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Yes King - Hail To The King, Baby

Author: Alexander Harris
Thursday, 14 August 2008

When Mark Rae (formerly of Rae & Christian) set out to make his second solo album, little did he know he'd end up in Jamaica creating new sounds under the Yes King moniker. He tells 3D’s Alexander Harris all about the yearlong journey of making Rock This World.

In 2004, Mark Rae produced an album called Two Culture Clash for label Wall Of Sound with Rocker's Hi-Fi's Rhys Adams and cemented a strong relationship that eventually would see the talented pair recording Jamaican vocalists. These sessions would soon become the heart and soul and foundation of the Yes King sound.

“I was in Snowbombing in the Alps, DJing for people skiing,” reveals Rae. “I was in the back of carousal and Mark Jones from Wall of Sound asked if I wanted to go to Jamaica next week. Of course I didn't want to say anything but yes so off we went. Meanwhile we'd been making some slightly reggae/hip hop beats anyway so we were prepared to go. We went and did two tracks, one that was used on the Wall Of Sound album. We got home where we'd already been working with a girl called Ayak and we just started to gather vocalists, using our Jamaican experience to replicate that type of vocal quality in London.”

The album shuffles together pieces of hip hop, dancehall, disco, ragga and ska and took a year to make, largely due to the array of guest vocalists Rae and Adams called in to create their desired sound. While the sound is rooted in Jamaica, it retains a very strong London vibe, creating a new and unique atmosphere for the dancefloor.

“If you look at my career,” Rae points out, “I worked with Cedric Myton on the second Rae & Christian album, he was one half of [reggae vocal group] The Congos and I also did that dancehall thing on my first solo album. So that sound has always been part of my musical make-up and for Rhys, even more so. It was just a question of doing something that was relevant to our other histories with hip hop, disco, house and ska and all that – it was a big adventure of fun really.”

With an eclectic and diverse taste in music, you get the impression Mark Rae could cut an album of any kind that might tickle his fancy on any given day. Having had the Yes King album ready for the best part of two years has given him the chance to work on the next project.

“It's nearly finished,” he exclaims. “This album has been delayed by almost two years so in that time I moved to America to give Yes King the best chance on synchronisation with films which I achieved a couple of times. I've been writing every day for about a year and a half and my next solo album is pretty much done. It's about five instrumentals and I sing on the other seven tracks myself. I've been working with Robbie Williams a bit too. It's very different and a place I've been heading for sometime internally.

WHO: Yes King
WHAT: Rock This World through Loop Records
WHEN: Out now