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Into the underground

Published: 
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Five Miles to Midnight has been attracting outside interest with island rock, their brand of fusion rock music.

If asked to name the most popular performers in T&T, most people would think of soca artistes like Machel Montano, Destra Garcia and Bunji Garlin. Less popular are the stars of the alternative music that features highly talented rock, rap, reggae and hip-hop performers. These acts have sizeable fan bases but they don’t have mainstream success. Alexis Edwards takes a glance at a few of the acts making a mark on the alternative music scene. 

ISLAND ROCK—FIVE MILES TO MIDNIGHT

Five Miles to Midnight plays island rock, creating fusions of rock and other diverse sounds that make up Caribbean music. Its more popular hits are D.R.U.G.S and Control (Ctrl). The band recently appeared on a showcase at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Texas, USA. 

In an interview via social media, the members aid they are exploring some prospects as a result of their exposure at SXSW. 

“We have been solicited by a few people who saw us there regarding possible music licensing which would be awesome but these things take time so we hope that works out.” Five Miles to Midnight is currently preparing for an upcoming showcase at the trendy DROM club in New York on June 14, with help from local sponsors of Flow and MusicTT.

HEAVY METAL—LYNCHPIN

Recently, Lynchpin (aka LYNCHPiN), won the Caribbean Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Suriname. Lynchpin, along another T&T rock group, The Supernormal Band, battled several other regional rock bands to earn a spot at the Wacken Open Air Battle in Germany in August. 

Lynchpin’s success gives it the opportunity to share the stage with global heavy metal heavyweights like Iron Maiden and Lamb of God. 

The band members told the T&T Guardian they’ve seen a “tremendous response” from the local rock community since their success in Suriname. 

As the first Caribbean rock band to perform at the Wacken Open Air Festival, its participation in such a huge international event is “a game-changer and a huge opportunity to showcase that T&T, and by extension, the Caribbean’s homegrown rock music.” 

LOCAL RAP

Local rap is still a fledgling genre in T&T but in the last year, Jimmy October, Jay Nahge, Mark Hardy and Young Rudd have emerged as some of the brightest talents. Since his most popular song, GO$$!P, October has been putting out music regularly, the one-time spoken word artiste’s new single is Tag ’Em Up, a collaboration with Jay Nahge. October, 21, is currently working on a project, a mini-album called Something to Believe In. 

Other talents doing extremely well are Hardy and Rudd, who have hits like Pumping’, Iz A Trini, Nah Boy, Don’t Blush and their most recent Taxes (We Going Up). Mark Hardy and Young Rudd as well as Inzey and the Dopeskis will perform with Five Miles to Midnight at Drom in New York, on June 14. 

URBAN CONTEMPORARY—

FREETOWN COLLECTIVE

Freetown Collective is an urban contemporary band, fronted by Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons. The five-member group has been together for a number of years and has a large following across T&T. 

The band has performed at international events like the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Headphunk 2015 in St Lucia.

Freetown is putting the finishing touches on its much-anticipated debut album which features its “unique blend of live and programmed instrumentation.” 

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