“Solomonic Sound is one of Philly’s best exports in reggae sound system culture – these cats know their dubplates.”
– Fritz Hahn – Washington Post / September 11th, 2012
Since foundation and birth Solomonic conception as a reggae sound system was to promote positive music to counteract the negative that infiltrates the airwaves.
From humble beginnings, the narrow and rough road was chosen, and a champion sound was in the making. From the early days when the sound first started in 1996, SOLOMONIC SOUND SYSTEM has proven to be one of the tuffest roots and culture reggae sound systems in the world.
With local events in centered in Philly, Honolulu, Burlington, DC, LA, and Jamaica, as well as constant worldwide touring, they bring the conscious vibes far and wide.
Not just a collective of djs, Solomonic also maintains the highest grade sound systems used at all of their events, and in demand at many other Philly area music events.
Selectors include Rob Paine (Philly), Zacharijah (HI), Jahson (VT), Papa Fz (Philly/JA), Dave Paine (LA), Rootz, and Chalice.
When not out nicing up the dance, they are at home in their recording studio, voicing dub plates, building original tunes, and controling their own label, Worship Recordings.
Solomonic featured Artists include El Feco (Philly), Lady Alma (Philly), Ras Mikey (HI), Lion Fyah (HI). These artists work with us rub-a-dub style over the sound, and record exclusive songs and dubplates.
IN THE BEGINNING – Punk Rock, Reggae, and House Music
Hailing from the suburbs of Philly, early life for the Solomonic crew was all about skateboarding and snowboarding, as well as checking out shows at City Gardens in Trenton.
As teenagers they were regulars at City Gardens weekly for over 7 years to catch everything from Punk to Reggae to Hip Hop shows.
A crucial band they embraced and saw many times at City Gardens, and which was one of the early influences to their Rastafarian beliefs was the Bad Brains.
Rob, Zack, and Jahson had started out djing ‘house’ music and ‘soul’ in the early 1990’s and made good names for themselves on a international level.
This led to the creation of the Worship Recordings record label – and Rob & Zack pioneering the early dub house movement (with the duo releasing reggae influence dance music tunes as ‘Solomonic Sound’ from 1998-2001).
Reggae music has been the backbone for them all the while. Even when they were not conscious of it as younger youths still. All the big tunes for them as kids were always some sort of reggae influenced song.
The heavy bass and uplifting lyrics of reggae music they were hearing at the time had them wanting more. From there on out (Later 80’s) they completely indulged and took the love they had for reggae music and Rastafari and never turned back.
Some of the biggest influences musically, were Rastafari based sound systems. JahLoveMuzik, Sturgav, and Jah Shaka were all playing music that motivated and inspired how Solomonic plays today. Studying the history more and more, they learned about the Solomonic Dynasty from which Haile Selassie I was born. As they got the vision to one day build a real sound system that played like the sounds they grew up on and loved, they wanted to build a Rasta sound that would live forever. The name Solomonic Sound System was chosen.
A SOUND IS BORN IN THE HILLS
At the time they really started working as a reggae selectors in the 90’s, Zacharijah Eberz was living in Burlington, Vermont and Rob Paine was in Philadelphia.
The earliest Solomonic Sound System sessions were held at The Matterhorn in Stowe, Vermont in 1996.
Zack established the first official weekly Solomonic residency in Burlington in early 1997, with bredrens Rude Boy & Jahson. A few gigs were held at The Chicken Bone, but soon moved to the legendary JP’s Pub. Thursday nights in Burlington soon became a destination for the latest roots, culture, lovers rock, and dancehall vibes.
During this time back in Philly, Rob was working dancehall into his hip hop sets at his weekly residencies at Shampoo and Club 111. Reggae and dub were always pumping from the speakers at his Heavy Tuesdays sessions at St Jacks.
The Solomonic vibration was unstoppable at this point. The Philly crew’s numerous road trips to Vermont over the years were full of snowboarding, loading up on vinyl at Flex records, and taking in the roots reggae vibes from the mountains. Zack and Jahson would visit home to chill with the family and charge up the hardcore yardie vibes… going to big sound sessions in West Philly, stocking on on new tunes from West Indian record shops like Abyssinia and Enforcer, and playing music with Rob at his residencies and concerts.
