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The Wise Bloods
Roots Rock Rebels
Meet The Wise Bloods… a rising Soul Rock and Roots Reggae band featuring members originating from South and North London boroughs, breaking new ground with their proudly original UK flavor.
Their latest studio recordings have crashed onto the scene and turned heads as their unique sound has found itself placed alongside well-established reggae names of the day. The modern roots band perform a compelling live show as they take on modern influences from Soul and Hip Hop without losing the true foundations of roots reggae music.
The Wise Bloods edgy urban reggae sound has received international recognition across the reggae community, including plays on BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra (David Rodigan), Capital Xtra (Ras Kwame), Vibes FM (Sarah C), Basso Radio (Selectah Andor), Kane FM, KBOO radio, Reggae King Radio and more.
Each member of The Wise Bloods brings a force and vibe, which all combine under a unified purpose to bring into existence a greater musical power that would not exist were it not for each member’s influence. Members of The Wise Bloods include: Jason ‘bwadman’ Myers a.k.a The Electrician (Drums); Ryan ‘Gutty’ Windross (Bass); Makeda Moore (Vocals); Kandaka Moore (Vocals); Nikki ‘Cislyn’ Marshall (Vocals); Noa Rodriguez (Keyboards); and Jesse James ‘Tinyrebel’ MacFarlane (Lead Vocals / Guitar).
The Wise Bloods | Soul Rock Reggae
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Label: Urban Breakout Records
Copyright: 2020 ℗© Urban Breakout Records
Total Length: 04:35
Total Tracks: 1
Let Me Love
Their latest release, a new five-track EP, ‘Let Me Love’, offers an array of unique sounds and grooves fitting to their signature ‘Soul Rock Reggae’ style. Lead Singer Jesse James describes their new approach as ‘more melodic and personal’ where some songs ‘have no intention other than to express the feeling that was in the heart at the time of conception’.
IRIE. How did you all come together to become the Wise Bloods?
THE WISE BLOODS. The Wise Bloods was a concept and a dream of a band before it was one. It came about after Jesse had a life realization. “I used to be in a band in my teenage and young adult years, and it was my obsession and passion. Over time, I became a tree surgeon to make ends meet and let a relationship reshape me to make it work. I just thought, why aren’t I making the music anymore? I just felt the calling so much that I told myself and the partner at the time, “I’m going to start a band up and cut my hours to get back into music… I lost the job and the girl, but found my way”. The Wise Bloods came into existence once after Jesse pulled out an old beat from his previous band. He wrote a song based on some of the lived experiences of his friends called it ‘Smooth Runner”. “I got my old drummer to put real drums down on it, some singer friends (who were the first members of The Wise Bloods) on it and the name of the project became The Wise Bloods.”
It wasn’t for a year that the band came to embody The Wise Bloods in its truest form. It started after Jesse was out at a reggae open mic in East London called the Troy Bar. Jesse had gone along after someone had recommended it. One of the singers, Makeda Moore, was mainly doing backing vocals for the singers going up on the stage, but then she did a few Bob Marley numbers herself and tore the roof down with these super-powerful vocals and totally impressive dance moves. She left a massive impression on Jesse, who had a show booked with a collection of musicians asked Makeda if she would do backing vocals. Makeda brought along Kandaka and later down the Line Nikki. After that, Makeda also brought in Jason to do drums. Ryan was actually found through his personal bassist fame on Instagram as he was already prolific as a reggae session bassist. The day Jason and Ryan turned up in the room for an instrumental rehearsal together, something special happened, and ‘New Blood’ was created pretty much from a jam.
JESSE. It’s quite funny because Jason came in and recognized Ryan straight away from playing together years ago at a jam night. Ryan just stared at him blankly and clearly didn’t recognize him. Jason looked kind of pissed, and I cracked up.
RYAN. I just didn’t recognize him without the hat.
JESSE. New Blood is the song I think marks the moment The Wise Bloods really started to become its own thing due to the chemistry of the band and all their different vibes… So yeah, meeting Makeda, I’d say, was a very pivotal part of The Wise Bloods becoming what it is. Makeda and I believe all the Moore family are more than just musicians; they are really blessed community leaders and pretty much an institution.”
