The name Arky Starch may not immediately ring a bell, but behind that pseudonym definitely hides a veteran of the Belgian reggae scene.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Noel 'Ilias' Schellekens, who turns a new page in his well-filled reggae career with this 'Dub Faith' EP, was given his first bass guitar by his brother Lowie age eighteen, and has never looked back since. After some experimentation with punk rock together with Lowie, Starch's musical adventure really started with Dread Invasion, followed by stints with Ionyouth, Dubphix and Heartwash.
However, in 2006, Arky moved to the Philippines, but even there the reggae virus wouldn't lose its grip and he soon started the band Soul Sensi. But then fate struck a fatal blow: after the birth of his daughter, his Filipino wife passed away and Arky suddenly faced a life as a widower and single father. He quickly decided to come back to Belgium and abandoned music for about a decade.
It was Arky's second wife, Zainab, who turned that around when in 2019 she presented him with an acoustic guitar for his birthday. The old fire was ignited once again, and soon Starch started investing in new material to build a real home studio at his new residence in the Campine town of Wechelderzande.
Asked about his passion for music, Arky replied: "Music makes me forget about the struggle. It gives me joy. The quest of creating songs has always kept me intrigued. Knowing how to compose, how to write lyrics is something I have been doing all my life. Good messages, sounds that make a person dance and feel good, inspirational, with a message and feeling... that's music to me.".
His compass is his faith and family: "I am not a Rasta, but a Muslim who prays and loves spending time with my wife and family. They are my base, my feel-good haven and the source of my positive energy. Growing up having a tough youth, it is very important to me that my kids and wife are happy. They are my solid foundation and joy.".
'Dub Faith' counts 6 dub instrumentals in which voice fragments of British MC's like Souljah and Rudeboy were also incorporated (opener 'Maximize The Bass', 'Pull Of The Strings', 'Panic In The System'). The fact that Arky didn't want to leave anything to chance is proven by the fact that he called on none other than Dubmatix for the mastering of the tracks! 'Passing The Border' sounds just a tad overprogrammed, but songs like 'Panic In Da System', our personal favorite 'Pull Of The Strings', or the aptly titled 'The Last Glimp', could convince effortlessly.
Excellent first calling card by a passionate local artist/producer we'll definitely be keeping an eye on!