a sound targeting a younger demographic in the clash scene will motivate other young DJs to follow suit.”
In addition to Code Red, the other ‘sounds’ competing are Mystic (World Champion – Canada), Observer Supa Power (winner of UK Rumble 2019), Klymaxx (winner of Canada Rumble 2019), Stereo 5 (winner of USA Rumble 2019), Rodem Cyclone (winner of Japan Rumble 2019), Empire Sound (UK wild card), Dynamq (USA wild card), and Warrior Sound (Europe wild card).
Brown shared an insight into the preparation for World Clash face-off.
“Preparation hasn’t been easy. Mentally, physically, financially, it has been draining — lots of sleepless nights. Leaving home at 8:00 am, going from studio to studio, recording dubs until 5:00 am then back at it again the following day — for weeks at a time. It’s been a tedious process but you get out what you put in and so far, we’ve been working hard. It’s just disappointing to see how the Jamaican artistes have been dealing with us as the local sound system. Between the lack of respect for time, the complete runaround when we make contact, and the ridiculous amount of money they charge for dubplates, it’s hard to believe that they actually love the culture. But, we’ve never been a sound to be deterred easily. We’ll work with what we have and work around what we don’t. Big up to all the artistes who have consistently been working with us over the years, they know themselves.”
This isn’t the first time Code Red has participated in a clash.
“In recent years, myself and Chris Dymond have taken on more and more clashes before being slowed by the pandemic. We won the Ova Suh Sound Clash in Ocho Rios against veteran DJ Ricky Trooper in 2019. We also represented Jamaica in the Caribbean Rumble in Antigua (2018) and the Global Clash in New York (2018), placing second in both. We were semi-finalists and awarded ‘Best Sound of the Competition’ at the 2017 Boom Allstar Sound Clash, and we also competed in the Redbull Culture Clash in Atlanta in 2017,” said Brown.
Code Red started in 2001 with Russell “ZJ Rush” Alexander, Stephen “Supa Hype” Davis and Edward “Master Lee” Collins. Devin “Blade” Chambers joined the team shortly after. Its current members are Brown, Bogle, Alexander, Collins and Jim “Sigar” Parker.
Brown said being consistent has kept Code Red in the game through the years.
“We work hard to ensure every event is a memorable one for the patrons. Whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people, we bring the same energy. Promoters are confident their event is in safe hands when they book us.”
The members of Code Red have also evolved into music production in recent years, having produced songs for the likes of Skillibeng, Yaksta, Vybz Kartel, Bounty Killer, Spragga Benz, Squash, D’Yani, Bugle and Tommy Lee Sparta, among others.