With the imminent release of his much anticipated debut album titled “Echoes from the Ghettos: Volume 1” slated for August 2018, the ReggaeTimes team sat down with Eloy Doran, better known as ELAD to explore his musical journey thus far.
AWN: Explain how you started out in the music business.
EL: Well between me and my good brethren little Lee we actually started out in a group called C.O.D [Conquerers of Destiny] and we had a recording session where we never liked how the engineer was engineering the session and we were not satisfied with what we were getting so in my frustration me just say “look me have to learn this thing”, so we can do this thing properly cause we have a sound in our heads and we know how the thing supposed to sound and we were not getting that so I kinda ventured off into it so it was me, Nicky B, Selly B and another brethren called Rucksey and that was the group C.O.D, then I kinda venture off into learning how a studio is run, learning the equipment and all those things.
AWN: So although you started as an artiste, you took on the responsibility for the group then to ensure that your music had to be done properly, it has to be on a certain level and you were the one to ensure that it is done right; like they always say if you want something done properly you have to do it yourself right?
EL: True that’s how I went to MTI (Media Technology Institute) CPTC (Creative Production & Training Centre). They basically teach audio, video production and graphics among several other areas within the creative art. So I went there and did engineering courses as well as video production, video editing, just the whole audio visual production vibes.
AWN: So I saw where you’ve done a lot of work with slightly more recognized artistes, well before we reach there we want to ask how you really first got that opportunity.
EL: So after finishing the course we went to Grafton studio that’s Mickey Bennett who is Nicolas “Nicky B” Bennett father. Actually that’s my first studio environment where I practiced what I learned outside the training institute you know what I mean. Until eventually I was running the studio for a number of years as a engineer so through that experience mi come across many artistes and so under Mickey Bennett wings me develop my production skills and get a kind of mentorship on how good sound really should sound, and song writing so basically Mickey Bennett is one of my greatest mentors, because being around him I learned to develop the production skills, song writing skills and also the engineering skills cause him have a wealth of knowledge on all of these things and with my raw talent and my vision a nice synergy was formed, cause yuh affi have passion !
AWN: Did you come across the artiste J.O.E (Jah Ova Evil) during your time at Grafton Studio?
EL: Yea man may his soul rest in peace man. He was a real nice I-drin enuh humble spirit real talented youth powerful that leave too soon.
AWN: What were some of the struggles that you faced and as a result what would you advise someone going into the business today.
EL: Alright it’s a different field especially now cause there are so many more artistes, so many more people who want to be artistes and so many people who think they have the talent but they are not really up to par and what if they have the resources; then they have the resources but not the talent.
EL: The advice that I would give to a young artiste coming into the industry is to come to the industry with the frame of mind of contributing something positive, with the frame of mind of helping to develop the industry, develop the music in a positive way while enhancing yourself, your craft, your talents yuh nuh whether as an artiste or a musician or whatever role you feel you would like to play within the space.
EL: Yea so that is what I would emplore the yutes dem weh a come into the industry to do come in with a positive mindset and a mission to contributing to the development of the industry and not just self.
AWN: Well we can’t just talk about starting out, what are some of the challenges within the industry?
EL: Some of the challenges that arising artistes face currently in the industry such as myself and many others is firstly that the business has become corrupt, so there is the payola problem this is when you have to pay Disc Jocks (DJs) to play your music so that’s one of the big issues that we have and it faces everybody not only the emerging artiste but even the well-established artiste as well are complaining about it so not only for radio but within the dancehall space like selectors so it really a disservice to the music and to the industry because what it does is stagnate the industry and prevents it from growing naturally.
AWN: What were your career goals before you thought about becoming an artiste?
EL: Yea the goal is really to help people through my music whether inspiring dem with the message are helping dem in a financial way whenever its possible, cause we have the heart and the mind for a philosophy, so one of my thing is whatever wealth I amass from my musical exploits in life, a great deal of it is going to go back to my people. Me a guh give it away basically one way or another maybe not by giving a man a money in his hand but into projects and to educational stuff sending children to school or whatever project we can do to help uplift a community that is really my mission so really my thing.
One of the most influential sentence I ever heard in my life is that interview that Bob Marley did with I believe Navel Wilaby and he said ‘’If my life is for me alone mi nuh want it”, it nuh mek nuh sense if mi can’t help people then what is the purpose of my life? As a youth when I heard that it was so profound to me that it hit me make me say yea but that’s what me a feel too. That moment and those words are still in me, me put it in my consciousness. So that is the mission Brown said NO MAN IS AN ISLAND NO MAN STANDS ALONE it’s about helping people.
AWN: So question what was the first hit song that you played a part in?
