Navigator Launches Debut Album & Chats with Team LSD
His undying passion, commitment and consistency, reinforced by steely focus and determination, has finally led to the release of Navigator’s debut album ‘Alignment’. This album is the Navigator message to the world and it contains strong, conscious lyrical content that many people will identify with, and the diverse music backing the message will appeal to all generations of true skool music lovers worldwide. The ‘Alignment’ LP is a 27 track masterpiece of UK MC history.
Navi took some time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with us.
Navi man, nice to chat. So after nearly 4 decades in music we finally have your debut album Alignment. How does it feel to be releasing this?
It feels like a new beginning, an opening of a new chapter in the journey of Navigator the artist. Many elements, energies and forces have aligned to make this moment possible. I have had the patience of a Saint, but it has finally happened at what I believe to be the right time for right reasons. I had no expectations, I just wanted to get it out to the public, as a thank you gift for all the love that has been shown over the years. The response has been huge, straight in at No.1 on Juno, Liondub radio show Alignment album preview on Kool London went to No.1 on mixcloud, plus we went to No.3 on Beatport’s reggae chart, plus album of the month in Mixmag. Everything that has happened is a bonus to me, because I expected nothing which makes it all the more special. Alignment encompasses Reggae Dancehall, Jungle Drum & Bass and Progressive Breaks. What was the inspirations behind a cross-genre release? I started off on reggae sound systems chatting over 80s dancehall music, in the 90s I got into Jungle and started Mc’ing at raves, at the same I was rolling with Ragga Twins as their hype man. Later in the 90s I went on to be a host on Radio 1 in the Jungle, then I joined the band Freestylers, then I formed Jungle DnB outfit Rawhill Cru with Spyda and so on and so forth. I have been involved in so many genres of music since the start of my career, that I have built up a massive worldwide fanbase off of the back of the cross-genre records I have made over then last 25 years. In 2005 I linked with Liondub and he was making Jungle with some original Jamaican artists in person, this caught my attention and we built up a solid friendship which led on to being a partnership. I had already started my album in 2005 with Roni Size then but due to politics it never came out. But the bug was already inside me and I had to finish the job. In 2011 Liondub asked me if he could remix ‘Inequity Worker’ a track I did with D*Note in 1994. I said yes and he got Noah D to remix it, we shot a video in Berlin and dropped it on Liondub International. That was when Liondub said he wanted to drop a Navigator album on his label and he wanted a cross-genre record too, it was a perfect scenario and we got to work. We started off with a load of crap quality mp3’s I had, and had to go back in and reconstruct beats etc, but I was so hyped I saw it as a challenge that I had conquer. As we got deeper into doing the album, tunes popped up out of nowhere, I found old tunes that I had forgotten about, and we were making a lot of new stuff too. Liondub hooked me up with Ranking Joe who is a hero of mine and we did Junglist sound and dropped an EP off the album with like 18 remixes all different styles of remixes. So really and truthfully I am a cross-genre artist that is mainly known as a Jungle MC. Dropping this album is a statement that solidifies my status as a cross-genre artist in my own right.
You’ve featured some all star artists like Roni Size, Potential Badboy, Liondub, David Boomah to name a few. What’s it been like working with those guys?
Well it’s been an honour and a pleasure. They are highly talented individuals who are consummate professionals always seeking to push the levels higher and the boundaries further. Me and Liondub have grown together musically over the last 12 years. Potential Badboy is someone who I have admired for a long time, when I got the Kingston 11 remix he did I had it on repeat for 4 weeks straight, such a quality piece of music. David Boomah and I have a unique affinity when it comes to making music, its so effortless, pretty much like the tracks I have made with Skarra Mucci, all bangers!! I did a whole 10 track album with Roni in 2005 and that was also a mad experience with, Krust, DJ Die, Clipz and also Jumping Jack Frost. A couple of those tunes made it onto this album too but the whole process of going into a studio with a passionate producer who knows his trade and writing to his beats while he is engineering the beat at the same time, has to be one of biggest buzzes in the whole scope of doing what I do musically.
Alignment has been in the making for a while now, who were your major musical influences over that time?
I was feeling Jamaican reggae dancehall big time around 2004/5. When Drop Leaf riddim came out, Movado’s first album dropped and Vybez Kartel was rising to stardom. I was over in Jamaica a lot during that period of time. But it was more the new school roots style that caught my attention and the melodic way they were singing the songs, also the message in the lyrics and the flow, this made me want to experiment with my singing voice more. It really helped me to expand vocally and use the full range of my voice, for which I am humbly grateful.
