PENTATEUCH - REGGAE GEEL 08/2013

Var, the name Pentateuch, of course refers to a part of the Ancient Testament also known as the five books of Moses, is it also a reflection on there being five members in the band?
Kevor 'Var' Williams (lead vocals): "Exactly, we all have Christian backgrounds and grew up on the principles of righteousness and love. We decided to call the band Pentateuch as a reflection of our faith and because we thought it fitting since we're a five piece band anyway."

You all met at Edna Manley College; did Pentateuch start as some kind of school project?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "Not really, we just decided to start a band when we were in our second year at the college. Before we knew what was happening, we were playing all over Kingston and that's how things got more serious."

A key figure in the emergence of Pentateuch and some of the other bands in Jamaica at the moment (Dubtonic Kru, Rootz Underground, Raging Fyah, C-Sharp, red.) is ex-Third World keyboardist Ibo Cooper, but what exactly is his role in your story?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "Ibo is a tutor at the pop department at Edna. Being the band leader and keyboard player for Third World, he groomed us into what we are today and taught us how to play reggae music."
Andrew 'Worm' Ayre (bass): "You can reproduce reggae, but to make it come alive you have to live it and Ibo showed us that difference. It's about believing in what you are singing about; roots reggae is a spiritual thing."

After many years of mainly solo artists coming out of Jamaica, we're suddenly seeing a resurgence of bands. What has changed?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "I think people were just getting tired of the same old same old and being able to see a live band perform is like a breath of fresh air in Jamaica. People were also getting tired of all the negativity in the music. We're part of a whole new generation of musicians who have simply decided to do things differently and apparently our timing was exactly right."

In your opinion what's the difference in being a solo artist or being in a band?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "From a social perspective I think being in a band is way better as when I go on stage I always have the feeling I'm surrounded by my family. We believe in the same things and we trust each other and that creates the perfect vibe when we go on stage."

You were all born after the vinyl era in music, so is it still important for you guys to be able to turn out an album in physical form rather than only digitally?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "It is, yes. We shouldn't forget that music has value and with that in mind being able to hold an album in your hands adds to the experience. If it were up to me I'd go back to the days of vinyl without hesitation, simply because from a musical point of view, vinyl gives a better sound. With our music we also try to go back to that forgone era, back when the music was still positive and inspirational."

For your debut album 'The Genesis' you joined forces with Computer Paul. How did you link up with him and how big was his input on the album?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "Paul had heard our first two singles, 'Black Face' and 'Kingston', liked what we were trying to do and invited us to go into the studio with him to work on a full album. Computer Paul is a great producer and his guidance on this project definitely made the difference."

What were some of the other artists you guys grew up listening to?
Kevor 'Var' Williams: "People like Culture, Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Third World, Black Uhuru, Lucky Dube… the list is almost endless. Mostly foundation artists though. From dancehall I would mention Busy Signal, Assassin and definitely Shabba Ranks, but because of the message of the music, we're just not all the crazy about dancehall. It's hard to support something that has so many negative connotations."