Wiss, Skelly, the new album is called 'Stamina'. How much stamina did it take to get where you are today?
Lascelle 'Wiss' Bulgin: "Our stamina came from Jah. Jah is the stamina within all steps of creation. It's only because of H.I.M. that positive things happen. He's been the source of all our energy."
And what can you tell us about the new album?
Wiss: "It's a different blend. It still has the same lyrical content, we still praise Jah, but the music is slightly different, more up-tempo also."
On your albums the songs always seem to be nicely divided between the two of you. How does the Israel Vibration writing process take place exactly? Do you sit together and write?
Wiss: "Every man writes his own songs individually. We don't really plan it or sit together to do it. It's just when you get a vibe, you write it down. When we arrive at the studio is really the first time we hear each others songs."
Back in the day you guys were expelled from the Mona rehabilitation centre because of your Rastafarian beliefs. Is it still as difficult today to live as a Rastafarian in Western society?
Wiss: "Well, there are still certain vibes in Babylon trying to fight us, but a good thing will always prevail. From that time until now Rastafari has taken root and made its stand within creation. The word of Jah never fails. Jah gave the word and great are those who establish it on earth (Psalm 68:11 The Lord gave the word. Great was the company of those that published it, red.). It's really like the parable Jah gave us about a farmer who went to sow his seeds (Matthew 13, the parable of the sower, red.). Some of the seeds fell on good soil, some fell on the rocks and others fell aside on the road. The meaning of that is that only a handful of people is really aware of what's going on. If you have that consciousness you will know there's hope for redemption. Jah never made man to be destroyed, he made man to live! It's man who brought destruction upon himself. Jah vibes are always there, his goodness is always there and I&I uphold that at all times. Jah Rastafari!"
At one stage you guys migrated to the United States. Do you still go back to Jamaica often?
Cecil 'Skelly' Spence: "Yeah man! The new album was recorded there!"
Do you feel there's a difference between recording in Jamaica or elsewhere then?
Skelly: "I like to record there because musician-wise to I-man Jamaica is like a candy store. Instead of having to settle with one drummer you have a choice between ten drummers and that goes for all other musicians as well. You have a lot of choice there."
One of the pillars of Rastafari is the ital way of living. What would a good meal consist of for Israel Vibration?
Wiss: "Well honestly, that differs a lot between the different members of the group. Some people eat fish, some eat a little chicken and others just eat vegetables. We don't really hold that against people, but for me it's just pure vegetables. As we go along we just hope people will understand why we uphold a vegetarian lifestyle. People and animals were created to share the land together. Jah created all the necessary vegetable foods to sustain all needs of man, so we don't really need to kill animals for that. Jah put I&I on this earth to take care of all living things, not to kill them. Rastafari!"
Israel Vibration tours extensively. We see you pass by almost every year. What would you say is the hardest part of living on the road? What's the thing you hate most about touring?
Wiss: "I don't really hate anything about it; it's all part of the package."
Skelly: "I hate the long drives and sometimes you can't get the food you're used to and your system has to adjust to that. But as Wiss says, it all comes with the package so you just have to deal with it."
Are there places you look forward going to more than others because you already enjoyed playing there in the past?
Wiss: "Not really, because a lot of times we still play at venues where we've never played before. Wherever the invitation takes us, that's where we will be."
I would like to finish the interview by giving you some names and you can just respond by explaining what they mean to you. The first one: Dr. Dread of R.A.S. records?
Wiss: "He had a lot to do with reggae crossing the borders of the United States. Even before we joined up with him, he was already doing his thing. He played a big part in the evolution of Israel Vibration. Jah works in mysterious ways and puts people in different places to do his work. A lot of times people don't even realise Jah is using them to do certain things."
The Roots Radics?
Skelly: "We've been working with them for the past twelve years now. They are some good musicians, but sadly most of the original members aren't there anymore."
Last, but certainly not least, His Imperial Majesty?
Skelly: "Much love and respect every time!"
Wiss: "Jah controls everything and made all living beings. All nations have to bow within the presence of the Most High His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I Yahweh Father of Iration. Jah Rastafari ever living!"
Thanks for doing this!
Wiss & Skelly: "Blessed! Selassie I!"