Asha D: drummer, singer and producer

french reggae interview 5

Talented and hyperactive jack-of-all-trades, Asha D is known to be the drummer of the Artikal Band (which accompanies among others Yaniss Odua on stage). He is also a producer (he makes dozens of ridddims a year which he puts online on his website, and produced Mark Cupidore’s latest album, among others) and even a singer. If he sings from time to time when Yaniss hands him the microphone on stage, we were able to discover more fully his voice on his EP The Pressure released last June. Asha D published today The Pressure Dub Showcase, consisting of the 6 original tracks from the EP and 6 dubs. The opportunity was perfect to come back with him on his 3 hats and his relationship with his favorite instrument. Do you remember the first time you saw and heard a drum??
Asha D: Yes of course, I’ve been fascinated by this instrument since I was little and when I was about 7 years old I accompanied my grandfather who played in a brass band, so I started to drum, and in the rehearsal there was a drum set in the background. I was obsessed with it (laughs) and all I thought about was playing on it and getting one myself.

What memories do you have of your drum lessons?
I am self-taught, I learned on my own..
Who is your best drum teacher?
So I never had a teacher

Which drummer(s) inspired you the most??
Carlton Barrett et Sly Dumbar.

What is your favorite battery?
I really like Yamahas for several reasons… and the one I like to share is the Maple Custom Absolute.

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??The battery you dream of owning?
Exactly, a Maple Custom Absolute. I play it almost every weekend but I don’t have any.

What is your first battery??

A first-price Deep battery, but I kept it for a very long time.

Have you ever given a nickname to one of your drums?
??No never.

The singer who will always impress you / always surprise you when you back him??
I had the opportunity to accompany the Mighty Diamonds on several tours and Tabby was really impressive every night, they sang very in tune, tired or not, very professional!

What is the specificity of drums in reggae compared to other music?
The patterns are already very specific in themselves…then it’s music that comes from a place in the world where the drum has a particular importance, the drums in reggae come directly from these traditions and have a function and a really special sound that you can’t find elsewhere.

Can you name a piece that you like to play in particular and why?
I had the opportunity to play with the Abyssinians a few years ago and playing all their songs was really magical because for me they represent true roots and culture.

What’s your favorite drum break?
There are so many….

In general, what are your essential accessories?
My chopsticks of course, my laptop and my toothbrush (laughs).
What advice would you give to those who want to start the drums?
?Have fun!!!

And to those who wish to make it their profession??
Have fun and work hard!

How did you get into making riddims?
I wanted to try to redo the songs I listened to and loved. I especially wanted to understand how it is done.

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Do you play other instruments?
A little piano is necessary in my opinion to produce.

And what about singing? Have you always sung?
Yes always, but more or less depending on the period.

The reggae planet has recently lost a prestigious singer-drummer, Drummie Zeb from Aswad. How did that affect you?
He was a legend, in addition he played the drums and sang also therefore a particular inspiration.

Your latest project is out and it’s a project as a singer producer, The Pressure. You’re releasing the dub version today. Given your hyperactivity, I’m sure you already have other projects ready! Yes we are currently working on a very roots project with my band Artikal. It’s going to be called Roots Meditation. I want to present it to you on stage very soon in the meantime… take care of yourself!

Thank you Asha D!