Songs of Wisdom – Jamaica Observer
For the past three years, California band Stick Figure have been hailed by Billboard magazine as the best-selling reggae act.
The six-member unit continues its musical evolution on Wisdom, their latest album, out today via Ruffwood/Ineffable Records.
The 14-song set, which was produced, recorded and mixed by Stick Figure lead singer Scott Woodruff, includes collaborations with Jamaican singer Barrington Levy, Bermudian singjay Collie Buddz and California band Slightly Stoopid.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday, Woodruff explained the difference between Wisdom and world on fireStick Figure’s previous album.
“It’s the continued evolution of the Stick Figure sound. I’m a producer first and foremost. I’m constantly influenced lyrically by everything that’s going on in my life. I love experimenting with new sounds, styles and techniques. mixing, constantly trying to I’ve always been influenced by the dub masters and Jamaican music, but lately I’ve been heavily influenced by certain styles of electronic music, especially Kygo and Major Lazer, of which you’ll hear some subtle influences on this new record,” Woodruff explained.
Formed in 2006, the Stick Figure line-up also includes Kevin Bong (KBong) on keyboards, Kevin Offitzer on drums, bassist Tommy Suliman, John Gray (Johnny Cosmic) on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, and the percussionist Will Phillips.
Wisdom hears the band maintaining a reggae vibe. Woodruff is upbeat melodic songs featuring Strong test (with Collie Buddz), Ancient sunrise, paradise, soul of the world (with Barrington Levy), falling stars, and Edge of the ocean reinforce their dominance on the American reggae scene.
Stick Figure remained constant on the Billboard Chart of reggae albums for the last decade.
The years 2009 chimney smoke peaked at number eight, while 2012’s Graveyard2015 carved in stone and 2019 world on fire all sailed to number one. Set in Stone: Instrumentalsreleased in 2015, peaked at number seven, while last year Fire and stone: Prince Fatty presents a stick figurereached number three.
Interesting way, world on fire and carved in stone have been in the Billboard Top 10 of the Reggae Album Chart since the beginning of 2020.
world on fire sold over 300,000 album equivalent units (50,000 in pure album sales), while carved in stone sold 415,000 album equivalent units (87,000 in pure album sales) without major label support.
McDuff says there is no pressure to maintain a chart presence.
“Not really. I try not to think about things like that. My main goal has always been to focus on creating the music that I want to make. I never thought if it was poppy or if it was for the radio the song would play better. I actually try to stay away from all that because it never feels authentic. For me it’s just about making music that I like and that I think people will like.
Stick Figure has worked with Jamaican artists such as Raging Fyah (Shadow remix in 2016) and Half Pint (women of the night in 2012). They also collaborated with Don Carlos.
Woodruff has been a Barrington Levy fan for years. He said it’s an honor to have him on Wisdom.
“It was my idea [to have Barrington on the album]. Barrington is my favorite artist of his generation and he was one of my biggest influences. Since the beginning of Stick Figure, I dreamed of collaborating with Barrington. As soul of the world progressed, I knew he would be the perfect person for the record. So when I sent him the song, he said he liked it and agreed to collaborate almost immediately. He did a really good job and I’m really proud of the way the track has built,” Woodruff revealed.
In April, Virginia’s SOJA won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for beauty in silence, the first American act to win this category. This victory is significant, believes Woodruff.
“I’m really happy for them and they’ve been working hard for over 20 years. I think the award was well deserved. I try to stay focused on making music for the fans first and foremost. Winning any awards or accolades from this way has never been a priority for Stick Figure. I have a lot of respect for SOJA and all the other nominees, who were all very deserving and have done a lot of work to be able to get to this stage. It’s really amazing what an influence reggae music has had on the world,” he said.
Scott “Stick Figure” Woodruff and Barrington Levy