IRIE. Is there a meaning behind the name The Wise Bloods?
JESSE. Yeah, sort of. It was a weird series of moments. There is this American gothic novel called Wise Blood; although the story is interesting, it isn’t central to the choice of the name, it’s just that after coming across the story, I saw a news report on how some young bloods and crips had decided to come together in Baltimore to overcome the issues of police brutality and the issues plaguing their neighborhood. I don’t know how far that went, but the interviews of the youths really struck a chord with me, and I thought, wow, did the Bloods just get wise? I thought about how powerful it would be if people who suffer from disenfranchisement just got together and organized with some wisdom and knowledge to build strong communities with a voice and purpose and overcome all the madness that we’ve sort of come to normalize. So that’s sort of where the inspiration comes from. The logo of the cog and feather helps add more to the meaning. It represents the search for common spirituality, wisdom, and harmony in an increasingly industrialized society that can alienate humanity from herself and nature.
IRIE. Is there a meaning behind the name The Wise Bloods?
MAKEDA. Well, firstly, inspiration ultimately comes from lord Jah almighty, but musically Bob Marley is a central influence to all of us. Not just in music but in purpose and message. Perhaps vocally, I myself was really inspired by En Vogue back in the day.
NIKKI. Basically, when I was in the womb there was one or two vibration innit (laughing).
KANAKA. I’m also involved in musical theatre, so actually, strangely, I’d even say my musical influences are shows like West Side Story and Annie.
JESSE. Ah yeah, that makes a lot of sense because when these three perform live, they’re not just bringing their voice they buss out serious dance routines on stage. I guess training in that field has helped with that?
KANAKA. Oh yeah, totally.
JESSE. Adding to Makeda, I think without it being cliche, Bob Marley is massively an influence. I think he was so important because he brought together great songwriting on a musical level, with lyrics showing us deep human truths that people can understand universally. That’s a natural talent and power. I came across Bob Marley as a child. I just found two second-hand tapes in the library for 50p each. I got them because I liked the pictures. They were confrontation and survival. I also picked up the Beatles, but it was those two tapes I listened to religiously before bed for years. Bob wasn’t just an entertainer; he was a true leader and a poet.
Musically though, there are a lot of modern influences. The entire world of music has been changed by the popularity of Hip Hop and Rap, and to say that our sound and attitude hasn’t been influenced by that would be a denial of a fact. Also, in the UK, we have grime, it’s hard not to be inspired by how the guys who brought that genre into existence by being completely unapologetically themselves… when they are from the same place as you, you feel proud to hear successful artists using London slang and references.
Also, soul music has increasingly become a central influence. I love the classics like Sam Cook and Al Green, but also modern soul like Angie stone and even more current are the vocals of Dallas Tamaira/ Joe Dukie from Fat Freddys Drop, who mixes soul with roots reggae and dance styles. I also love how FFD has shaped a lane of their own; it’s inspiring.
IRIE. The Wise Bloods sound is a unique mix of soul-rock and roots reggae accompanied by powerful and unforgettable lyrics. What really stands out in your music is your delivery of the lyrics in your songs. It’s like you’re angrily trying to get your message across to the listener so that they truly understand your message. Is that intentional?
JESSE. Hah, I’m sort of moving into a more melodic style and steering away from the anger, but the passion and purpose remain. I mean, being from London, this city has a sort of angry vibe, like people are generally pretty aggi on the surface, and I think the place you make music can really affect how your music comes across. The attitude and aggression are definitely in me, and I am influenced by different cultures that expect you to bring it or don’t bring it at all. My dad is from NZ, and they are all hard case. I am a tree surgeon by trade, and that requires you to have courage and resilience, and of course, South London is all about standing your ground- these are all a part of the fabric that makes me who I am, so I don’t know if it is intentional. I do know that the not-so-melodic Rap delivery that I’ve been steering away from first came about after losing a best mate’s little brother to a stabbing. He was supposed to collaborate on an early track. After I heard the news, I was really hurt and wrote lyrics on the song he was meant to be on. I had never rapped, but it felt right at that point-that steered the approach for a while from then on as I had found a persona in it. I was trying to express my discontent in a uniquely London style. Still, I gradually realized that removing melody from my own vocals is like painting a picture and then taking out all the colors.
