Interview: Paul Kastick

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By Leah Victoria

Paul Kastick, Jamaican drummer, producer and member of Big Mountain is a name that’s been hiding behind many international artistes for the last two decades. He made a humble start in music from his home town of Montego Bay, and his career has since seen him tour extensively with the likes of Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Kymani Marley and Diana King, to name just a few.

Leah Victoria of Levic Visual caught up with Kastick to talk about his exciting new projects.

When did you start performing / recording your music?

I've been playing, recording and producing for years, ever since 1984 when I started performing in the hotels and various places around Montego Bay. In 1989 I was chosen to join the 809 Band alongside Dean Fraser, Michael Fletcher, Nambo Robinson, Chico Chin, Leebert Gibby Morrison, Winston Bopee Bowen and Desi Roots Young.

The road that led me to today has included touring heavily and recording with various artistes and bands over the years.

During that time I've played a part in many records out there, such as Shaggy's 'Hot Shot' 'Leave It To Me' and 'Midnight Lover', Steel Pulse's 'Vex', Dean Fraser's series 'Dean Plays Bob', Shabba Ranks, Terry Linen's 'Your Love Is My Love, That's The Way Love Is' and Morgan Heritage's 'Kebra & The Fetha'. As well as producing my band Big Mountain's music (Things To Come, Cool Breeze, New Day, Big Mountains Greatest Moments, Versions Undercover and more recently Here Comes The Sun.) 

Over the years I’ve also had the pleasure of touring and working alongside Culture, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie Macgregor, Buju Banton, Yvad, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Diana King, Maxi Priest, Kymani Marley, Honorebel, Tosh Alexander, Tessanne Chin and so many more!

Tell us a bit about your new release

‘Let Me Love You’ is a track I composed back in 2011, while I was touring and recording with Kymani Marley. It’s a One Drop Beat with Acoustic and Electric guitars alongside the hard sound of the drum track. The extra guitars added by my production partner Rudy Valentino, who I worked with on Tessanne Chin’s (winner of The Voice season 5) 2011 album 'In Between Words', adds an alternative feel.

I’ve had the track and the song all these years, and once Honorebel heard it, he loved it so much that he encouraged me to drop it as my first official producer driven single. So here we go!

Can you describe your musical style, and how it is unique?

I’m a drummer first and foremost, so my style is very hard and drum orientated. But Rock, Alternative, Roots, Dancehall, Soul, RnB and Afro music are all very much embedded in what I do also.

I do try to treat each song I work on as a single entity with it’s own merits though, as at the end of the day it’s all about the individual song and the final product. That’s what dictates the direction each song takes. I try not to force my style on every production I work on, but definitely the drums most of the time are very reflective of my loud, rock/roots driven personality! It is what is is!

I grew up playing Jazz, Pop, Reggae, Soca, Dancehall etc, then got heavily into Rock and Metal music during the earlier MTV years, so I’ve grown to include that hard vibe in my musical productions. You can hear it in collaborations such as Tessanne’s album ‘In Between Words’ which yielded ‘Hideaway’, her breakout hit song in 2006. Before that, I don’t think there were any other tracks that existed with such heavy rock guitar and drum sounds mixed together. That style was totally ground-breaking in terms of what you would normally do with a song in the studio. We took those chances with that production. It’s something I always wanted to do, I pride myself on pushing those boundaries on my projects.

Do you have any new projects with specific artists or producers that you'd like to mention?

Right now I’m working closely with Danglin on his album 'Afrykan Pryde'. He’s been the lead singer for The Wailers the last seven years and we met while I was on tour with Big Mountain in Brazil in 2011. His style is very Roots orientated with a Social Commentary/Black African Nationalistic vibe. His single Paper Soldiers that we recently produced is out now and it’s blowing up! We just finished shooting the video last week in Kingston. It’s going to be hard, really hard, watch out!

Recently I’ve teamed up with M-Kalone (DJ/Rapper/Songwriter and Faraji is another artist I’ve been working with for years. He’s like my very own brother. He’s a really baad baad baad singer! On another level with a Reggae, Soul, RnB Alternative style! We’re getting ready to drop his new single later this summer. I’m also working on various productions with my band Big Mountain, Maxi Priest, Diana King, Ray Darwin, Speech from Arrested Development, Kalongi, Tanya Stephens and Arthur Chiluba from Kenya. Rudy Valentino and I are currently developing a special project that we’re calling GROOVE O.S.I.S, and who knows, maybe even GROOVEGALORE MUZIK himself.

Anything else you’d like to tell the people?

Just watch out and take note! I’m not waiting on other people to bring forth the music anymore! I’ve been doing that for years and I’ve just decided, with a little pushing and encouragement from good friends like Honorebel, to step forward and start dropping the music I’ve been working on myself all these years. I had initially created it all with the expectation that other artistes would take it out there, but now that’s not the case. Here I am, it’s time, no more staying back in the shadows! The music and the message is here, and we have to tell it...

Let Me Love You is out now! Available to stream & purchase on all digital platforms