Joey Fever is one of Sweden’s fastest rising reggae stars. He has worked with both domestic producers and producers from abroad. Now he is set to drop his eagerly anticipated debut album In A Fever. Reggaemani has met him to talk about his work.
I meet Joey Fever outside the subway entrance on a crowded street in the city area of Södermalm. We are heading to the Panic Room studio, a studio that is just a stone throw away from our meeting spot.
Joey Fever is one of Sweden's fastest rising reggae stars.
He is dressed in jeans, jeans shirt and his very recognizable hat. He looks just like the scurrilous portrait of someone living in Södermalm (which he does), a part of Stockholm that was previously a working class neighborhood, but is nowadays occupied by trendy musicians, artists and people working in advertising.
It is a flourish way down to the studio. Long dark walkways, stairs and narrow nooks. When we have entered the studio Joey Fever sits down in a sofa with a big jug of coffee.
The studio is mostly used by a bunch of Swedish drum & bass producers, and Joey has rented studio time for the last couple of months. He is often here to voice riddims, and one of the latest is a relick of the classic Answer riddim, originally produced by Coxsone Dodd. Behind the new version is German producers Germaica.
Broad new album
His new album – In A Fever – is not recorded here though. It was mostly recorded in producer Mastah L’s home studio.
“Mastah L has produced most of Governor Andy’s stuff. He also produced Million Stylez’s Miss Fatty,” says Joey,
The new album boosts 16 tunes, where of eleven are produced by Mastah L. The other songs are produced by Viktorious from Sweden, Silly Walks from Germany, Weedy G Soundforce from Switzerland and Fresharda and Lockdown from the UK.
“We started recording about a year ago. But I have worked on it for about one and a half year.”
The album has been delayed several times. Joey explains that when you do this on a small scale it is hard to have everything done in time.
“The material was finished some time ago, but you have the mastering, studio time, graphic design and different wills,” he explains.
Worked with Curtis Lynch
UK-based producer Curtis Lynch did a wicked combination with Million Stylez and Joey Fever in 2009. That tune is not included on the album, nor is any other tunes produced by him.
“He is a wicked producer and we have talked about working together, but nothing new has been recorded,” says Joey.
Joey adds that Young Gunz had some impact on his career, but that he had a following previously, partly due to Sweetness.
Music is a part of life
But his career did not start with Sweetness. Joey says that music has always been a natural part of life, since his relatives on his mother’s side are almost all musicians. His brother – Junior Tan – is also a singer and has started to make a name for himself.
“I used to sing as a kid and both my uncles are reggae musicians,” he says, and continues:
“I fell in love with reggae in the 90’s and in high school I used to deejay with some sounds in clubs. And it was not all reggae.”
In the early 2000 he was in the group Collision for four years. He was front man and singer in this eight piece outfit that recorded some demo tapes.
“It was a bit unwieldy, so I left around 2005 and started to voice some riddims. The first big one was Youth Dem Rise on the Majestic riddim.”
Release on Lockdown
In A Fever is a broad album and spans from one drop reggae and early dancehall to the sounds of contemporary Jamaica.
“I think it is modern. It is modern roots and one drop with a dancehall touch,” he says.
In A Fever hit the streets on May 10.
It will be released on Tippa Irie’s label Lockdown, a subsidiary to major label BMG.
“Lockdown contacted me about two years ago and they were interested in working together.”
Rooted in the 80’s
Joey has just got back from some shows in Germany and is obviously tired. He is keen to play some of the songs from the album, but does not get the technology right. He calls some friends and after a while we are listening to a recut of the Tonight riddim.
When Joey Fever sings his voice is similar to Jah Cure. But Joey Fever is a talented deejay as well.
“I am inspired by Barrington [Levy], Michael Rose, Junior Reid and Cocoa Tea. But also Shabba [Ranks], Supercat and Tippa Irie,” he explains, and continues:
“I was born in 1981, so I have listened a lot to Chaka Demus and I also love to play with lyrics as the British deejays did.”
The album sounds very much like 80’s reggae done with a modern touch. And it spans from the early bouncy rub a dub to the sweeter sounds that were made popular by Augustus “Gussie” Clarke later in the decade. It is easy accessible and with some hit potential.
“I am pleased as hell with the album. It shows where I am musically and it represents me,” he concludes.