Please introduce yourself for those donít know you
My name is Marshall Neeko, hailing from France, producer & riddim maker and the owner of Idlers Corner Records.
How did you get into reggae music?
I was introduced to reggae when I was 14, the summer my cousin played me some Bob Marley & Alpha Blondy back in 1988. As soon as I got back from holidays, I went to the local record shop and started buying everything I could afford, mainly cassettes & LP's, discovering new names like Gregory Isaacs, Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Black Uhuru, Wailing Souls, Israel Vibrations, Eek-A-Mouse, Yellowman, John Holt, Ijahman Levi, Frankie Paul, Cultural Roots, Don Carlos... It was crazy, like a bottomless spit ! I wasn't really aware with the digital stuff at this time, mainly focused on 70's & early 80's roots records, especially the Channel One productions, until the day I heard the Gregory Isaacs "Rumours" on Gussie Clarkes' Music Works/Anchor Label for the very first time. It was a musical shock that brought me to some different vibes of this music, the digital era & the reggae superstars from that time, from Cocoa Tea to Shabba Ranks, Tony Rebel to Flourgon, Brian & Tony Gold to Hopeton Lindo, Papa San to Tiger, Barrington Levy, Pinchers, Junior Reid to name a few… Then slowly but surely came the 90's and to be honest I was not a big fan of the early 90's productions coming out from Jamaica, too much slack lyrics, very poor riddims. For 2 or 3 years, I didn't pay attention no more of what was coming from JA and one day in 1994, listening to a radio show, I heard a voice, the second shock of my musical journey, the voice of the late Garnett Silk. I said to myself, wow ! Who is he ? It was the beginning of an incredible & short period - some call it "new-roots", with the awakening of cultural messages in the music, the emergence of a lot of new labels, new artists... I think it has probably been the greatest period of Jamaican modern reggae. Even if I love the 80's digital era, if I had to choose one, it would be the mid-90's. Sizzla, Garnett Silk, Yami Bolo, Everton Blender, Little Devon, Capleton, Luciano, Mykal Roze, Louie Culture, Morgan Heritage, Doniki & Steady Ranks, Prezident Brown, Bounty Killer, Lukie D, Jahmali, Anthony B, Beenie Man etc... List goes on and on! Still in the mid-90's, I had the chance to join a local radio station to host own a weekly radio show called the "Rise Up Reggae Show", from 1997 to 2007. Alongside that, in 2006 I took my first step into the production business, releasing a 45's vinyl series called "Sane Kry Riddim". I was not musically mature to voice artists on riddims of mine so I linked with Russ Disciples who did it better than me ! A second production was followed 4 years later by the name of "Things Tough Riddim" and it has been the last one on this label. I left the production business for
3 years, focusing on how to make riddims sound the way I want dem to sound. I never tried to revolute the reggae codes, my aim was and still is to sound the closer I can to my reggae heroes, from Mafia & Fluxy to Steely & Clevie, from The Firehouse Crew to Sly & Robbie. I worked hard, making riddims again & again, and when I felt I was finally ready, I launched Idlers Corner Records in 2013...
Idlers Corners Records vol.1 has got lots of different styles in an authentic reggae manner. How did you come across all these styles and do you enjoy doing something new all the time ?
Well I never know how the riddim will sound until I start working on it. By testing different drums, different piano sounds, different basses I take a direction. Sometimes it will sound 80's, sometimes 90's...I'm not a musician in its classic definition, as I never studied music, I only work with my ears and the best way to make me flop a riddim is to ask myself a particular style. As said before, I only try to stick to my riddim models. I would love to be able to play music like Manudigital, Naram, D&H, B-No or Zared but I do the best as I can haha… For this album, i didn't want to propose a basic compilation of already released tunes, that make no sense. That's why 100% of the 21 tracks of this album are remixes and exclusives cuts. Most of the riddims are classic recuts like Tempo, Cuss Cuss, King David, Peenie Peenie, Promised Land... and yes, you will hear some 80's, 90's or UK stepper influences in all of dem.
You work with an unique roster of singers too including a number of Jamaican artists. How do you pick artists to work together with?
Things are pretty easier with internet now. Most of the artists are reachable and then it's a mutual feeling. First thing I do is to send the riddim to the artist. If they don't feel it, then nothing happens. Usually the artist do the voicing, then send me back the vocals for mixing. Sometimes it's a one way collaboration, but most of the times we keep the link to a friendly relationship. I think about Donald & Dervin of D'Nations, Ishabel, Isiah Mentor, Carl Meeks, I-Maa-Ra Stewart, George Palmer, Tenor Youthman...All of dem became friends.
What can we expect from you in the future ?
Well I have few projects, maybe an instrumental album of the "Idlers Corner Records Vol.1", plus a various artists compilation on the soundclash lyrics theme. Also several projects for others labels like the ones Bent Back Records, Cubiculo Records or Ruff Stereo. Stay tuned !
Thank you very much Nico!
To listen or purchase "Idlers Corner Records Vol.1 click HERE