20 Apr Restaurants to Red Rocks and the boys of New Kingston
The One Love Message is coming to Mondo Roots this year and it is being delivered by none other than the world traveled New Kingston, from the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater to worldwide festivals and venues New Kingston will bring their family rooted reggae to Mondo Roots on June 2nd
Mondo Roots has always had reggae influenced bands and this year they have a powerhouse reggae band with a message so pure and perfect it is like they made the message with Mondo Roots in mind. We recently caught up with New Kingston while out on their tour in Texas to talk about what influences their creative process and discussing a journey about where they have come from and where they are going.
MR = Mondo Roots NK = New Kingston
MR – I recently sat down and listened to your new album A Kingston Story: Come From Far, what do you think listeners expect to hear in this album that might not be present in other albums?
NK – The way we put this album together, it’s a journey, it tells a journey. The first song “Come from Far” is a reflection of where we came from, the second song “Honorable and the Beast” can be the first song as well, Come from Far is setting the tone, you know, “Honorable and the Beast” is about everyone and how they fight with themselves, and it tells them that they can do whatever they want to do, you know? That’s why we say that “Honorable and the Beast” is more like a battle within, everyone tries to motivate themselves. We always end the album on a conquer, like we have succeeded, you (we) got through all of the trial and tribulations that every human being will have to face at some point in their life. The track “Solid as a Rock” is like, no matter what is going on, that we still stood firm. The last song, “Reggae Music is Playing” is a celebration. The album is a journey, it is our journey, but it is one that we hope everyone can relate to.
MR – We know that you all are family, as someone from a large family, what’s it like traveling with family to bring your message to the masses?
NK – It’s a beautiful thing, it’s like we travel and our home travels with us, it is a feeling that is a blessing in itself. Traveling with my family is the purest thing to us, and with us having kids now traveling with our message my kids can hear our teachings through our music.
MR – So you have your father on the tour with you, as well as brothers, and your kids are watching you all on stage, do you see this a family tradition going on in music?
NK – You know, it definitely can be, my eldest son has already been on stage with us a couple of times (Tahir’s son) we are not going to force it on them, but we can see that happening organically. If it is going to happen that way, then we are all for it, our father and brothers too, one big family.
MR – You all are on tour on the west coast before heading out to Mondo Roots in NC, days later, you head overseas, seems like a rigorous tour schedule, how is the following for reggae over the pond?
NK – America embraces reggae, but everywhere else it is more of a main genre. They (European countries) have reggae festivals everyday in the summer, reggae festivals pretty much every day, it is different. We feel like people take the message seriously, as well, it is beyond just partying.
MR – Most people if you ask them about reggae, the first name that comes to mind Bob Marley, who are some of your influences as you came up in the Reggae culture not named Bob?
NK – Being honest, with our father being a musician we never looked up to anyone else, up until recently when we have matured in our lives, as individuals, that’s the thing about reggae, we feel you have to go through things to really understand reggae, as kids you don’t really grasp the message. Sometimes when the kid has gone through a situation, maybe then they can connect to reggae on a personal level. When I listened to True Democracy (by Steel Pulse) that may have been the first album I listed to from top to bottom without interruptions. That album specifically, the message in the lyrics, the production quality, it made me understand reggae music differently, it made me understand Bob Marley differently, it made me understand Dennis Brown differently, it opened up my ears and my mind to really listen to what they are saying and really listen to how they composed their music. You know?
MR – To your point, I grew up listening to reggae music, and I think the slogan is this, “When you are young you listen to reggae, and when you are old you hear it”?
NK – Most definitely! Yes! That’s the thing with us, people that are listening to our music are really listening to our music, maybe you can listen to it working out, but you will have to pay attention because of the message.
MR – Leads me to our second question, what music do you all listen to on the road? Anything that might surprise us?
NK – Oh man! Honestly what plays in our vehicles is so wide, I love the messages in the music, BUT we listen to everything and background music, we listen to stuff that might get a little dirty. We keep it real versatile, we like to stay modern, we feel like a lot of people fall out of their generation because they don’t stay modern and listen. We listen to a lot of Rap, Drake, and right now I am really in to a guy named Charlie Booth…nothing too deep, but I can really appreciate what it is, I think as an artist you have to appreciate others art for what it is. We appreciate all artists and music.
MR – Less than 10 Years ago, you all were jamming in a basement doing a mix of covers, would you have ever expected to be where you are today? Was this the plan?
NK – It’s funny because, I just told my brother, humans it is very easy for us to be ungrateful…not purposely that way, but once you take a step forward and you reach that next step you forget how much you wanted to get to that step. You are already focused on the next step already. Lately, you got to really take time to stop and smell the roses because what we are doing now is exactly what we want to do. I remember driving to a gig in a restaurant in long island, and those days just playing on the floor, two speakers maybe, and I broke down in tears telling my brothers “Yo, I don’t want to do this no more” “We are supposed to be doing other things”, “We are supposed to be doing bigger and better things”…But that was me at a younger time and I didn’t really understand what it took to get to where we are today. We have so much further to go as well, but yea, we had in mind, but not what it would take to get where we are.
MR – So you are saying you didn’t have it in your mind of what it would take to get from the restaurant floor to Red Rocks?
NK – YEAH! Exactly! There are a million bands out there, it is a beautiful thing to be touring from Red Rocks to NC. Beautiful.
MR – What do you think the future hold for New Kingston and the New Kingston Family?
NK – We really want to meet more people that are helping us and share our message and create more music that will help us spread the positive vibes.
New Kingston’s New Album “Come From Far” can be found on Spotify, or you can simply go to their site Newkingstonmusic.com for more information and tour dates. They will be at Mondo Roots on June 2nd, festival information can be found on Mondoroots.com