Of course, the reggae vibes are working perfectly in the Mediterranean atmosphere. On the sunny side of music, I have talked with Sugahspank and Blend Mishkin about the Greek urban and reggae music scene. George Mandas, aka Blend Mishkin, and Georgia Kalafati, aka Sugahspank, are two Athens-based musicians working on spreading a great message on top of addictive sounds. The duo is active since the mid-90s and released records on labels such as Boom Selectah, Nice Up!, Tru Thoughts, Cookin Records, Pork Recordings, Cast A Blast, The Lab Records, Moving Coil, Shadow Records, and Instinct Records.

Blend Mishkin composed and produced for international reggae, dancehall, and hip-hop artists: Tippa Irie, Screetchie Dan, Jamalski, Gappy Ranks, Skarra Mucci, Jay Spaker, Teacha Dee, Carlton Livingston. He has also worked on remixes for bands and artists like Ward21, Luciano, Dub Pistols, Mr. Williamz, Max Rubadub, Rukus, DJ Spooky, and Wax Tailor. 

In 2006 Blend Mishkin co-founded Cast-A-Blast Recordings and in 2009 launched the debut album of Sugahspank, 'The Incredible The Invisible'. Thus, their ongoing musical relationship has begun.

How did your latest release, 'Paint Everything White', come about? You guys started collaborating 12 years ago, right?

Sugahspank: That’s right, but there was a long pause in our collab till now. We spoke via email during the beginning of the first quarantine and started sending files back and forth, soon to realize that we were working on an album. The other musicians also had some home recording gear, and at the end of this endless back and forth, Blend cooked the whole release.

You have released a video for Yummy Man on ReggaeVille, an excellent portrait of Greece with its effervescent urban life. Any plans for other videos?

Sugahspank: Aaah, thank you, we wish this will happen too, but it is hard to shoot right now cause of the Covid regulations, which are strict in our country. We are not allowed to gather in groups, not even outside, that’s why we haven’t worked on the second video, but the plan is to release at least three. Well, the Yummy Man shooting was fun. All the beautiful places you see are in the Attica region, in and around Athens. Spyros Steriotis, our director, did an excellent job, and we’ll be working with him on the following ones.

We have also cut a limited 7inch for Yummy Man, which got sold out on the first day of the presale announcement! 180gr. limited white vinyl of the album was out on Jan 20th. Again got delayed because of covid, but what the hell, we can’t wait to touch it! Thank God for the vinyl rebirth! We enjoy it so much.

Back in the youth and now, musical wise, what changed?

Blend Mishkin: Back in my youth days, I wanted to have nothing to do with Greek music. I felt I didn’t want to continue to listen to the stuff my parents liked, did and I had to find something of my own to rebel against them 🙂 Reggae, hip hop, dancehall, etc. Same as when it came to produce and make music, but I can only understand this now.

Now, there is a small but very active reggae scene in Greece, which is nice to see growth through the years. We do have a lot of bars and clubs where you can perform music, indeed. We look forward to being able to perform for the new album when society is back to normal. I hope it is this year and not how everyone predicts.

What is your view on music streaming versus live performance? Especially now in a pandemic period, are your fans of Bandcamp Fridays?

Sugahspank: Live vs. streaming is like eating a chocolate cake vs. raisins. I mean they’re both sweet but, come on, you can’t get in the zone with raisins. But we work with what we can right now. So, yeah, we love Bandcamp Fridays.

Great artwork for the EP! How did you work with the creator, Exidas? And while we are on this chapter, what are your favorite music album covers?

Blend Mishkin: Thank you, Exidas is the main designer I have worked with for five years. He also did the latest Roots Evolution album, “Wildfire”, and all the Rewind Guaranteed label releases. 

There are so many covers I love that I can think of right now. But I will always be a fan of jazz covers such as the classic Blue Note records. I’m also a big fan of the CTI Records covers, and I also love the Jamaican comic book style covers of Limonious.

Can you please tell me about the Boom Selectah label and your plans?

Blend Mishkin: Boom Selektah is based in Thessaloniki, and it is run by the people behind the Boom Reggae Festival, which took part, until now, on the island of Skyros. We are very honored to be their first release, and we hope to bring them luck for the future with more music.