Interview: Daniel Bambaata Marley

Interview: Daniel Bambaata Marley

Daniel Bambaata Marley is the eldest of 6 kids and his Dad is Ziggy Marley. Yes, he’s a Marley. The name certainly precedes him, and how could it not being the grandson of legendary reggae icon Bob Marley? Yet, there is so much more to this 3rd generation Marley than his last name. He is just on the brink of creating his own sound, image, and name, and we wanted to be there to explore the direction he plans on taking the fans.

With several huge festivals, a mix tape, a full-length album, and a brand name in the works, he’s working his way up to stardom. Sharing everything from personal family information to the hilarious stories behind his Facebook posts, Daniel Bambaata Marley’s relaxed and upbeat personality radiated throughout the conversation.

Not only did Daniel exude a welcoming vibe, but also Kertia Marley was crucial when a downed cellphone tower almost stood in the way of the interview! She saved the day by running up the closest hill for service—what a family! No cellphone tower was going to stop us from getting the goods to the fans—jump into the latest interview, and The Pier’s first ever Exclusive Interview with Daniel Bambaata Marley!

The Pier: So I was checking out your Facebook ahead of this interview and I was dying when I saw you posted a note that your neighbors left you about you disturbing a peaceful neighborhood with your loud music. Kinda ironic I thought considering your music’s peaceful messages. I have to ask, what can you tell us about this note, and have you responded?

Bambaata: The note was written anonymously, I don’t know who wrote it! But no, I haven’t responded. I still play music and it’s just whatever—I don’t pay no mind to it. The neighborhood is actually not that peaceful, there’s always stuff going on here. I thought it was funny that it came here, because it’s usually all good and people are friendly.

The Pier: Although the neighbors don’t seem to know it, you are a Marley. Marley is a huge name, and a name can say a lot about a person. But you’re not just a Marley, you’re Daniel Bambaata Marley. What does this name mean & represent?

Bambaata: That’s my middle name so it’s always been a part of me. Bambaata represents strength and it’s the name I was born with. It’s a strong name, it has a lot to do with my music, and the music is part of your life. It is a huge part of my identity. Everybody used to call me “Bam” in school, so it’s always been there since then.

The Pier: So you have a new solo full-length album in the works if I’m not mistaken. How is that project shaping up and what direction, musically, are you taking the fans?

Bambaata: Its shaping up really good because right now I have all the tracks ready and I just have to go back to the studio and do some overdubbing, you know, just record over some parts. It’s kinda a different feel, lots of different vibes, some reggaetone, some hip-hop mixed with reggae and funk, and a different feel. But it’s a nice journey, its fun, just trying to come up with the proper ten tracks, and choosing the right ones.

The Pier: Are there any guest appearances that you’re hoping to have on the album?

Bambaata: I don’t have any as of yet, it’s just open. There will be probably a couple of appearances from people that I work on music with like my good friend Jessie and probably my cousins but I don’t really have any ideas of anyone else before.

The Pier: Any family appearances on the album? Maybe another collaboration with Joe Mersa?
Bambaata: Well he and I might do a mix song for my project, but I have a lot of cousins that work on stuff. They’re usually always involved because it’s a group of us, so we’re a team and just work on music all at the same time when we’re all feeling it. So I’ll send a song for my cousins just for them to have a good time and let me know how the song works.

The Pier: Not only have you worked with your cousin before but you had the opportunity to work together with your father Ziggy on one of his songs, “Changes”, off of the Wild and Free album. I’m sure this must have been special for both of you collaborating in the studio and then live on stage. What about switching it up and having him do a feature on one of your songs instead?

Bambaata: Yeah it would be a switch up. At this time I’m probably willing to ask anything, but the decision isn’t mine when it comes to that, it’s all up to him. For the first album I probably wouldn’t take it there, it will come in the future hopefully. I’m trying to just create something fresh and not really crowded with features since I’m just trying to express the music. There might be people on the songs but it might be people that I just know closely and they just do a thing or two. I have a unit of musicians so you might hear someone on a harmony, but it’ll just be a friend that I know and we’re all singing together—it’s not always an artist that you’re gonna know. The tracks are there, but that’s not the first thing I’m trying to release, I’m trying to get out a mix tape, and it’ll be a nice easier way to get some music out. I have only 3 songs left until it’ll be completed and after that I’ll go in and add a little more flavor to it, but the tracks are there and I’ve been working on them for the past 2 or three weeks. Hopefully it’ll be out in August.

The Pier: I hope so too! Sounds like you have some great plans for this upcoming album. It would be a lot to have to take on this whole project on your own, but thankfully you have a whole family of support.

Bambaata: I mean as a family we all grow together at the same time just like any family. As a family we work on music and my uncles live five minutes away from each other, so it’s a close family. They could scold me when I was younger, I got in trouble with them, but it was normal. It wasn’t some big thing “ Oh you’re working with your uncle”; they’re just always there for support.

The Pier: I’m sure there’s never a dull moment with such a huge family presence. However, I’m curious if there is ever any pressure that being the next generation Marley brings?

Bambaata: No there’s no pressure and the roots are the roots and it’s the music. Right now my music is just music, its not really “Marley” music, its not something that I go around saying, I just work on my music without it being a Marley thing.

The Pier: You and your grandfather have totally different sounds, which keeps the music fresh. Your song “Treat You Right” is a really mellow love song about giving women the respect they deserve. Was this song made for a special someone in particular?

Bambaata: No, I just wrote it for everyone, all the women out there and then the guys can play it for the ladies. I mean the song — it had a nice feel. I like how it came out and the emotion behind the song. It’s more about every woman in your life, not necessarily a man in a relationship with a woman, it’s also about the woman with her daughter, mother, her sister and so on. It’s about a relationship of treating her right. Aunts, sisters, cousins, I have a lot of women in my life, mom, grandmothers, but I didn’t write it with a focus towards them, I wrote it for everyone to give them a right feeling with those words.

The Pier: You’ve become somewhat of a master of your own art and have several big things coming up for your music career including several festivals. What can fans expect from your performances?

Bambaata: Yeah I’ll be playing mostly new stuff, I have two or three songs that are out there already and I’m playing those and most everything is original material. For the show I might just throw out some more music that people might know. I don’t have any cover songs on my mind to do yet but it all depends on the feeling. I could wake up that morning and feel like playing a couple.

The Pier: And who will be joining you on stage?

Bambaata: Just me and the band on stage. We have a bass, guitar, drum, keyboards, and vocal – the basic 5-piece. In the future I’m looking towards adding more to the music in the percussion section, like adding some violin and different elements, but that will come in time. In the studio, it’ll be a solo mission. I work on a lot of different stuff. I work on tracks that I make and live stuff. I don’t bring a lot of people into the studio when I work on the tracks. If it’s a band song we’ll be there at the same time and start jamming and find something that we like and can vibe to, but my tracks I’ll put up there and write to it and if it comes together, it comes together. It’s a bunch of different vibes because with the live stuff we have all the homies working on it all the time and then we have stuff that’s electronic and made on the computer with many different instruments. The album stuff and the live stuff is definitely not the same.

Daniel Bambaata Marley Links:
Daniel Marley Facebook
Daniel Marley Soundcloud

Interview By: Erin Walsh

Listen: Daniel Bambaata Marley – “Treat You Right”

Listen: Ziggy Marley & Daniel Bambaata Marley – “Changes”