The PathHeights im Interview: Liebt erstmal euch selbst!

Promotional Picture - use with kind permission of The PathHeights

Promotional Picture – use with kind permission of The PathHeights

Introducing: The PathHeights

Musik ist Liebe. Ich zumindest habe sofort Schmetterlinge im Bauch, wenn Melodien oder Liedtexte mich berühren oder die Instrumentalisten eines Live-Konzerts uns mit ihren Klängen verzaubern. Wenn diese Liebe zur Musik sich nun mit der Liebe zu einem Partner verflicht und sowohl lyrisch eingefangen als auch musikalisch umgesetzt werden kann, wird Großes geschaffen. The PathHeights haben genau das erreicht. Das jamaikanische Duo, das zurzeit in Deutschland lebt, hat sich vor drei Jahren gegründet und arbeitet nun fieberhaft an der Veröffentlichung der ersten EP. IrieItes hat das junge Glück in Kiel besucht und so einiges über ihren künstlerischen Werdegang, ihre Visionen und ihre Botschaft an die Welt in Erfahrung gebracht:

To get started, please introduce yourself!

Aumuna: The PathHeights is a Reggae Acoustic Vibration with Poetry and Music. The name is actually coming from the ancestor roots. The PathHeights will be the original people in a sense, the creative people that we represent from ancient times. We do that through words, sound and power. It’s me, Aumuna…

Akosua: …and me, Akosua Aset.

Aumuna: We can say that we represent the consciousness. In a sense, Reggae music has always been known for that. We definitely see ourselves as a bridge between the Roots and what we have been getting to know over the years, a bridge to reconnect what really is message and music and spirituality as well, going back to the foundation of sounds. African drums are the backbone of our music, the coconut grater, too. The simplest instruments! We are rough and rugged, but at the same time we bring smooth melodies with roots and inspiration. I guess that’s what makes us The PathHeights, because we are from the original roots, we see ourselves in that part, and we strive to project that message we are inspired by.

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When did you start out?

Akosua: We decided to form a group in 2012. Before that we’ve been working individually as artists in the music for a long time.

Aumuna: And in 2013 we performed for the first time as The PathHeights.

Akosua: We had our first performance in Jamaica together!

Aumuna: We’ve been moving around a lot in 2013, and we decided to go straight ahead in music as our path, fully focused and creative. That’s how we came up with the name PathHeights. The name says a lot, we strive to be an inspiration and a bridge to connect people with what we have as message.

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As individual artists, what have you done before that?

Akosua: I’ve been doing music from when I was a teenager, performing, recording… the biggest project I was working on before was Rising Thoughts with Elsa M’bala from Cameroun. We travelled to Jamaica years ago to perform there, we toured Germany and then we went to Jamaica, and that’s how I met Aumuna while he was performing as well. I did also acoustic poetry, that’s my background, vocals and poetry.

Aumuna: And it always is a part of my music, too. Since 2005, 2006, I’ve been practicing in a studio, playing instruments and all that, and 2009 actually I was producing a song with another artist, Kam-I. After that I did some work on my music, on a song called Mother Earth, that was my first official song. Basically I’ve been just focusing on developing myself as an artist and my songs as well, until I met Akosua and we became The PathHeights.

And your first EP is coming up?

Aumuna: Yes, it’s ready, it just needs some polishing actually. The tracks are laid, like what you just heard, we just need mixing and ting now. This is where we are now, we have the EP ready, it’s just the first of what will come.

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What’s the name of the EP?

Akosua: We don’t release the name as yet.

Aumuna: You are actually the first person to even hear all the songs like that!

Wow, what an honour! Where did you record it?

Aumuna: In Jamaica. We tried to get recordings done here, but it was not so easy to find the studio and people who have the time…

Akosua: We’ve been back and forth between Jamaica and Germany since 2010 actually. At least me, until we spent most of our time together in Jamaica since 2012. We went back last year for half a year basically just to get the music started, to lay the tracks down. We had some challenges getting that done. I mean, over here are many good engineers, but sometimes other things get in the way. A lot of engineers have a 9-to-5 job and they don’t have the time. In Jamaica, if somebody has the skills and the equipment, that’s his job.

