Remco Korporaal – Amsterdam Faya Allstars Interview
Redstar73 Blog: Please can you introduce yourself.
Remco: My name is Remco Korporaal, born in 1968, married to Yvonne Marklein, 2 kids Lewis (2) and Jeroen (8) and I was the owner of Jamaican Gold Records and Jamaican Gold Music for a while. I had the first national Ska radio-program in the Netherlands in the beginning of the ’90’s. A Dutch radio station named: Radio London! 😉 after a while the frequencies were sold to a very commercial station and the radio station is gone unfortunately.
The samplers “do the Dutch Ska Dance Vol 1 and 2” was from a my little independant label in the 80’s and ’90’s to promote Dutch Ska Music in other countries.
I played 25 years in Mr Review, but also a lot of tours with Toasters USA, new York Ska Jazz Ensemble, Rotterdam Ska Jazz Foundation, Skatalites, Black Uhuru, Mutabaruka, Sugar Minott, Beatbusters, Messer Banzani, Aswad, Bad Manners, Selecter and many, many others. I started to play percussion at my 3th and later when I was 8 years old started to play Saxophone and had lessons from my uncle Siegmond Toes and later by Gijs Hendriks. I just moved out of Amsterdam. The city is too bad for kids and too expensive so we just moved to a little town named Huizen….the place where Mr Review once started and I see them now every week everywhere. In the supermarket, at the grocery store, etc …it’s funny and they look old! 😉
Redstar73 Blog: Please tell us more about the early years of Mr Review. When did you join the band? As far as I know the bands started out as Reggae band but changed soon to Ska. How did you discover Ska music?
Remco: Mr Review started actually as a blues band named:”Yesterday Returns”
Than the original drummer joined the band, Roel Ording, he brought the reggae while he just got back from 3 years of Jamaica. He wanted to life there, but when he got back to ship all his stuff from Holland, he found out that his Jamaican girl found someone else….so….no more reason to stay there and he came back. He lived in Montego Bay. Than Rob Houter aka Dr Rude, came in because he always was in the same pubs as we did (de Peuk, de Generaal in Bussum, etc) and wanted to come and sing in the band but only if we would play Ska. So he brought the Ska.
You don’t hear Dr Rude singing even 1 single Reggae song. That was more Arnes thing.
I joined the band when I was 15 so that was in 1983 I think? I was crazy for Ska and Reggae anyway. I grew up with it and “normal” hits from these days I really don’t know. 😉 And I don’t have the feeling I miss much about that 😉 and I still don’t follow radiobullshit hits.
I heard that there was a Ska band in the area just started and for some reason I had to join them. So I did. I was a lot younger than the others, but I had far more experience than the rest, so that was no problem afterall.
From there, the band practised every sunday, played almost every weekend, smoked and drunk all the time, where together day and night, even lived in the same squads and houses for a while and it was fun all the time. Until the band played a lot and some of us got jobs, wives, kids, etc, etc, and then position changes started. Unfortunately. Because it was, in the band and privately, big, big fun. It felt for me as 8 bigger brothers that took care of me a long, long time!
We even went on vacation a lot of times. We had loads of good times and it was a very creative process that the whole band was in too!
Redstar73 Blog: How was the Ska scene back in the 80’s?
Remco: In the ’80’s the big movement of the British bands was over and after a couple of years of silence Unicorn and a bit later Skank Records had the whole kingdom for their own, world wide! A monopoly-position you can say. But of course they screwed up after a while. Specially Unicorns Mark Johnson. He had a fortune, but payed nobody. I phoned all the distributors (Revolver, Fat Shadow, etc) and figgered out that together they sold officially around 80000 records…..he promised us 3 Pound or Guilders, I don’t remember that anymore, per sold record…..we never saw a penny! Many bands where fucked up about that and he runs off to Istanbul and after a couple of years he repressed the records there again illegally (of course). I found him there as well and so he run off to Bangkok where he did the same thing again…..after a while we heard he died of aids, was a heroin addict and so far for Mark Johnson. His last fax to us ended with the words:” except for Remco, the rest of the band can take a long walk from a short pier. We drunk a beer on that! Some people said that his 2 nephews in England have the money….let it be I think. Nothing changed since Jamaica and the business……
In the netherlands the scene was very alive and there was a Dutch band named Doe Maar (do it) that became the most popular band ever in the Netherlands! They played ska and reggae but more for the young generation and not for the real Ska fans. But I guess they all know this band, have their records and still deep inside…they all like it 😉
But the scene was very much alive and me and others gave big festivals with hundreds and sometimes 1000’s of Ska fanatics in the Netherlands. 180 degrees different than what it is today unfortunately…..
