Earl Gateshead is a veteran of reggae music, pioneering sound systems in England since the heyday of the 70s. A number of long-running reggae nights—the Dive Bar in Soho, the Blue Note in Hoxton, Plastic People in Shoreditch, and many others—owe their success to Earl. He has manned the controls of none other than Trojan soundsystem. Goa Sunsplash was honered to host him at our 2017 and 2018 editons.
Kavin: Earl, thanks for agreeing to do an interview with the Goa Sunsplash blog. You’re a legend; you’ve been doing it for decades. Where do you see global reggae headed in the next few years?
Earl Gateshead: I think the Sound System movement will continue to grow. It's back to our roots really, Reggae Music is in essence, the music that was evolved to be played on Jamaican Sound Systems. Global Reggae will continue to grow because we offer an philosophy and a lifestyle which is a real alternative to the increasingly unpleasant, pointless and negative, world wide, political and social position.
K: The Indian reggae scene is still a smallish, independent scene but we have dozens of extremely dedicated people working to build it stronger. Any words of wisdom for the Indian massive?
EG: If you get involved in Reggae. Do it because you love it. Reggae is a way of looking at the world. It's not for everybody. But if you feel it, it's a fantastic way of life. It's all about the journey.
K: Any cool tour stories from your time on the road with Big Youth?
EG: As part of his rider Big Youth asks for a Primus stove and fuel. He would take these to his Hotel rooms. I would go out and buy rice and prawns. In the (often very swanky) room he would light up the Primus and cook for us both. He would add spices he'd brought from Jamaica. He's a wonderful cook and I loved his cooking.
K: Finally, welcome to India. Have you been here before, and what are you looking forward to most (other than the festival)?
EG: No, I've never been from India and i know virtually nothing about the country. I'm looking forward to finding out about the place. I've heard Kerala is a successful Socialist state. I'm very interested to see if that's true and if I can learn something there.