Studio Series: Bambaata Marley

this third-generation Marley tELLS US ABOUT HIS PROCESS AND HOW the 'STUDIO' IS ANYWHERE THAT HE CAN CREATE FREELY.

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As the grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley and son of five-time Grammy-winning reggae artist Ziggy Marley, Bambaata Marley's life began with music. He toured as a toddler with his musical family, performing in front of a live audience at the age of five with Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.

To celebrate Marley Natural’s new STUDIO collection, we caught up with Bambaata to hear his thoughts on what the studio means for an artist today, how cannabis informs his creative process, and how his favorite musicians inspire his sound as a singer, songwriter, and producer. 

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Tell us about your relationship to the studio.

The magic of the studio is that today, “the studio” is many different things for artists. A studio for me is more about wherever that space is that you can capture yourself the best way creatively. The setup of a studio varies, I personally just have a laptop and speakers. It doesn’t have to be the big room with the wooden floors and the AC going off. 

When you go to the studio you want to feel free, you want to feel as close to your home in a sense in order to create. Oftentimes when you're in a traditional studio setup it's very sterile. The walls are all plain, there’s no personality, it’s not yours and your essence isn’t there so it’s harder to create there naturally. I find myself going there to finish what I created at home, so I guess I would call that my real studio. 

I like to smell incense burn. Sometimes if I know I’m going to the studio, I’ll bring my flags, anything that feels familiar so that I can draw upon those energies that make me create. 

Sometimes I'll go to the studio and I'm fully creative an hour before when I'm at home but then I come to this place and the vibe isn't there. 

For me, the studio is essentially a place you create. It's a personalized place where you can capture yourself, then you take it to the big house to get it finalized and mastered for the whole world to hear.

How much time do you spend in your studio on average?

When I go in with a plan, we will block out 12 hours depending on how many songs we need to record. In my home studio, when I am creating, I go straight off of the vibe. Depending on the energy, there is no telling how long I will be in the room.

How do you generally get started?

Roll up a spliff and give thanks to the Most High, take a deep breath, and then begin the process.

What role does cannabis play in your creative process?

It's a major key. Before I smoke, I gauge my surroundings. I don't like wasting the herb because I know how much power it has and what it does for me. I'm wary of the high turning into a low. 

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What do you know about your grandfather’s writing or recording process?

He was always writing, always recording, always creating. They'd rehearse sometimes for weeks before laying anything down. 

Who are some artists that have influenced your music? 

I listen to everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Flea, Carlos Santana, Nirvana, and the Beatles. I'm really inspired by Amanaz, the Sex Pistols and of course the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Super Cat. I love Lauryn Hill...the list could go on.  

Who do you hope to be in the studio with next?

Dr. Dre or Pharrell

We asked you to share a song with our readers — you chose “Out To Play.” When did you write that song and what is it about?

I can't remember exactly when I wrote it but it's definitely been over a year ago now. The song is about always living life to the fullest no matter what obstacles you face, to always maintain your drive and never lose focus of your goals or dreams.

I wrote this song in my living room. It was very simple at first, just the bass line. After I demoed it, I took it to the big studio a month later to cut my vocals and add guitars and drums.

I never rush the creative process. Some songs happen in one moment and others take multiple moments.

Listen to 'Out To Play'  by Bambaata Marley below and follow him on Instagram and Twitter