Redstar73 Blog: You were involved in the first recording of Mr Review, Ice And Snow / The Feeling’s Alright single. Were there any recordings before?
Remco: There were a few recordings before.
There was the KRO-Studio’s a radio and television studio in Hilversum where the band made their first recordings. After that we went into the Schonberg studio’s in Utrecht and that was already much better. One of these recordings was published on the samplers from Unicorn Skanking around the world or something like that…sorry I can’t remember that name very clear anymore. That orange, black and white looking album. Quite a nice one! The song was called:”Losing my mind”. We never expected Mark to pick out this one! But anyway, it was our second published recording and in this case at Unicorn.
There are more unpublished recordings. Reggae recordings that we recorded at Studio Friends in Amsterdam. Beautiful recordings if I may say so, but to late recorded. The band had already so much success with Ska, that we never published them anymore unfortunately…….because they were really beautiful….;-(
Redstar73 Blog: With your new project Amsterdam Faya Allstars you have released last year the debut album. Please tell us about it.
Remco: Faya is a slang word in Suriname and the west indies for Duende, Begeisterung, fire in speaking term.
I had this concept in my mind for already 20 years.
When I heard that Arne and Rob wanted to stop in 2 years, at their 50’s, I decided not to wait till the end of the band. I wasn’t the youngest anymore already…..so I was a bit in a hurry.;-)
I stopped all the bands I was playing in and focussed myself for the next 3 years on this band! I knew it would be very difficult to create a band like this. I was looking for top musicians that play ska reggae of course but also, Latin, Jazz, Surf, etc, etc on absolute top level! And that was hard to find!!!! It took me long time, to find, finance and train this band. In the beginning nobody understood it, but after a while they did and the chemistry started to flow. The shows are top crazy in Amsterdam!! Just like the musicians! I didn’t want to make this music with typical ska-musicians because they couldn’t do this, I tried that years before already but without success.
I wanted a Jazz pianist, A hardcore guitarist, a reggae, Jazz World Music bass player, etc, etc, and improvising on the spot! It took me a long journey, but I found the best musicians of Amsterdam. Piano Player from Armenia, Guitarist from Uruguay, Drummer from Curacao, Bass Player from Suriname, Tenorsax from Java Indonesia and me in a mix of Spanish, Indonesia, England and the Netherlands. A lovely mix! It is Amsterdam in a nutshell! 😉 We bringing cultures together and we share the love for Jamaican music. The recordings took a long time the mix also. But I’m very happy with the end result. We play at Jazz Festivals as Ska Festivals, etc…..it fits everywhere.
Redstar73 Blog: How would you describe your sound?
Remco: Jamaican Jazz 2 the MaXx. It is so diverse that it is hard to settle in just one corner. Just like Amsterdam, Just like me.
Redstar73 Blog: What’s up next for Amsterdam Faya Allstars?
Remco: We’re going to Japan and Corea in February 2016. In the summer we going to USA, Costa Rica, Mexico and the 6 Dutch West Indies Islands and in between working on a new album 😉 and a few gigs here and there. The next cd will be more liverecorded and more weird than the first full album! 😉 Looking forward for that process!
Redstar73 Blog: Last words!
Remco: Let’s hope we can play in Barcelona, Catalunya and all the other places on the Iberia Island! And of course……let’s hope the world would be a better place …specially for all the children in the world! Peace! Music is a nice tool to express for higher purposes that are much more important! But this band make people crazy inna nice way: More FAYA!!!
Buy the CD here:
Amsterdam Faya Allstars – All Minorities Are The Majority CD
Mr. Review – Walkin’down Brentford Road CD
Mr. Review – Lock, Stock & Barrel CD
Mr. Review- Keep the Fire Burning CD