Q1: The last time you chatted to ACU|BIEN you were busy working on this second solo album, Electric Soul. You told us that you found that the best collaborations are the ones that happen naturally. Did this process remain true for this album? Tell us about the process.
A| Well I got the ideal producers for the album, Tim Bran and Roy Kerr. They produced a band called London Grammar which are a favourite of mine so I feel blessed to have them on board. They really helped me hone and craft the sound on Electric Soul and a producers main skill is patience because us artists can be very unsure of what we want sometimes. They were so patient.
Q2: The debut single from the album,’When The Beat Drops Out’ #WTBDO has finally dropped in the UK, released 1st March – I have had it on pre-order for so long man! Congratulations! #WTBDO has taken Europe by storm going in at No1 in Germany, approaching 100 weeks in 6 different charts in Europe and when I last checked was as high as No 11 in UK Shazam charts. What is it about this song that is causing music lovers to pay attention?
A| Yes and its amazing to have my first UK top 10 also with WTBDO. The song has a little of all the elements I love in music. The rhythm, deep lyrics, tropical sounds. What really makes a hit though no one knows which makes it a beautiful random elusive process. We saw early on that the song gets a massive reaction whenever its played so the key was getting airplay.
Q3: Along with the eclectic character of your song writing, a ‘happy-melancholy’ also seems to be part Marlon Roudette’s motif, signature even. Infact the opening cords of When The Beat Drops Out’ #WTBDO on the tenor steelpan is kinda haunting yet sweet. Would you say ‘happy-melancholy is a fair description, and if so, where does this come from?
A| Yes for sure. Smile, but I think there is another term I love. The songs that have stayed with me for years have a message. They tap into mass consciousness and get to the essence of who we are. And that doesn’t have to be through a complicated lyric “sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away” has a deep simplicity. Its perfect.
Q4: Tell us about your love affair with the steel pan. Can you play the range of instruments in the pan family?
A| Well we got them all into the studio for this album. Tenor, Double Second, Cello, Bass. The tenor is my thing really but I play with the Mangrove Steel Band in London when I’m not touring so they came down to help me out!
Q5: Back to the debut single from Electric Soul. Hypothetical I know, but you can only have one or the other: #WTBDO at No 1 in Germany or No 1 in the UK. Which is matters most for you?
A| Well Germany is the bigger market technically but the UK has a bigger impact world wide in cultural terms. You know the Germans have been such loyal fans and really resurrected my career when it flatlined everywhere else so I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
Q6: Any plans for this single and album Stateside?
A| I’m in the USA at the moment touring and promoting the album. I’m signed to Columbia here now and they’re really pushing it hard. WTBDO played on the radio while we were in NYC which was surreal. I’ve grown up listening to American chart music so be anywhere on that scale would be awesome.
Q7: I caught one of your live performances on a cold wet evening in Camden last time around and it really was superb. Any news as yet about UK tour dates so we may hear Electric Soul live and direct?
A| Well we’ll see how the success of the single goes but we go wherever the love is really. And even the places where there isn’t any and we have to create it!
Q8: Again congratulations on the UK release of When The Beat Drops Out’ #WTBDO. Any parting words to exiting and potentially new Marlon Roudette fans in the UK, Caribbean, Asia, The World?
A| A huge thank you! My Caribbean roots are massively important in terms of who I am and the music I make so I don’t think I’ll ever lose sight of that. But if I do just bring me a piece of fried breadfruit and I’ll be transported back, walking up that hill to school in my short pants, humming a soca tune, morning sun on my skin.
When The Beats Drops Out available for download on iTunes. Album Electric Soul coming soon