GFM Spotlight Interview: Royal KhaoZ Talks Reggae Fusion & Organic Growth

Emerging reggae fusion band Royal KhaoZ stopped by for a chat. We talked about what the band plans to bring to the genre of reggae, how it promotes and showcases other emerging artists and you know we got the band's definition of Grown Folks Music.

About Royal KhaoZ:
DretegsBama, and Coco, who have been members since its inception formed the band in 2010 right in the Bronx and have been producing heartfelt and powerful tunes ever since. DamDrumz and Vassell, always familiar with the band's work, plays on the drums and percussion. Thriving on their roots and culture, Royal KhaoZ's music focuses on positivity, love, and empowerment. Every one of their songs leave a lasting message that can reach any listener. The band possesses the ability to represent reggae in its truest form, while tastefully applying their own twist to traditional and conventional sounds. Drawing influences from soul, funk, pop, and rock, the group prides themselves on creating raw and organic reggae fusion.

GFM: Why the name Royal Khaoz?

RK: We decided that we were going to represent reggae music which is Jamaican music. If you know anything about reggae music it is definitely rebel music. So, as revolutionaries we felt the name should also represent that too. If you're gonna be in a revolution, you understand that change is imminent. If there's gonna be change, there's gonna be chaos. So, why not be royal in the choas... hence Royal KhoaZ.

GFM: What do you bring to reggae for this generation?

RK: We're a throwback. We definitely take a lot of inspiration from music we grew up listening to. We kinda just fuse it to the music we are actually performing all the time. We fuse the old with the new. That's why go by that we're not just a reggae band. We're a reggae fusion band. 

GFM: I hear some undertones of spirituality in your music. Can you talk about that?

RK: A lot of us grew up in church. If you ask around, especially for Jamaican musicians... that's like a school for us. Growing up in church exposes you to "religion", but growing up you become an individual and you see things for yourself. I think that's the spiritual tones in our music. We're able to relate to our friends and other people outside of the church setting. We kind of mix it up. If you skip from song to song on our EP, you'll see that.

GFM: Talk about what you're doing  for other artists-- the creative sessions you hold weekly to showcase other artists. 

RK: It's called the Voice Out Jam Sessions and it's definitely a platform. Not just for artists like vocal artists, but for the truest definition of artists--meaning painters and sculptors. Pretty much it's just a platform for us to be seen. When I say us, I mean people like us-- unsigned artists.  To share the stage with some of the greats that have passed through is just a humbling experience for everybody that comes.  It's a like a music school at the end of the day because it's on a weekly basis. You get to come, you get to learn, you get to network and work on your craft. It's just a platform. Anyone is encouraged to come through. It's a judgment-free zone. It's just to [make you] feel confident and get seen. A lot of people don't do shows like us where they get to come on weekly basis. Even if you come and you say one line, that one line can have an impact on everyone. 

GFM: You say you're unsigned. Do you have hopes of being signed, or do you like this more independent, underground and more organic way?

RK: I think we wouldn't mind it. But, I don't think anyone of us here are saying it's our be all. I think we are more enjoying the process. I think we understand that's what it's really about. It's not about the end goal but how you get there. As artists we work on our craft everyday and [we're] seeing ourselves get better and exposing our music as new artists. I don't think we want a situation where that becomes boring. We always want it to feel fresh. We always want to feel inspired. So, to the question of if we want to be mainstream... I'm not saying we'd mind it, but I don't think that's the goal.

GFM: What's Your Definition of Grown Folks Music?

RK: [laughs] I think it's self-explanatory.... stuff you wouldn't involve kids in. You can say it's more on a sexual basis and it's also culture and roots.... concepts that are [at a] higher level than what children can understand. In organic and layman's terms we would say, 'It's not a joke-joke thing. It's a serious thing. It's a big-man thing [laughs].'

Check out Royal KhaoZ's recent performance at the 9 Mile Festival in Miami.

Follow Royal KhaoZ on Instagram

Royal Khaoz

Now Playing/Visuals: Royal Khaoz: "Walk Wid Jah"

Growns, if you like encouragement in your reggae music, then watch the visuals for "Walk Wid Jah" by the group Royal Khaoz, who say its sole purpose is to bring an energetic and raw vibe through the music. Check out a slice of the lyrics.

Through every mountain and valley,
Jah is my friend, yes H.I.M a me addi,
In this warfare, loyalty is scarce here,
Give thanks to Selassie I, Or whoever you praise,
Jah by my side for the rest of my days

"Walk Wid' Jah" can be found on the group's 2016 EP Release the Pressure.

About Royal Khaoz:
Hailing out of Jamaica, Royal Khaoz comprises of Jermaine “Bama” Williams, who is the lead vocalist, Andre “DreTegs” Hawthorne who plays the keyboard and also serves as the band’s producer; Kavi “Coco” Forgie on bass and guitars; Damion “Dam Drumz” on drums/percussion; and Damion “Damidon” Hawthorne, the band’s manager and deejay. The group officially formed in 2010 out of New York City.

The band dropped its debut album Life: The Journey in 2012 followed by the EP, Release the Pressure, in 2016 and has graced the stage with some of the most renowned reggae legends in the industry including popular Ska group Toots & The Maytals, Sister Nancy, The Wailers, multi-Grammy nominated reggae artist Luciano, Third World, dancehall artist Kranium, reggae deejay Yellowman, Roots Percussionist of Chronixx and the Zincfence Redemption.

New Music: Native Sun - Indigenous Soundwaves

The recommendation is very, very simple here: this is a sound you need to get up on. You know how sound vibrates? Right? Where does that sound go when it leaves our immediate presence? Well, I'm a firm believer that the music doesn't just disappear, it continues to travel and connects with ears and hearts far from where the sound may have originated.

You want proof? Checkout this set Indigenous Soundwaves from Native Sun and you will hear the goodness of ghost of Hip Hop Past transported across the Atlantic and transmitted back to us with a freshness that is all 2012 complete with influences ranging from Afrobeat to Reggae but with a foundation that is certifiably Golden Era Hip Hop.

Shoutout to Kensaye for putting us on to this dynamic duo and make sure you check him out doing the thing on the track "Senses" as he holds down the production duties.

About Native Sun

Native Sun is a London based duo consisting of bilingual rapper Mohammed Yahya, born in Mozambique, South East Africa and singer-song writer Sarina Leah born in London with Caribbean roots.Read more

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