BY MARK CLANCY
Hi, pleasure to be here.
Firstly, tell us what ‘Grandpa Dub’ is all about.
Grandpa Dub basically came about because of lockdown and the Covid restrictions; not being able to play or rehearse any more with local musicians I found myself at home, bored. Being the type of person I am, who always has to have something on the go, I bought myself a 24-track Zoom recorder – basically a portable musical studio.
As I’ve always played different instruments in the past, it was quite an easy task to start to record my own tracks – and now it was going to be just mine, whereas I had always used influences from other musicians when I had my other bands to bring their feel into the music. Now it was just going to be me, it was just Simon, so it evolved into this solo project initially.
You mention other bands you’ve worked with in the past, tell us a little about them.
I’ve been involved in a lot of bands over the last 30 years in Gibraltar, ranging from punk thrash through to eventually forming my own reggae band, Odyssey, in the year 2000. I’ve always been very much into my reggae, so it seemed a natural progression. There’s always been a reggae influence in all the bands I’ve played in.
The last one was with Peter Montegriffo, Zammit, and Tony “Teapot” Wright. We created a band called Coup d’État, which had actually been birthed a few years before by myself and Chris. We released a couple of tracks in aid of the Environmental Safety Group (ESG) Clean Up the World campaign – it helped us out in producing videos for those tracks.
Later it evolved into a proper band and we went out and performed several times in Spain and locally as well. We also performed at the Gibraltar Music Festival. Our music was quite ‘out there’; a reggae, rock, blues fusion, which is what I liked. It kept it really original.
It’s a very original track with a sort of early 80s feel and sound.
What are you up to these days? What are the recent tracks that you’ve been working on/releasing?
Grandpa Dub, which is what I named myself after becoming a grandpa, is releasing several tracks. I’ve got a couple out on SoundCloud: one is called ‘Free Me’, a song about the economic situation that a lot of people find themselves in, being at the end of the burden of economic slavery. It’s a very original track with a sort of early 80s feel and sound, almost Bob Marley-esque – from that era. It certainly feels that way to me. And then we’ve got another track, ‘Walk with Me’ which is more of a sentimental, happy song; a song of hope. Then I have the pleasure of working with Mark Clancy, who has been helping out in creating a music video to go along with that track. He’s also been helping with the editing of my tracks and getting it out there online. He has been an amazing help in that respect.
This leads me on to my other track, a collaboration with Mark, who sings whole sections of the song, doing a rap version within a fusion of mine which is kind of jazzy reggae hip-hop. It’s a really different feel – a very happy song that’s been received really well locally. People seem to really love it!
What’s on your playlist? What sort of music do you listen to?
I don’t listen to too much music as I’m always writing and trying to keep everything original. But the music I always listen to and have always really been in love with is stuff from the Twinkle Brothers, Jah Shaka, Clinton Fearon, Dennis Brown, and some more of the classics. A little bit of Bob Marley as well, but not as much as a lot of people who listen to reggae. I’ve always listened to a more ‘underground’ reggae.
Where can our readers find you?
I’ve got a Facebook page called Grandpa Dub, you can always look me up as Simon Cooper as well. I’m also on YouTube, SoundCloud and Instagram. I have some more songs coming out on SoundCloud very soon – I’ve got 60 tracks recorded, 40 of which are originals, so there’s going to be a lot of music coming out over the next few months.