We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul KasticK and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Paul, what makes you happy? Why?
Going to the beach in my hometown of Montego Bay on Sundays and or Saturdays is one of the ultimate feeling of total freedom ever, eating Jamaican beef & or Cheese Patties its also a highlight for me which I have enjoyed from my childhood days. It’s one of the first things I do when I get out of Customs at the airport in Montego Bay, which lets me know I’m indeed home. There is nothing like being home with that sense of familiarity which is to me just priceless. It’s very much the little things nowadays I’ve come to respect, appreciate & yearn for and feeling happy about. Being respectful to people overall and having that courtesy and respect shown back is also something I greatly admire more & more each day. The Beach has always been an obsession of mine since my childhood days & throughout high school so it totally remains that way. Making music from the ground up; composing, arranging & playing/performing and finishing out a production of a song is totally one of the most gratifying experiences also for me. Spending time with kids is at the top of the list. Having one-on-one interactions; sports, beach, theme parks, etc., with my sons and daughters is the greatest and most gratifying feeling ever. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Let’s just say that after joining the 809 band in July 1989 I went on to be working with various international artists at the time; there were Maxi Priest, Freddie MacGregor, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Buju Banton, Shabba Ranks, Shinehead, Diana King, Shaggy, Big Mountain, Tessanne Chin, Kimani Marley, Andru Donalds and Enigma. That being said, just the opportunity to be playing with great artists that I’ve idolized since I was a child was just a ground breaking experience, being able to tour the world and playing for artists who before I’d only seen their faces on album covers growing up. When I began playing in the hotels in Montego Bay and working with the various personalities was just a whole new ball game. From high school let’s say around 1983, I got into a lot of rock music, heavy metal Hard Rock and it changed my drumming style. I think the style that I bring to the table is more of a hybrid between traditional reggae and Hard Rock so to speak. So when I’m playing I use a lot of phrases that are not only typical authentic reggae phrases but I mix it up with what I’ve learned from the rock side of things and likewise I put the reggae side of things in the rock when I’m doing productions. I believe that’s what I’ve been known to bring back to the table when I’m creating, composing or producing with any artist because that is what they’ve come to expect from me. When in a producing scenario we become very creative in bringing out lot in the productions themselves. The fact that I do play a live instrument, the drums, as well as program drums, I can take from both styles and genres and increase the level of creativity. It was definitely not an easy task to leave Montego Bay in 1989 and join the top band in the country at the time, there was a lot of pressure and there were a lot of naysayers who thought why would the 809 band want to take some unknown kid from Montego Bay who they felt wasn’t probably right. I didn’t look like one of them but the experience with the band members was welcoming. Word on the streets was very negative for the first few years as there were a lot of other musicians who thought that they deserve that gig. There was a lot of pressure because I wasn’t a Rasta, I didn’t smoke weed and I didn’t fit into the mold of what people perceived a reggae musician to be. The funny thing is that whenever we were on tour people used to always come up to us and say you guys are not from Jamaica because we were playing too good and so not an authentic Jamaican band. I used to enjoy rolling it out there that, yeah we are from Jamaica; all born, bred and live in Jamaica. Additionally, even wearing earrings was an issue coming into Kingston but overtime persons accepted it as they realize that I’m a rocker at heart and my jewellery is a reflection of my personality. Overcoming these challenges was I would say very simple. I was the understudy to the greats, whether I was being taught by them or not. My band had a rehearsal space that all the top guys came and rehearsed at, so even when I wasn’t playing I was always watching those who were there rehearsing. The top drummers and keyboard players in the country where coming through our rehearsal spot and I was always watching their style and technique. I was going to the top studios in the country with Dean Fraser who was my bandleader; watching guys produce the various songs, meeting guys from Aswad Steel Pulse, all my idols. That was the circle I was always in and I just kept embracing it, absorbing all the information, all the education from watching guys in the studios. I did that I did that straight up until I started to produce myself, that’s how I overcame that challenge. By doing what you do exceptionally well, just doing and bringing it hard at all times then let the playing speak for itself. In 1992, using my entire salary from one tour, I bought my first Akai MPC drum machine which was the gold standard for drum programming back in the day. I spent everything and bought it because I was hell bent on getting into production and nothing was going stop me. I’ve definitely learned along the way that I should have taken piano classes more seriously in high school. I only regret that I didn’t really take piano lessons and I realized that if I had taken that part of my musical training seriously I would be on a whole other level totally. However, we now have Mac Book Pro and software helps in those areas but that’s an area for which I’ve felt a void. Most of the production that I do I have had to outsource the keyboard work to other guys albeit good friends anyway and have forged those