STR8WYZ is a reggae group based in Kingston Jamaica, founded by British singer-songwriter and producer Str8 Up and Jamaican DJ (emcee) Wiser Dhon. Str8 Up is currently in LA to record new material and promote STR8WYZ’s upcoming single “Liberty” which drops on September 23rd. Stay tuned!
“Quiet Place” is an inspiring reggae track from STR8WYZ. The melody makes certain to leave its mark as soon as possible, not in an intrusive or overbearing fashion, but more-so in a subtle classic sort of way. There’s comfort in the familiarity, but you can’t pinpoint it as being reminiscent of anything in particular. Those good vibes shine brightly and this comes through in everything from the loyalty and gratitude of the lyrics to the gentle, humble groove of the music. Fusing the classic unity of a reggae vibe with superb songwriting is something STR8WYZ succeeds at. In this case, “Quiet Place” presents a sense of consciousness and a simultaneous ray of light that listeners can feel drawn to and reassured by when times get tough. There’s something refreshingly bright about this style of songwriting and musical presentation! “Quiet Place” absolutely earns its spot on our playlists and I recommend you do the same!
Listen to “Quiet Place” by STR8WYZ here! Keep scrolling for our exclusive interview.
Welcome to BuzzMusic STR8WYZ! How did you meet, and what prompted you to start making music together?
I met the other half of STR8WYZ, Wiser Dhon, in Port Antonio, Jamaica in December 2017. We immediately clicked and realized we had the same musical tastes, namely a massive reverence for the generals of reggae - Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Sly & Robbie, Jacob Miller, Lee Scratch Perry and of course Bob Marley & The Wailers. So without further ado we started recording at a small local studio, run by an engineer called Ragga, our own version of Girl Named Pat by Jacob Miller and Augustus Pablo from 1975. As the sessions progressed and it dawned on us we had a really unique sound we realized we had to get serious - we booked our first sessions as STR8WYZ (our two names Str8 Up and Wiser Dhon put together) at legendary Tuff Gong in Kingston in January 2018. There we teamed up with triple Grammy-winning producer Roland McDermot (Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock, Half Way Tree + Stephen Marley - Revelation Part 1) to record Girl Named Pat and Up & Going, our first two singles.
What does your single “Quiet Place” mean to you?
It means a whole heap. It was originally recorded around 1970 by John Holt and the Paragons. Horace Andy then did a version around 1974 that is absolutely legendary. He then recorded another slower version with Massive Attack for their 1998 Album Mezzanine called Man Next Door that is an absolute classic! So we had giant shoes to fill with this track. Actually our version is just that - a version: Wiser Dhon adds his own original melody and lyrics with an additional verse and chorus in the middle of the track. We don’t wanna brag but we think we filled those shoes alright!
Tell us more about your upcoming release “Liberty”!
The origins of Liberty are that I wanted to record a brand new track with Sly & Robbie on drums and bass. We had already recorded with them on the tracks Natty Ras, Whole Heep and Whole Bleep and I was just craving more of their fat and tight and totally MASSIVE sound. So I wrote the riddim track from scratch while staying with my family in Italy. Sly & Robbie recorded the drums and bass at their studio in Miami and at Anchor in Kingston and then keyboardist Handel Tucker and guitarist Wayne Armond laid down their tracks at Mixing Lab, Kingston. I still had no idea what kind of vocals to do over it - plus the riddim track was now so killer on its own that I was toying with the idea of just releasing it as an instrumental. But I knew it was too big a tune to not go for vocals. So I turned to my producer pal Henry Sarmiento of Sonic Vista Studios in Ibiza who booked me in for a week of recording and general inspiration - Ibiza is stunningly beautiful and there’s something in the air or water there that just inspires you!! On our first day of recording there in August I wrote out the full lyrics just sitting in the shady cabaña by the pool with a stunning view of the Mediterranean. There was the inspiration I needed! I already had the lead vocal melody rattling around in my head. That day we laid down all the lead and backing vocals then spent the rest of the week mixing and mastering. Henry Sarmiento is a magician in the studio and we couldn’t have done this track without him. We’re all super excited!!
Who or what would you say has inspired you the most to make original music?
Probably my biggest two influences for songwriting are The Beatles and Bob Marley. There are others obviously but their music has inspired me the most to write my own material. I also have to give a shout out to Kurt Cobain / Nirvana for a certain attitude and melodic-harmonic orientation that infused me and my songwriting from the 90s onwards.
Will you be touring with the new song? What can audiences expect from a live show?
Yes, we don’t have exact dates yet but a STR8WYZ tour is being prepared for spring and summer 2020. We’ll have the full crew over from Jamaica - Wiser Dhon, Masta Blasta, myself Str8 Up and if possible Sly & Robbie. Watch this space.