Each Wednesday Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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D.R.U.M. is arguably the world music band in Houston. They've been together, in one form or another, since the early '90s, released a few very good albums and won about a million world music awards. They are made men in the music community. Even still, not nearly enough people outside D.R.U.M.'s genre are familiar with them. Admittedly, we didn't even start listening to their music until we met band member Anura Neysadurai a couple of months ago while working on an article about his business parter, rapper Zin. In light of that injustice, we reached out to the quintet to have them answer a few questions. After the jump, read about the alphabetical complexity that lacks from one of the members' name, if they think they'll ever not win the Press' Best World Music award, and who would in a D.R.U.M.-Moodafaruka death match.
Rocks Off: Let us preface this interview by saying that Jah, in fact, is not the answer to several of these questions. Just wanted to clear that up.
RO: When you all were forming, was there any hesitance with regards to letting Nathan join? I mean, he's obviously very talented musically, but his name just doesn't fit in. Maybe he should consider throwing in a J or an X or something. Nathjan Fauxlk looks about right. D.R.U.M.: Nathan is actually one of the original members of D.R.U.M. Maybe the real question should be, "Why did Nathan let any of the rest of us that came later join the band!?" But on a more serious note, of course the names don't matter. Some of us were born here in this country and our names reflect that, culturally. Of the three C's - Color, Culture and Consciousness - we will always choose to make primary connections with others based on their Consciousness. RO: So you guys basically win Best World Music, like, every year. Maybe you all should consider putting out some crazy off-brand album like Garth Brooks did just to see if you can get away with it. Give the other guys a chance, ya know? Yeah, that seems like a smart career move. D.R.U.M.: More than just a career move, it's the thing with the most heart! We also realize that we are a proactive part of helping the World Music scene to develop locally. Other bands need to get known better as well: Dubtex, King Cobra, Trenchtown Texans, Cosmic Force and Idiginis are all bands that people need to get to know better. World Music is not limited to reggae alone, either. Yeah, we should probably opt out next year, but we have so much fun being a part of the whole event! RO: We actually saw you all perform at iFest, if we're not mistaken, and the show was way intense. What type of prep goes into a live show? D.R.U.M.: We do an audience and theme-specific song list. A list for an outdoor festival may not be the same as a club list. It is really, really intense process sometimes for us to craft our vision. When Baba Ifalade (Alafia) knows that there will be a larger stage available, there may be a collaboration between he and Osakwe to do a drum/dance solo or something very visual to make the show more powerful. RO: Did you all happen to see that Houston Music Fight Club thing Craig Hlavaty did not too long ago? That was a good idea, we think. Let's say there was battle to the death between D.R.U.M. and Moodafaruka. Which group is going home to see their families that night? We'd take you guys, mostly because Anura looks like he's the type of man that could take your head off with his bare hands if he wanted to. D.R.U.M.: Actually, we missed it. But we think nobody would have won, because if we both were put in that situation neither one of us would resort to violence. Purchase D.R.U.M.'s new release, LOVETERNALIHTRUTHEALINGROWTHAPPINESS, via www.drumusic.com. See them live as part of the Anniversary Celebration at the Continental Club September 12.