Uwe Banton carries out a “Mental War” against babylon
Uwe Banton, the former member of the German Reggae band “Movements” is about to release his third solo album entitled “Mental War“ on November 23rd, 2012. To get to know more about this artist, his musical background, and his career, read the following exclusive.
Where does your love for music come from?
My Dad had been a music lover from ever since I can remember. He always used to listen and play a lot of music back home, in the car, etc. From Rock Music to Soul, Folk and even Reggae. And out of my brothers I seem to have this inborn passion and love for music since I was the only one who showed interest in learning how to play an instrument (guitar) at a young age. Later, at an age of 15 or so, I got introduced to Reggae Music full scale by a friend and beginning to grasp the special message of Reggae, my love for it has grown ever since.
Who is the artist who inspires you the most?
I have to say: The King of Reggae Music ROBERT NESTA MARLEY! I get a lot of inspiration from many artists, not only in the Reggae field, but all sorts of music genres, but the one I always come back to and never get tired of listening to is Bob. The role he played and is still playing as a Reggae artist, what he sang about and what he stands for is inspiration per sé!
If you would have chosen a different career than music, what would you do now?
Oh, I find it hard to think about what could have been if this or that, because I am who I am, I can not change who I am nor the path I have walked on from past to presence, of course, it took me a certain time to find out and define what is inside of me and even more time to bring it out and it is a constant process of working on yourself, your skills etc. to even continue growing since in life we never stop learning.
But maybe you wish to know what other interest I have other than music? Well, I do like reading books that help me to get a greater understanding of the world’s history, human history, I do like photography as a hobby and when I was a youth I learned how to work in a hotel and restaurant but after I while I discontinued because my love for music grew and so did my desire to start a music career.
You used to play with the band “Movements”, why did you decide to pursue a solo career?
It wasn’t just my own desire, but more the way how things developed in the band. Being on the road and trying to work as a Band is not easy, even more as a Reggae Band in Europe/Germany. When you are young and you don’t have responsibilities like families to take care of etc., then it is a bit easier to bear with the inconveniences that come along with touring. But as time passes by and members becoming parents and the responsibilities grow, you realize that you have to make progress in order to be able to take care of them.
After playing and touring for 10 years we just came to a point where members of the band decided that they would like to work as a backing band for other artists as well and I also made new contacts that opened new doors for me to proceed as a solo artist. So it was a decision that happened more on a mutual agreement.
Are you signed to any record label?
No, for the release of my new album I decided to start my own label and did the release with the help and co-operation of Anthony Senior of the “AL.TA.FA.AN” label from Jamaica, and I’m getting a lot of support from the label “URBAN TREE” from Berlin, Germany who are helping me to coordinate the promotion. My two previous albums “JAH Rots” and “Rightful Place” were released by the label “MKZWO-Records” which is based in Berlin/Germany.
Which producer or artist would you like to collaborate with?
There are many, maybe too many, so that it would be hard for me to find the space here to write, but as you can see, I am a lover of Roots Reggae and I do love the conscious Reggae Artists, we are one family, so anyone of them, as long as it is positive and uplifting, I am in for it!
You have produced yourself some of the songs of your album such as “Ithiopian Ites”, when did you start composing?
From the time I started to sing Reggae I have started writing my own lyrics and when I started picking up my instrument to play Reggae I also started composing. During the later period of my band “Movements” I was the main song writer and when I started out as a solo artist in 2004 I did quite a number of recordings on riddims that other people produced but I have now turned to more taking up that task of writing and composing especially for this new album “Mental War“.
Listen to “Mental War” by Uwe Banton featuring Luciano
Do you plan to go on tour for the promotion of “Mental War“?
Well, yes, we are working on dates and taking bokings for the coming season, there has not been a full tour as yet, but of course, plans are being made to tour and play live shows extensively.
Your new album is entitled “Mental War“, you sing about the media and political issues…can you tell us more about the meaning of this title and why you chose that name?
Well, it goes beyond that, not just about media and political issues. I see living our life especially in this modern age as a constant mental battle and since a great part of the information that we are exposed to is being carried to us via the media. It is important to find that balance to know how to distinguish between good and bad, between what’s useful and what’s not useful in order to orientate oneself.
One must find and know GOD within oneself to be able to find that path. Nevertheless, as I stated above, life is a life-long learning proccess and we should not be afraid of failure but rather learn from our past mistakes and gain experience.
Reading the bible and finding RASTAFARI has been a constant anchor point for me throughout my life and I am confident that it is only by knowing GOD and accepting the teachings of Christ that man can find his true destiny. “Led forward by spiritual power, man can reach the summit destined for him by the Great Creator.” RASTAFARI seh so!