DDR: 1. Where does the name Ras Amerlock come from?
Ras Amerlock: Greetings one and all, Jah Jah love to the reader and the listener. I give thanks for the oportunity to reason. This is the first time that I have thourally explained the origin of my name in print; so I hope that I digress nor tarry not. Some time ago whilest travelling through so many cities and towns, throughout America, French Canada, Europe, the then Soviet Union and primarily France, I was a bit seasoned in languages and after sometime French became a sencond language for me. Having spent some time listening to the people and feeling the "flow of the river", one could say I had become quite the francophile and as well as a Franco-American. After sometime living in France, I was frequently taken for a citizen or perhaps an immigrant from the francophonic global community. This was in 1991; a highly political time with the First Gulf War having just taken place. I found myself amidst many conversations where people were pondering what the American mindset was. I remember a specific conversation at a market in Paris where a highly opinionated French man said a litany of anti American rhetoric which was his right but I asked him if he had ever been to the United States or how many Americans did he know to group 300 plus million people together. He said, "Why do you care", 'nous sommes tous Francaises ici.' (we are all French here) Mind you it was very kind of him to say we are all French as he was infering that he saw all people in France as one people, which was and is a strong belief and an act of kindness when things are so frequently polarised into xenophobia and other forms of anti foreign populist themes. So he meant me no disrespect but... I couldn't bear to forsake the good, the hopefull and the kindness that also exists in The United States; a work in progress. Right about that time in my life, through my readings and here and there I heard an archaic word "Amerloque." I believe I was called it a few times as well. It roughly translates to "Yank" or "Yankee". Some might find that derogatory but coming from New York City, I was not ashamed to take up what whould become my mantle more so honored. It was written in Revelation 2:17 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Ras Amerlock is my new name. I embrace the great experiment, the work in progress that is the United states of America. Decending from that being one of those who came to start a new beginning, fleeing from the past and seeking good. I also recognize and stand up for the Native of the land, who was here prior to colonization. I feel and see the time of bondage and the rebirth of Africans taken from their lands and becoming a part of the countries very essence after years of trials and tribulations. I ackowledge those that opposed slavery and tyrany, as well as those who fought for their homes and way of life, though I could never stand up for those who seek to keep others down. I embrace the developement of human kind that guides us away from the errors of the past and into the salvation of the greater understanding of the human race. I hold the truth self evident that out of many we are one; and that no part is greater than the whole. To the east, west, north and south, all the Jah people knowingly or unknowingly who aid and abbed the works of Jah: thats the foundation I stand upon. I acknowledge the faults of the past and present and seek to better I-self as well as my brothers and sisters worldwide, and interstellar. "Ras" the guidence of JAH and Amerlock the rastification on american with the consecration of the "Lock" of the natty crown of dreadlocks. Ras Amerlock I am; By way of Thee "I am that I am". A natty dreadlocks who puts Jah Rastafari first. As Haile Selassie said, "Unite where you are first then forward to Ethiopia Ras Amerlock is clear in regards to who I am, where I come from and where I mon strive to go.
DDR: 2. On April 20, 2017 you will release the new album "Thee Green Knight Legacy" Could you tell me what new things are going on there?
April 20th has long been a day of celebration for the legalization of the herb, and this year will be the 40th anniversary of the classic Peter Tosh album, "Legalize it". In celebration I released "Thee Green Knight Legacy" on this day as well. Though its mostly dubwise and instrumental, they are sounds from the journies of my life and times in the bush; captured sounds from the visions along the way. This particular collection was put together after my adventures in California, and the Yucatan Pennisula in Mexico. I have two tracks which I have put together with two bands "near and dear to my heart" Natty Nation Wisconsin based talent whom I have had the honor of producing a few songs with remixes, and the Urban Empress and the Urbanites where I remaster, remix, perform and co-write on the LP. I performed frequently with the Urbanites, prior to Urban Empress moving to Jamaica. This summer I will be performing with her and the Urbanites by all means keep yours eyes out I hope to bring them to a venue near you. These tracks are unique versions that appear only on this Dan Dada release. Its a big honor to share these with the listeners. I have a tribute to some of my Dub tribal family Volfoniq of The French Net Label "Libre Comme L'air", I love them and what they do. I have some Arturian Lore intertwined in the midst as well. I have a book as well as a short film that will elaborate furthur on that in the coming year. THEE GREEN KNIGHT LEGACY is an album meant to inspire, to chant along to, to hear the message deep within. On the subject of the title "Green" can mean so much to so many people;be it ecologically, botanically, strictly herbally, terrestrially, even "the wearing of the green"; I will leave those interpretations of my work for the listeners. In short I have been reffered to as Thee Green Knight. For I am far-I for thee and thine. That I may champion thy cause oh JAH.
DDR: 3. Do you think the Philosophy behind reggae is catching on in the U.S.?
Philosophically I think that the message of people rising up, believing in themselves and one another, helping thier sisters and brothers; giving Jah a chance is definately quenching the thirst of the masses more and more in this time. There are wars and rumours of wars all over, man to man and woman is beyond unjust, theres such a needin this time for the Roots Reggae message and all of its developements over the past 50 years. I see much Irie Vibration sounds in the music of today, (though its sometimes hard to find in the mainstream or on the radio). Dub speaks volumes to so many. It's growing every day Reggae melodies are far and wide now a days; then again I hear the reggae throughout time I often have said Mozart did quite a bit of dubbing given the technology of his day.
DDR: 4. What about music industry people?
Once upon a time the "Mainstream Music Industry had far more say in the way things are done, and who or what should be heard on a larger scale. To quote Lenny Kravitzin his documentary "Lenny", he lamented that it was a shame to see that in order to be succesful as a musician nowadays, they took the revolution out of it." In my opinion, you dont really hear about band "selling out" anymore... that's an echelon of "making it" nowadays. The thing is, in this time of self impowerment, many people interested in making a career for themselves can be the proverbial "Company", A& R person, "The Record Deal" that they would have had to seek ot 20 years ago just to get their music out there. The advent of the internet and social media is one way that "the revolution" one of peace and harmony," message music" can prevail." - David will always conquer Golieth." I also think that there are also many people tied to the main body of the Mainsteam Industry that have a more open mind set than some years ago, and are either willing or are trying to incorporate independent artists and labels. Eventually they will realize they need us as much if not more than we the people need them. We the independent people have to put the work in, and not get weary.
DDR: 5. Anything else you want to tell your public?
Keep the faith, thank you for the JAH love and interest thereof in a bit of my story (our story) and out look. May the dreams of today, be your memories of tomorrow. JAH bless, guide and protect us one and all. Have no fear of Babylon as none of them can control time. Do your part, look in you heart, remove or see you've removed the proverbial sword from the stone.