The Berlin Sessions of Aldubb, Dubmatix and Mighty Howard have just been released at Irie Ites Music. One of the three songs on Side A is "Warriors Call", the flipside deliveres three fine Dubs of the "original" tunes by Aldubb. The song can also be heard on Howard's debutalbum "Jah Soldier". The music was created by all three musicians, the lyrics by Mighty Howard. Since "Warrior's Call" is an outstanding track, not to say that the others lack of quality, Nele (12 years old) has asked Howard Bridges aka Mighty Howard about himself, her favorite song, and the future.....
Why are you calling yourself Mighty Howard as an artist?
The names we are given, and the names we give ourselves are a major
way of identifying who we are. I do not like my name for a few different reasons. I am named after my father. Ironically, my mother was not in full agreement. I wonder sometimes what my name would be if my mother had her way. As an African-American, I feel my name does not represent my culture, in fact it is an offence, because my first and last name are british in origin; given from the slavemasters who ruled over the slaves who fill my family tree. Also, the name Howard does not naturally represent someone who is popular, charismatic, charming or powerful as, for example, the name Abraham. This is why I chose to put 'Mighty' in front of my given name. I wanted my stage persona to be who I really am, only with the flair I think I deserve. I want to be seen and see myself as 'strong'; able to overcome the stereotypes and preconceived notions of our world.
You are from America. Why do you live in Hamburg now?
I left America nine years ago, because I decided after the World Trade Center catastrophe, that if I wanted to be a professional artist, America was not going to be a positive place economically or socially to persue my career. Since then I have lived in the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland, where I met my wife who is polish/german. When we decided to have a child and get married, it made sense to move to Germany, where healthcare is very good, and where I could work on my career.
What do you like most about Hamburg?
I love water. It calms me and reminds me how big the world is and how small my problems are. I like the harbour in Hamburg the most.
Why do you sing Reggae?
I sing Reggae to bring myself closer to my culture. I feel as an american-born man, that the african (jamaican) aspect of my culture in me was stolen through slavery or simply non-existent because of a lack of examples. There is not much african or jamaican culture in Colorado where I was born.
What other types of music do you like?
The only types of music I do not have an interest in are Country and Metal. I have played or been trained to play many different instruments using different styles like Jazz, Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop...
"Warriors Call" is one of three songs of the Berlin Sessions from Aldubb, Dubmatix and you. How was it to create three songs in three day's?
I have always wondered if it was possible to write music in the studio instead of just record it there, only I never had the chance to try, until now. This experience was one of the biggest in my life. I had to conquer my fear of failure under pressure, focus on my craft, and deliver the best of what I have to offer as an artist. To rise to the occasion made my confidence grow. Now, I feel strange going into the studio with finished lyrics. My new procedure is to bring a theme and a few lyrical ideas to the studio with me that I can build an entire song around. If you practice something too much, it loses its freshness.
Is it difficult to write songlyrics under timepressure?
It is difficult to write songlyrics alone. The challenge is to find words that fit a lyrical pattern, that you can then sing a melody to, and still keep the topic focused. Timepressure makes it more difficult because you know people are waiting and studio time is expensive. However, the challenge alone, when practiced for a longer period of time, makes a lyricist better, because the creative process is refined after every production. Each song becomes easier to write, as the brain muscle is trained.
What are the Warriors fighting against?
I feel that we as humans have an amazingly difficult task to achieve over the span of our lives. The task is, to not follow our nature. Lying, stealing, cheating and violence are all everyday occurrences in our lives. We are told by those in authority that these things are wrong and we should not do them, if done, we will be punished. This task, to not cause pain to others and to respect yourself and those around you, is what the warriors are fighting for. It is easy to lie, cheat and steal. It is harder to live honestly. It is a daily fight.
Are you one of these Warriors?
Oh yes! I have been tempted to do things that I know will hurt people or hurt myself. I have to fight the same emotions too, like jealousy or vanity.
I must fight as well to control these things.
"Babylon must justify", what does Babylon mean for you?
Babylon is represented by our natural nature, as I said before. Babylon is represented by all things created to control, oppress or erase people. The reason why the name 'Babylon' is used by Rastas is because of the history of the city of Babylon. The greek translation of the word means "gateway to god", however in the hebrew translation of the word means to "confuse" or to "bable" or "talk endlessly about nothing". I personnally feel that all politics, leathal forms of authority (Police, Army), mass media and the expression of the meanless of life like abortion (under certain circumstance) and life threatening hobbies (sky diving, heavy drug use) are all forms of Babylon.
The city of Babylon was very progressive for its time. It founded the first newspaper where all of the languges spoken at that time where used (the first CNN. Pure babel). It was also a place of extravagance, where people lived in extream luxury, while at the same time many people suffered with nothing. This is also our current global world, and I think Babylon is where humans distanced themselves from nomadic, sustainable living to striving for wealth, fame and vanity.
What are your next steps in the future?
I will start my own label so that I can release my own music, instead of search for a contract with a big company label like Sony. My plans are to make my life as independent as possible, unattached from "assisted living" by government or "slavery"; working for someone or doing something I am not interested in to earn not enough money. One day, I hope to help other artist overcome all the problems I have worked through, and put my life experience to use by helping the next generation of human's, namely YOU!!!
Interview: Nele Frehe (März 2010)
Foto: Dobra Fietz