The musically multi-talented Jonny Reggae, DJ, label owner, record shop-runner (the list goes on) talks about doing it DIY.
You’ve done loads over the years – could you give us a quick rundown?
Jack of all trades, master of some – DJ, promoter, record shop owner, radio presenter, record label and publishing company owner, music consultant, artist management and now a speaker company.
What was your proudest moment at the helm of Catskills Records?
Getting the delivery of our first single and pulling the vinyl from the box, watching our bands play at big festivals, hearing one of our tracks appear randomly on TV. I suppose the most exciting was having a Sunday night chart run down barbecue and hearing Pepe Deluxé get played in the Top 20.
What’s The Hook Up Consultancy all about?
It’s about giving bands support, wise words, advice and contacts. We can either help bands find their direction, do some press or radio plugging, or even label manage for bands. It’s like having the support of a record label without giving away your songs to them.
You’ve run a label for years, why do you suggest that many bands are better off going the DIY route?
If a band wants to just release its own material, it gives them full control of the way they do it, and they’ll keep their copyrights. If ultimately you want a record deal, doing a few releases yourself is much more likely to get a label’s attention than sending out hundreds of demos. Of course it means hard work and dedication but if you haven’t got that as a band then you’ll get nowhere anyway. But Catskills was a DIY label from the start anyway.
Oh, how come you’re called Jonny Reggae?
The name came from an MC called Drunken Master. In the early 90s I DJed for a reggae sound system called Killa Riddim, I went on to set up Roots Garden after that so I was pretty much just DJing reggae for about five years. After that I moved on and was playing all kinds of music but the name stuck. ‘Jonny All Genres’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it really.
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