KYLE - Speaking of other bands playing reggae, what do you think of this move towards reggae and dub thats happening in the ska scene these days?
MARK - Musical progression. Glad to see it happen. Maybe they will do more styles as well.. non Jamaican! thats what we are more geared to.. late 70s and 80s steppers riddims.. and open it more to hip hop as well.
KYLE - Yeah I have definitly noticed the 80s Rub-A-Dub dancehall vibe in your newer material with Romey Dee in there toasting. Can you tell more about Romey and how he came to be in the band?
MARK - He replied to a article saying we were looking for a guitarist.. he called me , that he is a vocalist. Came down and vibed with the riddims and was down.. its good to see that we play in gear towards his style instead of playing an off tangent from his material.
KYLE - Was he doing a solo dancehall thing before he joined the band?
MARK - Yeah.. he was.. and still is.. its Romy Dee backed by the RDs, he had a hit in the mid 90s "Paugh Paugh"
KYLE - Oh I see, so in a way there's Romey Dee and the Rhythm Doctors and then theres also just the Rhythm Doctors?
MARK - we can do just a dub set by ourselves and do our own riddims.. too.. like the Roots Radics..
KYLE - Yes. Do you still have any new songs played in that heavy organ Upsetters style?
MARK - Its all in my head bro. I can write ten albums. All different styles of that style. not just one tempo and arrangement. I will do another album like "Reggae Injection".
KYLE - Why dont you guys play as much in the ska scene anymore? Are you totally breaking from that scene and moving or or do you plan to come back and play those shows as well as other types?
MARK - Ska scene aren't into or want us to play... or maybe Luis just doesn't think we fit.. I mean look at us now. What new things we do and then look at the two guys that are in SeeSpot.. back to the old... i think ultimately thats what the scene is for. People who love the old. I don't wanna dog on the old skool cuz I have much respect for it all i am very much influenced by it.. But as a musician, how hard is it to sound like someone else?.. Its much harder to make your own identity.. but you can still derive from the roots! thats what the Rhythm Doctors were meant to do! And do?
KYLE - But dont you think maybe what the Rhythm Doctors do, it might open doors for sounds that people in the ska scene werent willing to try out?
MARK - Did you see us play the Troubador last?
KYLE - No i didnt
MARK - We had Romy and April and Evan playing his flute and Cypriano doing his first live dub thing... maybe it was just coincidence but The Irie Beats played some show like a month later at Fais Do Do and they have a flute player and some black dood trying to toast over their riddims.. and they were doing dancehall.. as far as I know they usually don't do that.. so I think you are right. if we do play.. things will change.. maybe they don't want that.. ??
KYLE - But going back a little bit, I wanted to ask you, you know of a band called the Soulsteppers out of Bakersfield?
MARK - Yeah.. they tried to front us with a musical battle. That stuff is so bad its not even worth a rebutle.
KYLE - They had a song apparently aimed at you called "The Doctor Is Out"
MARK - Haha its funny..
KYLE - What caused that battle? They even went as far as to put up a picture of some dude with a afro on their webpage and say it was you, I dunno if youre aware of that
MARK - Hahah, they are just trying to hard. Jealous prolly.
KYLE - So nothing happened with you pissing them off or anything like that?
MARK - I probably provoked it. I told him Buster said his music sucks....just out of the blue they started to talk shit to me.. I don't get it. But its a joke.
KYLE - Yeah
MARK - Any other rumors you want me to clear up?
KYLE - Yes actually
MARK - Hit me!
KYLE - Theres alot of talk going around, people talking about you have a huge ego and you are really hard to work with, etc. Anything you have to say about that?
MARK - I just played with K 10 and Full Spectrum wanted me to work with them as well. I mean.. look it... I think I am good at certain things.. is there anything wrong with that? There are people alot better than I as well.. its just bitter people who don't like the decisions I made.. those ex members don't know me anyways.. Boogie is cool, me and him are tight.. I project confidence. sometimes that is misinterpreted. you will get alot of different view points on who I am.... its cool. I am a man of mystery. I did a jam session with the most current lineup of Hepcat.
KYLE - How did that go?
MARK - I was invited to play with them cuz I sessioned with Lino. It was coo.
KYLE - Is this the Vanity 5 / Venisuions group?
MARK - (We) played some covers. I had to leave early. They thought I didn't like them or something.. sensitive. I don't know who it was. It was everyone 'cept Greg and the horns.
KYLE - Oh with Deston Berry even?
MARK - Deston and I. Aaron and Lino.
KYLE - Ohh excellent.
MARK - It was fun.. look it. Look at "Reggae Injection". How many songs are on there that I wrote? All of them.. I am apologizing for taking charge of situation.
KYLE - Any other side projects lined up for you?
MARK - Man I am always looking to do side projects.. I want musical freedom.. the group of guys now are so cool. The vibes are all good. No bitches.
KYLE - Any plans for a new album with the new lineup anytime soon?
MARK - Yes in October we will do the backing on Romy's second album.. I want to record a new instrumental album and maybe whomever else's album. We have so much dope music...
KYLE - Your bass player recently toured with pop star Dido didn't he?
MARK - Yes. Natalie something.. the supporting act.. he's a great bass player. We have become real tight.. good guy.. Ethan Phillips.. the singer was from Iceland..
