Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore – Interview Recap

Thursday – 08/10/2020 – a spectacular moment for Prod Rage to conduct the phone-in with StephenCatCoore of the scintillating Third World and for the whole team to be a part of.

Touching on Third World’s latest body of work – ‘More Work to Be Done’ – produced by Damian “Jr Gong” Marley after playing the track – Feel Good – that features Busy Signal:

StephenCatCoore: “Yeah it was nominated for the Grammy award and all of that, it’s a project we’re very proud of and we’re very proud of the fact we got to work with Damian, it’s a special ting you know.

“We’ve been nominated nine times, we’ve never actually really won it but, you have to really understand that it is a great great honour to even be nominated. We don’t look at it to say ‘we’ve been nominated so many times, we’re number one’ no, we don’t look at it that way. We’re very happy to be nominated and just happy to have such great seats.”

Prod Rage: “On Damian Marley, one of our hosts, Danny Riley, is asking who you rate out of all the new school Reggae artists? The likes of: Chronixx, Damian Marley, Kabaka Pyramid, who are you listening to at the moment?

StephenCatCoore: “Well I like this guy called Mortimer a lot you know, he’s young in the ting but I really like him and of course Kabaka Pyramid definitely, Dre Island I like him a lot too. Damian and Chronixx are more alike, they’re more like established artists, big established artists but like Mortimer, Kabaka Pyramid and Dre Island, they are a little bit less well known. They really have good formats and they really have tremendous materials so I kind of really relate to that. But I’m in to anything really I mean, once I hear something and it sounds good, I go for it and I embrace it. I’m not sure I hear a lot of females that I can say I really love, I love Jah9 and I like her music that she’s been doing and stuff, Etana is great but she’s been around. I don’t hear as many young female artists as I do male artists that play the kind of format that I really love cos I’m not really big on the female Dancehall ting you know, there’s only a couple of them that really are inspiring, the rest are just going through the motions.”

Prod Rage: “You’ve been a part of a couple impressive line-ups quite early on, the likes of Bob Marley and The Wailers, also The Jackson 5 I believe, what was that like?

StephenCatCoore: “Well that was very early in our career I mean, The Jackson 5 came to Jamaica and the band had only been together maybe I would say – I think they (The Jackson 5) came in December and we had our first show in August. So yeah, we would have been very young in the game at that time but we were very good and we were very very dedicated to what we were doing. We did plenty work in the engine room, we did plenty work behind the scenes and that’s what really prepared us to the point where we could be hopefully asked to play for Bob Marley at the stadium. It was a special time for us, it was a launching time for us, after that we spent a little time getting vibrational things happening as to where we were gonna go, what we were gonna do. Eventually we ended up in London, we ended up at a bredrins apartment floor in London, in Camden Town. We did a lot more rehearsal, more tweaking and we got some gigs like – we got a gig at the Norwich, and then we got a gig in Dingwalls in Camden Town and then we got one at Gillies in the West End and that’s when Chris Blackwell saw us and then after that it started for us and we got signed, we did our first record – ‘Satta Massagana’ – it’s a good road to remember.”

Prod Rage: “Another question from one of our listeners – Jess. In your early days before you really took off, what was your most memorable gig? Is there any that really still stands out to you now?

StephenCatCoore: “Well I think The Jackson 5 show will definitely be one, I mean we weren’t that recognised really then, people just knew we were talented but from Jamaica, Jamaicans knew us but nobody around the world knew us, so I mean you know, that will definitely stand out as a great one for me. Plus also we had a chance to back up Burning Spear, actually play for Burning Spear, open for him as a backing act which was really something special and you know we have other experiences playing with Inner Circle because I was in Inner Circle before I started Third World. I had a chance to play with Toots & the Maytals, Alton Ellis, Bob Marley & The Wailers cos in those days all those guys had bands, it’s been a special road for me and I’m very very blessed bredrin, very blessed.”

Prod Rage: “What’s your favourite instrument? I know you like the guitar, is that the main one you pick up? Or do you prefer the cello?

StephenCatCoore: “Yeah man that’s the main one but I mean I’m still playing the cello as much as I can. I like to play a load of harmony stuff like that a little bit but not so much anymore you know. I think when I met Stevie Wonder was my last kinda vibration to play the harmony.”

Prod Rage: “What’s lockdown been like for you?

