Marcus Gad, the fast-rising reggae artist hailing from New Caledonia, a French-controlled island in the South Pacific, embodies a spiritual movement of soul music and meditative roots that is uniquely his. For his latest project he has teamed up once again with his long-time collaborator and friend, French producer Tamal. Together they give us a slice of their dynamic, globally influenced reggae style on their just released project Brave New World. The new album is out now on Easy Star Records. Stream or buy it here.
Marcus Gad and Tamal first met in 2009 when Tamal, beatmaker and sound engineer, was working at the famous Davout Studios in Paris. He recorded Marcus Gad’s first songs in 2011, as well as Marcus’s acclaimed debut album Chanting. Tamal later joined Marcus Gad & Tribe on tour as their official live sound engineer. The duo officially debuted as Marcus Gad Meets Tamal with the release of their first EP Enter A Space, which included their breakout hit “River.”
Brave New World first came together in April 2020 when the entire world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcus had just released his album Rhythm Of Serenity, produced by Zion I Kings, and was forced to postpone his biggest European tour ever. Despite this, the album came as a musical remedy for his fans and grew his overseas fan base. After spending almost 3 months in lockdown in a little village in the South of France, Gad went to Paris where he met up with his long-time friend Tamal to begin work on the single “Brave New World” as a positive response to the situation.
“After Enter A Space was released in 2019, Brave New World was an obvious name for the second opus,” says Tamal. “Brave New World refers to this new space we’ve now entered, the world we continuously try to create in our music. Also, this project was born during the pandemic and the lockdown, when the entire world was facing this new crisis.” Marcus adds, “There was this dystopian atmosphere overshadowing the whole situation that made a lot of us wonder if we wanted to be a part of this brand new world out there.”
The record was written at Tamal’s home studio in Paris and recorded at Stereobox Studios in Paris. Due to the sound they were trying to achieve, the duo approached the new record in a DIY fashion using digital beat production and a minimalistic approach. Composed mostly of riddims produced by Tamal, Marcus then completed the compositions, resulting in a more modern sound, while keeping the influences that the duo grew up with: the result is a blend of reggae, soul, and hip-hop. The urban beats and modern sounds mixed with traditional elements form the overall aesthetic of the album, finding a meeting place of old and new. In the same song, you can hear a reggae rhythm over an 808 beat, or a hip hop beat mixed with a traditional Moroccan loutar, all the while still tuned in at 432hz. According to the duo, “resonating at this frequency prevents stress, promotes relaxation, and can heal our internal systems.”
Beyond the title track, the album is packed with standout songs. “Tempo,” which was released as a single and had a striking and popular music video, was inspired by Marcus’ last trip to Morocco, where he spent 3 months during lockdown, steeped in the country's sounds and sights. It was there that he acquired the traditional fretless lute originating from the high Atlas mountains called a loutar, and combined the sounds of the ancient instrument with contemporary electronic production. Another single was “Sunshine,” which was the first song written for the new project. “We were about to end our 2018 tour and Tamal and I had been speaking about exploring some new sounds,” says Marcus. “On a long drive between two shows, I ended up recording the first version of ‘Sunshine,’ and thus the project was born.”
The listening experience will serve as an internal spiritual journey as well as a musical adventure without borders. The album touches on various topics ranging from the excess of our modern societies to hope and resilience for humanity. “Between the Lines” is about the warming and rising of the oceans and a warning from a South Pacific Islander who has seen the impacts of global warming firsthand. “Callin I Tribe” is a shout out to Marcus’ band Tribe and anyone who recognizes themselves as workers for light. “One Day” is a song about maintaining your faith in an ever evolving world. “Treasure” is about Marcus’ relationship with mycelium, the knowledge gained from the study of mushrooms, which can help open your mind to the great macrocosm. “Look Around” is a meditation and invitation to reflect and be present in the moment. The soulful “Young One” is dedicated to the younger generation. “From The Ashes” calls out for man to live in respect with nature, and asks us to reconnect to the natural rhythm that we have long disconnected from. The album concludes with “Be Careful What You Wish For,” a song about being grateful for what we have and setting intentions to what might come next.
Easy Star Records, one of the premier reggae labels in the world, instantly recognized Marcus Gad and Tamal’s vision, and knew they would be a great fit to their roster. Gad adds, “I’m truly looking forward to working together with Easy Star Records and reaching a wider audience in the US. Coming from a mostly unknown island in the South Pacific Ocean, it has always been magical for me to see how far and wide music and its message can travel. It is important for us island nations to express ourselves and to be heard on an international scale, to be more than just silent witnesses to the current global situation." Add Marcus’s music to a growing list of great reggae coming out of the Pacific ocean, from Hawaiian-based artists like The Green and J Boog to New Zealand’s The Black Seeds, Katchafire, and Fat Freddy’s Drop.