Of all the tracks you’ve released, do you have a favourite?
Right now it’s Pressuring the Poor on my album. Video soon come!
Your tracks have strong lyrical content. Do you try and tell a story with each track on the album?
All of my lyrics have a relevance to real life. Real life is everyones story, therefore everyone can relate. I write about my experiences, my observations and my thoughts. I suppose I am telling a story with this album, through 12 years of musical expression.
Alignment is your message to the world with a diverse music soundtrack. What is your main message from this album?
Be aware, be in alignment with your inner self, inner peace is the new success!
What reaction have you been getting personally on the release so far?
The reaction has been crazy, not only from the fans of the music, but also producers remixing tracks and bussing them on me randomly in a set. Hahaha! Wow it’s really been an amazing response. I had no expectations, I just wanted to get it out to the public. The feedback has been overwhelming.
The album is dropping in conjunction with the third instalment of the documentary ‘The Evolution of a London MC: Journey To Alignment’. Are the two intertwined?
Most definitely, I have been working closely with Beat Culture London over the past 7 years on short instalment of our documentary called The Evolution of a London MC. We have already released 2 parts and we are now ready to drop part 3 which covers the last 6 years of my life living in Berlin. We are also going to release a soundtrack of old and new Navigator music, a few of which have never been heard before. Jamie who runs Beat Culture has been a key player in the orchestration of what I’v been doing over the last 8 years. Look out for more in depth projects from Beat Culture London.
Alignment is a masterpiece in UK MC history. Do you feel this is your magnum opus?
I have to say it is definitely the biggest and most consistent body of work I have ever put together as an artist and as a creative director. In the words of my label partner Liondub: The ‘Alignment’ LP is a 27 track masterpiece of UK MC history that perfectly showcases the artists versatile abilities and is a definitive chapter in Navigator’s life.
What’s next for Navigator?
Everything that has happened is a bonus to me, plus I’ve enjoyed putting this project together so much, that I am now on a mission to drop an album every year for at least the nest 6 years. In between that look out for some very high profile musical projects and releases including some legendary vocalists for an unbelievable roster of old school artists and new school talent. Rest assured after 38 years hard slog, I feel brand new and like I am just starting to do what I’ve always wanted to do all these years, which is be that independent artist making and releasing the music I am feeling and not being dictated to by major record companies or any of that crap. I have taken control of my own music and artistic expression and it feels amazing. I will never rest on my laurels, that is not my style, that’s why my label is called ODT Muzik, meaning ON DIS TING, or in plain english, ON THIS THING. Relentless, Driven, Inspired, Motivated. Seals. Peace out!
We asked Navigator if he had any shout outs and he gave us the longest list we’ve ever published but hey, when you drop an album like that…
Salutes to: my Mother & also my Father (RIP) for giving me life in the first instance, my children & grandchildren who have been a major inspiration in my transition into the artist Navigator, I love you all dearly.
