Since starting this blog, a lot of people have told us we just HAD to feature local reggae band Merrimack Delta Dub Set. “Reggae band? In Haverhill? For real?” I thought. “Oh yes, me,” I replied in my own head, “totally for real.”
I knew right then we had to talk to them immediately.
Luckily, we caught up with Sean Stanton, founding member of Merrimack Delta Dub Set, after their last gig at the Chit Chat Lounge and got to ask him a few questions. Enjoy!
HF: So, first off, if you guys are supposed to be “reggae hip hop ninja assassins,” why do you wear jeans and t-shirts? Shouldn’t you be running around in something…I don’t know, a bit more stealth?
MDDS: Even Superman had to wear a disguise to fit in. Our costume just so happens to be t-shirts and jeans.
HF: How long have you guys been playing together? Tell me a bit about the genesis of the band.
MDDS: I had written a few songs and and as I soon as I turned 21 I did the open mic night at the Chit Chat Lounge on Washington St. every single Tuesday. This was early in 2008. We started as a 3-piece, just me, Alan, and Nate (guitar, bass, drums) and just built it from there. First by adding MC and good friend, OD. When I broke my wrist before an important New Year’s gig, we figured we would need Matt to fill in on guitar, but it turned out I could still play with the brace and we got a kick-ass lead guitarist instead. Then one night at Kelley’s Pub, Clark just showed up with his sax and blew us all away.
So to make a long story short, our original drummer left and now the line-up is me (Seamus)- vocals/guitar, OD – vocals, Alan on bass, Matt – lead guitar, Adam on drums and Clark – saxophone.
HF: What’s your process like for writing new material?
MDDS: We just jam and things evolve. Either Matt will have some lick, or I’ll have some rhytmn, or Alan will come through with a new bass line. Reggae is a simple music, with a lot of open space. This allows us to start with something very basic and take it pretty much anywhere. It’s really our favorite part of practice.
HF: Are you currently working on any big goals or plans for the band?
MDDS: Right now it’s to get our EP “Cover to Cover” out there, because we have another EP’s worth of new songs waiting in the wings. Once that’s taken care of, then it’s time to get to work. We want to spread out and gig in different parts of New England. Starting with places like southern Mass and Rhode Island, Manchester, NH. and Amherst, MA. And working our way west and south trying to hit up NYC and places like VA and FL. But in the meantime we’re just doing what we gotta do.
So on that note, keep an ear out for Merrimack Delta Dub Set’s debut EP “COVER TO COVER”!!!!
HF: Soooo, onto the music itself. What else should people associate reggae with…besides pot?
MDDS: Well, traditional roots reggae is essentially a Jamaican form of gospel music, so with that in mind, it should be associated with positivity above all else. Gospel, after all, means “good news”. We’re also influenced by some of the dancehall reggae. Can you guess what that’s all about? Reggae has got to be the most danceable form of music today, which makes it easier for the audience to connect with the performers.
HF: Do you remember – when we used to sit in the government yard in Trenchtown?
Pick up your bags and get your ticket
Don’t hang around or you will miss it
This is the King Sound, whole world love it
Sweet reggae music, make you so fit
Hey hey rock with the vibe, don’t disturb it
Move with the beat and groove with it
Bubble and settle bit by bit
Stay with the rhythm, don’t quit
HF: Why do you think Bob Marley had all those chains and shackles on him when he came back to haunt Scrooge?
MDDS: I think that was Jacob Marley. I’m not sure if there is any relation, but Bob does have a lot of children.
HF: What other kinds of music are you guys into?
MDDS: You name it. When you take all six members into account, you get everything from classical and jazz to boston punk and hardcore. Classic rock, Rap, Bluegrass, Ska, Doo-Whop, R&B, Funk, Afrobeat, Electronic, and of course Reggae-Hip Hop.
HF: I hear that Matt has really huge…um, record collection. Could you tell me something about that?
MDDS: The only thing I can tell you is that a great deal of our power is derived from Matt’s record collection. Between myself and Matt, you’ll get all you can handle and then some . . . unless you have a crate, then you can handle a lot.
HF: What’s your favorite thing about Haverhill?
MDDS: Free parking and the best live music.
HF: Hey, quick, before we go- who would win in a fight: Peter Tosh or Super Cat?
MDDS: Tosh all day. Motherfucker had an AK-47 guitar; you know that ain’t all he’s got. Plus, Super Cat can’t really fly.
HF: It was great chatting with you, Sean. I can’t wait to see Merrimack Delta Dub Set for myself. When’s the next show?
MDDS: Friday May 14th @ Chit Chat Lounge, in sunny downtown Haverhill, MA. Our debut EP entitled “Cover to Cover” is being produced as you read this, so the next show is probably going to be the CD Release Party @ The Chit Chat, barring any unforeseen delays. So keep an ear to the streets!
You heard it here, folks! Chit Chat Lounge: May 14. If you haven’t already seen these guys live and want to catch a whiff of what they’re stepping in, check out the Merrimack Delta Dub Set on MySpace and Facebook.