INTERVIEW

The Specials
79-19

Photography by Art Comes First

In honour of the 40th anniversary of The Specials' debut album, design duo Art Comes First have designed three exclusive Fred Perry Shirts.
The self-titled Specials release was a defining moment in the UK ska-scene, and their legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans alike, some of whom we photograph in London and Paris.

Who are you and what do you do?

Denise. I’m currently working on an architectural project with a friend in Peckham, whilst training to be an architect. I’m also often practicing aerialist activities - silks and straps mainly.

If you could listen to only one song what would it be?

Why would I do this to myself?! Maybe I just haven’t found ‘the one’ yet!

What role does music play in your life?

I think it’s just a continuous soundtrack that evokes so many emotions. It psyches you up, comforts you, calms you… There’s music for every emotion and setting. I guess it’s an accompaniment for me that I can look back on and also look forward to for the new and revived feelings and memories.

Two tone, reggae, ska, punk rock… What music genre of today is still carrying this message or attitude?

Grime definitely has a DIY ethos, so does jazz and hip hop.

Finish this sentence: The Specials…

…and music from this era usually makes me think of my parents. They came over from Jamaica in the ‘60s and experienced the ‘70s as young adults. They got to witness and participate first hand an era of London that was progressive/experimental/diverse – especially when it came to the arts and music. I think it was less commercialised back then in comparison to now so that energy produced is kinda special.

Who are you and what do you do?

Frederick Gyamfi. I am British of Ghanaian parentage. An actuarial analyst by profession. I have an innate passion for aesthetics.

If you could listen to only one song what would it be?

Breezin by George Benson.

What role does music play in your life?

Music is nourishment for my ears.

Two tone, reggae, ska, punk rock… What music genre of today is still carrying this message or attitude?

Dancehall because it's uncompromising.

Finish this sentence: The Specials…

Are special.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Laurence 'Moniasse' Sessou, I have been practicing bodywork, neuromuscular therapy and aromatherapy for over 15 years.

If you could listen to only one song what would it be?

Red, red wine.

What does 79 mean to you?

I was born into it! That same year, the last Amazon of Dahomey passed away. I believe I took some of that warrior spirit energy when I was born.

What role does music play in your life?

It is one of the most potent medicines for me, I use it for visualization, it helps me manifest my wildest dreams.

Two tone, reggae, ska, punk rock… What music genre of today is still carrying this message or attitude?

I honestly don't think there are many to be honest with you. But artists like Shingai, Baloji and Petite Noir give me life. Not sure what 'genre' they are but they inspire me aesthetically and their sound speaks to my spirit.

Finish this sentence: The Specials…

Will always be special.

A proportion of the proceeds from the sales of the shirts will go to The 100 Club, the much loved independent venue on Oxford Street, London where the band have played throughout their career. Relive the extraordinary gig this February when they debuted their newest album, Encore live at the venue here.

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