Riot Fest Interview: Julian Marley

Riot Fest Interview: Julian Marley 1 By: Stacey L. Crawley

By: Stacey L. Crawley

Photo Credit: Peter Bomberger

Julian Marley performed his late father, Bob Marley, and The Wailers’ album, “Exodus,” this year at Riot Fest in Chicago. I had a chance to chat with him after the show about what it means to perform such an important, relevant piece of music history. For tour dates and more information visit


(S) Great show. Everybody was really loving the vibe, singing along to the songs.

(J) Thank you very much.

(S) You look so relaxed and at home onstage. Do you do anything outside of music to relax and help your creative process?

(J) Well, I mean mainly some good music, calming music, and smoke some herb. And music is like, the biggest thing that soothes you, you know. And you have different kinds of music – music for energy and music to make you relax, like classical music. When I listen to classical, I turn it down real low, just to barely hear it, and I doze off. That’s the great effect music has on people, really.

(S) Exodus came out almost 40 years ago. So much is going on in the world today, police brutality, and racial inequality. What’s it like playing something so relevant today?

(J) It is relevant, yeah, and it’s 40 years ago. It kind of put me in a trance really. I was in a trance – just singing all of those songs back to back like that. And it’s so relevant, because you know, our father’s words, you realize it’s like prophecy. It feels so good, you know, to sing these songs, and to know that the message is getting across to so many different people.

S) Do you feel the young artists of reggae today – are they making music for the ages or is it more quantity over quality?

(J) Well you know, what you’ve got is a lot of youth playing roots reggae and they’re kind of changing the game from so-Cal commercial or pop. Because ‘pop’ means popular music, I mean, if it’s a hit and your sound is out of the box, then it becomes that popular music. But there a portion of youth that’s playing the roots reggae, and they’re sounding like a blend of Third World, and then you’ve got some that, kind of have that Steel Pulse vibe. So Reggae music is really still coming up strong you know.


(S) You started in London then moved to Kingston. How do you feel your music is evolved?

(J) I feel – I feel that we don’t need to think – we just feel. And you know, now it’s like I’m a bit of a mad scientist of music. The creation is there – it’s always there you know.

(S) Are you working on anything now?

(J) Yeah we got the new album – live music and hopefully for this coming spring we’ll have something for the fan.

(S) I look forward to it! Thank you – best of luck with the new album.

(J) Thank you .