After 10 years of Radiodread, The Easy Star All-Stars are Fitter, Happier

Easy Star All-Stars
Easy Star All-Stars
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Radiohead returned to the fray earlier this year with new album A Moon Shaped Pool.

But the reggae-collective Easy Star All-Stars will also be revisiting the Oxford band’s 1997 classic, OK Computer, as their own inspired full-album reimagining Radiodread hits its 10th anniversary.

The New York-based group has made its name with its genre-bending takes on a slew of stone-cold classic albums including Dub Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Lonely Hearts Dub Band (The Beatles) and Thrillah (Michael Jackson).

Drummer Ivan Katz joined the collective when a touring band was put together to take their debut Dub Side out live and has been there ever since.

He recalls the start of the Radiodread project: ‘I knew the single Karma Police, but I didn’t know the album. It’s a brilliant album – perhaps it’s a crime that I wasn’t so familiar with the album.

‘I’m a guy who’s in love with reggae and have been in love with it since I was a teenager. I just can’t get enough of reggae music, but I’m also someone who strives to hear lots of new music – I love soul, r’n’b and hip-hop, but I also love classic rock – The Who and Zeppelin are two of my favourite bands.

We’re not trying to really mess with the brilliance of the originals

Ivan Katz

‘I went and listened to the original album to prepare for doing those sessions and it’s kind of fun to adapt those tunes in to reggae arrangements.

‘It’s like bringing two worlds together, it’s the cool thing about these projects, You’ll get people who aren’t so familiar with reggae checking it out more because of these and this new twist.’

With them routinely tackling some of rock’s most sacred cows, how have fans of the originals taken to the Easy Stars?

‘We’ve had nothing but positive receptions to it. I think back to the first time when we came to the UK, wondering how people would take to us playing Pink Floyd, and I remember talking to people from the audience and they said they were sceptical, but it was brilliant.

‘If you’re reinventing the music, not just covering it, I think that’s valid.

‘If you’re going to touch something like that, do something different. If not reggae then some other genre – I can’t blame someone if they say the only way they want to hear Sgt Pepper is by The Beatles, I respect that, but they might just get a gas hearing us play it to a reggae beat.

‘We’re not trying to really mess with the brilliance of the originals.’