Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
Kahn & Neek
Adrian Sherwood & Pinch
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
Kahn & Neek
Adrian Sherwood & Pinch
For the next installment of the Reggae Roast podcast we’ve asked the busiest man in Reggae to nice it up! Step forward Dubmatix! He’s got a new LP out in April, another set of sample packs due for release and a hectic tour schedule lined up for summer. We managed to catch up with him for a quick chat about his time in the music industry and what 2014 has in store….
RR: Easy now! Can you give us a little introduction to the Dubmatix sound?
DM: I’ve always been a fan of Phil Spector and his “Wall of Sound” and it’s something that tends to be part of my production process – layering, creating a full sound. Musically my sound encompasses a wide spectrum of styles – from traditional dub, roots, rub-a-dub to dub step, electro-dub, UK Steppers, Jungle/Ragga and anything else that works – but I try to always maintain a “reggae” influence and vibe.
RR: You’ve worked with some of the best & well known Reggae singers over the years, do you have a favourite collaboration?
DM: I’ve enjoyed working with them all but Alton Ellis stands out. It was one of his last recordings and he wrote fantastic lyrics “Blessing of compassion” that really had a strong meaning and beautiful vocal delivery.
RR: I understand you’ve got another album coming out in April, can you tell us a little bit about what to expect?
DM: The new album is called “In Dub” and is the first pure dub album I’ve released since 2007. Consisting of steppers, traditional dub and electro-dub. Several tracks that have been released on compilations in various parts of the world but never on one album – plus about 6 fresh new dub tunes.
It’ll be out on Echo Beach (Hamburg, Germany) across Europe, USA, Japan and Australia April 24th.
There is another release due out April 1, a remix EP with the great drum’n’bass / jungle producer Marcus Visionary (Digital Soundboy label) – consisting of all the remixes he’s done of my tracks over the past 3 years – all in a raga / jungle style. (Digital release)
RR: Over the past couple of years you’ve put out a few Reggae based sample packs, do you have any plans to release any more?
DM: I just submitted Dub & Reggae XL Vol II and Vol III this week. Vol I has been on the bestseller list for the past 15 months and has really be a lot of fun for me to hear how people utilize the loops for their own productions.
Coming down the pipeline is also a preset package for Native Instruments Massive software aptly called “Reggae Massive” which contains presets aimed at dub, reggae, steppers, dub step and jungle. Bass, keys, organs, synths. Just wrapping that one up for next week.
RR: Any plans for any festivals / tours for 2014?
DM: I start a 22 date tour March 29th – May 3rd where I’ll be in Belgium, France, Germany and Romania then back again starting in Costa Rica July 5 and over to Europe for the summer festival season. Best place to check for dates is www.dubmatix.com
RR: Anything to add to the big Vinyl Vs. Digital debate? What’s your preference?
DM: I’m a child of the vinyl and cassette 70s age and while I love the digital convenience and potential, there’s something about holding a piece of wax in your hands, reading the liner notes and dropping the needle that an MP3 will never replace.
Sonically – vinyl can sound warmer but there are some great plug-ins out there to really help replicate, nearly indiscernible, that “warmth” and “saturation” that is present on vinyl. UAD (Universal Audio) does an amazing job. But I love the instant gratification of the digital age and music – and with 7 radio shows – I need music every week and nothing can compete with getting music sent to me digitally. There’s room for both.
RR: What’s the Reggae / Dub scene like in Canada? How do you think it compares with the UK & Europe?
DM: There is a lot of strong musicians and singers in Canada but with a population of 35 Million and having one of the largest land masses in the world – the difficulty has always been having or maintaining an infrastructure to foster a stronger reggae community. Economically it’s almost cost prohibitive to tour having 8-12+ hour drives from show to show – then add in hotels, food, gas etc – it’s not easy or feasible for most bands. I see it growing but more and more you’ll see Canadian artists look to Europe or the USA to try and develop a career.
RR: Do you have a favourite Reggae Soundsystem?
