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Bass keeps it real

...Loving the return of Power Soca but disturbed by cliquish behaviour in the soca Biz
Saturday, January 13, 2018

It takes a certain kind of somebody to say what they have to say, no matter the possible backlash. Adrian Hackshaw, the urban, midmorning voice who keeps millions around the world entertained with his raw truths, is again keeping it real, telling the Guardian that the business of soca is very “cliquish” right now.

Hackshaw, who’s best known as Bass, has released three songs for the Carnival 2018 season.

Goodness, his first delivery, was a call to action – an urge for better behaviour in T&T’s society.

He had gone to Maha Studios to record that one, which he wrote.

He then collaborated with former Chutney Soca Monarch Ravi B on a single called, Cooler Jam.

Together, the artistes penned the single before heading to Big Rich and D Pungalunks Factory to record.

Bass didn’t stop there. His final contribution was Break Out, a track he once again penned, but this time he turned to St Lucia’s Moto for production perfection. Bass says he’s always optimistic about the Carnival season and is proud of his accomplishments, having been a part of the industry for the past 20 years, however he makes no qualms in identifying the challenges faced, even as an urban radio personality. “I have been experiencing a lot of problems getting interviews,” he said candidly, highlighting that he has been requesting an interview with one particular radio station since October.

Bass’ aim has always been to release good music, music that would aid in creating a vibe of enjoyment for the feting public.

He highlights that when he started in the business in 1997, he wanted to see more young people getting involved in the soca music industry and when he released J’Ouvert Morning, followed by You Make Me Feel High, artistes like KMC and Bunji Garlin followed suit with their style of soca and entered the arena.

“Two years ago when I did Stush in De Bush, my aim was not only to get the people to loosen up and enjoy themselves again, but it was also about changing the music, returning to some semblance of authenticity,” said Bass.

He calls himself a soca purist.

He admires the vibe of carnival engagement that’s seen in Grenada and St Vincent and believes that balance in the music is necessary.

“People want to enjoy themselves. It’s been two years since I sang Stush in De Bush and people are still waving branches in fetes. I feel like I have achieved my goal of getting people to truly fete again,” said the young veteran.

The seasonality of the genre, a thorn in his side, Hackshaw says something’s got to give. He wants to champion a movement to see artistes release a fresh catalogue of soca music on Ash Wednesday, something he feels will work well if the country’s overall branding and tourism thrust is altered. “I simply feel like Trinidad and Tobago should be branded as the Carnival island - a destination where a visitor can come to any time of the year and be treated to a festival of some kind,” he suggested.

Bass says he feels each Borough should host a festival in addition to other cultural events that would act as the perfect tourism selling pitch for this country.

All of this he says should be led by the artistes’ delivery of new music, throughout the year.

A number of releases being juggled across the airwaves, Bass highlights that the Power Soca tracks are standing out for him. “I like this song by Kenna T called Animal and I’m also really happy about the contributions from the Ultimate Rejects,” he says, noting that the music has seen a return of good melodies and live instruments.

Certainly nowhere close to hanging up his hat as an entertainer, Bass says he will not be entering any of this year’s competitions, if there are any. “As far as competitions are concerned, I believe they have served their time and have done more damage than good to the industry,” however assuring that he would be entering the calypso arena in the near future with plans to even enter the Young Kings competition and possibly the National Calypso Monarch competition, then.

Adrian Hackshaw continues to contribute in his own way to a business that has certainly seen exponential grown in the past decade. As a radio personality he says it’s not always as easy as some would think, relative to getting adequate radio airplay. He does admit that being aligned to a particular radio station has afforded him good support over the years, but in the same breath said DJs will always play what they like, who they like or which songs they think people like.

“The business is very cliquish right now. I don’t belong to any clique. I am no ‘bandwagonist’.

I have been in this business for many years. I don’t need to be popping bottles with you or liming with you for you to play my music. If my music is good, I would like to think that it should be played.”

Now an event promoter, Bass is looking forward to hosting the second installment of his Carnival J’Ouvert fete, J’Ouvert Splash, at the Hive car park in Arima tonight, January 13. “I have no regrets in my life.

I have always wanted to be a DJ, radio personality and artiste. I’ve gotten into promotion and I am happy with my accomplishments,” said Hackshaw.



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