Nick Manasseh at Rootikal B&W

Nick Manasseh Q&A

Rootikal: You started out in the golden age of London Warehouse parties, when it was mainly
rare groove, jazz and reggae, with a bit of rockabilly thrown in. Do you have a particularly
special memory from a dance at that time?
Nick Manasseh: There was a good one in about '86 or '87 when Norman and Joey Jay had
found a house in Chiswick High Road that had just been done up. While we were breaking-in
during in the afternoon, a 'nice' couple turned up who were interested in one of the flats.
They wanted to sneak a little look round. Femi, thinking quickly, got my partner Billy T to act
like he was the boss (being white...) Norman and Joey had overalls on anyway, so Billy
showed the couple around, acting like he knew what he was talking about. He pulled off
brilliantly, whilst we tried not to laugh. Needless to say, the next afternoon the whole house
was a wreck. In fact that was the first time that we played out with Good Times.
R: The UK Steppers scene has come a long way since Russ Disciple and yourself spear-
headed things in the late 80s and pretty much invented a genre. How do you see the
current scene?
NM: It seems to be getting better and better, and much more international. What's good
is that it feels to me like its less about 'UK Steppers' and more about the Reggae scene.
There's a Jamiacan vibe at one end of the spectrum and a more hardcore UK style at the
other. But it seems like people are much more open minded these days, and most of the
newer sounds will play a bit of whatever's good. I play all kinds of dances these days, and always carry a different selection.
R: It's great to see David Rodigan finally recognised at the Sony Awards for his services to broadcasting. Your show on Kiss ran for a long time - do you miss broadcasting and do you think that you could be tempted back into a radio station on a regular basis?
NM: Maybe, if the right thing came along - I do bits of radio every now and then, when people ask me. I do miss it sometimes but I think its good for me to focus on the production side. You can't do everything and a weekly show is a lot of work. A monthly thing could be good though...
R: In the last 5 years or so there has been quite an increase in roots based music coming out of mainland Europe - what do you think of the European scene?
NM: It's great, I recently bought a tune called 'Answer', only to find out that its from Sweden. It's a killer tune. It can be funny sometimes, you meet people who are into very specific sounds, like late 80s Gussie Clarke productions. There's definitely a different flavour between France, Germany and Italy and so on, but really it's all good. I'm mixing three Heptones shows in July with a mixed London/Basque band. Now that's EU co-operation for you! Its great we're all getting over there a lot. Brother Culture, my good friend and long time sparring partner (who is Rootikal guest on 5th of July), never seems to be here anymore!
R: Over the years you've worked with some of the top names in Jamaican music - from Johnny Osbourne to Willie Williams and Earl 16. Who's top of your wish list of musical collaborators?
NM: Actually top of my wish list would be to work more with artists that I've already worked with, like Jahmali and Luciano in JA, or Kenny Knots and Dark Angel over here. It gets better, and easier, the more you work with people. I'd like to get back to JA again soon - I was there in '07 and had a very productive time. It was the first time for me in twenty years when I was there in '87 and had a great day at King Tubbys. At the moment I've got one more track to finish for a new album that I'm doing with Earl 16, we've worked together many times since 1990 and have become good friends. It makes the creative

Nick Manasseh

Click on image to enlarge