RUNKUS - REGGAE GEEL 08/2016

Runkus, being the son of the great Determine, would you say you were predestined to follow into your father's footsteps and get into the music business?
Runkus: "Music has always been a great part of my life, so it wasn't as if I made a conscious choice or anything; this was just the world I grew up in. That being said, when I was a bit younger I was also heavily into sports, football and thing, but in the end the call of music was stronger. I guess it was my destiny."

Your style is quite different of that of your father, so musically speaking how big of an influence has he been on you as an artist?
Runkus: "Well, the thing you have to remember is that when my father first burst on the scene, he also sounded very new and different, so that also what I wanted to attempt to do. Our styles might be very different, but his influence has been profound and he mostly taught me to be creative in what I do."

You were born Romario Bennett. How did you come by your stage name Runkus?
Runkus: "I really got it from a lady who was living in the same area where my mom and dad were living. My mom was still carrying me in her belly and I guess that day I was kicking a bit so that lady jokingly remarked: "Runkus you giving trouble man?" So, you see, I got this name from before I was born! (laughs)"

Most people will know you as a vocalist, but apparently you also have a fondness for the guitar.
Runkus: "Learning to play that instrument made me understand music on another level. When I play the guitar I can really feel the music. Most of my songwriting I do while strumming along on my guitar."

If I say the 'Moving' EP really gave your career a boost outside of Jamaica, would you agree?
Runkus: "With everything we do we try to forward. I only consider myself a messenger so that fact this EP caught on means the people liked the message and that's all I can wish for."

How did you first link up with Oneness Records from Germany?
Runkus: "K-Jah Sound from Poland and myself recorded 'Run' together. They sent the track over to Umberto Echo to have it mixed by him. It was Umberto who set up the link. The first tune I did for them was 'Kindness', my version over the Retro Locks riddim and when they asked me if I would be on board to do a whole project with them, the ball really got rolling."

What's the message behind the title of the EP, 'Move In'?
Runkus: "These days everybody is moving left and right all the time, but far too few of us also take the time to move inwards, so it's about finding out who you are. Some people don't even like themselves, so go figure… The only person you really have to spend the rest of your life with is yourself, so it's important to know who that person is. It's all about the inward journey."

Your dad was part of this whole rise of boboshanti artists back in the end of the nineteen nineties, where do you see yourself in the whole Rastafarian spectrum?
Runkus: "Rastafari is a way of life. To me the essence of the whole thing is love, so in that perspective Allah was a Rasta, Jesus was a Rasta and Buddha was a Rasta. It's also about keeping balance with your surroundings; if we as human beings treat the planet we live on with respect, it will reward us in return. That is what Rastafari is about for me."