CULTURE - EUROPEAN TOUR 2003 joseph hills is the lead singer of the controversial reggae band culture and we were up to getting the chance to reason with this true rastafarian before he performed in berlin's kesselhaus on the 29th of april 2003. we got it, but we also got the feeling that something wasn't right about the conversation. anyway, this is what mr hills wanted to say:
done first of all i'd like to clear up something: the band name culture. but talking to a friend of mine, a jamaican, it was more like he was talking bout the man called culture. is it like this that they call you as a man culture?
joseph hills yeah! *sound from a pipe-shaped percussion instrument* listen
done tell mi how you start in music...
joseph hills well, first we start by loving it... second appreciating it... den we start living it... playing it... and here we are performing it... listen
done to make other people loving and appreciating it and maybe going on with it, too?
joseph hills dat's right. listen
done where do you live right now?
joseph hills well, at de moment i live in kingston... kingston 9 *sound from a pipe-shaped percussion instrument* listen
done the images on the record show you more as a man who live up in the hills.
joseph hills well, kingston have several appearance... dat is some of de suburban areas dat you are seeing dere... where it's greener dan downtown and all de rest of it... dat's a bit uptown... listen
done your music is very much the rastafarian music.
joseph hills yeah, de roots kind, yeah! listen
done what are the special characteristics about your music?
joseph hills well, de specialty about dis... it was design... to remind people of deir international morality which is aztec... and dat people should have... a spiritual self-esteem... which they should not live below... dat is call your culture... listen
done and it's international?
joseph hills yeah, everybody have one... *laughs* listen
done but do you think of one culture or that the was maybe once one culture?
joseph hills uhh, well... if you should... look up de word 'culture'... it could well be like an octopus... several branches, yeah, yeah... listen
done earlier days you call yourself 'african disciples'...
joseph hills dat's de beginning of de group which was never been registered nor recorded on dem... listen
done so it was more about live-performances?
joseph hills uuhm, more like what we started out with of ourselves, but when we went to de studio, den de production manager ask de rest of people when they heard what we had to say... uuhm, what should dey call us and de people hail out 'culture'! so we earn de name as if you earn money. listen
done that's nice to get the name by the audience and not just choosing it. i heard that some of your tunes did not get airplay. is that right?
joseph hills oh yeah! i have a lot of banned tune dat dey banned, yeah... listen
done like some of the tunes on the album called 'payday'?
joseph hills dat's right! listen
done and these tunes contain topics that give them a bann in america or was it happening same way in jamaica?
joseph hills well, de eyes of de listining public is open more now, but dem... i find dat when *laughs* ...when... when we... clean face society banned us on... it sells more... because it's like... it's like wrong doing, you know, or like... like any other crime... if you should say to... if you should say to de people: 'don't do this!' or 'don't do that!' as a government... then they dare you and they do it! and show you 'look! i can do it and what can you do in your upsets!? *laughs* listen
done same thing with peter tosh's 'legalize it'...
joseph hills see what i'm saying! yeah! listen
done 10 years ago you couldn't get the album just so. you had to go and ask for it at the counter. and everyone wanted to get this one specially.
joseph hills dat's right! *with strong voice* i dare you i get it! that's it! listen
done one record is titled 'one stone' and shows you with a crystal-like stone. is that a mispel stone?
joseph hills yeah, it's a crystal! listen
done is it what they call 'mispel'?
joseph hills well, i don't know anyting about de mispel-part of it. maybe dat's a german dialect... listen
done no, because i heard that in jamaica. one man give me one and he said i have to chip of some pieces from this stone and put it in the drinking water. it should make the water richer... have you never heard about this?
joseph hills no, but you know... we have some people believe in more superstition more dan some people and superstition dat i know you don't know it and *pointing on sasa* superstition dat your brother know... so each one teaches one. so if dat's someting i'm learning now... fine. *laughs and plays the pipe-shaped instrument* listen
done listening your albums your music is revolutionary and has serious topics but it is never sad. where do you get this positivity from?
joseph hills *laughs* from the negativity that goes on around me... *laughs* yeah! listen
done and where you get the strength from to do that, because...
joseph hills de most high! de most high dat create i an' i an' i, because... i mean... you know when i'm... when i'm really feeling brave... when i see people who... should know better... or doin' negative tings... and i see lickle children... who don't... who are not... as educated or doing positive tings... den i stand aside as de observer and look between the lines and say: 'hmm hmm, but a lesson i have learned.' *laughs* listen
done in the introduction of 'blood ago run' you mention nostradamus. do you believe in his prophecy?
joseph hills some of dem... listen
done like which? those that reveal already...
joseph hills de ones dat are in my eyes that i see... yeah, what i see i believe what i see! because if you don't believe what you see how are you gonna believe what you don't see? *hits his instrument* listen
done but there is a big controversy about it still...
