by: michael eli dokosi /www.blakkpepper.com/ghana
#blakkpeppertins @blakkpeppernews @MystiqMike fb: Blakkpepper Ghana
For one who’s been active in the sound business for close to 30 years, Zapp Mallet knows it best when he rendered to www.blakkpepper.com that Ghanaian music sound has retrogressed over the years.
The Director of the Title Track Studio at Dansoman notes when he listens to today’s music, it is clear there is a problem at hand.
The man who plays the guitar, bass and keyboard recalled that some time ago, Ghanaian artistes took the quality of their sounds seriously even travelling to foreign lands to record “but now anything goes with the push of an envelope.”
Mallet adds “sometimes you hear a song and it’s a demo but it’s released as the final product. It’s more quantity over quality now. They just churn out the music.”
According to the burly veteran, Gasmilla’s ‘Telemo’ song although brilliant on wordplay was poorly handled production wise.
“Telemo wasn’t well recorded or well mixed but it’s a good song. I tell people I love that song because of the composition. How the guy wrote the song and his play on words using Ga words is brilliant.”
The man born to Ewe and Akwapim parents reckons if the technical aspect of a record is poor and the sonic qualities are not up there, the music fails to last as it become tiresome to listen to and fades quickly in a month or two adding “music is called a record because it’s for posterity and not a disposable item like a cup thrown away after use.”
Despite not having a favourite sound engineer in Ghana, Zapp Mallet wants the current crop “to go and learn well. Spend time on their craft and perfect their sound, noting “even in the 80s when George Darko and Charles Amoah and the rest were recording in the same studio in Germany, they each had distinct sounds but despite having various studios in Ghana now, the music sounds the same.”
But all hope is not lost yet. Mallet believes today’s sound engineers have good ideas about the laying of the beat but the final product fails to come out well.
Asked which artistes he fancies from the new school, the big papa rendered:
“Sarkodie is a good act. His voice and the way he puts his rhyme together is good. When he raps and the beat is taken away, he still retains the drive and rhythm while others fall flat.”
Asked if he’s mentored enough folks to take over while he takes a rest, the award winning engineer submitted to www.blakkpepper.com “although the mark of a great man is the people he mentors, the question to ask is those to be mentored, are they willing and disciplined?”
Nonetheless a few have been trained in the art of sound production blakkpepper gathers.
Although a Christian, Mallet has misgivings about religion noting he is more of a spiritual person on a spiritual journey such that Easter and Christmas bear little significance to him as everyday must be a manifestation of one’s goodness and reverence to the supreme divine.
Married to wife, Martha with two children Marcia and Marcella, Mallet says he also serves as guardian to many others.
On his children taking after him, Mallet observed Marcia is determined to venture in the entertainment space although he isn’t too keen on that, given the animosity and poor remuneration which abounds but the choice is theirs to make.
The Bachelor of Arts Degree holder in Book Publishing form the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology stated although sound making was his passion, for which he often left school to play sessions in Accra, he impresses it upon the youth who come to him to acquire education at least to the high school level before taking showbiz full time as he wants the perception that entertainment was for drop-outs to be purged.
Having dedicated nearly 30 years to sound making, Zap Mallet hinted at retirement in the coming years submitting “probably in two years. It’s been a journey and if it’s time to leave, you just do so,” he delivered.
He was however quick to add that his Title Track Studio located in the St. Anthony’s School vicinity at Dansoman was very much open to business.
On how he ventured into sound production, Mr. Mallet mentioned Nana Boamah of availing his studio to him expressing gratitude to him for tutoring him.
While noting that music by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Lucky Dube live on after the demise of the artistes because of the quality production of the songs, Mr. Mallet urged Ghanaian artistes to desist from breathing down the necks of producers to hand over songs to them for public release when work still needs to be done on the songs.
His favorite Ghanaian artistes include C.K. Mann and Papa Yankson while Quincy Jones, Randy Muller of B.T Express, Willie Badaro, Neil Silver III of Chalama fame are sound engineers he’s drawn inspiration from.
For the miji goro (bitter kola) loving man, life has been good despite personal and work related challenges.