We recently caught up with Clinton Fearon at the London date of his UK & European Tour promoting his new album, Heart & Soul. He kindly agreed to have a chat to us about his history, the development of the live show & album and the resurgence of Roots music………
Reggae Roast: We are with a real Reggae legend today, Clinton Fearon, from the foundation group The Gladiators. It’s good to have you here in London Clinton, we are looking forward to the show!
Clinton Fearon: Give Thanks Reggae Roast!
Reggae Roast: Can you tell us about the development of the acoustic set from the new LP & show?
Clinton Fearon: First of all respect to everyone who is helping with the tour, Clementine (2fortheroadproductions) & Chapter 2 (France). First it start with an idea from the lead guitarist from The Gladiators and him say “Clinton! Everytime we play, everywhere we play, everytime them request them songs! We should do them over and reclaim them!” But it wasn’t the time, you know. So after me deya and Macka sound went down and there was a space between album. I wanted to get back into the acoustic ting like the 1st album and thought that this was the right time. I wanted to do it as a different ting to my last acoustic album though, so I thought I wanted to do bass, vocal, percussion but no drums or keyboards or horns or tings like that. You know, keep it simple but something you can still dance to! Almost like you can imagine the drum & bass. And after a couple of tracks were laid down I realized I had something you know, I felt good about it.
Reggae Roast: And it kinda makes you stand out I think, you’ve carved your own little niche…..
Clinton Fearon: For sure! And the other ting is that because everyting has gone so much digital that I thought, hey, if I come from the other side of the spectrum that it will be a more distinct sound you know.
Reggae Roast: I hear you, it’s nice to hear the warm analog sound still very much present in your sound.
Clinton Fearon: Yeh man, I record it, the whole 16 inch, you know, with some old time reverb and old time echo-plex and so to warm it up. And then when all the layers are laid down we dump it off on Pro-Tools so we have a bit of the modern day technology in there also.
Reggae Roast: And do you do all the production yourself?
Clinton Fearon: Yeh man! I did the whole ting, not the engineering, but instrumentation and vocals and ting. I mean when I did ‘Disturb The Devil’ and I send some to Coxsone (Dodd, Studo One) and Channel One to check some different producers and different record labels. But it didn’t happen, they just wanted to know when The Gladiators get back together! So I thought, I’m gonna have to take this up on myself! So that’s what I’ve been doing ya know.
Reggae Roast: If you want the job done right……..!
Clinton Fearon: Of course! And that’s what I did!
Reggae Roast: We have worked with a lot of the old Veterans over the years and what we still can’t get over is how good everyone continues to sound! What’s your secret?
Clinton Fearon: I tink it’s just loving what we do, you know, you love it and you want to give it your all and you trust the trueness of what you are doing. If I falter I’m just human, you know, it’s a spiritual ting. Playing ‘Heart & Soul’, doing them songs it takes me back ya know and when I listen the lyrics and vibe I am proud of what I did and I am still on the same path. I mean Dancehall got big, Lovers Rock got big but I’m still on the same path!
Reggae Roast: How do you see the Roots tradition? Do you feel that there is a resurgence?
Clinton Fearon: The way I see it, it’s like a tyre, you know, my vibe is that if you continue doing what you are doing one day the wheel will turn right back round to you. If you give up and switch to a next ting then you are always chasing and not sure if you will catch up! But, you know, let the wheel come catch you!
Reggae Roast: Thanks for talking to us and nuff respect as always Clinton!