Aumuna (laughs): Search no further! I would say it was easier to get it done in Jamaica. The days are filled with work. It was actually Exile and EDB Entertainment, it was his studio where we did it, and he did some good work! We were planning 3 songs to get done and release them and continue working. He opened up to us, because he was not so busy at that time.

Akosua: And he was feeling the vibes too, he got the message, the music, he was really vibing with us, more than just an engineer. He really assisted in the production, we had our sound and our ideas and he put some positive ideas in.

Aumuna: As an artist, just to record the vocals, he could feel it. Also Infinite was there.

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Are the instruments all played by you?

Akosua: Aumuna plays the lead guitar on all of the songs, but we also got a lot of great musicians. Infinite for example, when we were at the studio he was like, ‘Just let me put a likkle something on it!’ (laughs). The energy was great, Shaquille played some percussion, and Matthias Reulecke came with his band in his suitcase (laughs).

Aumuna: It was a good vibe! Once we said ‘All right, let’s do some work!’ they are interested, once they heard the first track they got curious. I knew Infinite as a friend before, not so much Exile, but through Infinite we got to meet him. It was a family vibe, not like you book studio time and so. We actually cooked food while we recorded and the children were there, so… family vibe!

Is there a special focus in your lyrics?

Aumuna: I wouldn’t generalize because it’s a collective inspiration, I would say, we are influenced by just about anything, captivated and delivered as best as possible. At the end of the day it’s all about the connection that we have as people in a universal body, which is all one, and all the differences that we see with our eyes is just there to distract us. And our music is about making a connection between life and what is real.

Akosua: I would also say something that inspires me, yeah, is universal connection, but also the injustice that’s going on in the world. Jamaica is really a microcosm of that. I always say it’s so unbelievable, such a beautiful island, so many beautiful, talented people, but at the end of the day they are the ones who hardly benefit from their talents. At the same time it’s inspiring to write about. We are not the first ones to write about it and unfortunately we won’t be the last. But we are in a position to share what’s behind the scenery.

Aumuna: The artists have to reflect what they see. It’s just natural to deliver what you are inspired or influenced or affected by in your environment. If you have a voice to speak as an artist, you should do so, whether you are a visual artist or a vocalist!

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One thing that sets you apart from other artists is that you enter stage as a family. How do people react to that? What do you think is the special thing about this set-up?

Aumuna: For one, unity. It’s there, and we are actually convinced that we can do it as a family, no matter what. Because a lot of times in music you find either you have the wife doing it and the husband does something else or the other way round – it’s not so easy, especially when you have a family. But we move together, and it’s a lot easier if you find yourself with this bond, that’s a blessing.

Akosua: Also, it shows a lot of young women who have children that it’s possible. Often they think if you have children you can’t be out there to do music or to follow your dream. If you have a husband who supports you, that’s great. If you have a husband who does the same thing, that’s perfect! Also, as we have been doing music individually before, the people who come to assist us now I think they are more serious knowing that we are a family and not two girls or a young man alone, and in the projects we work on are people who are just as driven and inspired.

What are the special challenges?

Akosua: Well, we want to always bring our children with us as much as possible, but of course that’s not always the case. So it’s not just us as a family but the challenge is to get the rest of the family involved too, mother, cousins and all. In Jamaica we had my cousin come over almost every day to help when we went to the studio, so it’s definitely an extended family mission.

Aumuna: Which is a foundation again! Because normally, when you have a business or whatever, as long as you have the family’s strength and support, it’s easier in a way, you produce more if everyone is giving a helping hand. It’s us on the platform, but we get more support. We want to show people that you can actually do it, to follow what you are supposed to do, no matter if you have children, it’s not a limitation. You will meet people along the way who can support you!

