He of evergreen falsetto
Horace Andy – The Count Down to Outlook Festival

Horace Andy possesses an evergreen falsetto. The Jamaican roots and reggae artist has maintained his untainted voice for over four decades now and it’s already been 20 years since he first collaborated with trip-hop pioneers, Massive Attack, on their debut album, ‘Blue Lines’.

Since then, music has obviously moved on, but possibly much quicker and with a wider offshoot than many may have expected. One for keeping it current, Horace explains about his latest album outing, ‘Serious Times’: “I don’t like going back, you know. That album was made because the people from France wanted that. I didn’t want it. This is modern times and people want to go back to the seventies? I didn’t like it. I just didn’t give it my 100%. They wanted me to go back to the times of Sugar Minott and that same drum sound. Why do you want that? Create something new!” He also hasn’t cancelled out any chances of jumping on some of today’s more experimental sounds. “Let me just tell you one thing, its them (referring to producers) you know not me. They create the tune, and I just come and do my thing over it. I don’t really sit down and think to make the tune; they do that. It depends who though, I wouldn’t just go and just do it for anyone.”

Yet, with one scene evidently thriving in the face of so many variants and exciting musicians, reggae and it’s fellow, foundation-laying movements seems to have shrivelled up into a dark corner. Understandably disappointed, Horace’s initial enthusiasm fades “Well, I have nothing to say other than that they need to create new sounds. Some people want to just do over the same riddims. For years and years they’ve been doing it and I can’t take it. That’s why I respect some of the dubstep children, because they’re always creating music and creating new sounds. Some people want to continue going back to stuff in the seventies. I live in England, but in terms of the reggae scene here, there just seems to be nothing going on. Nothing.”

“They mash down all the black youth and talk about how they’re making gun fingers. Just because someone uses their fingers and makes a gun salute, doesn’t mean they’re into shooting people. That’s just the in thing. It’s the same thing for when people knock fists, not everyone likes to knock fists. The media is one of the wickedest things against the music. The media mashes it down. I might not listen to BBC 1 or BBC 2, and I used to listen to Kiss FM, I don’t listen to them any more.” On the current media environment, Horace ignores any talk of phone hacking or scandal and instead focuses on the influence of cultural big-wigs: “I would like to see more black-orientated stations in the same category as the BBC and the only way that we can do it is if we do it ourselves. With these young kids, they have people like Jay Z to look up to with his own corporation, but other than that it’s not happening.

Not just politically active, Andy is still very dynamic on the festival scene and with festivals such as Outlook celebrating the entire bass spectrum everything from dub all the way through to dubstep and experimental beats gets a good look in. “I love the crowd man and the whole atmosphere. I’ll tell you the truth; the crowd are always the same. They just come, drink and make noise. It’s always good to go out and perform,” he explains. He’s not, however, a fan of the culinary skills at most festivals: “One thing I don’t like is the food. It’s bad. They just can’t cook. Some of them are nice, but most of them; they can’t cook. Most of the time the chicken is no good and not clean, the pork isn’t clean and sometimes it’s like ‘oh nooooo!’”

There’s still much more to come from the 60-year-old and with another LP in ‘One Order’ on it’s way, new and old fans alike can expect to hear his tremolo-embracing tones once more. “I can’t predict the future, but I just want to make music for as long as I can do it.”

Horace Andy plays Outlook Festival this September. For more info go to www.outlookfestival.com

Visit Clash's Outlook Festival hub page HERE.

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