Soon they had been all been diagnosed with Reggaemylitis – listening and collecting as much reggae history they could get their hands on, keeping sessions, working with local artists, cutting dubplates of their favorite new tunes, and building their own arsenals of sound gear in Vermont and Philly.
Solomonic Sound events quickly became known as a place to hear reggae the way it was meant to be played – heavy, clear, and full of roots and culture. The time was coming when they were ready to fully bust on the US reggae scene as a sound system to not be taken lightly.
THE PHILLY LINKUP & FILOS
In 2001 Zack decided to make the move forward to Philly, and he and Rob became focused on really building the sound up professionally. With Rob and Zack working together again in the same studio, djing the same events, and united in vision, they pushed each other to higher heights as a sound system.
They began to purchase 2nd hand sound gear, refitting it with new components, and tuning it til it was perfect. As they got more gigs they continued to upgrade, until they had enough equipment to respectfully call themselves a proper sound.
Zack joined Rob, Phil Graci (aka Fzlah aka Papa Fz) and the MC Dub 2 at the already established weekly residency – Worship Fridays at Filo’s (which kicked off in late 99).
Just off of South St. in downtown Philadelphia, Filo’s was soon became the premier reggae club in the city, housing both Solomonic and Federation Sounds. The tiny basement spot was always rammed from early, and every Friday would feature classic roots, lovers rock, the latest reggae culture tunes, and of course the hottest dancehall – all with a Rasta foundation and vision. Soon it was known by reggae lovers and artists worldwide as the vibes spot in downtown Philly. Artists such as El Feco, Blacka Demus, Chronicle, and Norrisman all passed through and touched the mic on occassion.
They were now one of the most in demand sounds in the city of Philadelphia. Already well known throughout the world as producers and DJ’s for Worship Recordings, this helped them to establish gigs all around the United States, Canada, Mexico and Jamaica. Always spreading the universal message of love and unity through roots, culture and dancehall reggae music.
Solomonic grew in size over the years since the sound first started, adding selectors Roots & Chalice to the Philly crew.
They also began to work with artists such as El Feco B, Lady Alma, and others as voices for the sound, both in live performances and in the studio.
Their Friday night session moved after 7 years at Filos, to Lickety ‘Spliff’, and last to Bubblehouse. They managed to keep a Friday night vibes locked for 8.5 years straight, and have since held residencies and special events at many Philly venues including Silk City, The Barbary, and more.
SOLOMONIC GOES COAST TO COAST
During 2001-2002 Solomonic held a weekly Sunday session in South Beach, Miami at The Marlin. Rob and Zack kept these events going as annual events timed with the Winter Music Conference in Miami.
Zack then moved to Hawaii in 2004, and quickly established residencies at Redda Fire and Next Door nightclub in Honolulu.
Rob’s brother Dave Paine officially joined the crew and established Friday & Saturday night hip hop / dancehall residencies at Air Conditioned Supper Club & Lounge in LA.
Solomonic sessions could be heard on any given Friday night in Vermont, Philly, LA, and Hawaii. At the same time! Solomonic was now undeniably one of the top roots and culture sounds in the US.
Also being built over the years was their arsenal of dubplates and specials they have been voicing since 1999. In 2005 they produced a a legendary dubplate mix cd clash titled FEDERATION MEETS SOLOMONIC INNA DUBPLATE STYLE with good friend Kenny Meez.
This in turn led to building alongside Federation Sound, the ‘PHILLY LINKUP SOUND CLASH’ series which ran monthly for nearly 2 years, starting in 2006. It featured sounds from the East Coast, Canada, and the Carribean warring for a trophy and saw clash fans travel from far each month just to get a vibes.
Solomonic faced their first sound clash on home turf vs Striker Sound from NYC, and later Stalwart Sound from Bermuda. They also battled Love People (VA) at a clash in DC in 2008.
EVENT PRODUCTION & PROMOTION
Solomonic opens up for most of the major culture artists and groups that pass through the Philadelphia area. Solomonic also handles promotions and events for artists they are trying to bring to the masses and that they truly believe in.
Live Shows and rub-a-dub sessions they produced include Midnite from St Croix, Lee Perry & The Mad Professor, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Cocoa Tea, Glen Washington, Sister Nancy, Johnny Osborne, Khari Kill, Norrisman, Terry Ganzie, Philly’s own El Feco B, new artist Nekia, and many more.
