I chatted with Ivan from Easy Star All Stars about his experiences touring the globe and their upcoming album
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I was about nine. I went to an international school which is where I learned more about reggae. Some of my classmates schooled me on the GOOD kind of reggae. Performing for people is what keeps me getting up every day.
What has it been like traveling the world?
I’ve been in the band for a long time. We played in a rice field in Thailand. It was a Thai Reggae festival. It was pretty cool being with a few Thai Reggae bands. Usually we perform places on a tour but we actually flew there specifically for that one show.
The one place we’ve traveled almost as much as America, is England. They loved our “Dub Side Of Moon” album. I think one of the most exciting aspects of being in a band is traveling. Recently, we were in Maine. Sugar Loaf, Maine. It’s a whole different world from Baltimore or even New York. But everywhere, the fans are so dedicated. Folks came over from Montreal to see us in Maine.
We’re excited to come down to Baltimore. A lot of great drummers came out of Baltimore
It’s funny because my dad is a drummer too.
I could sing back in Elementary school but then puberty struck. I didn’t get his genes.
I know you can’t spill the beans, but what was it like recording this top secret new tribute album?
We did it during the height of the pandemic. One of the unique things was we were all in our masks in the studio. We all took tests. What happens if someone tests positive and we would have to postpone. Everyone tested negative thankfully. Having the mask on for a bunch of hours in the studio is a little challenging.
It was a really great process because the rhythm section did a long week of repetitive cycles. What’s fun about that is we were laser focused and we were able to lay it down. The studio in Brooklyn we recorded in had a lot of analog equipments. Reggae music lends itself to be recorded on tape. So it’s harder and harder to find those studios. We’re excited for the album to come out and really enjoy to the final product.
Do you find that people are hungry for concerts right now?
Absolutely. It’s interesting because we tried to find ways to keep the music going like live streams. But there’s nothing like a live show. There’s a humanitarian element to concerts than people might realize. I’ve done other gigs where the US State Department sent me to Russia to improve diplomatic relations. Now that might sound crazy, but it was under a different set of international circumstances. The US and Russian ambassadors were dancing together..music can do that!
Easy Star All Stars play Baltimore Soundstage April 23rd! Buy tix