Rootz Underground – West Coast ‘Play’ Ground and Tour!
Synergy is a beautiful thing to witness and when delivered onstage with a raw energy, it’s even more captivating. This synergy has brought Rootz Underground forward across the last nine years of the bands journey from small underground club shows in Kingston at venues such as The Village Café and Red Bones to the largest stages in Jamaica including Sunsplash, Rebel Salute, Welcome to Jamrock, Reggaelution, Sumfest and Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues repeatedly.
The band consists of six core members that have been placed together through fate and friendship along the road of life in Jamaica with music as the common ground. It’s here with the mix of these personalities and varied interests that the intricate recipe for the diverse sound comes together and gets expressed in this modern twist on roots reggae.
Rootz Underground is Stephen Newland (lead vocals), Jeffrey Moss-Solomon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Colin Young (bass), Leon Campbell (drums), Paul Smith (keyboards, vocals) and Charles Lazarus (lead guitar) and they speak to L3 Magazine as they kick off their West Coast tour!
L3. You are known for several bars worth of introduction to your songs. Is this your way of setting the pace for listeners in terms of what’s to come?
RU. More than for setting a pace, our intros are a part of our musical personality as a band. They are the product of a desire to always push the boundaries of what we've already done and give a little more. They are not separate parts of songs - they are integral parts of the whole.
L3. Your name, Rootz Underground suggests that your focus is on the ‘root’ of all matters. One of the lines in your song “Farming” says make sure you plant ‘soulfood’ in reference to a person’s soul. Can listeners conclude that you’re interested in their roots?
RU. We are interested in the completeness of our friends and fans. A balanced approach to life is also integral, but it's important to go to the root of any matter that needs attention. Once all is right at the root, then rightness of the whole individual is easier to achieve.
L3. Your music has allowed you to travel and perform extensively in several countries. What has been the most exciting country or city to visit and why?
RU. Each time we visit a new country or city or venue, it is a truly exciting and uplifting experience for us. Each experience is treasured and valued for its OWN worth instead of compared to another. We give thanks for each and every fan, so to compare experiences is impossible because each is so different and important in its own way
L3. You have released two albums to date; do you have plans for a third going into 2011?
RU. We are excited to say that we have already started work on another album. We don't have a release date in mind yet, but we are still as excited about Gravity as the day we begun to write it, so we are eager to share it with everyone right now. There are also other projects that we are involved with that we have been sharing and continue to share with you.
L3. Have fans reached out to you to express how a song has touched their lives, or given them inspiration to face difficult issues in their lives?
RU. It is very encouraging when fans reach out to us in connection with our songs, but not surprising. We write music as regular human beings, having experiences through life that inspire us just like anyone else, so it is the familiarity of expression that is the common element that draws our fans together with us - an Earth-level connection that we all share.
L3. How much of your music is personal in terms of being a reflection of your own personal experiences? Do you write from an individual experience or collective (the whole band) experience?
RU. Our music is the best way that we know of to share our personal experiences on a wider scale. Because we are a family in our own right, these experiences and expressions vary from individual to collective, and each contributes to the other.
L3. Video’s of you on youtube see thousands of fans connect with you and your performances. How important have your fans been as you travel on the musical journey?
RU. Without our fans our message would be lost in obscurity and there would be no journey, but because the message is greater than any one of us or even us as a band, it is inevitable that this message has taken us on this journey for the purpose of connecting with our new friends everywhere - who we collectively call fans. This journey is ABOUT the fans - and getting the message to them
L3. Upcoming for you is a West Coast tour. How did that tour come about?
RU. This tour - as with others - came about through the desire of our fans. Organizing the tour and making it happen came through the diligent efforts of a team of hard-working people, but all of the effort came about to satisfy the desire of our fans to connect with us at a live show in their area.
L3. L3 Magazine stands for Life, Love, Lyrics. What general advice can you give readers about Life, about Love and about Lyrics?
RU. Make yours. Make Life. Make Love. Make Lyrics. Don't hold back any positive expression of the good inside you. More so if they contribute to the upliftment of your brothers and sisters
For more on Rootz Underground, visit www.rootzunderground.com