joseph hills well, yes, because a lot of people are confuse... and we are living in a time of confusion... and... if we're living in a time of confusion dan dere is no alternative... you know, rather than to... place all our observation within... de whole thing... listen
done and what action will result out of this observation? because there will be a time there must be an action.
joseph hills ...
done you mention in an interview about a video for the tune 'riverside' and you say it's more action than words...
joseph hills yeah, well... words... in de beginning was de words... and we live and re-live and over-live dat word or dose words... now it's time to put dose words in action... see... is like... the crime-ministers... which call demselves prime-ministers... when dey're not in politics... when dey're outside... when dey're any ordinary civilian... dey say: *change his voice* 'oh, i gonna help the poor without my heart!' and as soon as dey get in that big chair... den dey help the poor to go to prison *laughs* listen
done maybe we are talking already about the same thing when i ask you now what are 'white belly rats'? [the title of one tune]
joseph hills pardon me!? listen
done what are 'white belly rats'?
joseph hills oh! a deciever or a dumb liar! a person who you can't trust... done: so we talk already bout them. j.hill: *laughs* listen
done about the religion, because i don't like to talk about politics too much. and to many things are going on. i don't know if you listened the news today because about 12 killed...
joseph hills i'm sick! listen
done so we come to something more positive: the religion...
joseph hills oh yeah! oh yeah, because... listen
done you consider yourselve as a member of one of the houses of rasta or do you see it a different way?
joseph hills from de nyahbingi heart! listen
done i heard that rastas are not allowed to look on dead people... is that right?
joseph hills it's not hearsays... dat's written in de ol' testament... it's no hearsay... all you need to know is read your bible! *laughs* listen
done in which part is it written?
joseph hills in exodus... listen
done i heard again something, because...
joseph hills yeah, you have ears you must hear! *laughs* listen
done i heard about 12 tribes rasta that they don't have a straight diet. that they are even allowed to eat meat?
joseph hills who am i to judge anybody? listen
done but there are some rules in nyahbingi... or not?
joseph hills yes, but at de same time i still follow de bible: 'judge not lest ye be judged' listen
done the nyahbingi do big celebration since a long time...
joseph hills from de beginning... listen
done but every year there are sessions. isn't it like this?
joseph hills yes! listen
done can you tell me something about it! maybe some rules out of this?
joseph hills no, you need to see for yourself... listen
done where can i see it?
joseph hills come to jamaica... *laughs* listen
done i was in jamaica and there was no sessions in that area. which place should i go? ...if you want mention that...
joseph hills well, you need to go to scotts pass... listen
done where is that?
joseph hills JOSEPH HILLSdat's in manchester... or... deh used to be a nyahbingi ground up by bull bay... pass... bobo ashanti camp and go around de sea coast... ah just around... any rastaman dat give tanks more time, but dere are tings that, you know, we jus'... don't feel like elaborate on it as if we are preaching because de preaching of de gospel is over... listen
done why?
joseph hills because people been preaching a long time and nobody take no heed *laughs* ...says pointless keep talking and talking and talking... it's like beating a empty drum... listen
done and now the heat comes out in the fire?
joseph hills well... in dis term you could be drowned in water too! *laughs* listen
done in the music we got the image from the bobo ashanti for beeing the firemen, but i learned that the nyahbingis deal even more with fire. especially on the nyahbingi sessions...
joseph hills nyahbingi... nyahbingi was de beginning of de whole concept... i born, come and see nyahbingi. and after nyahbingi den de bobo ashanti came... and way after dat comes... de establishment of de twelve tribes of israel... listen
done are there only that three or are there more?
joseph hills ... if dere was more dan dat i would have said so... listen
done you made a tune together with anthony b...
joseph hills yeah, a linkage... a linkage... i sang de song and de promoter feel like doing a... audio demonstration and he did it... time is running out... listen
done what do you think about nower days dancehall music?
joseph hills who am i to judge? big people play drum while children dance after it... listen
done and what do you say about artists who come in a more cultural way and now they turned to slackness?
joseph hills not judging anybody! let every man judge themselve... listen
done but still, without judging maybe just a positive message...
joseph hills i'm not doing it your way, i'm doing it de way it should be done! listen
done no, that's alright...
joseph hills ok! *laughs* listen
done i only thought maybe you would like to give some positive words to...
joseph hills NO! NO! NO! dat's a form of diplomacy to take what i have inside of me without you asking me question and i don't bow to dat! listen
done i think you get me wrong...
joseph hills SHUT YOUR WORD! time to go, time to go... listen
with this positive words, which i wanted to ask him to dedicate them to our readers, this great man left the room and moved to the bus to take a little rest before the show. for me there was nothing more to do than to thank the whole band for their patience and for beeing quiet during the interview. and somehow i got the feeling this man was judging somebody...
big up: sasa [video / support], bam bam sound, damelicious and swing kid [fiyah sound], christoph [revelation concerts], kesselhaus
interview by done for sound-everest.com