Interview with Blend Mishkin
Please introduce yourself
Blend Mishkin: I am producing and djing since 1997. I started off as a bass player in various bands. The first releases as ‘Blend’ came in 2000 under labels such as Pork Recordings, LTJBukem’s Cooking Records, Shadow Records, Instinct Records a.m., although at the time I wasn’t producing strictly reggae music. My Sound was influenced by Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz Reggae, Ska and Soul, as well as electronic music, so my first 5 LPs were all about crossing and infusing genres. I decided to go by ‘Blend Mishkin’ around 2008 and this is where i got the superpowers needed and fall committed in love with Jamaican music. I have since then collaborated with and produced music for artists like Gappy Ranks, Screetchy Dan, Carlton Livingston, Skarra Mucci, Exco Levi and many more.
Who is Promise No Promises, and Roots Evolution band for those who don't know them?
B: Promise No Promises is an Antigua based artist, in the Caribbean. In recent years he has worked with Walshy Fire (Major Lazer), Ziggy Blacks Productions and Mac Les. I came across his music randomly while browsing on YouTube; I was surprised by the fact that I didn’t know any of his music because I was immediately blown away with most of the stuff I heard.
The Roots Evolution band came together for the first time during the recordings for my last album for Nice Up! Records “Survival of the Fittest” It’s not a band in the traditional term but more of a gathering of musicians I have known and worked with over the years. Main members of the Roots Evolution is multi-instrumentalist Thanos Kosmidis (keyboards, organ and piano in both last albums) and Kostas Fortsas (Clarinet). For In Real Life, we added drummer Nikos Kilimanjaro, Percussionist Lorrd of the SKG Dub Alliance, Guitarists Yiannis Varnavas and Dimitris Ntasios.
Concept of In Real Life album?
B: You see, I wanted to make an album where the sound would be limited to what an old school reggae band could do in the actual studio; no fancy electronic stuff, and most importantly an album where the sound is cohesive from start to finish, bending the rules and getting the soul out of reggae music, featuring one single voice in all songs. I had a few riddims made for it in a demo stage and was trying to figure out who would be the perfect artist to voice them. I didn’t want to go for big names because I didn’t want the name at the end to undermine the result and the collective work with the band. I came across Promise on the internet and straight away decided to approach him and see if he would be interested in a possible collaboration. We reasoned over the phone and agreed to work on a tune. One tune became 2, then 3..then 4 and all of a sudden after 3 months we had a full LP in our hands.
Since your last album you seem to go towards the contemporary interpretation. Any particular reason behind it?
B: The main reason might be that I m getting old… and to be honest, I m going towards that way instinctively, without thinking about it too much or planning ahead too much. I'm a big music lover and have a big fascination with Roots music, especially from a historic point of view. it may sound funny but what I really want to achieve at the end is a “sound” I 've heard over and over every summer when I was very young and was spending vacation time in a summer house on a beach with my family. Right next to the house was this big open air summer club, the first time I saw a DJ was there and this was the late 70’s so the mix of music coming out their speakers and eventually in my sub-conscious was a mashup of disco with early hip hop and reggae and soul and Latin music. They were playing tracks like Lady by Wayne Wade and then later Apache by the Incredible Bongo Band and then maybe Cerrone's Supernature within the same hour. Somehow I feel like I m constantly searching to find this ideal sound that doesn’t even exist.
What's in the pipeline?
B: The video for the first single out of In Real Life is out and we already started production for the next video also about to be filmed in Antigua.
I m working on a new project for Rewind Guaranteed but we are in a very early stage and also, after doing 2 albums in a row I feel the need to move away from the studio for while. A tour in Europe is been on schedule for 2017 and hopefully there will be some festival action in the summer presenting In Real Life as a DJ or with Roots Evolution live.
Thank you very much!