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Brian Nelson


Location Charlottesville, VA, USA
Recognized as General Manager of Rootfire
Life Education
Member since



How were you first introduced to reggae music? Who was the artist? How/where did you hear them?

In 1997 I was in 8th grade and shortly after the release of the John Brown’s Body debut album All Time the band played a show in my hometown of Naples, NY.   The show was my first introduction to live reggae music and the sound of the bass, drums, and keys especially have always stuck with me.

Influence on the scene

What have you done for reggae music? How do you contribute to/support the scene/community?  

I founded Rootfire while managing a group of influential modern reggae acts, including The Green, John Brown’s Body, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The goal of the project has always been to connect the people who participate in the modern reggae movement.

Who are your favorite reggae artists:

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad | The Green | The Movement | The Expanders | The Black Seeds | Bedouin Soundclash| Seeed | Stick Figure | Collie Buddz | Fat Freedy Drop | John Brown’s Body | 10 Ft. Ganja Plant

Who are your two favorite underground or regional artist:

Blackcastle | Kiwi | Mosaic Foundation

What one reggae band do you miss? (b/c they are no longer touring or making music together):

Bedouin Soundclash


Mixing Outside The Box – (non-digital):

Get a “real” Alarm Clock – I always turn my phone to airplane mode and put it in a drawer an hour or so before bed. I use a real alarm clock to wake up. This simple change helps my mind stay at ease, leading to better evenings and better mornings.

Write down things that make your week better on your planner –  Include both scheduled meetings as well as personal time events. If I look at the schedule and see too many days without time for pick up soccer or spending a morning in the garden, I remember to add those things in and reserve that time for recharging.

Mixing Inside The Box – Tips/Apps (digital): 

Simple – free online bank account. Lets you automatically save a few dollars each day out of your bank account and put it towards a goal that would be hard to save up for otherwise. You can also view your bank account balance as if payments that have yet to be deducted have cleared (like a rent check that is still in the mail). I use Simple in combination with a second bank account, and run all of my monthly utility expenses through Simple. ie- at the beginning of the month I transfer a lump sum to Simple and only use the Simple account to pay the consistent expenses like a mortgage, internet, Roth IRA, student loans etc. I always transfer the same amount into Simple. Then I use my other bank account for all the non-stop smaller expenses like food, gas, coffee. By separating out the kinds of spending into two accounts, I never bounce a check in my daily expenses account because there are no large pending transactions that have yet to post, so my balance stays closer to what is actually available to spend in the account.  An added benefit is that I usually end up saving money in the Simple account because I put in more money than my utilities will cost and put the money towards higher expense goals like a new roof for our house. Over 6 months my wife and I were able to save up for a trip to Japan this way.

Lastpass – the most non-sexy but streamlined password management tool that I have ever used. Having managed so many bands over the years, I was in charge of hundreds of passwords and Lastpass has been a tool that has saved me hours of login / look up time.


Hustling Culture - (Media) Recommendations


A Reverence For Wood – an unlikely intimate book about America’s history through insights into how we have used wood and trees to develop culture.  The book is also filled with amazing drawings that depict how buildings, tools, and rock walls have been built and modified over the years. After reading the book, you will never look at an old barn the same way ever again.


Inhabit – though breathtaking cinematography and attention grabbing interviews, Inhabit explains the possibilities for a heathy food supply, life, and personal fulfillment through the permaculture movement.


Seth Godin – widely considered one of the greatest marketers in the world, Seth alway’s put’s other people first. Through is daily blog posts and books, Seth’s intelligence and kindness cut through in a way not seen many other places on the web. If I could intern for one person in the world it would be Seth Godin hand’s down.

Chris Guillebeau –  Chris shares a lot of stories about entrepreneurs who started with modest means to grow successful businesses. His blog documents his own ups and down’s on a quest to run a successful business while also bringing a form of honor to online business in general.


Men In Blazers – Soccer news…. with heavy does of culture and a hint of beer from two loveable British hosts

99% Invisible – High quality audio production meets insightful storytelling about topics from architecture,  building rivers, to the invention of the first FM radio station.