Soja in har­mony with reg­gae’s roots

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

HEN mod­ern-day artists hyp­no­tise their au­di­ence through mu­sic, it’s of­ten about sleep­ing with models, mak­ing mil­lions and con­sum­ing things.

But not for Ja­cob Hem­phill, front­man of eight­piece US reg­gae band Soja. He wants to use his mi­cro­phone as a tool to re­verse this im­age.

Hem­phill be­lieves the hu­man race is in a race.

‘‘The race we are in is go­ing to kill each other,’’ he says.

Hem­phill isn’t the kind to preach be­tween songs when he’s on stage. He has a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing things.

‘‘I want my mu­sic to brain­wash the younger gen­er­a­tion to save the Earth,’’ he says.

‘‘I make the songs sound pretty and I put it in the most beau­ti­ful package pos­si­ble. I want to be in peo­ple’s heads and their cars ev­ery day, singing words that could change the world if it got deeper into their psychology.’’

Hem­phill be­lieves the goal of life is to find out how to co­ex­ist and move to­gether in one di­rec­tion.

‘‘It’s about learn­ing to live with the en­vi­ron­ment. Con­sump­tion is such a big prob­lem,’’ he says.

‘‘For me, the main change I can make is through a mi­cro­phone. I don’t get preachy on stage. You just have to lis­ten to the lyrics. It’s an in­no­cent way of brain­wash­ing.’’

Soja – aka Sol­diers Of Jah Army – have been mak­ing mu­sic to­gether since 1997.

Hem­phill met bassist Bob Jef­fer­son in first grade and found the rest of his band­mates in their high school years. It was dur­ing those years that Hem­phill dis­cov­ered reg­gae.

‘‘Reg­gae mu­sic spoke out to us. Bob Mar­ley is the face of free­dom around the world. Bob Mar­ley cre­ated a pow­er­ful tool,’’ he says. In fact, Hem­phill idolises Mar­ley. ‘‘I be­lieve in what he’s talk­ing about and I be­lieve I know what he was try­ing to do,’’ he says.

‘‘He was try­ing to unify the African peo­ple. He re­alised un­less they were to­gether they could not ac­com­plish what they could do. I have the same mes­sage but it’s for the hu­man race. We need to work to­gether.’’

Soja play open­ing night and Good Fri­day shows at the By­ron Bay Blues­fest, at Tya­garah Tea Tree Farm from March 28 to April 1, and the Coolan­gatta Ho­tel, with Cur­rent Swell, on April 4.

US reg­gae band Soja – aka Sol­diers Of Jah Army.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.