Reggae is a genre that has deep roots in the world of cannabis. Ever since the genre’s inception, it has been all about honoring religious roots and smoking the good leafy green. Even though Soulcraft hail from the U.S. and have a more modern approach to the music and cannabis, the ethos and deep appreciation are still the same. We caught up with Soulcraft to talk about its current musical projects, a collaboration with reggae artist Ras Mc Bean and the appreciation for cannabis.
Why do you feel reggae is an important form of music to play, and what inspired you to play it?
Ras Mc Bean: I play reggae because it takes a message of peace and love.
Soulcraft: In the beginning, it was the uniqueness of reggae music itself that intrigued us, the drum patterns, “off beat” bass lines, specific guitars, horns . . . There’s a lot of empty space in between the music and vocals, and yet songs are so full and groovy. We wanted to try to play and write songs like that. Then, later on, we went deeper, exploring the genre and culture, and learned about how important the message and the lyrics are. While playing reggae music one can learn how silence can be big and loud, you know, the literal meaning of the expression “less is more.” On the other side, you learn to pick right words while you write lyrics and sing. You’re given the opportunity to say something in front of a large audience, so make sure you say something nice and smart. Spread love or spread wisdom and make it universal.
What is special about this new record? What do you like most about it?
Ras Mc Bean: What is special about this album is that it’s done with people from different cultures and the same message of love and peace is universal. Because our vision of one love is the same. So we need to spread the message.
Soulcraft: We made an album with one of the greatest vocalists (not just reggae, you can hear that in the songs from Reggae On A Mission) of today. We had all the artistic freedom considering writing and arranging songs. We made some really “bold moves” in some songs, some unusual arrangements for reggae music, but Ras Mc Bean followed us perfectly with his vocal delivery and it turned out really great. It was so natural; it felt like we’ve been playing together for years. It’s the magic of music!
“When used responsibly, cannabis can be helpful in the creative process and can enhance alpha waves and meditation.”
How did you all get together to play music?
Soulcraft: Ras Mc Bean played in Belgrade two times in the past 10 years. Both times he was booked by our good friend, also a reggae musician (FC Apatride UTD), DJ and a concert promoter called Gaggie. Ras & Gaggie stayed in touch all these years, and after those shows, they became friends. When Gaggie heard that we’re looking for a singer, he proposed to us to contact Ras and he introduced us to him. It started with an email, and after couple of months, we recorded the album Reggae On A Mission.
Do you have anything exciting in the works when it comes to writing, recording, etc.?
Soulcraft: The digital and CD versions of the Ras Mc Bean and Soulcraft album, Reggae On A Mission, is out now, with a vinyl release coming out somewhere in September or October. Currently, we’re in studio, doing rehearsals, getting ready for Ras Mc Bean and Soulcraft live shows hopefully later this year.
Have you ever worked cannabis into your music as a theme? If so, how?
Ras Mc Bean: I made mention the value and function of herbs for the healing of all nations.
Soulcraft: We have a song on the album called “Boots Tracks” where Ras Mc Bean is singing about constant oppression by police and other authorities on people supporting marijuana use, no matter the cause. For some people it’s meditation; for some people it’s fun; for some people it’s the only cure. In history, there were never crimes committed by people under the influence of marijuana. Maybe stolen candy bars . . . Still, in most of the states, drunk drivers hurting and killing people in traffic get better treatment than casual and recreational marijuana users.
How has cannabis impacted your lives and/or creative processes?
Ras Mc Bean: I have personally seen people using cannabis for sickness and getting results.
Soulcraft: When used responsibly, cannabis can be helpful in the creative process and can enhance alpha waves and meditation.
How do you feel about legalization so far? What could be done better or differently?
Ras Mc Bean: It’s been quite some time, and the world is speaking out and asking for the legalization for the purpose of healing and religious uses… to let it be. Sensimilla is good for spiritual healing and red beard for appetite, in my opinion.
Soulcraft: Decriminalization is the main thing that needs to be done, because the medical properties of this plant are amazing, and the toxicity of it is minimal.
What is your favorite strain or cannabis product?
Soulcraft: Blue Dream or sativa-dominant strains.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ras Mc Bean: Reggae music should be in school curriculum.
Soulcraft: Peace, love, respect, equality and justice for all!
Band Name: Soulcraft
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Most Recent: Reggae on a Mission