Every era has its pioneers and the post-internet generation of reggae fans are already celebrating record producer/re-mixer and DJ sensation Prince Fatty as one of their own. His futuristic take on old school reggae, soul and Latin grooves served up in a style that’s uniquely his and full of character has now made him hugely popular on the international club and festival circuit.
The mastermind behind the music collective from Brighton is producer Mike Pelanconi who has worked with a diverse repertoire of artists and labels, from the acid jazz of the 1990s to rock musicians like Graham Coxon (of Blur), reggae legends like Gregory Isaacs and Dub Syndicate, and pop singers such as Lily Allen. Other musicians he has worked with include JD from A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, N’Dea Davenport, Brand New Heavies, Mother Earth, Kula Shaker, The Sugarhill Gang, Little Roy, Adrian Sherwood/ON-U Sound, Lo Fidelity Allstars, Born Jamericans, Luciano, Capleton, Nostalgia 77 and The Skints.
In 2005, the clothing company Stüssy put together a line inspired by the vivid, rootsy styles of Jamaica to commemorate their 25th anniversary, and turned to Pelanconi to create a limited-edition single to complement it. Inspired by the optimistic, laid-back vibe of Jamaica in the early 1970s, Pelanconi created an alter-ego nicknamed ‘Prince Fatty,’ meant as a tongue-in-cheek reference to King Tubby. The instrumental track he created for Stussy, ‘Nina’s Dance,’ was unexpectedly successful, getting airplay on BBC Radio 1.
Following its success, Pelanconi decided to create an album length homage to what he considered one of the most vibrant eras in Jamaican music. For the album, Survival of the Fattest, Pelanconi assembled a ‘supergroup’ of reggae greats, including afrobeat saxophonist Bukky Leo, drummer Style Scott from the Roots Radics, Nostalgia 77’s horn section, and Hammond organ by Bubblers from Ruff Cut Band. Guest vocals were provided by Hollie Cook, singer from The Slits and daughter of former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, as well as Winston Francis, and Little Roy. The album was recorded on vintage analogue equipment to preserve the signature sound of reggae and dub records. Pelanconi also strove to update the sound by speeding up tempos and attempting to push the boundaries of classic dub and reggae by referencing the modern influences of hip-hop (especially evident in the cover of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’, as well as Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”).
Prince Fatty’s set at the Wilkswood Reggae Festival will feature Horseman, aka Winston Williams. Following three decades of working with the creme de la creme of the reggae world, Williams stepped into the spotlight in November 2014 with his Prince Fatty produced album ‘Dawn Of The Dread’ for Mr Bongo. As fearsome a drummer as he is an MC, Horseman has worked with musicians and producers Tippa Irie, Max Romeo, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Jah Shaka, Mad Professor, Barrington Levy, Eeka Mouse and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with John Holt – to name but a few – most recently performing with Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty.
Prince Fatty Soundsystem have proclaimed that they were made to “dub your feet with Rock Steady beats and stimulate brain waves in a jazz-like way”. What better way to spend a sunny afternoon in the beautiful Purbeck countryside.