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Ras I Ray of Easy Star All Stars Speaks About First Light | May 2011

The Easy Star All-Stars are best known for Dub Side of the Moon, reggae versions of the classic Pink Floyd album. The debut’s success sparked three more covers albums, but for their fourth album, the All-Stars delivered First Light, fourteen tracks of rootsy reggae, including horns and harmonies. Just in time for summer, the album also allowed the collective to tour, already playing several festivals this spring. Bassist/singer/all-around excellent human being, Ras I Ray, answered some questions about where the All-Stars began, and also where they’re going.

What’s it like to put out an album of new material and how has the audience responded to it?

Well, we’re still taken aback by the whole experience because we’ve been doing the concepts for so long. I mean, we did take a moment to do the EP, Until That Day, but that was just between tours. At that time, the fans wanted to hear something of our material, but we didn’t have the time to focus on a whole CD. Finally, the time came up and the fans were still saying, “We want to hear more,” while at the same time asking about the next concept (Laughs). It was right to go in the studio. Now that we’re doing it, we really feel in awe of what’s happening.

What’s the biggest change you find when you take a song from the record and play it live?

It gives us the opportunity to take the live performance to another level, to take on its own life. It does that every night. There’s a certain template, but every night is always different. That’s what I love about it. It breathes. Because we’re doing reinterpretations, it’s almost like reinterpretations of reinterpretations. It keeps things fresh. It can get boring, but it allows us to not allow it to get boring. We can keep it as fresh as we want it to.

The touring band has been mainly intact.

Even with the present line-up we have some of the original members that have been here from the beginning. For the most part, the present cast has been touring together for five years. We’re like family now, not just as musicians, but, you know, as human beings, interacting day in and day out. It feels good being with a group and actually having that.

The funny thing is, we don’t really want to call it a band, but we are a band. It’s like being in a relationship with a woman for so long, maybe ten years, but you don’t want to say you’re married (Laughs). That’s how it feels. It feels good.

It means a lot that everyone’s there for the right reason.

To use the symbolism of marriage, I would love someone to be there because they really wanted to be there, and not because they signed some paper. A lot of time that plays into it; they don’t want to be there anymore, but it’s like, “But I did sign this paper.” But I’d rather sign no paper, and have people there because they really wanted to be there. It’s not a question.

Who does most of the writing for First Light?

That’s the most difficult part, because we had so many excellent writers to contribute to the project. We had to ask everyone to submit something they had in their own catalogue. Out of that, we picked the ones that were the best that fit us as the All-Stars.


0 # richard gallagher 2011-05-05 18:50
been followin esas for ages must of seen them 8 times now always on the south coast off a inglan
they is the best


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