Reggae musicians speak on the genre’s far-reaching influence

Although you can trace reggae music’s roots back to Jamaica, its reach extends far beyond the small island, making an impact across the globe.

This past summer, the Diaspora sample label assembled and recorded a band consisting of veteran reggae musicians Matthew Smythe (keys, trombone), Keith “Kikah” Jackson (drums, percussion), Nick Braham (electric bass, saxophone), and John Smythe (guitar, mixing, mastering) at Mission Studios. In the video above, the members sat down with us to share their perspectives on the far-reaching influence of reggae music as they recorded some sounds.

“Ah, reggae music—it’s a ‘one love’ music,” Keith “Kikah” Jackson says. “It’s supposed to spread love and give joy. At the same time, there’s a time for everything, right? A time for war, a time to cry, as well as a time to have joy and have fun. In its time, it does its work. It’s celebration music—it brings people together, too.”

“Reggae music is important to me because it’s very timeless,” Matthew Smythe responds. “The music is timeless, the style is timeless, and the people are timeless. It resonates with a lot of people throughout the world.”

For more on making your own reggae music, see our guide where we break down five key characteristics from a production standpoint. If you’re looking for some sounds to use, the resulting loops from the session at Mission Studios are a great place to start.

What was your favorite insight from the band? What other genres would you like to see us explore next? Let us know in the comments section of the video, and subscribe to the Splice YouTube channel for more artist-led tips, tutorials, and stories.

Incorporate the timeless sounds of reggae into your own music via the Liberation sample pack:

October 7, 2023

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.