Sean Flowerdew of Pama International

talks festivals, reggae, records and more. on Wed 23rd Apr 2008

eGigs spoke to Sean Flowerdew the keyboard player and founder of the dub fuelled Ska, Rocksteady & Reggae band Pama International and managed to lose the beginning of this interview in an unexpected recording accident! But still managed to talk festivals, reggae, records and more.

What are you up to at the moment?
Putting stuff for our own Record Label together, organising what festivals we're doing and putting songs together for bands on our label.

If you could play a gig anywhere in the world where would you play?
Zimbabwe as I come from there and I'd like to go back and see what's really going on there.

What's your favourite Pama International track and why?
Highrise, it's got a strong urban message and I really like the production we did on it, it was nice to be able to do the whole album ourselves and get it just right this time.

What's been your favourite gig?
Glastonbury last year I think was terrific, we really enjoyed that.

You've had some great collaborations in the past, who would you most like to collaborate with?
I've got to admit there's one I've just tracked down that I've written a tune on the next album that I really want to get him doing, and I think I can, I've found him, and that is Tone Loc. I've tracked his manager down to Nashville. So talking to him about doing a tune. On the reggae side I'd like to do some stuff with Rebel MC, Tenor Fly and Top Cat, and singer wise Aretha Franklin. There's of loads of people I'd love to do stuff with that have sadly passed away. I love my old music there isn't much passed 1979 I listen to.

So what are your top five records?
Top five singles or albums? Albums - Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin and Lee Perry I love, The Specials would have to be in there because I kind of grew up on that. Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Nina Simone would have to be in there.

The new stuff works really well live, how did it feel when you played it to a crowd and realised it was going down a storm?
It was fantastic! This album has been the most new songs we've played since we started. We've always done an album and then take it out live and only had two or three tracks creep into the set. With this one we went with eight new tracks, and it was good, I read one review which said that we really seem to have found our sound. This album I had the most control over that I've ever had because I engineered it all and really had a vision of the sound I wanted and it's the one I'm most happy with. So, it's great that they're all working. I think it suits Fuzz on drums too, I think it suits his style really well, he's a real powerhouse live so it's really playing to his strengths. It's been a great year so far.

Who's the one act you most enjoyed seeing live?
The best gig I've ever went to was, I saw Jimmy Cliff live in the late nineties in Jamaica in the Grill, and he hadn't played for thirteen years, so the atmosphere was just incredible it was on the cliffs in the Grill, so you had the sun setting on the Carribbean and Jimmy Cliff playing there and there were grown men weaping, everywhere, it was pretty special. Other than that I was always a big Madness fan as a kid so I got to see them early on saw them in the mid Eighties, Brixton Academy around '85 at an 'Artists against Apartheid' show and that was really good.

what festivals do you have this summer? what other plans do you have for this year?
Well we've just been confirmed for Beautiful Days, playing the main stage this time, either Friday or Saturday, if we get the Friday we might be opening which will be great. We've got Glastonbury Left Field which we can't say much about yet and we're doing The Big Chill and one in Scotland we really like called Dunstaffnage.

With Lynval Golding of The Specials being in the band, do you think a Specials reunion if it comes about will effect you?
Well Lynval lives in America so we have cover for anyone who plays, we're a collective, so we've got back up musicians for every instrument. I think if they do reform, and they've been offered a lot of money, to top up their pensions. But I don't think the reunion will be before September, we've got Neol from the Specials too now, and sometimes Lynval can't make a gig, I don't see it effecting us, there's a lot Eighties bands making a comeback at the moment.

You found a great band in Newtown Kings to support you the last time I saw Pama, have you got any other up and coming bands to recommend?
Yeah they're brilliant aren't they, other than the ones on our label. Ed Rome he's brilliant, really good, the album we're putting out from him is a sort of sixties reggae vibe with a bit of dub, he's from Essex so he's kind of in the vein of Billy Bragg. Billy Bragg meets Ian Dury over old reggae rhythms, it's good he's a good writer. Who else? There's a band called Rebelation they're really good on a roots, reggae and ska tip.

You're an Everton fan, do you get to see them much? How would you describe their season?
I certainly am. I don't get to go and see them at all unfortunately just always out if I'm not out gigging then I'm at home with the kids.

Do your kids like your music?
They love it. It's big with kids for some reason. I'd love to do a kids album. I was supposed to be getting a Johnny Cash kids album as I just wanted to see how he did it. I'd love to make a kids album, kids love the music.

Thanks Sean enjoy the summer.
Have a good summer take it easy.

Eat Static

article by: Scott Williams

published: 23/04/2008 10:31


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