Welcome back to Selector’s Choice, our spotlight on what your favorite DJs and selectors are holding in their record bags and hard drives right now. This week we’ve got a check-in from one of the giants of the business, the man whose picture belongs in the dictionary next to the world selector: Rory Gilligan, aka Rory Stonelove! Few, if any, sound men command more respect in the reggae and dancehall arena than Rory, the long-time anchor of Jamaica’s most celebrated sound system, Stone Love Movement.
These days, Rory spends less time playing at sessions and more time in the studio, while colleagues like Geefus and Billy Slaughter hold down Stone Love. He’s played a major role in the rise of Jah9, whose debut album, New Name, was produced by Rory for his Rorystonelove label. With upcoming projects currently in the works with Samory-I, C Sharp and Leontre (as well as a “top secret” upcoming track with Chronixx), you can bet that Rory will continue to distinguish himself in this field as well.
“I feel that reggae has to be smart now, in how we structure the music,” Rory says of his gameplan for music production. “With dancehall, the verses were too long, the choruses were kind of weak, and the now generation, their attention span is very short. We have to make the songs shorter like ska and rocksteady, and get straight to the point.”
Occasionally you’ll still find Rory playing, most often at special events, as we did on the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise in October, and when you do it’s a treat. A master of juggling and smooth but distinctive mic patter, nobody plays sound quite like Rory.
“I space myself to like four times a year,” Rory says. Playing sound is a different animal than it used to be, and these days he finds himself taking a different approach for playing different markets. “Anywhere you go now it’s gonna be different format, because reggae is all over the place. You have European reggae, you have Japanese reggae, if you go the UK, you have the UK styles, like Stylo G and Mr Williamz. Everywhere you go is a different format. The world is much smaller now.”
We asked Rory to speak a few words on some of his favorite tunes right now.
Jah 9 “Steamers”
An old friend of mine, an old Channel One producer produced it. His name is Bruk Up. I mean Ben Up. The original riddim was done at Channel One by the Roots Radics Band.
Keida “Stand For Something”
That’s from a California producer, [Royal Order Music]. It’s an old-school riddim. She did a style of deejaying that just fit the riddim.
Chronixx “Here Comes Trouble”/ Jesse Royal “Modern Day Judas”/Anything on the Rootsman Riddim
The Rootsman is a pretty short introduction to [what’s happening] in reggae right now.
Micah Shemiah “Reggae Rockit”
That’s a wicked song. It’s a roots dub-style rockers. I think you could play it anywhere.
Samory I “Take Me Home Jah”
It’s roots dancehall. Roots is now coming back in dancehall. Well. Roots always played in dancehall in the first place!