relationships over the years very well. I learnt along the way just to be authentic and to have gotten into programming early was definitley a benefit for me because there was a time where for the majority of the music that was coming out of Jamaica was with programmed drums. There were hardly any live drums being recorded so there was a time when I was not going in the studio. In life they say everything goes around and comes around, now we’re back to a lot of live music being played and live drums being recorded. I have no issue with that because I am indeed a drummer with feet in both areas; I can program like crazy and I can play. I picked that up early before I even moved to Kingston, I always wanted to learn to program drum machines and when I got my first drum machine in 1990 and I started just buying all the latest drum machines thereafter. When it came to learning, we didn’t have YouTube tutorials in those days so it was harder and I was learning and playing between 1990 to 1992. I’ve learnt to be on top of technology and on the cutting edge of what’s going on. I pretty much try to be as authentic as I can with what I’m doing but still bridge the gap with just being a hybrid of my influences; rock music, pop, heavy metal Fusion, R&B, hip hop and soca music from Trinidad. I pretty much know a lot of styles which has helped me when I’m producing, writing and working with different caliber artistes and different genre of music. Honorable, a good brother of mine and a major artist based in Florida, more than anyone else in 2018 encouraged me to start working on my own personal production. I was always bent on servicing other artists, if I had a new song whatever I did I always wanted to give it to some other artists. He got very upset as he felt that I’ve been around long enough and he felt that I should just stop giving all the good stuff that I have to other artists. He stated that I should just start putting the name and brand Groove Gallore out front featuring myself and I could do count collaborations with the other artists. I never really saw that and he opened my eyes to the possibilities, so I started working on a whole slew of projects, now it’s Groove Galore up front featuring different artists and my brand. I’m still working with other artists but you know Honorable was just instrumental in pushing me over the edge to the point where I released my first single featuring Tessanne Chin 2018 “Let me love you”. Radio went crazy about it, you know the radios in South Florida were really excited about that single and my brand Groove Galore have had numerous singles since. It’s just a lot of fusion, taking stuff from my childhood and I’m re-doing music that influenced me, that moved me, that just touched my soul while I was growing up. I’m currently working on a project where I’m doing a lot of Hard Rock, heavy metal and pop songs in not only reggae but I’m just going to say it is the interpretation of Groove Galore, of how I want to hear these songs and that’s what I’m working on soon to come out in 2021. I’m very excited for the world to hear this.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well I would say it would depend on what country and city I’m in at the time (LOL). I’ve lived in Kingston for the past 31 years and I’ve just been back to Montego Bay since the last four years. So, if it’s Montego Bay most of my colleagues and friends that visit are coming from Europe and Europeans always want to go to the beach so definitely Doctor’s Cave Beach. Doctor’s Cave would head the list as it has been my childhood spot for years, somewhere you can literally go every single day and not get tired of it. Then you have Negril which is another town that is famous for its beaches also. For food the spots would be: the Pork Pit for authentic Jamaican jerk pork & chicken, Smokey’s on the Beach on the other side of town for their fish dishes and Island Grill which is a our first Jamaican franchise that gives authentic Jamaican Dishes. if my friends are like real tourists you know they would want to visit sites like the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. For nightclubbing there’s Margaritaville and Pier 1, which are two spots that I really go to. Also the Coral Cliff where you have a live band playing and a casino. In Kingston there’s a wider variety of stuff to do and live events, but definitely the Bob Marley Museum is a must. As a Jamaican I’ve only been there once the tour was very insightful. In Portland, Boston is the place to get great finger licking jerk pork and chicken and as food is a big deal in Jamaica, people will travel for hours to get a good jerk. Portland also has beautiful beaches and breathtaking waterfalls. While it is still on my to-do-list, Mystic Mountain is definitely a hot spot for families. They have zip line over tree tops and water areas, bobsledding and more. Dolphin Cove allows you to swim with the dolphins, interact with sting rays and sharks. Both places are found in Ocho Rios. Negril has a beautiful water park for fun with family and friends. There’s a lot of stuff going on but because I travel alot I don’t really get to enjoy all the perks of being home as I’m away so much. I could probably tell you more about different places in the world but these are definitely places to go.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Mr. Carl (Slouchy) Matthews, my music teacher from my high school Herbert Morrison Technical High School Mrs Judith Grimes, Snick Glen & all the professors from Chicago that brought and taught our music program at our high school in Montego Bay. My Mom for having me listen to so much music since I was a child was invaluable in developing my musical knowledge, my listening, ear training and interpretation skills. Junior Roots the drummer I emulated the most coming up in Montego Bay Jamaica Karl Wright drummer from the Studs band also another huge mentor and Idol… The 809 band which was the top band at the time, that took a chance on me and brought me into Kingston after an audition in 1989.

