5 Questions with Leftside ... Jack of all musical trades
There's something that is awe-inspiring about a recording artiste that can write music, play more than one instrument, understands production and also assume the role of a disc jockey if needed.
Craig Parks, son of legendary bass player Lloyd Parks, became interested in playing the drums from an early age later leading to a career in music. Many more know him as Leftside, a reggae/dancehall artiste that never shied away from working with others on collaborations or just being his comical self on and off the record. He is currently the owner of Keep Left Records. The label has plans to introduce new artistes to the scene including a few of his own music with female artistes. Leftside is also preparing to release the Happy Life riddim, which features, Stacious and Vanzo from Magnum Kings and Queens among others.
Learn more about Leftside as we take the journey, 5 Questions with Leftside.
1. As a multi-instrumentalist you have played for late greats like Dennis Brown, John Holt, and Gregory Isaacs. What is your best memory or lesson learnt being a travelling band member performing live on stage with any one of them?
Leftside: One of the best memories (although I cannot remember the year) was actually performing locally at a Reggae Sumfest with these veterans. It was an epic show with Dennis Brown and John Holt. It was a very musical time for me so being around that environment with those greats allowed me to develop my style of music. Vintage reggae music and the artistes who performed the genre taught me how to fuse it with the dancehall, which was significantly influenced by these artistes.
2. You have always been good at doing imitations of local and international artistes among those included, Bounty Killa, Baby Cham, Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z and Chris Brown. Have you ever considered stand-up comedy and did you ever receive any backlash for it?
Leftside: Firstly, it is never my thing to disrespect anybody. My impersonations of people is just me imitating how they speak, slangs they use and/or facial expressions so when they see or hear me they just have to laugh and say 'yo that bad'. You have some people that may impersonate an artiste and there is a bit of disrespect attached to it or may say stuff that are inappropriate. That's one of the reasons I could never do standup comedy because there are times that you have to draw for information that may hurt or defame a person's character and that is something I really, personally don't like.
3. Of late we have not heard much of your alter ego. What ever happened to Dr. Evil?
Leftside: I haven't been doing much Dr. Evil, actually for more than 10 years. That decision was made so I could expand my brand as Leftside. Though my alter ego, Dr. Evil, had a proper impact on my career, individuals had it as separate entities while many did not know it was the same person. It was actually comes out of vibing during a session at Renaissance Disco's studio; DJ Pepsi said it was a good idea to take it on as part of my career so we were running with. Eventually I didn't want the evil brand or label to my name.
4. How did you spend this Christmas holiday?
Leftside: I spent this Christmas holiday working. Most of the season was spent performing throughout Europe, from shows in Italy, Germany and Amsterdam as well as show in Columbia. That's how it goes, when work have to do, work have to do because we still have bills, family and other responsibilities to take care of. In the music business you have to may hay while the sun shines.
5. Having travelled to Columbia over the past month to perform, what differences have you recognised from performing in the Latin American country versus other countries?
Leftside: The difference with performing is the energy. It is 100 per cent different than anywhere else. They love dancehall. I think it is more the dancehall and the culture that they are in love with then us as artistes just contribute to that with our style. The trip to Columbia was good; it is a beautiful country though not much to say because it was one day in the next day out. There was a lot of respect and just seriously good energy.