KYLE - That must have been great, he must have been able to get the band's name out a little better through that.
MARK - Yup.. the music business is huge.. he was on a big old bus.. doing music for tons of people.. I am so into change, man. I don't want to become stagnant water.. you start growing algae and shit in your water if you don't move and put fresh water in. That's what I have learned. Through it all, dancing rhythms are universal. It's just sometimes someone can't hear, and it's usually cuz they are just too damn stubborn to change. Cuz change is a result of self doubt. Or maybe it's a humbling expierence. In an indirect way, you say to yourself and others "I was wrong". I don't know.. like we play songs that are heavy cuz they are slower and the bass is just fucking thick.. we couldn't have done that before. Everything was fucking skankity fast. Hey that's coo if you like that, but fuck man. Reggae is supposed to be low. Rumble through your brain. Knock your ass to the ground. Bass fiend mind tremors.
KYLE - That's true, that's especially noted with the progression of Jamaican music... like the very early 70s with the soul/skinhead reggae thing and then about 74-75 with the Aggrovators and Soul Syndicate and all these guys dropping real bass-heavy rhythms.
MARK - Yeah man, it can be heavy as uptempo riddim but it's got to be arranged that way and alot of what I wrote was supposd to play slow. It's a different type of heaviness, I guess.
KYLE - I wanna ask you about hip hop because earlier you talked about mixing hip hop into what you do.
MARK - Yeah. Cuz of where Romy comes from for sure. And also that Korey is into that as well. And I am into what hip hop does rhythmically. everyone is into just dope beats. hip hop would be that.. how it sometimes boun ces.
KYLE - I wanna know if mixing it in, are you gonna build like hip hop, digital ragga rhythms or do you wanna go straight into hip hop?
MARK - Well.. I think we will mix it in organically, and maybe we will do a straight up hip hop riddim as well. But you can hear the reggae vibe as well. "Mark's Mood" went through a change. It's more hip hop than reggae/rocksteady..
KYLE - Oh really? When you play it live now?
MARK - Yes mon.
KYLE - Do you guys still do those "Reggae Injection" songs live?
MARK - "Temple of the Dragon".. maybe "Mad Dog".. "Tell Dem Seh".. maybe "66 40", I like that one. Do it slower.
KYLE - Is hip hop a new direction you want to take the band in, or is this an idea to toy with for now?
MARK - Part of the new direction, that's for sure. If I thought we were doing something completely non-reggae, non-jamaican, I wouldn't have kept the name. But I feel as if this is my journey. I orchestrated people to leave and found replacements and pushed things along.. I am going to keep this a Rhythm Doctor thang.
KYLE - Well thats good to know, because so many bands completely change styles and members and what not yet keep the name, when it's not the same band.
MARK - Well some people think it's not the same band. But it's the band maturing.. dropping/breaking off the weak links.. shedding the dead skin. That kinda sounds bad...
KYLE - Haha, Just tell it, Mark.
MARK - But hey, what did you think of when you remember the RD's? You think of my stupid ass on the organ, sweating my ass off as I play these riddims I wrote. Take me out then you got to do something with the name.
KYLE - Yeah, true
MARK - And I think they had a problem with that. People came out to see me play. What you gonna do? Be mad and try to replace me? Drum and bassie whu u say? - "no way jose, no Mark we no play". Alright what's next?
KYLE - Haha well next, I want to ask you about your keyboard playing. Obviously you're different, but can you compare yourself with people like Brad Pate and Deston Berry. These kinds of guys? Where do you see yourself as a keyboard player?
MARK - Hmm.. Well I want to go to school and learn more first. But those are ska keyboard players. Maybe Deston is a little more rocksteady, but I think I am very much a Jamaican keyboard player. I can do ska and rocksteady and I think doing reggae, writing HARD hitting reggae riddims, sets me apart from them. What do you think, Kyle? That's a good question. I think I am going to go out onna limb- of the ska scene overall I feel I'd be one of the best. Put me into a reggae field.. I'm just okay I think. I need to open up more. I am more a rhythm player not a soloist so much now. I am happy about it.. But I want improvement.
KYLE - Yeah I've noticed that with the new songs. You don't seem to be out in front anymore. Especially the instrumental "Feels Good" where I was honestly expecting more organ or piano or something. But you sort of just kicked back and let the guitar and flute run things.
MARK - Yeah.. I guess I will pick my parts. I don't think someone with a huge ego would do what I have done, take a back seat. So whoever said that is full of shit and has a personal problem with me, and they don't want to think different.
KYLE - What about other bands? Have you seen other bands lately that you think are really good?
MARK - I've read intereviews about Go Jimmy Go and how great they are. Uh.. man I wish I could get out more and hear more music. I know there are acts that are just magnifcent and I am missing out.
KYLE - I want to ask you, there seems to be two totally different scenes but both are related, the ska scene and then the reggae scene. Why do you think both scenes are seperate these days?
MARK - First and foremost, the quality of musicians. Second, the listeners don't really mingle. You will find ska people into reggae. But reggae folk into ska? And the ska scene is a subculture... reggae is a gordon worldwide reggae and ska. Two different grooves.. too different.
KYLE - Yeah alright, real quick, anything you want to add, like closing statements or anything?
MARK - Tell people to peep the site and mp3 site!
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