They truly enjoy doing live events promoting positive music, but their true calling and the place they are most content at is behind the decks or mixing console.
FEATURED ARTIST PRODUCTION
In 2007, A Selectors Choice : EL FECO B & Family was released. A full length mixed album featuring Philadelphia’s top ranking artist El Feco B performing original, never before recorded songs over foundation riddims. Over 10 additional Philly artists make appearances on the album.
2007 also saw the official linkup of Zacharijah with artists Ras Mikey and Lion Fiyah, to solidify the Hawaii division of Solomonic. A mix album was completed called RAS YOUTH CHRONICLES featuring dubs from both artists. They then completed the Kings Hi-Way Tour of the west coast, and stayed busy in the studio and playing events around the islands.
Ras Mikey has continued to work alongside Zack on the microphone at Solomonic Hawaii events ever since.
FORWARD TO JAMAICA and THE FUTURE
In 2008, Solomonic made moves in many different areas. After deciding to bring the legendary Friday sessions to a close, Thursday nights instead featured a Live Webcast direct from Worship Studio in Philly, featuring us juggling the latest tunes, and interviewing Coco Tea and Rootz Underground along with many local artists and labels.
The highlight of 2008 was producing the official Rootz Underground MOVEMENT mixtape, and flying to Jamaica to run the Solomonic vibes for the their album release party for over 1000 fans in Kingston.
We also celebrated our official 10 year anniversary with a big live event at The Barbary, and released a dubplate mix for the occasion.
2009 was a year of rebuilding, as we all dealt with the economic realties of the year, we decided to pool our efforts with other local sounds Ital, Rascul Intl, and other special guests and began holding monthly sessions at Silk City in Philly once again. The theme has varied from Oldies nites, Selassie Coronation celebration, Reggae Christmas (with a Toys for JA Tots drive that sent gifts to over 50 youth in Jamaica), Death Of Autotune, and more.
In 2010 we hosted the first of our recent live artist sessions with Sister Nancy in Philly. We also kicked off the Patty Boom Boom in Washington DC every 3rd Saturday – going strong now for over 2 years. Always rammed and full of vibes. Big up the entire DC massive! We also performed at Black Inity’s Community Oneness event in St Catherine, Jamaica alongside big artists like Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica and more.
In 2012 we pushed forward again bringing the ONENESS events back to life with events featuring Cocoa Tea, Glen Washington, and Khari Kill all performing in a rub a dub stylee over the Solomonic Sound System.
2013 saw us opening shows for many top artists including Mad Professor, Ziggy & Stephen Marley, Tarrus Riley, Chronixx, and Exco Levi.
2014 opened many more opportunities for us around the world.
Rob continues nicing up Patty Boom Boom in Washington DC every month for 3 years strong, and juggles concerts, club dates, and event productions in Philly. He is also still going hard with the studio productions and has recently released tunes in the reggae, dub, and house music genres. Watch out for the soon for his wicked productions on the soon to be released Solomonic Sound & Rootz Underground ‘Gravity’ Mixtape – the next volume in our Selector’s Choice series.
Zack and Ras Mikey have been playing all over Hawaii including concerts, events for the Honolulu Art Museum #ArtAfterDark series, Rockers Island, Regal Tuesdays at Tsunami, and many other club and private sessions in Waikiki and Honolulu. Ras Mikey has been also voicing tunes now, watch out for him alongside Maryanne Ito & Jemere Morgan on the big tune How I Feel!
Jahson is still representing Solomonic in Burlington Vermont for over 15 years. He recently released a collaborative 100% dubplate clash mixtape alongside Itation sound titled ‘Solomonic meets Itation Inna Dubplate Confrence Vol 1‘. Check him out the monthly Oneness Vermont series at Metronome, guest juggling at Mi Yard at Nectars, and opening for most big artists and festivals that pass through.
Papa Fz made the move to Jamaica in June 2014, and linked with the BlakSoil crew. Oneness JA sessions over the summer incorporated video juggling and live rub a dub reggae in the garrison community of Duhaney Pen, Morant Bay. Special guests include none other than Bushman, singing and selecting tunes on the sound!
Be sure to check out SolomonicSound.com for current news on all events, recorded live dances & studio mixes for purchase and sound system rentals. One.