LOCAL SPOTLIGHT #24 RAS MUHAMAD

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT #24 RAS MUHAMAD

How did you choose reggae as your main music genre?

It’s a natural process the way i devoted myself to spread and also be involved in this culture called Reggae. I’ve admitted publicly that Reggae music chose me.

How did you see the reggae scene in Indonesia?

The Reggae scene is lukewarm in terms on the creative side. Quantity wise there are so many Reggae bands throughout Indonesia now these days, that i’ve lost count and i feel that it is great. On the downside, it seems many musicians who claim to be involved in Reggae music, only scratch the surface and stay in safety zones. Most bands sound the same, most lyrics are predictable and very cliche as in beach, sunset and happy. Unlike my peers in Indonesia outside of the Reggae scene such as Hiphop, Metal, Jazz and so forth, they study their craft and really go in depth with the music they chose. I feel those things are missing in the Reggae scene, i feel there are only a handful and exceptional musicians that are actually innovating and contributing to the Reggae scene. The Reggae audience in Indonesia need to realize that Reggae is global; it’s a radiant and living day to day to culture not just Bob Marley and beach music. One the other side, the mainstream media on a global level has focused their lenses on the so-called “Reggae Revival” coming from Kingston, Jamaica. Namely artists like Protoje, Chronixx ad Kabaka Pyramid has open the ears of the younger generation outside of Jamaica to have a strong interest with Reggae music again.

This is one of the reasons why i stand out among others and also my responsibility as the Reggae Ambassador of Indonesia.

Who’s your main role model for your career and why?

My mom and dad are my role models, they are the ones that supported me in this Reggae path. They see as long i can inspire people to be creative and be productive in a positive way , my parents will fully support me. My inspirations in music come from the 70’s era of Reggae music called Rockers, just to name a few artists ; Augustus Pablo, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, Sly & Robbie, Abyssinians, Black Uhuru and late ’80s – 90’s Dancehall music. My music is on a Reggae platform but fuses different styles also since have a Hiphop background. Another artist that heavily influence me is Gentleman, a Reggae artist from Germany who’s gone international and never forgotten to carry the culture and the music of Jamaica to the whole globe.

Bestival is one of the biggest music and art festival in all over the world, how did you feel being a part of this festival?

I feel honored to be a part of this Bestival project in Bali. I am hoping also it can open the eyes of Indonesia what a true festival is since most of the festivals in Indonesia that has been held are more electronic based music or on concrete floor locations. Bestival would show more dynamics, choices and be eclectic for music lovers regionally and globally.

Any surprises that you will bring on your live set? How did you prepare yourself for this big festival?

There are quite a few surprises, i’ll play new tunes and also the tunes that i usually play during my international tours such as Europe, America, Costa Rica, Jamaica etc. so the setlist for Bestival is more for an international crowd. I’ll also would be bringing an artist from Germany , in whom i have been heavily working with.

You just released a song with two really talented DJs from Indonesia, Evan Virgan and W.w, could you tell us a bit about those collaboration and what do you think about the electronic dance music scene in Indonesia now?

I am always open for collaborations especially outside of my genre because it would give me challenge to give my “reggae breath” on the song. Ww is a long-time friend of mine and Evan also , they all respect me as a musician. When i was living in Jakarta we hung out a lot and went out clubbing, i think they saw me as unique since i’m a reggae musician but still went out clubbing to party with music that is not necessarily seem for me. But again, i teach myself to be open-minded, the more people know me and respect me outside of the Reggae genre and scene means i am somewhat exposing them to Reggae music also. I like this slight shift in the dance scene since i’ve been hearing a lot of Electronic Dance songs borrowing from Dancehall sounds and rhythms so, the scene is heavily shifting to Jamaica. What i hope is that more producers can give tribute and recognize that Reggae music and the island has influence so much to the world.

What kind of project that you are working right now? Any other big collaboration coming, that our readers should know about?

I am working on few projects for 2018, releasing a new full-length album with Oneness Records from Germany; it would be my 2nd effort with them. Also i will be releasing an EP, a mini-album that is more Dancehall oriented under my label. The album and the EP would be quite a contrast, the album is live instruments and the EP is digital programming but i’ll be the main producer and song-writer on both projects. These 2 projects would involve collaborations with artists from Jamaica too. On the other side of recording , my team is organizing my third European tour for 2018.

What’s your biggest dream that you want to reach in your career?

My biggest dream is to see Reggae music in Indonesia become Reggae culture. See a yearly Reggae Festival become a reality and SouthEast Asia having bridges between Europe, Jamaica, America, Latin America and Africa for Reggae music.

Outside from the music scene, what’s your other hobbies?

Reading books and since the past 3 years collecting graphic novels or comic books to some, so i have a big inner-geek. I hunt for Batik also since i have quite a good eye for fashion. I am a film buff also and the physical activities i like are basketball and martial arts.

Where is your favorite destination for having a holiday and why?

Thankfully , all year i live in my favorite destinations. Bali, Kingston-Jamaica and Budapest Hungary.