StephenCatCoore: “Not very much studio work because people are very apprehensive about the whole studio ting right now. So if it’s not like a very limited – I have one bredrin that I might go by him and do something in his studio. Someone else asked me earlier to come and play a song for her, I went by and their really locked down, everybody’s in the studio, working, has a mask and everything like that, it’s kinda difficult you know. The times I don’t mind wearing a mask are: I can do it going into a store, I can do it standing in a line waiting to get in a bank you know or something like that but it’s kinda strange for me to sit down in a recording studio with a mask on.”

Cat speaks further on the topic later on: “I’ve had a chance to really go and see some places I really wouldn’t have done before, some places up in Trelawny, some places you know maybe I am too busy touring I don’t get the chance to even see these places in my own country. It’s been a pleasure for me to go up and see some (of these places), I went on a beautiful horse farm and spent some time with some wonderful people and as I said I did some nice filming in some very great geographical locations, it’s been nice to do but basically speaking it’s been very quiet.”

Prod Rage: “A question from Patto (DJ V8): what would you say is your biggest or most memorable hit? Or what’s your favourite song that you’ve produced?

StephenCatCoore: “I think ‘96 Degrees In The Shade’ is a winner there, ‘Try Jah Love’ is one of our great records too but ‘96 Degrees In The Shade’ has something special about it and the folks really love it but this song here now called ‘You’re Not the Only One’ featuring Damian Marley has really gone up on my chart of all time great Third World songs, I think it’s a really really good record. Most of the songs on ‘More Work to Be Done’ I think are really really really good so it would be hard for me to judge but if I was to say over all the years I would say ‘96 Degrees In The Shade’ is a really good one you know.”

Prod Rage: “We’re actually playing the one that you just mentioned with Damian Marley next – (‘You’re Not the Only One’) – what inspired you to write this one?

StephenCatCoore: “We were right there jamming in the studio, we came up with a riddim idea and little by little it got built little by little and then Damian said this is the one that he wanted to be guest on. So I mean we weren’t gonna turn down that you know what I mean.”

Prod Rage: “What’s it like working with Damian then? It must be exciting!

StephenCatCoore: “Well it’s extraordinary working with Damian because the work ethic that they bring to the table is just outstanding, such a talent, it’s one of these things that you have to really experience it to believe it, I always knew what good producers himself and Steve (Stephen Marley) are, but to really experience it was something special. They’re great people to work with, they are total, total professionals, very committed and very hard working, they are in the studio all the time, they are in the studio all the time!”

Prod Rage: “Obviously with lockdown it’s been a nightmare with gigs, have you got any festivals or anything like that lined up for next year?

StephenCatCoore: “Well it’s not something we can really say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’, things are in the pipeline for sure, lots of stuff, remember now the world has been without live music now since March so people are really looking forward to it, you know, it’s gonna be amazing when we get back to play live again, I was thinking about it today. Thing about it is that, crowds and stuff, people will really have to feel safe before we’re really gonna come back to those big festivals, so much more like Glastonbury and all that kinda stuff you know, people are gonna want to really feel safe before they go back into that kinda mode. But we’re really looking forward, we know it might be on a small scale first then build build build, but yeah we’re looking forward to it in a big way. Lots of people talking about lots of tings, I’ve been hearing about the Reggae festival in Gibraltar that looks like it may happen next year, there’s some countries in the Caribbean that have had a big problem and they are looking at trying to do some shows, there’s Anguilla, there’s St Kitts and Nevis. There’s places that, they’re people there who wanna come out and see the acts.”

Prod Rage: “Is there any message you would like to give to our listeners in the UK?

StephenCatCoore: “Well basically the message is that we’re sending love from Jamaica, we hope everybody in the UK is trying their best to keep safe, we love you here, we’re dying to come back, we’re dying to see our friends, we’re dying to see all the people that we know love us over in the UK, we’re really dying to come back. It’s not something that anybody can predict when exactly it’s gonna happen but we miss the road, we miss all fans, we miss the live performances, we miss the stage but we’re hanging on, we’re hanging on and we’re trying to be good and keep the vibes rolling!”

Echoing Prod Rage as he concludes the interview, a massive thank you to StephenCatCoore for taking the time to speak and share invaluable experiences with us and every listener, an absolute pleasure and privilege! Thanks and appreciation to Heather Cameron of the Third World team in communicating and helping to organise. Download and listen to the audio beneath for a few more details, to hear the expression and authenticity to the conversation, something in which is difficult to present within the write up, truly inspirational!

Tracks played either side of the interview:

  1. Feel Good
  2. You’re Not the Only One (ft. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley)


Third World

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