Representing the historic Trojan records label is London based crew Trojan Sound System. Led by creators Earl Gateshead & Daddy Ad since 2004, Trojan Sound System has become one of the best London reggae teams playing only the best in classic reggae sounds from original ska and calypso, roots reggae and dub to dancehall, steppers and modern dubstep reggae beats. Music that has soul and strictly in vinyl format!
Born in Gateshead in the north of England Earl Gateshead is one of the UKs finest reggae selectors and has been DJing since 1979. For over 30 years, Earl has made a massive name for himself DJing not only with Daddy Ad and the Trojan crew but many solo sets too. Earl has played at many of the finest venues and festivals throughout the UK and globally, playing conscious good reggae sounds and with a unique style promoting and spreading the message of love, peace and unity. “Yeah, yeah”! He is a true dub educator.
With such an illustrious career, I was truly honoured to be given the opportunity to interview the man behind Trojan Sound System and find out more about his music and his career.
What was your inspiration to become a selector?
I love music and I always have done. When I started there were no selectors really, but I loved to make an atmosphere in the events I was promoting, by playing the music I was most involved with.
Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
We’re all influenced by our family’s taste I think. That’s the music you hear when you’re young. As a selector I’ve got to give Bob Jones and Rodigan credit. I worked with Bob Jones for a long time and still think about things he said and his attitude to music and musicians. He was very respectful and I came to respect it too. Not just to enjoy it.
What was the first record you ever bought?
You’re going to be surprised. It was “Songs of Love and Hate” Leonard Cohen, before that I just listened to my older brother’s and sister’s music.
Where do you think reggae and dub music will be in the next 20 years?
The music is evolving constantly. Hopefully it will still be the rebel music that represents the dispossessed. Hopefully, it will still represent those who want a more just and spiritually true society, and still be their voice
How, why and when did Trojan Sound System all start up and what to you does it stand for?
Trojan Sound grew out of Daddy Ad’s and I’s dissatisfaction with the state of Sound System culture at the turn of the millennium. It was all CD’s and Mixing, apeing Dance music basically. We wanted to return to the “Live” performance based Sound Systems of London in the eighties. We stand for a curious mixture of dissent and positivity.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the reggae/dub world?
I think probably my Reggae Nights at Plastic People in 2002. I suspect that they were a turning point for European Reggae. We didn’t have a stage at Plastic People, so we did eighties style sound system shows. That was very innovative at the time.
What is your biggest challenge as a selector?
To keep improving. To be better than I was last year
What advice would you give to other aspiring selectors?
Work hard and commit yourself. It’s not natural for most selectors but the more you do on the Mike the better. Talking, singing and chanting.
What are your plans for the rest of 2014 and the future?
I don’t have plans so much, only hopes. I hope to play to big crowds, that’s when I feel really alive.
After interviewing Earl I am in awe as to just how humble one of London’s best selectors is. A man with a true passion for music and that is evident from his fantastic in-depth answers. On behalf of myself and Real Roots, I would like to thank Earl for his time and his answers.