Reasoning with Father Metro

Metro Media Top Selector Talks Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise Sound Clash on the Sea

Jimmy Metro, aka Haldane James, took over Metro Media in 1976 after the sound’s original founder, Lou Gooden, emigrated from the island. Building up the sound’s following in the Woodford Park area of central Kin, Jimmy had a great ear for raw talent. He discovered future superstar DJ Peter Metro in 1981 and later Tanto Metro (who would go on to become an international hitmaker as a duo with Devonte) not to mention Zuzu, the late great Massive Dread, Ashman, Chicken Chest, Dickie Ranking (aka Snagga Puss), and Niggah Mikey. The X-factor for the sound was Dominic, a British journalist who fell in love with dancehall culture and became the first bonafide white artist in Jamaican music. The sound soon added a young selector named Skyjuice whose belly and reputation would increase considerably in years to come. Father Metro was able to quit his job at Dynamic studios when the sound got big enough to tour England in 1984. “That really helped us build a foundation overseas,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner. “And we haven’t looked back.” Metro may be experienced overseas, but this coming November they will be playing on the seas when Metro Media clashes Bass Odyssey and Mighty Crown during the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise’s first-ever Sound Clash on the Sea. Boomshots spoke with the dancehall pioneer as his year-to-year sound prepares to make history all over again.  Interview After The Jump…

Sassafras-Metro-Media-poster-213x300“We have to put up a fight… It’s not the amount of music that you have. It’s just playing them at the right time and getting the crowd into a hype.” —Father Metro

What are your thoughts about Metro Media playing on the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise?
We’re really excited about it. It’s good to know that Metro Media can be associated with the Marley family.

You’re not just juggling on the ship, you’re making history. Has there ever been a sound clash at sea?
Yeah I don’t remember hearing that one. All these years I’ve been in sound system business I don’t really hear anything like that before. The crowd will be totally different from the regular dancehall crowd, right?

It’s a real reggae crowd but very international. What have you heard about the first cruise?
We heard about the one last year. I think it was Stone Love, right?

Also King Jammy’s, Mighty Crown, Renaissance, Shinehead, and David Rodigan.
Ok, ok, ok. Yes. We’ll be sending Big Belly Skyjuice and Oliver. They were the two who played the 2013 World Clash Reset. We actually won that clash in New York.

That was major. Do you feel like the clash game has changed a lot since the early days?
Well to be honest with you, Metro Media is not really a clash sound. We play with different sound but we never go into the all-out clash. Nothing wrong once in a while with doing a little something like that. It bring a little excitement to the music and the followers.

You’ve played alongside Bass Odyssey many times.
Yes we play with Bass Odyssey all the while, but those dances weren’t really clash.

So will the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise be the first time you’ll be clashing them?
No, it won’t be the first time. Last year April we did the UK Clash. In fact, they won that one. Yeah, Bass Odyssey won the UK Clash last year April in London.

What about Mighty Crown? Have you clashed with them before?
Yes, at the 2013 World Clash in New York.

And you emerged victorious. Do you feel like you’re ready for the rematch?
Of course, of course, of course. Something like that there’s no way that we can… We have to put up a fight. [Laughs] It’s all about playing music. On the night it all depends on the crowd response. The whole thing about it is: it’s not the amount of music that you have. It’s just playing them at the right time. And getting the crowd into a hype. You understand?

METRO MEDIA 1987: Skyjuice at the controls with Peter Metro, Tanto Metro, Conroy Smith, Yellowman, Little John, Danny Dread, and Joe Lickshot pon the Mic

Metro Media goes back to the days when all the DJs would be live in the dance. But in the dubplate, era do you have a personal favorite dubplate?
Ahh… [laughs] off the top of my head right now? There’s so much that we have. We have the Wayne Wonders and the Bujus and the Bounty Killers. There’s so much songs to really single out one particular song.

But you must have a personal favorite.
The Johnny Osbourne that he does called “How Could I Let You Get Away.” I personally love that one.

I know that tune, but not your version.
And you know, we have some very good Bujus. In fact, Metromedia was one of the first sound who actually voiced Buju. We take Buju to the studio and voice special with him before him actually bust out big.

Back in the “Stamina Daddy” days.
Right, right, right. He was a little bald head youth. [Laughs]

Metro Media Crew 2015: Jimmy Metro aka “Father Metro”, Big Belly Skyjuice, Oliver, Bigz; DJ Ritz, Scully, Jiggy Hunks, Platinum

Visit the Official Cruise Website for Reservation Information

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