And yes, lyrics and messages are always important to me. If it’s not true to life or you’re bringing weak-ass lyrics to roots music, then you’re not a roots artist; you’re a meme. You’re a copy of a copy of a copy. For me, songwriting is a chance to express and communicate something of my experience that is in my soul. I’d say that where earlier some of the music I don’t feel like I can stand by it fully as I didn’t quite get it right, always the lyrics I could read out and stand true to them.
IRIE. Where do you find your inspiration for your songwriting? Is it a group effort, or do individual members have a specific role?
THE WISE BLOODS. The songs are mostly written and produced by Jesse, but what happens is the idea gets brought to the band, and they bring their ideas and flavor to it. So ultimately, it is a group effort.
JESSE. Also, pretty much every band member is more talented than me as a musical performer. The music just wouldn’t be how it is without the band putting their style, inspiration, and passion into the mix. We are now looking at getting together to bring vibes together first as a band, but the way time, money, and life constraints go, the process has gone this way up till now, but as we come together more, naturally, the process should change a bit, and for the better, I believe.
IRIE. Is it essential that each song tell a story or have a particular message? If so, how do you decide on the topics of your song?
JESSE. The inspiration lies in the real-life experience, the feeling, sentiment, or the thought process. If I sit down and say, right, I’m going to write a song about this now, it’s not nearly as good as a moment where I feel a certain way, and a tune comes to me, and then the words or sentiment of the song comes next because that’s how I’m feeling. The rest of the lyrics can come out of that moment of inspiration, and then you know it’s genuine and real. The messages and story are there in the subconscious. I feel and think about certain things passionately, and they come to the surface every now and again and spark a creative process. If I think or feel about something a lot, it’s going to end up in a song at some point. Although, there are songs that are more about the vibe and the delivery. Usually, in that circumstance, the song content is more loosely related to a wide array of things because the ultimate point is the vibe and delivery.
With topic-specific tunes, there is usually a guiding thought or lyric at a moment where I am thinking about something that has made me contemplate something about life or humanity. From that pillar of inspiration, the rest can flow.
IRIE. You released ‘Lonely Hours’, the first single from your EP, Let Me Love, with The Late Ones. How did this collaboration come about?
JESSE. Oh yeah, The Late Ones are a super cool bunch. I actually found them while having a US Reggae youtube binge. I found them through their feature on Meridian by The Elevators and then saw them on Sugarshack and thought these guys are dope and a bit different. I really respected that they were coming in with a conscious vibe and mixing the rap/hip hop with reggae and harmony. I was following their socials, and by some chance, they commented on one of our insta posts, and then we discussed collaborations. I had this funky soul/ hip hop track that I knew they would destroy, so I sent it over, and when I got it back, I was really, really excited. I also had the luck to have Grammy-winning Nikki Cislyn put her vocals on the track, and it just turned into this interesting soul hip hop jam with a bunch of super cool people on it. The only drawback is thinking you’ve made some cool vocals and then getting the trackback from the features and realizing you are now the lamest person on the track. But yeah, so happy this happened. Life can be so often a blessing if you are patient.
IRIE. What message are you hoping to convey with your new EP, Let Me Love?
JESSE. I think there is a time for pulling down fences and walls, but there is also a time for building bridges, ways, and means. I am finding more and more in this internet age people are thinking they are only righteous for starting fires and engaging in internal battles with their neighbors. People are getting divided and motivated over opinions they wear on their sleeve, while forgetting the pragmatic value in shared understanding and effective communication. Deep down at the source, most of us just want to love and have compassion for others, but we’ve got to a point where the people who even share the same geography are turned against themselves over something they identify with on a personal level.
