Ziggy Marley Talks Live Album, "End Polio Now", Organic Food Line, and More
Thu, 20 Dec 2012 17:33:55
Ziggy Marley has got revolution on the brain.
You can always hear it in everything he does, especially on songs like "Personal Revolution". However, he puts his money where his mouth is. He donated the track to END POLIO NOW, a benefit album raising funds for Rotary's PolioPlus program, and he's an active participant in the "This Close to Ending Polio" campaign.
That revolutionary spirit courses through his new live album Ziggy Marley in Concert loud and clear, and you'll feel it as if you were there as soon as you hit "play".
In this exclusive interview, Ziggy Marley talks Ziggy Marley in Concert, revolution, fighting Polio, Ziggy Marley Organics, and more.
What was the idea behind Ziggy Marley In Concert?
We document the shows we do. I wasn't going to put out a record this year so I thought, "Why don't I put out something live and see how people react to it?" We don't really think about it ahead of time. It's more like, "Let me hear these shows. It sounds good. Let's go for it". It's something to keep the fans engaged in what we're doing.
What's the art of sequencing a set list for a show?
I try to build it really slowly so the climax is more energetic. It has to do with my personal feeling. A lot of times when I'm doing shows, I'll change songs because of how I'm feeling or how the people are reacting and the vibe I'm getting. Sometimes, I'll feel like I have to slow it down. Other times, I feel like I have to speed it up. That's how I work with my set list. The set is like a guide. We change up things as we go along. We never follow the set list [Laughs].
There's a level of unpredictability for you too.
Always! Sometimes, I extend a verse. I like messing with the musicians to keep them on their toes.
Has "Wild and Free" always been special for you?
Yeah, I love that song. From the last album, I'm digging my songwriting. I've evolved, and I can see my own growth. I'm trying to make it better as I go along. I like what I'm saying in the songs. If you're at the show, you can see people responding to what I'm saying because they're actually hearing what I'm saying and listening to the words. They're not just there getting entertained. It's important for me that they get it and feel it.
Do you feel like the live recording captured the crowd?
The crowd is a part of the experience. It's about the people in it and how they react to what I do. Their input is as important as what I bring to it.
It's incredible you've been able to give back Rotary's "This Close to Ending Polio" campaign.
Well, whatever attention I can bring to the issue with my name and my music, is huge. What we do, our life and work, is not just about selling records or being on tour. Even when I'm not on tour, we still are doing things that are important for us. I've given my time, my music, and my name to this movement to end Polio. That's what I'm doing. That's my life. I'm more than an entertainer. I'm a human being who cares about people. That never stops, well I'm doing music or not.
What's the story behind "Personal Revolution"?
When I was growing up, revolution meant one thing. In the days of my father, revolution was a social change was like struggling in South Africa and a literally armed and militant movement. I grew up seeing that aspect of revolution as being a social movement that sometimes involved violence and true self-defense. Having grown up, I started to understand another part of revolution, which is spiritual revolution. It's a change within each individual human being to find love really. The revolution is actually an evolution where hopefully the human species can find a way to evolve behind the state we find ourselves in now, which is a lot of wars, religious conflicts, and materialism. There needs to be some sort of change within us as individuals to come off this road we're on right now as a species where we cannot live in peace. Greed and material things are the main objectives for a lot of people. "Personal Revolution" speaks to that type of revolution beyond the social revolution I grew up understanding. There's this other type of revolution I know that's as important as any other sort of revolution—it's a personal revolution.
How did Ziggy Marley Organics come about?
In my culture, healthy food is important. It's stuff that does not weigh you down. It's food that enriches your life. It was very natural for me to take on a project that goes into the line of food. We started an organic hempseed product. Then, we did a coconut oil product. They both have never been done before because they're flavored. My hempseeds are crunchy and roasted. That's unique. It's another way to speak about our society eating healthy. We don't want our foods to be modified genetically without us understanding what that does to our bodies. People should have a right to know if what they're buying in the market has been modified genetically. As of now, we have no idea of the long-term effects of what I call, "pharmaceutical food products". If I put down a grain of food and an insect doesn't eat it, I'm not going to eat it. If an insect isn't going to eat it, why should I? My food line goes into the idea of what food is and what we should look for.
What's next for?
I'm doing another six-minute episode of my comic book. I'm writing and thinking about the next record and seeing where that will go. I'm still searching for the sound. I'm experimenting. I'm within my roots, but I'm trying to find this pixie dust to sprinkle on what I do. It's a tedious process, but I really enjoy the search and trying to different things. I'm feeling, trying again, and succeeding. I'm happy to have the time to do it.
What's your favorite Ziggy Marley song?