Website: https://www.groovegalore.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/groovegaloremuzik/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulkastick/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrooveGalore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrooveGaloreMuziK
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GrooveGalore
Other: Montego Bay, Jamaica, One would have thought that Paul KasticK (GrooveGalore) was born with a pair of drumsticks. Having been fascinated by the forces of music, throughout his childhood — Piano, keyboards, bass, horns… but the drums is what KasticK would go on to master. KasticK’s been in overdrive, having toured around the world since being chosen in 1989 to rule the drummers’ chair for Jamaica’s top backing band 809. KasticK has never looked back, nor taken any prisoners – As a Drummer, Music Director, and Producer – (Currently touring & producing alongside Grammy nominated Reggae/Pop/R&B artiste Maxi Priest & reggae Legend Bob Marley’s son Ky-Mani Marley (Reggae, Hiphop, Dancehall, Alternative) and having produced one of Jamaica’s hottest female Reggae, Punk, Rock export Tessanne Chin’s debut album “In Between Words” who went on to win America’s The Voice 2013 & currently working with Jamaica’s hottest sensation Faraji who was awarded the “Best Male Vocalist” at the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA/WorldStars) Festival in Burbank California, Italee who was featured on Shaggys multi-platinum diamond selling album Hot Shot and producing the lead singer for the Wailers; Dwayne Anglin’s debut CD coming out this summer 2017. His repertoire includes having toured, recorded and played alongside such musical greats as: the late great Dennis Brown, Shaggy, Rayvon, UK Pop sensation Apache Indian, International reggae group Big Mountain, Percy Sledge, Gwen Guthrie, Diana King, Aswad, Steel Pulse, Freddie McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Judy Mowatt, Capleton, Luciano, Buju Banton, Soul Case, Janna Bent, Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Tony Rebel, Sizzla, Junior Kelly, Culture, Richie Stephens, Benji Myazz, Dean Fraser, Bob Marleys’ Junior Marvin, Marcia Griffiths, I Threes, Rita Marley, Beres Hammond, Terry Linen, Carlene Davis, Junior Tucker, Leon & The Peoples, Bat-Sheva Japanese DJ Nahki & R&B sensation Sharissa. KasticK has now formed NativeXaymaycan Entertainment/Muzik Inc., which will now be the parent company for GrooveGalore Productions, his creative nest. His projects have now come to include major production work on all of Big Mountains last 6 CD releases – THINGS TO COME (2000), ONE LOVE (2001), COOL BREEZE (2001) NEW DAY (2002) COVER’S IN PARADISE (2003) & Their Latest release BIG MOUNTAIN’S GREATEST MOMENTS (2004). (www.BigMountain-Onelove.com). The experiences of a musician have awarded KasticK the opportunity to play with more than one backing band as well. In addition to Jamaica’s 809 Band, he has played, recorded and toured with GrooveSociety, the original backing force behind Shaggy, from 1996-2000. Now KasticK anchors the big bad cutting edge live drum sound & Programming behind Maxi Priest, Ky-Mani Marley, Beres Hammond, Big Mountain, Diana King & Tessanne Chin under the alias “GrooveGalore”. Influenced by the greatest of artist from Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Earth,Wind & Fire ,Toto ,Third World, Chalice, Sly & Robbie & Black Uhuru, Dave Matthews Band, Seal, Santana, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Pink, Shakira to Prince. His drumming style is all around varying in genres from hard core dancehall, loversrock to Rock, Alternative, R&B, Soul & Hiphop… KasticK has always had a lot to say… and he’ll keep saying it through music.

Image Credits
Leah Vic Rissarerra Designs

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