Out to my team at ODT Muzik and Liondub-ODT Muzik, my dear brother Alaska MC, family man like Liondub, Soultrain Locomotive (Railroad Ent), Jamie (Beat Culture London), Shalshani (DIFALA), Baba Adrian, Deman Rockers & Flinty Badman aka The Ragga Twins, Sean Major (RIP brother), Skarra Mucci, David Boomah, Erbndub, Spikey Tee, Marcus Visionary, DJ Afghan (SouLove Italy), DJ Shablo (Roccia Music Italy) Remarc, Aries, Zoobie (Social Security), J Sunz, Bobby London, Shawn T, Anthony, Capital B, Spooka & SMK (Red Alert), Julian Wildgrüber (Made Vision Munich, thank you for everything King), Phantom Warrior (Katana Audio Berlin), Rich & Antonio (Pyro Radio), Daddy Skitz, Natasha (RIP), Ranking Joe, Lone Ranger, Johnny Osbourne, Raymond Napthali (one of my sound system MC teachers), Rebel MC aka Cóngo Natty, Congo Dubs, Phoebe Iron Dread, Nanci, Potential Badboy, Ras Demo, Show Stephens, Sid Young (3rd Eye Records), Kelvin 373, Mampi Swift, Ray Keith, Roni Size, Krust, Jumping Jack Frost, Brian Gee, Darren Jay, Mickey Finn, Roni Size, MC Dynamite, Rob (Stush), Uncle Dugs & Ms Wiggle, Jono D (Vibena Jungle), Aman (Jungle Jam), David Rodigan, Bobo El Numero Uno, Phase One Sound (Tottenham), Otis & Roland G (both gave me my first break in sound systems in 1980), Eddy Regal, Skiffington (BWF original Junglist RIP), Fatman Hi Power, Flip, General P, Mikey Crucial, Militant Dread, Issac Natty, Ribs (Unity Hifi), Leo & Moses (First Choice), Ricky Ranking, Kenny Knots, Peter Bouncer, Tenor Fly (RIP my family), Lloyd Coxsone, Blacka Dread, Bikey Dread, Jah Screechy, Top Cat, General Levy, Sweetie Irie, Tippa Irie, Rubi Dan, Million Stylez, Colourman, Donavan Kingjay, Jnr Dangerous, Sean Major (RIEP my brother), Seanie T, Dub Pistols, Barry Ashworth, Rodney P, Foreign Beggars, Sticky Joe, Brother Culture, Daddy Freddy, Virgo Don, Cheshire Cat, Robbo Dread, YT, Ras Cowboy Ranger, Logan D, Majistrate, Slipz, Spyda (Black Tarantula), Blu Bomma, (Basslayers), MC Agent (Romania) Funsta, Dreps, Lady Chann, Rico Dan, Flowdan, Deadly Hunta, Solo Banton, Bassman, Trigga, Nutcracka, Evil B, Herbzie, Eksman, MC Foxy, Skibadee, Shabba D, Stormin, Harry Shotta, DJ Phantasy, Blacka MC, Rieo Sky, Brockie & Det, Pressure X, Eastman, KOOL LONDON Family, Wilbur Wilberforce (Radio1), Terry T & James (3rd Party Recs), Brian Belle Fortune (All Crews), James Burns (London Rooftops), Paul Ibiza, Mark Kemit, Reinforced Crew, Goldie, Cleveland Watkiss, Aston Freestylers, Valerie M, Sirreal, Asian Dub Foundation, Adrian Sherwood, Ghetto Priest, Pony Montana, Guiliano (FGP), Uncle 22, Kool Hand Flex, Randall, Fats, De Underground Crew (Forest Gate), Lenny De Ice, Everton & Kingsley (Roast Crew), Paul Roast, Jungle Fever, William (VIP Champagne Bash), Moose (Godfather Jungle MC), MC GQ (Godfather Rave MC), Chelone Wolf aka MC Lowqui (heavy photographer), RIP Stevie Hyper D (miss you bro), Jungle Mania (Bridge & Elliott), Lloyd Innovation, UCOJ (Merrix & Jamie G), Geek Tekneek, Joe & Wesley (Ego Media), Sam De La Haye, Simon Goffe (Heavyweight Management from 90s), The Angel & Kevin, (Supa Crucial LA), AK 1200, DJ Dara, DJ Wednesday, TC Islam (RIP), MC Question Mark (legendary LA based MC from UK), MC Dyer, Bass Nacho, Noah D, Lost City, Jah Lingua, Dappaman, DJ Phat, Mr Japs, MC K, Philleye, DJ Jona, (Jungle Kidz Saarbrücken), Mannheim 68er Massive, DJ Funksta, Meditation Crew, Royal Rumble, Red Busta Flex, Svemir Milos, Bassface Sascha, DJ Freeze, MC Shadow (Mannheim), The Green Man (TGM), Brian Brainstorm (Köln), Tease (Stuttgart), Frank Topline (Berlin), DJ Rocket (Hannover), More Fire Festival, MC Stunnah (Celle), Dread FX, Profit – Florian & Martin (Berlin), Ras Lion, Jimi Handtrix, No Money (Czech Rep), Rahmanee (Serbia), FLeCK, Alex (Tigersonic Studios), Basement Studios Berlin, Fabian, Lennert, (Berlin) Basi (Red Bull Academy Salzburg) Domenico, (my sound engineering teacher at Deutsche Pop Academy Berlin), Astoria (the venue RIP), all of my fallen soldiers over the years, home to glory, I catch you all on the rebound and to everyone else who has helped me, supported me and are fans of Reggae, Jungle, Drum & Bass & UK Bass music worldwide especially the ones that buy the music and the ravers who come out to support the shows. #Salute