Macka B

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Apr 2
 

Just back to the UK from Mexico, and with his two-week Asian tour about to begin, Macka B took some time out of his busy touring schedule to chat with Anderson Muth about vibes, lyrics, and even vegetarian food. The veteran UK reggae singer is enjoying a recent wave of success on the back of his 2015 single (and album), 'Never Played A 45', which celebrates the magic of 7” vinyl. He’ll be playing at XXX as part of Heavy Hongkong’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration.

As a professional performer, your career has spanned well over thirty years now. Is there a particular era or style that you especially enjoyed, or perhaps miss a bit now?
I have fulljoyed all of the time and constantly give thanks that I am still here doing something that I love and still getting a good response. The 80s was nice for an MC in the UK because the lyrical standard was very high. Unlike now where you can get away with just chorus and punchline.

You’re coming to Asia as part of your 'Never Played A 45' tour, which is taking you all across the globe. Why do you think this song is resonating with people so well, and what is that ‘something about the feel and the vibe’ of a 45, even compared to other sizes of vinyl?
As you know vinyl has become popular again and to some it never went out of fashion. Everywhere I go people love the song and sing along – it’s simple and catchy, even people who have never even seen a 45 are caught up in the vibe.

All vinyl has a warm vibe and it is physical: you can feel it, so you cherish it more. The 7-inch 45 with the hole in the middle is very sound system friendly.

Related, you make several great points with your lyrics in that tune: that it’s not about playing only 45s, that there are differences between sound mediums, and that there’s nothing wrong with digital technology. Especially as a sound system singer, are there elements of newer technology that you do appreciate, or are they only detracting from the original style of selecting/performance?
We have to deal with reality and some people, especially the younger ones who grow up in the digital age are going to use the mediums that they are used to, which is all good. I just want them to experience something different and see how it feels, because I remember how it made me feel as a youth. Making things easier with technology doesn’t always make things better, most of the time you lose something to make it more convenient.

Not just with that song, but also with many other of your releases there is a clear intent to educate, rather than just entertain. Has this always been your goal as an artist? You regularly champion Rastafarianism, and therefore both marijuana and vegetarianism – how would you most like to impact your audience and their behavior?
Edutainment that’s what I am dealing with. I want people to fulljoy themselves and catch a positive vibe. Then take that positive vibe and spread it. I and I is like a spark that ignites the fire of consciousness within people.

Your hosts [Fai and Christy of Heavy Hongkong] are both vegetarians, so you should be in good hands regarding the food! Any Chinese food you’re looking forward to trying while you’re here?
Yes, I want to try out the real tofu, spring rolls, veggie chow mein, noodles, those kinds of things. Big up Fai and Christy!

Given that you’re now a vegan, how would you re-approach your tune 'Baked Beans and Egg'?
I wouldn’t, it was a true story about one of my friends. That was nearly all his wife could make. Real ting.

And finally: is there a special tune of yours that you really wish would see a re-release (or a proper release)?
I couldn’t pick out one but there are lots of my tunes from over the years that if you played them now, you would think I am talking about today.

Thanks so much for taking the time; I know you’re busy so the effort is appreciated!
Blessed Love RasTafari.

Macka B Apr 2, XXX, Tai Kok Tsui. Tickets: $250 (door). Facebook event page.

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