“Ready, Aim, Fire” was the first song of Pablo Moses I have ever heard. Back then I knew nothing about his long career reaching back to 1975 and his first tune “I Man A Grasshopper”. In the interview Pablo Moses talks about the origin of the song, his new album “The Rebirth” and where he has been for the last 15 years.
Pablo, during my researches I have found different years of your birth, 1948 and 1953. Which one is right?
Pablo Moses: 1948.
When and how did you start singing?
Pablo Moses: I always love to sing from I was a small boy. I form a few groups in high school, but eventually end up been a solo artist. I always wanted to be original in every way.
I have read that your first song “I Man A Grasshopper“(1975) was inspired by a drunkard, who lived in your mother’s house.
Pablo Moses: Well, he was a Captain in the Jamaican army who loves to drink alcohol and rented the large part of my mother’s house and I live in a small part of the house. I always go around the back to sit under a pear tree and practice my guitar trying to write songs while smoking a spliff.
He went to the police and told them that I am going around smoking herb and blowing it in his children’s face, which was not true. The police came and warn me. And that’s how the song came about. He did me bad but he also did me good. He inspired me to write a protest and truthful song for the people of the world.
You have started early to look for stories outside of your yard, shown by your hit tune “We Should Be In Angola”. How come?
Pablo Moses: I am always looking for inspiration in every way and everything. I say to myself, Pablo you are writer so be a writer 24 seven. During that time when I wrote that song there was a lot of gun shooting in Jamaica and there was a freedom fighter war in Angola which we as Rastafarians and other conscious Jamaican’s accept Africa as our first home.
So one day I was smoking a chalice with Kiddus I and some other Ras I heard the news on the radio about some gun shootings going on in west Kingston and people dying. So I just took up a piece of brown paper and wrote the lyrics right there. Then later I found the cords progression.
In 1977 you recorded your debut album “Revolutionary Dream” (1977), which counts as essential for every reggae collection. Do you thing you could do a similar album again, today?
Pablo Moses: Thank you for giving my first album “Revolutionary Dream” such prestigious status. I do think each era bring different happenings therefore my writings will have to reflect things within that time and before. I do think also that each album have a different personality but still relative to Pablo Moses, such as this new album. I hope Jah will allow me the vibes to create more music like “Revolutionary Dream”. I am always trying and learning.
Your new album “The Rebirth” will be released in April – 15 years after your longplayer “Mission”. What have you done in the meantime?
Pablo Moses: I have been touring in different parts of the world. I have been and still writing new songs. Some of them are on the new album “The Rebirth”. I also had an accident four years ago and was in coma for four days. Neighbours though I was dead. A blood vessel broke in my brain, doctors had to drill my skull, insert a tube to get out the infected blood.
I give thanks to the power of Jah and the love I have for my family and for others I survive to be here. So the long period away from new recordings and the coma I went trough I think that the name of the new album is appropriate, “The rebirth”
Does „The Rebirth“ mean that we will get a new Pablo Moses or are you going to show the audience that you can do it, still?
Pablo Moses: It means you can expect at least three more new original conscious Pablo Moses albums in the space of four years. While I was out of the recording studio I was writing and preparing for this moment.
Sometimes I have the feeling that all subjects have been sung in all kinds of words after 40 years of reggae music. Is it harder to write songs today, than it was in the 1970s?
Pablo Moses: I wouldn’t say it is harder. These are different times that come with different ideas. I would think you might have to dig deeper and be more committed in what you are doing. I still have some songs also that suits this particular time. You see some songs have no particular period era; they fit all occasions past, present and future.
Africa has always been an important part of your songs. There is a song on your album called “Mama Yeah”, in which you talk about the continent as your mother.
Pablo Moses: Yes, I always sing songs about beautiful Africa and the African people at home or abroad as I am. But this song is more for Africa. „Mama Yeah“, the momma of my great grand mother to my mother. I think a lot of ill have been done to her by foreigners and Africans for greed and ignorant.
Have you ever been in Africa?
Pablo Moses: Yes. I’ve been to East Africa and expecting to go to West Africa before this year is done.
You have always had a critical view on the world. Even after 35 years in the business you are singing that you are “Born to Be Bad”.
Pablo Moses: From I started my musical career; I always wanted to be different. I always wanted to be totally original – lyrics, music and feel. I am always considered to be controversial. And I want to remain that way.
What do you think about the new generation of roots reggae artists? Are they critical enough?
Pablo Moses: Some are on the right track and some aren’t. I like some of their music. I listen everything so I can relate to the time in a musical and lyrical way.
Tracklist: Pablo Moses / The Rebirth
- Born to be Bad
- So Much
- Mama Yeah (Africa)
- Jah Will Make a Way
- Got to Make a Way
- They Can’t Undo
- More Than You Can Chew
- Can Make a Living
- We Have The Capability
- Jah is Watching You
- Don’t Drop Out
- Have to Leave
The new album of Pablo Moses “The Rebirth” (Grounded Music) will be released on the 23rd of April 2010.