EL: Yea man one just pop out of my mind Sasha and Turbulance “We Got The Love”
AWN: So the way that this song give you such a good feeling and sense of accomplishment although you were not credited for any work done, what aspect of the music production process you think is most important?
EL: Alright the key elements are the music and the melody. When we approach making a song, those are the two key areas to look into first make sure the music nice, enjoyable to the ears, then you have be sure it has the right balance in terms of everything and then you kinda move to the melody and it can be in the reverse too. You can have words then put the melody to it.
AWN: Your album self- produced under your own label ELOYDAREN MUSIC, when are you releasing this album and how do you feel about the project?
EL: Well it is executive produced by me recording for the most part engineering I did the whole production basically except for a couple songs that I co-produced with a brethren out Germany I did the whole thing except the rhythm for those two tracks. I’m looking at late August and the name of the album will be “Echoes From The Ghetto” Vol.1 – The Warning
EL: So the album is heavily influence than the social commentary side we nah really hold back nothing; it is really an expression of mi deepest thoughts and truest feelings on some social issues and outside of that we have about two or three tracks that are feel good songs. It has a nice balance weh even elders can enjoy not only youths but elders as well.
EL: yeah I released a EP in 2016 called “FIRE AND ACOUSTICS” yeah that was like an eleven song project so wi put out that and the entire EP is online on YOUTUBE and ting yeah its actually about 45 minutes of music
AWN: Can you remember a performance or event that stand out in your memories as a good experience?
EL: my performance in 2016 I went to Mexico in august 2016 I went to Mexico a place called Tulancingo
EL: Tulancingo its spell like how it pronounce it’s a town like two hours outside of Mexico City real nice beautiful place with real nice energy, really calm with beautiful people. I went to a thing called Expo Feria Tulancingo, like feria for them is like a fair but what they call fair is this huge thing, with thousands of people and they have couple stage set up like a big main stage set up then they have like a smaller stage so I was there for two weeks as a invited guest artiste from Jamaica cause it is an event that is multi-cultural so most of the embassies that are in Mexico participated including the Jamaican embassy so I went there representing my embassy and Jamaica basically so I did two weeks over there and the performance I remember was great.
EL: yeah man the people love we music them love we energy them love we creativity and we culture suh it was well accepted and appreciated and actually at the end of it they gave me a medal for being the first Jamaican to come over there and perform in that region of Mexico.
AWN: We know it’s a rough industry so im asking you which musicians help teach yuh how to survive in the music industry.
EL: yea a wah tell yuh seh yuh say is encouragement. I always get a lot of encouragement cause a di energy a my spirit mi always get a lot of encouragement from ones weh I encounter but ones that come to mind that given I strength and encouragement over the years is people like Dean Fraser, Wayne Hammond, Steve Golding and Glen Brownie
AWN: If there is any artiste that could emulate who would it be?
EL: wow so many Bob Marley is definitely one a them, his son Junior Gong, Stephen mi love the Marley Brothers yuh know what I mean they are like one of my greatest source of musical inspiration other than Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, The wailers in general whole heap a di ones weh pass before but mi have so many influences and so many people weh mi love and appreciate but mi have a special love fi di Marley Brothers because Gong is like one of my favourite artiste and because I have been around them and they are very passionate about the music they are very hard working and dedicated to the music and mi go round them and witness that and them maintain that humble and a pleasant spirit like them old man; a loving kinda energy so I have never been around them at any time and felt uncomfortable always a welcoming atmosphere and them keep up dem militancy as expected.
AWN: Who are a few artistes that have influenced and inspired you?
EL: influence to before yuh even guh any further sorry there are some people weh mi cant left out weh mi listen to like Sade adu is one of my favourite artist female artist weh mi love Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston all a di greats dem Patti LaBelle whole eep a people Michael Jackson, Steven Wonders, Temptation Lionel Richie it’s just a whole too pack outcast yuh know what a mean it’s really a the roots I listen electric mix of music mi love it that way deh and all a di different influences and sounds even outcast are one of my favourite group cause hear wat a gwan how the ting weh mi love bout dem is like they were never afraid to experiment and that is why they were so big coming out of the south as the first group or duo from out of the south to get a Grammy in a rock music and is because a dat neva afraid of the music experiment to innovate to create dem always every time yuh listen to an outcast album come out with something fresh and new and innovative something weh yuh just she yeah so whole eep a people.
EL: Well I come with messages of hope, inspiration, liberation, truth and rights. That is how I feel the music that I do can really help to motivate and inspire people in a positive way along those lines
AWN: Who are some of the people you would want to work with in the future?
EL: Heading the list is Junior Gong of course Sade Adu love Sade Adu those are the two persons that jump out of mi head