What would it sound like if you took the darker grittier sound of Motown and gave it a rocksteady beat? What happens when musicians from different musical backgrounds come together in Detroit with a new ska and reggae twist? 1592 has captured that unique blend of ingredients and have emerged from the Detroit music scene as a band to watch out for.
Vocalist/keyboard player Eric Abbey recently talked to us and broke it all down.
You describe your sound as Detroit Rocksteady. Can you define that term?
Eric: The best way to describe Detroit Rocksteady is to think of how a group of Rocksteady musicians would fine living in a city like
When I started writing the material for 1592 I was living in
Can you tell us about your album? How did you come up with the title? What was the inspiration behind it?
Eric: The album was written during a time when I was moving back to Detroit and felt as if the music scene was really being driven by the whole Garage Rock movement and not a lot else. Bands were popping up to just catch on to the trend and the scene was suffering from it.
The sound that we play is really a different sound in
Eric: 1592 plays with all kinds of different groups and that is the way that it should be really. The best shows that we have are with bands that sound nothing like us. We fit really well into the
What is the Ska and Reggae music scene like in
Eric: The Ska and Reggae scene in
The scene does come alive when the original artists come through but that is far too limited. Lee “Scratch” Perry came through recently and it was great to see everyone out but it just doesn’t happen often enough. It would be great if 1592 and others that are around could kick something off again here in
Eric: Personally, I draw from all types of music to write from. I am originally a trumpet player and grew up listening to Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and others. The first Ska group I ever heard was the Selecter and I was hooked. I also was very heavily into the Hardcore, Punk and Skin scene back in the late 80s early 90s. I think that is why I have always liked Rocksteady, Reggae and Ska with a bit of a darker tone to it.
For 1592, I am constantly looking towards sounds like Derrick Morgan, Delroy Wilson, Horace Andy and others that have just a slightly darker feel to it. We cover a couple of great tunes by those musicians and they all fit extremely well with the vibe of the show. The band also draws from bands like the Police, the Kinks, the Jam, and other rock groups that fit the sound. There really is no limit to what we draw from, even Northern Soul groups are often brought into the mix for a different sounding vibe.You mentioned that band members come from various scenes. What scenes?
Eric: The band started with myself and an old drummer friend of mine that had played in a lot of different groups. He was mainly playing within the Rock and Roll scene of
Being a band that's so diverse, how do you feel about the diversity in ska and reggae music today? Should musicians continue to take the music in new directions?
Eric: This is a great question. For myself, I think that the way Ska and Reggae music is going is great. I have always liked when people take traditional sounds and manipulate them to make them something of their own. Along with that is what 1592 and other groups are doing by trying to get that nostalgic feel for the music back into the underground and mainstream. I think that it is the combination of both forward thinking and backward feeling that make the music continue to evolve and sound great. If you listen to the newer mainstream Reggae releases from Morgan Heritage or any of the Marley clan you can hear this feeling that is very much traditional in energy but the technology and song writing is very forward thinking. For me this is the way that I think all music should be. Focus on the basics and roots of the music and when you get that down, add your own sound and variant.
There are too many groups today, in all forms of music, that focus on trying to sound or act exactly like groups in the past. While this is great at first, if you don’t have your own sound the music will eventually fall flat. New directions are always good for every musical scene. Even if I or others do not prefer the direction that the music is going, it makes people talk, think and create new music in opposition to it.
Do you have plans for another album? If so what do you have in mind for it?
Eric: We are currently working on material for our next album. We have about half of the tracks written and are finishing up the rest. The second album is going to be pretty similar to the first with that continued darker edge but will also focus more on the reggae beat and feel. The new tracks are sounding great and hopefully everyone will like the new tunes. They are going over very well live right now and continue to get better. Keep checking the myspace page for updates and new track postings as they come.
Also, if anyone is interested in remixing tracks we are always interested in working with people. We have two tracks that are being remixed and/or chatted over right now by different people and are excited about doing some Dubs and other work with the first album’s tracks. That is the best part of music, the consistent change.
More info at www.myspace.com/1592dub