DM: To be honest, being from Toronto I’ve not really had a lot of opportunity to experience a proper Sound System event. I was in Mexico on a show with King Earthquake – 8 scoops and decent power – that was an experience for me to watch and see him perform but I’m aiming on getting to the spend more time at proper Sound System events this year.
RR: What are your top three tunes at the moment?
RR: Do you have any advice for aspiring producers starting out?
DM: Write and record as much as possible. With each new track you produce, you’ll learn more about arranging, mixing, writing and most importantly – developing your own style. Check out King Tubby’s “King Tubby meets the Rockers Uptown” – one of the best dub albums ever recorded to hear what a basic set up of echo, reverb, a mixing desk and creativity can achieve. Take chances – experiment with instrumentation, FX and production styles.
To keep up to date with Dubmatix check out the website: www.dubmatix.com
A very interesting insight into the world of Addis Pablo & the making of his debut album……Check it!
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/
Mr. Williamz talks about his forthcoming LP on Necessary Mayhem! Make sure you come to Reggae Roast: Jamdown THIS FRIDAY to catch him live & direct in the Dancehall!
We met up with Stylo ahead of his Reggae Roast debut THIS FRIDAY!
The dancehall rulers from the Far East come fi mash it up! When Part2Style come to play they always bring a serious arsenal of dubplates to kill any soundbwoy in session! They’ve kindly recorded this exclusive mix for Reggae Roast to accompany an interview we did with their crew member Mal.
Make sure you check the full interview below!
2. Brother Culture – Pop Round(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
3. Protoje – Our Time Come(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
4. Charlie P – Salud(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
5. Warrior Queen – Poison Dart(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
6. Solo Banton – Music Addict(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
7. Kenny Knotts – Watch How The People Dancing(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
8. Jah Screechy – Walk & Skank(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
9. Carl Meeks – Haul & Pull Up Selector(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
10. Tippa Irie – P2S Wicked & Wild(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
11. Top Cat – Everyday(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
12. PART2STYLE SOUND feat. Charlie-P – Sound Man Anthem
13. PART2STYLE SOUND feat.Solo Banton – Sleepng Lion
14. PART2STYLE SOUND feat.Tippa Irie – Raggamuffin
15. PART2STYLE SOUND feat.Parly B – Rub a dub Market
16. PART2STYLE SOUND feat.Color T – Hot Like We
17. Shanti D – Unknown(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
18. Everton Blender – Jumbo Jet(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
19. Carl Meeks – Come A Dance(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
20. Cian Finn – Babylon Sky(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
21. General Levy – Incredible(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
22. Mr.Williamz & Mungo’s Hi Fi – RAM DANCE FASTER(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
23. Clint Eastwood General Saint – Another One Bites The Dust(PART2STYLE DUB PLATE)
RR: For those of our followers who haven’t come across Part2Style (although they should have!) can you please introduce yourselves?
P2S: We are the sound crew based in Tokyo Japan. We run across the world with a keyword “Future Ragga” and our original tunes and unique dubplates. We are also releasing the titles to the world from our label “Future Ragga”.
RR: Every time we hear a P2S set they are always packed full of dubplates & exclusives, how important do you think having dubs is to a selector in today’s scene?
P2S: Since we make our own tracks, exclusive tunes is an inevitable progression. To build a good relationship with artists while we link with them and to represent them as our artist and they represent us as their sound, it will lead both of us an originality. So I always focus on the exclusiveness.
RR: You fly the flag highly for Japan, what is the scene like out there?
P2S: A short while ago, Reggae scenes in Japan was based on Jamaica and it was above anything else. But since we perform actively, scenes and fans start to broaden their perspective of reggae music. This movement is getting big every second.
RR: What are your thoughts on the UK scene and who are your favourite Soundsystems?
P2S: It is different from Jamaican scene and I feel the uniqueness. There is many artist varied in personalities. And fans really love reggae music so we consistently do our best to offer a guarantee of wickedness. Our favorite sound system is Mungo’s Hi-fi, they are the tuffest! and our favorite sound crew is REGGAE ROAST, we really respect your movement.
