Family Man, Music Man, Spiritual Man and Business Man – Meet the real Exodus
2016 Interview King Exodus, De Coal Pot restaurant, St. John, Virgin Islands
By Jennifer Knowles (JK)
I met the man Exodus aka Angel Bolques at a cozy restaurant in downtown St.John. We had a very candid and friendly conversation about the course of his life, Barry White and what feeds his soul. What I discovered was a beautiful spirit deeply connected to his family and his faith. Exodus’s sound has not gone unnoticed by others in the music industry like London’s DJ Jimi Needles who has started re-mixing some Exodus songs. I invite you to join us for veggie roti and an intimate look at the man behind the music.
Angel Bolques aka Exodus – musician and music promoter
Owner of Angel Media, Soldiers of Jah Record Label, R.A.S. Events, and ExodusMuzik.com
The Family Man
JK: It’s been awhile since I last saw you and since then you’ve become a dad again. You also have a 13-year-old daughter, what’s it like having an infant again?
E: It’s surreal, a reawakening. Each one is different. They all have their own personalities. You get to learn so much from them and you get to teach them at the same time. But this one, this one is off the charts. He just impresses me all the time.
JK: What do you look forward to most about sharing with him as he gets older?
E: I think he already has a love for music already. He seems to be always getting into it. I’d like to share this (music) with him as it’s one of my passions. If he wants to learn about it, I will definitely point him in the right direction.
JK: What do you think you’ll teach him about being a man?
E: That’s something that’s hard to teach someone. I think it’s an ongoing experience – being a man. I don’t know what’s more important but I know being a man means taking care of responsibilities.
JK: So tell us where you grew up?
E: I was born on STX (St. Croix) eventually moved to STJ (St. John) with my Mom when I was 8 years old. I started at Guy Benjamin school in Coral Bay, then Sprauve and moved to STT (St. Thomas) Eudora Kean where I graduated. Then I left to go to college at AIU American Intercontinental University in Georgia.
JK: Ah, so you’ve got some really interesting mixes and influences. Southern, Caribbean, what about PR (Puerto Rico)?
E: Yeah my father is from PR and my mother is a Virgin Islander.
My Grandmother, was always singing Spanish merengue and singing in the house (erupts into beautiful song his Grandmother used to sing) I remember hearing that song over and over again while she was drinking a little coffee. She’d danced around the house and she would grab us and dance with us.
JK: Was that in PR?
E: No that was in STX. She is Puerto Rican but lives in STX. She still lives there. She’s in her 80s now. We just went over there to visit her for Valentine’s Day with the baby. It’s so important for people to know their grand kids.
JK: Yeah, we were just talking about this, the importance and value of Grand Mothers, in this case great grandparents, in this culture.
E: Yes, yes.
JK: So who had the biggest influence on you when you were a child?
E: When I was a child, I would say my grandfather on my father’s side. He would always stop us and talk to us. He would tell us “don’t do that”, or he’d ask me what something was or how to do something. He knew of course but he did it because he was constantly testing our minds to see if we could figure it out. We were not allowed to speak in English in their house. This is why I’m bilingual. If they weren’t so hard on me I wouldn’t have learned what I needed.
JK: Do you plan to do this with your son?
E: Yes, I’ve already started teaching him Spanish.
The Music Man
JK: When did you first start playing music?
E: I always liked to knock on stuff (drums on the table) since I was young. My first instrument was a sax in 7th grade music class with Mr. Johnson at Sprauve School in St.John.
Back in them times I liked R & B and Rap. I liked Barry White, Boyz to Men, Tupac, Biggie Smalls and all those guys.
JK: Yeah?! Your voice seems a little high for Barry White.
E: Nah – I can do it. (He sings low: Babe-bay) I kinda grew up with everything. In my culture there was calypso and soca and I was singing along to all those songs too.
JK: As a musician, who had the biggest influence on your style. You started off singing other’s music but when you started writing and singing your own stuff what was the style you began with first?
E: I think that influentially, everyone wants to say Bob Marley, but I mean who hasn’t that guy influenced. It’s just automatic. I’d have to say that Luciano was a big influence. I really liked his message and he influenced me a lot.
JK: Tell me about King Exodus. When did you adopt that name and persona?
