Brand new! Good for you! New York’s finest step forward!
Tour De Force is the production monkier of Dub-Stuy Soundsystem who are responsible for bringing the real sound of Reggae music back to NY. With collabs from some of the biggest Reggae artists from all over the globe and a more exclusive tracks than you can shake a stick at, this mix is a treat from beginning to end! We caught up with the duo ahead of their debut LP release for a little chat about their time in the music industry and what the future holds for them, check it out below…..
RR: For those of our followers who’ve not come across Dub-Stuy before could you give us a brief introduction?
TDF: We’re a sound system crew and label based out of Brooklyn, New York. Specifically, we’re based in an area called Bed-Stuy hence the name Dub-Stuy. Our neighborhood is famous for being one of the birthplace of hip hop in new york. We’re fundamentally a record label and event production crew though we’re also involved in various projects revolving around promoting sound system culture stateside.
RR: We regard having a Soundsystem of one of the fundamental aspects of Reggae music (and we are in the process of building our own), how did you get into soundsystem culture and who are your influences in that arena?
TDF: To us, the sound system being at the root of the music, both historically and conceptually, we knew it was an essential starting point for our project. On top of that, we felt like the standard and appreciation for quality sound has been on a decline here in New York so building a rig was also a statement in that regard.
We’re big fans of foundation sounds such as Channel One, Aba Shanti and obviously Jah Shaka. We also have a lot of respect for sounds like Mungo’s, Stand High and OBF who are taking the message and the culture to a newer audience. In a way, they really paved the way for us.
RR: You’ve recently completed your debut album as ‘Tour De Force’, could you tell us a little bit about the project?
TDF: Tour de Force is the musical project that inspired the genesis of the label. I had been a selector for a while and ended up getting connected to Jay Spaker who had been producing electronic music as Double Tiger. When we met, we realized that we both had the same passion for roots music and a similar vision for expanding the reach of sound system culture beyond its usual niche of dub and reggae. We started collaborating on tracks and that’s how the project started.
I see Tour de Force as the musical manifestation of what we stand for. Connecting the dots between old and new while preaching the gospel of the sound system. There’s also a great deal of inspiration that comes from our environment in Brooklyn in our music. We’re excited to be releasing our first album “Battle Cry” this month and I think it’s a pretty strong statement as to who we are as a crew and sound system.
RR: New York has a very rich history when it comes to Reggae music and you continue to fly the flag for it, what is the scene like there at the moment and where do you see it going?
TDF: Similarly to London, New York has been a major destination point for the West Indian diaspora so there’s an expansive history of Reggae music and culture here. You can probably find at least 4-5 reggae parties any day of the week and there’s also a vibrant soundclash community. Historically, the focus in New York has been mostly toward dancehall and bashment although there is also an emerging dub/roots scene with labels such as Taitu records, Bent Backs Sound and Liondub among others.
We’ve been fortunate to be able to connect with all the various communities through our events and other label projects. To us, this is the way forward, more collaboration and a better understanding of sound system culture which unites all of us. We hope to serve as an example and with the amount of labels, raw talent and overall creative spirit, we feel like New York is on a verge of a new era for Reggae music.
RR: A lot of the older sounds are deeply rooted in tradition and the music they play reflects that, what do you think sets you apart from the rest?
We’ve long been inspired by roots, culture and foundation and our music and event bookings reflect that. Yet, we are not part of that era nor have any pretense about waxing nostalgia. We’re constantly inspired by new sounds and influences and we feel like there’s an opportunity to move the music and culture forward without diluting it.
RR: Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of getting into building a Soundsystem?
TDF: I would say do your research, take the time to know your rig, know its limits and always strive for perfection. There’s always something new to learn and you constantly need to train your ear, just like playing an instrument. People often get hung up on gear, number of scoops, wattage… at the end of the day, what really matters is that people are enjoying the experience you’re creating and that you’re making new sound system converts. Also, once the madness begins, get ready to spend a lot money, loose relationships and end up with a broken back!
RR: What are your thoughts on the scene in the UK & Europe?
TDF: The UK scene has always been inspiring, both in terms of music and sound system culture. It’s been really great to see a significant convergence between the dubstep, dub and sound system community over the past few years. For us, the foundation is really important in maturing the US sound and appreciation, and we’re looking forward to announcing some new projects and partnerships to continue to support sound system culture and bass music in Brooklyn and the States in 2014
RR: Is there anything you’d like to say on the big Vinyl vs. Digital debate?
TDF: Doesn’t matter to us as long as it sounds good on the big rig!
RR: What are your top three tunes at the moment?
Gorgon Sound – Find Jah Way
Don Fe – Jericho
Author – Jah Live On
RR: What are your plans for the future?
TDF: 2014 is going to be a big year for us. First off, we’re releasing our debut LP “Battle Cry” this month and have plans to tour in the US and Asia to support the album. We’re also working on a European tour later this fall. More importantly, we want to make more music and connect with more dubheads around the world. Right now is a great time for music. Eventually, we’d like to start developing artists through our label. I think it’s time for us in the states to catch up!
For more info on Dub-Stuy Sound & Tour De Force check out their website: http://www.dub-stuy.com/