Valerie V Rocket – The First Ladfy of Sound

One of the most prominent voices in sound system culture from a female perspective is that of Valerie V Rocket – the First Lady of Sound.  With decades of experience in the business, and as one of the few woman-owned sounds, we caught up with her for Women’s History Month.

VP: As we’re celebrating Women’s History Month at VP Records throughout March, how do you feel women are being represented in Reggae and Dancehall in 2024? Have things improved since we last spoke?

V: I still don’t see the representation in 2024 for females in Reggae and Dancehall that they deserve; however, festival organizers know they have to be included in these big line-ups, so we are seeing more female acts. Record producers are still not doing enough with the females. We are not seeing female DJs being booked at regular events either, so I still feel representation is lacking.

VP: The V-Rocket documentary has been received incredibly well since its release on Amazon Prime in 2022, and it has now finally been released on YouTube for free for all to enjoy. Why do you think the documentary was so popular?

V: The V-Rocket sound system dynasty documentary gained popularity for several reasons. Firstly, it offers a unique insight into the history and evolution of a UK reggae-dancehall sound system that has endured for decades, capturing the essence of its cultural significance. Secondly, its star-studded cast of legendary sound system owners and reggae entertainers, including King Jammy’s, Rory Stonelove, Musclehead (Saxon Sound), and David Rodigan, adds prestige and allure to the film. Additionally, the documentary’s international filming locations in the United States, Jamaica, and England provide a comprehensive view of the sound system’s impact and reach. Lastly, being the first reggae sound system documentary to be streamed on Amazon Prime and other platforms helped it reach a global audience, further enhancing its popularity and influence.

VP: World Bash 2024 – The U.K. edition on the 5th of May looks incredible. Talk us through the line-up, what’s your process for choosing the sounds and selectors?

V: When putting together the line-up for the World Bash concert series, there are several key factors that I take into consideration. One of the most important criteria is the sound systems themselves. I look for sounds that have an exciting collection of dubplates, as well as those that have gained popularity and respect in the industry over time. I also look for sounds that represent the current energy and trends in the dancehall space.

Each stage of the World Bash concert series takes place in a different country, which means that each event has a unique vibe and atmosphere. This is something that I take into account when selecting the line up. I also come up with a different theme for each event, which helps me to identify the members of the lineup that would best fit the overall vision and concept of the concert.

The theme is usually the starting point for the process of putting together the line up. Once the theme is established, I begin the process of finding the best sounds that can bring that theme to life and entertain the patrons.

I believe that the lineup is a crucial aspect of any concert or event, as it sets the tone and atmosphere for the entire experience.

By carefully selecting sounds that have a strong presence, exciting dubplate collections, and great performance, I have been able to present some of the most successful sound system-based events in our culture.

In conclusion, putting together the World Bash line-up is a complex and meticulous process that involves a combination of different factors. By considering the sound systems, the country in which the event is taking place, and the overall theme of the concert, I am able to curate a lineup that captivates the audience and brings the vision of the concert to life. Each member of the line-up plays a key role in creating a memorable and electrifying experience for all who attend.

VP: There are some amazing female artists on the rise in Reggae in 2024 – who are you rating at the moment?

V: I believe Lila Iké is still on the rise. Sevana is also doing well, and I think Kimeco is one to look out for.