E: (Laughs) Well before when I was a rebel… I was called Dust, or Angel Dust, I got into a lot of trouble as a teenager and had to learn the difference between right and wrong, I had to learn to look at myself from the outside in and as I came to know myself and form a connection with the most-high I exalted myself as “Exo – dus.” I also had a strong fascination with the stories in the book of Exodus and the story of Moses.
JK: Well hold on, maybe we should start there and hear a bit more about why you called yourself a rebel – Without incriminating yourself of course!
E: I mean I wasn’t a rebel like Che Guevara or anything. I was rebellious. I was probably a misfit. As you know my name is Anhil (spells out A-n-g-e-l) and sometimes pronounced Angel and it’s definitely hard to be one of those. But in my rebellious youth, my name was Angel Dust not that I used that stuff, it was just my nick name. We did all kinds of bad things like steal cars and get into fights.
JK: Was there a moment when things changed and your realized “I don’t want to do bad shit any more, I want to be a good human?” Did you get caught?
E: I did get caught and I had to go to Boys Home in STX for a little while. It was scary even though it was only for a few days. The judge said “you’re going over there and stay there and if you don’t shape up you will go to jail”. Eventually I started to care about things other than material possessions. I eventually found a part of who I am and I continue to do so up until this day. (Find Myself)
The Spiritual Man
JK: So that’s a good place to open up the conversation about Rastafari. Do you call yourself Rasta?
E: Yes, I do. I am a vegetarian but eat some fish. I give thanks to the Most High. I don’t know what else we would have if we didn’t have the Most High. God is in my life I hope that he is in everyone’s life out there.
JK: I noticed that in a lot of your songs you talk about Haile Selassie – the song “For Real” almost sounds like it is an homage to Haile Selassie, to the King. I wonder if you feel like you might be a messenger?
E: That wouldn’t be for me to say. I’m just doing what I love to do. I like to share a part of who I am with my listeners. I don’t sing about anything I don’t believe in. It’s an awakening in a sense, it’s not about trying to be a super star. I love music and I decided I wanted to give it a shot. I think I’m doing an ok job. Whatever I put out there for people to listen to around the world if that’s the case or if I can leave something for my kids to always listen to after I’m gone. So they can say “Yo, Daddy did this”. I want to leave something for them. Something to guide and lead them in a positive direction.
JK: So your legacy would be your music and the message that’s in your music. For people who haven’t listened to your music before. Can you describe the style of it? ExodusMuzik.com
E: I don’t think I’m a singer, I’m more of a chanter. Chanting is more spiritual to me. Not that singing isn’t, I’m just trying to give you the best interpretation I can. I feel like when you chant a song to The Most High, you chant up an invocation. I want people to actually think about whatever it is I’m talking about. Most of the time that is focused on positive thinking, positive living, love, life, beliefs, morals and values, problems along the way, perhaps problems and different ways to deal with those problems.
JK: What do you think is the most misunderstood part of Rastafari culture?
E: I think there is a perception that could be defined as we are all marijuana smokers. Not everyone who has locks or calls themselves Rasta has to smoke marijuana. The idea that we’re all criminals. Anyone could be a criminal regardless of race, color creed or belief. There has been a historical picture painted that we are uneducated criminals that all smoke marijuana but that has changed over time as most things do because change is the only thing that’s constant.
JK: So what would you want people who are not familiar with Rastafari to know. When they encounter a Rasta for the first time and they see this person with long dreads. What would you want them to know? For example, visitors who come to the Virgin Islands.
E: You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Just because someone has long dreads doesn’t mean they’re a Rasta.
JK: What defines a rasta?
E: I would say his beliefs, morals, values and his life, how he lives. They live their life with love without hate or any grudge toward any other person regardless of race, color, creed and that they believe in Haile Selassie, Jah Rastafari and Jehovah the all mighty God. Although God is called by different names by different religions every nation has a different name for God. God is god.
JK: When you hear Rastas say “Jah -Ras-tafari” is that praising God.
E: Yes, Jah would be “Jehovah”, “Ras” is prince and “Tafari” is Tarfari Makonnen. Because there is a prophecy in the bible that states that Christ would return, but when he did he would be the conquering lion from the tribe of Judah. Haile Selassie is from the tribe of Judah the 225 descendant of Solomon who was a son of David and connected to the same bloodline as Christ. For Rastafari this means the prophecy was fulfilled. You know that Rastafari is another sect of Christianity and quite orthodox.
