Pusherman EP – Archiver meets Mike Brooks & Wallace Adalphus featuring Matteo Boyero (i&i Musik)
I would imagine that a life in music is what most of you reading this piece aspire to, you may even be already there. In my eyes, being able to work in such a creative industry certainly beats every other profession hands down.
When I investigated further into this excellent new EP, Pusherman, I found one such young lad who is making his way in the music business and has now got to the stage where he has a new record label, i&i Musik and his first EP release.
Archiver is in fact Ben Daly, a Londoner who obviously is making this dream happen. Reggae Roots Review caught up with Ben to understand a little bit more about how he got started, his new release and his future plans. First question is, what started him on this path? Ben replied, ‘At school I started playing the trumpet, drums & producing music in my bedroom. I began buying records in secondary school which is when I bought some decks & got into mixing Jungle, Drum & Bass & Hardcore.’
Ben followed his early interest in music with his first job in the business. ‘I got a Saturday job in Selectadisc (now Sister Ray) in Berwick Street, London at this time and once I finished school went full-time there. I left to study Sound Design & Music Technology at LCP (now LCC) & got a part-time job at Juno Records, which is where I still work. I’m the DJ & studio equipment buyer & also the Reggae buyer at Juno.’
In 2009 Ben moved on to the next stage and made the break into recording. He explained, ‘Myself & friends Alf & Mike got some Dubstep tracks we were making signed to Dubstar Records under our Soul Sinners alias. It was at this time we had a fortnightly show on Flex FM & played a fair few gigs here & abroad. After riding the Dubstep wave for a few years we all kind of started making other styles of music. I got more heavily into Dub & collaborated with friends Rebel Samurai, Milo & most recently Matteo Boyero, who has started his own label, Wahever Records.’
So what prompted Ben to release this EP, ‘I actually made the ‘Pusherman’ instrumental about 2 years ago, and had always wanted a vocalist to sing on it. I met Mike Brooks as I was buying his records direct for Juno and got to know him.’
Many of you will know Mike Brooks as a singer and producer, who has been working in the reggae industry since the early 1970s. He began his career at Channel One Studios and has worked alongside well-known reggae icons such as Jah Lloyd, Prince Far I, Glen Brown, Delroy Wilson, Pat Kelly and U Roy. Having the opportunity to feature the vocals of an established artist must have been the break he needed to get this track finished. Ben agreed, ‘I’ve always thought he has a great soulful voice, so when he offered to voice a track for me I jumped at the chance & gave him a CD. A few weeks later he came to my home studio & voiced the track. Some additional production & overdubs were done at Matteo’s studio including guitars, percussion & drums.’
Pusherman has the feel of an early 70s Jamaican track, it seems fitting that someone like Mike Brooks has supplied the vocals. Ben and Matteo obviously know their stuff, their production is top-notch and with the addition of a few wah wah guitars and you have a nice, funky track. Have a listen at their SoundCloud site.
The B-side is the highlight for me, it does break away from the traditional sound of most reggae releases. It is more of a dancey dub track and certainly sounds like it pulls in Ben’s wider musical experience. I am sure I can hear some wider influences in there, maybe a dash of The XX or Aphex Twin? I asked Ben a little more about the B-side. ‘Good Morning on the record’s flip-side was produced by myself & Matteo at his studio & features Wallace Adalphus, who tells the story of his time as a school caretaker & a particular encounter with one of the teachers, who never said good morning.’ The storytelling does indeed add to the track, giving it some real depth and character.
As well as featuring three excellent tracks, Ben has obviously thought about the ‘product’, it must be his experience in music retail coming out. There is a limited edition version that features a hand drawn linocut by illustrator Risa and uses lyrics from each track as inspiration for the print. The picture below shows what is included and it does add a ‘must have’ feel to it, which appeals to my collector side!
This is an excellent first single by another of this new generation of reggae producers, Ben has taken the plunge by starting a label as an output for his own productions and collaborations. He should be congratulated for taking a path that many of us have aspired to.
So what of the future, what can we expect from Ben and Matteo? ‘We have been making quite a few tracks together now so we both decided it would be a good idea to put these out as a joint release, a kind of ‘i&i meets Wahever’, album. This is something were currently working on & looking to release soon.’
As I have mentioned before many times reggae’s future is in safe hands, this new output from young artists is breathing life into a rapidly ageing sound. Help support this ‘new reggae generation’ and buy direct from Ben via his website. Buying direct puts more money into the artist’s hands and will help fund that eagerly anticipated album!