There are some deep-seated problems that the system we operate in generates on a global scale. It doesn’t matter what opinions you hold, you still shop and live off the system, and so we are all partly responsible. Lived realities around the globe are determined by the nature of our consumer society. People will argue about issues relevant to the western world while stepping over a homeless person. People will post about something they think is politically righteous about inequality while using a phone that contains coltan obtained at a ruthlessly exploitative rate from the Congo that continues to fuel conflict. People think because they hold one opinion that feels righteous, their breath doesn’t stink. I’m beginning to wonder how righteous all this talk is. Talk is cheap. I want to get to the point where we actually properly come together to influence real deep-seated issues of this global capitalist system, but it seems we are stuck on matters of identity. I’m not saying they aren’t important. I’m saying that the way we communicate is like we are not listening to each other. We are just closing ranks and focused on point scoring and being accepted by our little subcultures. If we could communicate and act with love to our neighbors, we can really get down to business and empower ourselves rather than leave it to megalomaniacs and self-interested politicians who really can’t be trusted. The everyday person is continually being overlooked and valued by the powerful only as a consumer rather than an agent and citizen of society. The more communities are viewed as only consumers; the more our self-righteous opinions will be nothing but interests to be capitalized on by the market. We are gaining so many opinions but losing a lot of our humanity.
So, in a nutshell, the message is: take some time to go out of your way to build a bridge somewhere. Don’t hate difference; embrace and learn from it.
IRIE. Is there a song in your discography that resonates most with you? If so, why?
JESSE. I think most people will like Rob, Beg and, Steal.
RYAN. Yeah, that’s my favorite.
JESSE. Bro, you’re bass face when you recorded that is unmatched… I know that Let Me Love resonates with Jason and me the most. It feels so natural and genuine. The rhythm is swung in an old school Marley style; the message is closest to how I feel right now. I’ve just been fed up with the quarreling, sick of fumes and pollution, sick of the murder and violence, sick of poverty and pain, this rise of bad mental health while watching the growth of profits for businesses that don’t add value to society; they just profit from the problems in it. I just want to get out, get a sea breeze, watch some birds fly overhead, and enjoy a sunset with a beautiful soul next to me.
IRIE. What do you hope first-time listeners take with them after listening to the Wise Bloods?
JESSE. I hope firstly they get an eargasm somewhere in the tracks. I love discovering new music and losing all anxiety and pain, and just feeling the moment that the music brings. I’d love you to have a great experience while you’ve been listening to one of our tracks so that every time you hear the song, it reminds you of that time.
Also, follow our socials and sign up for our online viewing experience of the new EP (through our official website- www.thewisebloods.com). There will be loads of extras like lyrics and opportunities to get free stuff and connect on a deeper level. This is a new thing, so we’d like people to try that out and see what they think. It’s free.
Subscribe here: https://www.thewisebloods.com/onlinefanexperience
IRIE. Now that you released your new EP, what’s next for the Wise Bloods? Any plans to support the release with live performances.
JESSE. We have some live recordings upcoming, which we will share online. We also are looking at doing some live streaming. We are looking to live music once again in the UK finally, but off the back of this EP, we’d love to tour new audiences. We have growing audiences in the US, South America, and Europe; it would be amazing to get out there and see the people who have been digging our music and supporting us. So if you’re feeling the music, don’t forget to get in touch and say hi so we know you are out there. It really makes a difference to hear from you.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to say or share with the IRIE audience?
JESSE. Firstly, thanks to IRIE magazine and, of course, the audience supporting it. IRIE is special. It’s designed well, the people who support it are super lovely, the content is great, and you guys running it are so good to communicate with. You are clearly so passionate about Reggae music, and that really resonates with us. Thank you.
Other than that, Yes. Subscribe and follow us. We have so much on the way, but we are independent, and all the engagement and follows make a big difference to our prospects and ability to keep creating. We will have most going on on our youtube channel, Instagram and the official web page is definitely one to subscribe with if you want some exclusive perks.
Let Me Love CDs are here as well as merch on our official page.
All support is welcome. We have only just begun, and we’d love to have you join us on the journey. Let’s create some special moments.
IRIE. Maaad Love & Respect, family!
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