In 1979, Mikey Dread and his brother Jah T began to play at blues parties and local dances, having spent many years under the watchful eye of their father, owner-operator of the famous Admiral Bailey Sound. Channel One’s mission is to break down barriers via reggae music They have achieved this by playing new venues, new festivals and different countries, taking their unique sound to Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey and all over Europe.
What does Channel One mean as a name?
Channel One Sound System references the famous Channel One music studios in Jamaica. Back in the 70s/80s I used to visit Jamaica and cut dubplates in their dubcutting room and bring them back to play in London. Big reggae tunes such as Very Well by Wailing Souls.
Can reggae really unite people? How?
Of course. Reggae music can unite people by the words, sound and power of the music and the message of Rastafari.
Why do you think it was always perceived as radical or subversive?
Is that spirit imbued by Marley still in the reggae music that gets made today?.
We never found the music to be radical or subversive. It was just something that we grew up with. Its message was something that we could all recognise and relate to. It’s not big-money music like hip-hop, with lyrics created for a mass audience; it’s raw and reflects the time and the lives of the people who create it. Bob Marley left a legacy in his music that is still relevant to today.
What is unique about your sound?
Channel One Sound System has been hand built over many years to get the unique sound that people hear today. When we travel overseas, we teach younger sound systems how to tweak their sound systems to get the best sound possible out of it. It’s not just about the bass, it’s about hearing all of the different sounds in the music. As artists, we always champion good reggae music; we know what makes a good record and support new artists from all over. We play new music, but also keep playing artists who have died. We keep their music alive. Everything we play has a message. Positivity and conscious music only. Strictly roots, reggae and dub!..
What have been some of your gig highlights?
The Red Bull Culture Clash in 2010; we were the underdogs and appeared in a big sound clash, playing up against Goldie with Metalheadz, and Skream and Benga. Nobody expected us to make any impact. We won. We won over the crowd with our music and message. Beating the more commercial sectors was a highlight: suddenly people had to take notice of our music and our work. Another highlight for us is the annual Notting Hill Carnival (Europe’s largest street festival with more than a million people on the streets of London). We’ve played there for 34 consecutive years. Each year it gets bigger and better; people visit us from all over the world to experience Channel One Sound System on the streets of London. Positive vibes and skanking..
Who are the artists you draw on for inspiration?
Some of the classics: Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, Culture, Bob Marley
What do you have in store for your show in Byron?
We’re looking forward to letting the people of Byron know what reggae music is all about, to let them know the spiritual message of Rastafari through the way we play music.
Saturday 3 February | Durrumbul Hall | 6pm | www.bit.ly/ChOne2018 |
Tickets: $35 presale