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So once the EP comes out, how will you promote it? Will you go on tour?

Aumuna: We are in the process of making as much contacts as we can. We want to release it in Jamaica, so we take it from there. We want to do a small tour through Germany and Europe before we go to Jamaica, just a small promotional tour and then go to Jamaica and release the EP and take it from there. The most important thing is to get the songs out to the people, the internet is a very useful tool…  the connections will come! We just want to get some songs out so people can feel the vibe.

That means you manage yourself?

Akosua: So far, yes. We would love to have a good manager we can trust and who wants to do the work, but so far we haven’t found that person yet.

Aumuna: So we actually invite people to feel the vibe and if they are interested, contact us. Instead of focusing on finding someone to manage us we just do what we have to do and the rest will come. The greatest thing is that we made the first step!

What about your future plans – will you stay here?

Aumuna: In short-term we’ll be back and forth between Germany and Jamaica, but the long-term plan is to be moving around. We will definitely have a base in Jamaica, but we like to travel. Of course we have the youths now who need a home base, but settling permanently will be in Jamaica.

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Which differences do you see between Germany and Jamaica?

Both: The weather? (laugh)

Akosua: I always say there is no perfect place in the world. I grew up in Germany, but of course I have family in Jamaica, England and America. I always wanted to leave Germany because, you know, you look out of the window and think it’s nicer over there. So you come to a point where you realize that some things are the same everywhere. You are in Germany and they complain about for example the politicians, you go to Jamaica and they complain as well, you come to America and Oh my gosh I don’t have to say anything (laughs). As long as a few things that are important to us are there, like the weather, to have family around, we are together and we can feel at home, then it’s home. We have a strong connection to Jamaica, but we’re open. Germany has it’s good and challenging things, I mean, we made very different experiences… actually we made the same experiences but from different perspectives because I grew up here and Aumuna grew up in Jamaica.

Aumuna: I would say, the weather really has a lot to do with energy. When it’s summer you have a different reaction from the people, the life is more outside and that is important, to have people around who can give a good vibe, it’s important for anyone. Most of the time people are not so open to experience life until they see the sun. It’s a tough place for a foreigner I would say, because the language is the next thing. If you speak only English here in Germany and it’s hard to learn a new language for a grown person, it’s not the easiest thing. People have done it, but in my case the time is too short. It’s much easier when you have family around to learn the language through your children.

Akosua: Socialising is missing too, but I think that is related to the weather thing.

Aumuna: People should just try to be more open, that would be better. Just to keep the vibe. Kiel is a lot different from Hamburg in terms of culture. Hamburg is more multicultural, but you still don’t have enough places to keep up a cultural vibration throughout the year, social spaces where you can meet and hold a vibe, you know.

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True. Well, we are glad that you’ll be bringing these vibes to us soon. Do you have a last message to the people?

Aumuna: It could even be one word: love!

Akosua: I think self love, love yourself! It’s my experience that self love enables you to experience all other kinds of love. Someone who loves himself or herself will not go and feel like they need to humiliate or hate anybody else, so I think self love is a key thing.

Also, to definitely follow your dreams, no matter what it costs, in every aspect of the word cost. We realized that people in Germany and Jamaica are too much worried about what things would cost and people are much more put in the position to worry about that as well, and in turn humanity is cut short, being nice to somebody, offering something… So you just follow your dreams, because you will be miserable if you do something all of your life that you don’t really want to do!

Aumuna: It’s like clearing your path without thinking about the obstacles, because money definitely is an obstacle. There was life before it…

Akosua: …and there will be life after it! We just have to strengthen our communities.

Text & Fotos (außer “Promotional Picture”): Gardy Stein

Website: www.thepathheights.com  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PathHeights 

Soundcloud:  www.soundcloud.com/pathheightsmuzick 

 

Gardy

About Gardy

Gemini, mother of two wonderful kids, Ph.D. Student of African Linguistics, aspiring author...