The 12th Heineken TransAtlantic Festival kicks off a tour for new Jamaican rootstronic group, The Courtney John Project. Rhythm Foundation caught up with the electronic reggae trio, here’s what they had to say…
How, when and where did you all meet?
We have known each other for many years: playing, recording and writing on each other’s projects.
How has your sound evolved since you first got together?
Well, the “Project” creates a space that allows us to not have any inhibitions. It has allowed us to come out of our comfort zone, thus giving us the freedom to explore different sounds, which has allowed us to grow and evolve.
Who or what influenced the transformation from “lovers rock” to “rootstronica”?
They were looking for a track to place in the Oliver Stone directed movie Savages. The Wizard and I (Courtney John) were working on a track, later called “Soul of A Man”. The song wasn’t chosen for the movie, but Soul of A Man made us realize that our energy was undeniable. This track started the new sound that we call “Rootstronic”- where “Roots” is the foundation and “Tronics” was the innovation. Wanting to capture more of this is the reason why the band was formed.
What can you tell us about Jamaica’s current music scene?
We have seen a big resurgence of bands in Jamaica, and also a lot of people are starting to experiment with different genres and sounds outside of the “core” music.
How has your latest work “Future” been received in Jamaica? What about world wide?
Worldwide we have been receiving tremendous buzz from this new sound. We have gotten major coverage from blogs and magazines such as Billboard; and radio has been showing us a lot of love. The response in Jamaica and the Diaspora has been overwhelmingly great! In fact, they are the biggest champions on social media and on radio stations…we can definitely feel the love.
What are your plans for the Rootstronica Tour? What can we expect from you performance at Transatlantic festival?
Our Rootstronica Tour will focus on the US from now till summer and on Europe in the fall. Be prepared for lots of lights and energy. It will be something like an out-of-body experience at the Transatlantic festival that will allow one to be floating on a natural high!