19th January 2021
Essentially Pop and Yard Music feature the band
Steve Holley of Essentially Pop magazine interviewed Polite Savage in an article on the recent achievements and future of Layabout Black. Also today Yard Music uploaded a local rock playlist featuring two Layabout Black, Punk Reggae and Party Man.
So Greg, if someone had never listened to Layabout how would you describe the music?
"Avant-garde, passionate, contrasting music featuring transitions from rough and direct to haunting and poignant."
So “to be a better man, I’m gonna cut my hair and change my name” from ‘stuck in a rusty cage’. Is that autobiographical? How did a guy from South London end up in Port Royal, Jamaica?
"‘Rusty Cage’ is about both selfishness and improving yourself for selfless reasons. Despite not actually getting a haircut that morning for the video, those chorus lines are about me."
"I was born in Jamaica, of dual nationality. I was a national footballer for Jamaica u-17 and later an academy player for Sutton United before becoming a Red Stripe Premier League goalkeeper at a club near to Port Royal."
Your singles to date have really been very different. Is that a conscious effort to not put yourself in any particular genre?
"Yes, and also for experimentation, which then lead to a collaboration with Black Pharaoh, whom I met whilst training at a modelling agency. Together, along with drumming/engineering alchemist Jeremy Ashbourne and a recording studio appearance from the ‘man of no rank’ and lead guitarist Omar Francis, we crafted Punk-Reggae music, our new and original genre."
How has the pandemic affected life in Jamaica and music plans for last year?
Jamaica has withstood the virus thus far, possibly due to the ongoing nightly curfews which have left live music at a standstill. It prohibited Layabout gigs, but on a positive note allowed me time to think, record songs with music videos and gather additional members for the band.
Do you have plans to tour your music or are you waiting to see when normal life returns to the work of music?
"The internet is our international tour for the time being. A social media executive predicted that video will soon be the core of the internet and we have recorded music videos for each song to entertain, relate stories and stay ahead of the game."
There is a very cool hip flask in your video for ‘Punk Reggae’. Is there a story behind the hip flask or is it simply cool merchandise? After all it’s always spiced rum in my hip flask haha!
"Chopping open coconuts by the seaside, requires rum, and the flask fits into my denim jacket’s inner pocket nicely. It was a gift from my mother, with Layabout written in bold, and lower down Gregor Price aka Polite Savage, a name given to me by friends in Sint Maarten which I may use as a stage name from here on."
What would you say are your musical influences?
"This might be wordy but, atmospheric, passionate music, such as the mellotron and drums defining ‘In the Wake of Poseidon’ by King Crimson or the looped bassline and haunting keyboard in Pink Floyd’s ‘Careful with that Axe Eugene’. These are mournful and penetrating sounds which are simple but effective in nature and influence my rhythmic and melodic angles."
"Pete Sinfield, the King Crimson lyricist, inspires song writing about worlds in other dimensions somehow bearing uncanny resemblances to our own. Looking at life from the other side of the spectrum in our 3D reality, Martin Gore’s lyrics for Depeche Mode hit much closer to home as a human being who has desires and urges in life and strives to get them, even if they may be deemed socially unacceptable to some, where as punk groups like the Pistols and Siouxsie never took themselves too seriously. This is my latest realization and is my reasoning for a shift in musical style."
"Toni Iommi’s lead guitar work, Cliff Burton’s denim jacket, stage presence and lead guitar-esque bass style as well as Simon Gallup’s punchy and minimalistic bass guitar. Sade Adu’s class and sophistication makes her beautiful in layers. Peter Gabriel era Genesis in the song ‘Get em out by Friday’ contrasts upbeat and fast art rock with contrasting poignant transitions.
Lastly, Linkin Park proved that genres don’t need to be separate and all music can and perhaps now, should be infused if you enjoy them, just like Punk-Reggae."
If our readers want to interact with your music, what’s the best way to get involved?
"On our official What’s App +1 (876) 540-8312 or at Layaboutblack.com our website which includes free streaming of music videos and their audio versions on the homepage, updates, the timeline of the band being written in the present and more."
How have you managed to stay in touch with fans, family etc during the various travel lockdowns?
"I’m currently stuck in UK lockdown with family and have stayed in touch with supporters over social media. Outdoors in England is a no go, but when the border reopens and I return to Jamaica, living a near normal life is still possible."
What does the future hold for Layabout?
"In the future we plan a collaborative name change to Layabout Black, live Punk-Reggae music featuring Robyn and Black Pharaoh on vocals, Polite Savage on bass and a lead guitarist/keyboardist. A new single, ‘Oona’, is currently being mixed and mastered by Jeremy Ashbourne. It’s style will be similar to ‘Stuck in a Rusty Cage’, but featuring my guitar variations. We are experimenting and expect to have a great time along the way."
3 November 2020
Layabout features in article on Jamaican Medium
What has your journey been like as a singer and musician so far?
“A steep learning process in creativity, production and marketing skills. The environment is homely, competitive and there are no rules. Music videos are perfect for ongoing short stories, because it never needs to cease.”
What is the feedback from listeners when you perform live, or share your music releases?
“Hard to judge, but it usually appears positive. I appreciate it all and put myself in the listener’s shoes to delve into what sparked them to share their opinion.”
Port Royal features as the setting most commonly used for your music videos. Can you explain your bond with this location?
“Our history and culture is far richer than meets the eye. The old city of Port Royal, which was a haven for trade, anarchism and deadly natural events on a world scale just optimizes it. It sits right below our feet under the sea with many tales of pirates and their treasures for us. These versions of the past are ours to carry forever. Such an appreciation for Jamaica and our past, with a view to a prideful future is surely a recipe for finally feeling whole, out of many, one people.”
Do you think Jamaicans are open to rock music as a preferred option?
“To be frank, no, and that is okay because I am proud of local music. Reggae and Dancehall are the deserved King and Queen. A freshly fallen apple from your own garden should taste sweeter than one which has sailed across the ocean for days on end. On the contrary, Layabout’s apple is organic Jamaican rock and this is why I have teamed up with my friend Black Pharaoh in our upcoming song called Punk Reggae, with a music video included, to kick off a style which satisfies my passion for Rock music and want for Jamaica’s signature in it.”
Where do you see your career in the next five years?
“I envision Layabout, the name of my blue guitar which I have played circa 2007 still at the forefront of my creations. The symbols of the Moon above water, outer space travel on a pirate ship and nature’s capability to encapsulate beauty and wrath, like a Polite Savage, depicting Layabout’s music. Moreover, that my prayers for guidance onto the right paths have been answered through my music – happiness would be a bonus, but it surely must follow because I have grin on just thinking about life in this way.”