JK: Are there different sects of Rastafari?
E: Yes, There are three main Mansions (sects or orders) of Rastafari: the Nyahbinghi Order, Bobo Ashanti, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. All agree on the basic principles of the divine status of Haile Selassie.
JK: I first heard of the Nyabinghi in 1997 when Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) recorded an album with them.
So what mansion/sect of Rastafari do you fall into?
E: I don’t even know. Many Rastafari do not belong to any sect. I think I have my own space. At the end of the day we all try to find our own path in life and something that draws us closer to God?
JK: Is that music for you?
E: I would say yah.
JK: Do you feel like when you are chanting you are channeling that energy?
E: I believe so.
JK: What about live performances, when you are up on stage are you feeling it?
E: That is the best thing ever.
Being on stage is such a great experience. Just to know you have the opportunity to share whatever it is you have to share with people who came to listen to what you have to say. Whether it’s a speech, a song or to introduce someone. It’s always such a great feeling to channel or directly connect with individuals on that type of level.
JK: How do you prep for a live show?
E: I relax the day of the show. The weeks leading up to the performance I practice lots, but the day of the show I relax so I can let it flow.
What’s King Exodus up to next?
JK: What are you working on right now?
E: I have 3 singles I’ve released this year so far on my own label “Soldiers of Jah”. One was released on Valentine’s Day called “I Love Life”. I worked with a DJ out of London (DJ Jimi Needles) whom approached me about re-mixing this song. It’s very different than what I have been doing – kind of dub step, rave sound. It was actually an old song that we re-mixed. Other songs will follow through the year.
JK: If people are interested in hearing your music where can they find you?
E: Lots of different places. The epicenter of all things Exodus is on my website ExodusMuzik.com there you can tap into my Pandora, Sound Cloud, Spotify, You Tube, Google Play where all my music is distributed worldwide. I’m more of a recording artist at this time, before I used to do a lot of live shows, now I have a full time family and job so I prefer to release music and let it stream worldwide and sell it on iTunes, that works better for me.
JK: What does community mean to you what does a healthy community look like?
E: Community means unity. Unity amongst everyone. Working together in all aspects of life. Raising a family together. Looking out for each other. Helping each other out. I have an initiative called RAS Events where I help promote other artists. The R.A.S. (Roots, Rock, Reggae, R&B, Rap And Sound) events are promotional oriented VI/Urban cultural expositions – Hosted and Created by Souljahz of Jah Entertainment (Angel L. Bolques Jr.). They help promote and unify Local Artists, Musicians, Photographers, Dancers, and other members of the Virgin Islands community. The expos encourage networking and inspire artists to express their talents through Caribbean & Urban mediums such as Fashion, Film, Music, Culinary, Performing and Visual Arts. The R.A.S. events were created to motivate, develop, and promote the artists of our local Caribbean community. I do it because I believe in helping my brother and sister out.
LINKS TO MUSIC and INFO
- ExodusMuzik on iTunes
- ExodusMuzik on Facebook
- ExodusMuzik on SoundCloud
- ExodusMuzik on Twitter
- ExodusMuzik on Instagram
- ExodusMuzik on CD Baby
- ExodusMuzik on MySpace
- ExodusMuzik on YouTube
- ExodusMuzik on on Pandora
- ExodusMuzik on on Spotify
LINKS WITH URL’s
- ExodusMuzik.com – https://www.exodusmuzik.com
- ExodusMuzik on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/exodus/id305448806
- ExodusMuzik on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/exodusmuzik
- ExodusMuzik on SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/exodusmuzik
- ExodusMuzik on Twitter – https://twitter.com/exodusmuzik
- ExodusMuzik on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/exodusmuzik/
- ExodusMuzik on MySpace – https://myspace.com/exodusmuzik
- ExodusMuzik on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/exodusmuziktm
- ExodusMuzik on on Pandora – http://www.pandora.com/exodus-reggae/for-real
- ExodusMuzik on on Spotify – https://play.spotify.com/track/1buCEvYCX9nWCDXZxZI2lZ
- Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+ExodusMuzikTM/posts
Tags:local music, rastafari, VI Personalities