RR: Is there anything you’d like say regarding the big vinyl / digital debate?
P2S: We still love vinyl and dig the songs, and we try to release the songs from our label in vinyl format as possible. But when we play as a sound, most of the songs we play is dubplate and self-produced tunes so we play them in digital format. I think these debate would go on for ever but I think every person is different and we all have our own style so I don’t mind which format people use. low rate and quality of mp3 format is out of the question though.
RR: What are your top three tunes at the moment?
P2S: This is difficult question to answer because we listen to many genres and our favorite songs changed every second lol.
RR: You’ve played pretty much every major music festival, have you got any highlights?
P2S: I guess Outlook Festival was the most highlights. Especially this year, when we played at Dub Smugglers stage on the previous night of Outlook. I felt the everyones energy and motivation toward Outlook Festival. They were ready to party!
RR: Which artists influenced you when you were starting out and which artists continue to inspire you?
P2S: I use to listen to the tapes from Jamaica and was inpire by 80’s and 90’s Jamaican sound system. But today, I get inspire from artist and players outside Jamaica. Especially from the other genres. We have “Ragga” attitude in our background so any musics we absorb, it will turn out to be our colors.
RR: You recently started the Future Ragga label, what was the thought process behind starting a record label?
P2S: It was necessary result. Back in 80’s, every sound system in Jamaica owned their label and they experimentally played their dubplate at the dance. So, “make the tracks”, “play at the dance”, “release the songs that mash up the crowd” is efficient and from the fans feedback, we can drop our individual color to the tunes.
RR: What are Part2Style’s plans for 2014?
P2S: We are going to release the songs that will amaze every reggae fans in the world. So you can count on us.
South East London’s finest come correct! Hylu & Jago have been mashin’ up dances all over the world for many years now either with the Unit 137 crew or with the onlyjoe band. The Unit 137 brand encompasses all the ingredients that are imperative in keeping the tradition of UK based Reggae music alive, they run a recording studio, record label and soundsystem, yet still manage to find time to produce their own music and tour extensively. We caught up with the duo to chat about their influences, the current state of UK music & what the future holds for them…….
RR – For those of our followers who haven’t come across your music can you please introduce yourselves?
H&J – Safe, Blessed Love out to the Reggae Roast massive. We are essentially a production duo who are part of Unit 137 Sound System, record label and studios. When we play out we perform as a DJ (Hylu) and vocalist (Jago). We are also both part of the ten piece reggae band onlyjoe.
RR – What are your thoughts on the state of UK Soundsystem music at the moment?
H&J – The UK sound-system movement is doing pretty well at the moment. In the UK there is such a rich history and schooling from sounds such as Saxon, King Tubbys, Jah Shaka, Channel One and much more.
It seems like there’s been a recent burst of fresh energy within the scene. There are new sounds starting all over the place. With that you get an interesting mix of different people getting involved and people from different walks of life coming together.
We think the main message between sounds is unification; it seems to be less about clashing in the UK. Saying that, it would be great to see some proper clashes happen; instead of having random DJs who aren’t part of any sound, clashing each other at events where a beer costs almost as much as it does to get in.
Sound System comes from the people and is for the people, or at least that’s how we think it should be. That’s why we have been getting involved with street events like Trinity Music London’s ‘RumBQ’. Due to the weather in the UK it’s a summer time thing only, unfortunately. However, we are actively searching for an indoor space to continue the events throughout the winter months.
RR – You run a record label, a soundsystem and still find the time to produce new music and tour extensively, how do you find the time?
It’s very restrictive in terms of having much else in your life. Whatever you do, if you’re in love with it then you are going to be doing it all the time. You aren’t going to be doing the things that other people do, like have evenings watching films, or out to see plays, or whatever it is that people do. Not too long ago someone said to us that the career of an artist is a very selfish one. That’s kind of true because everything else has to work around the music. It’s not the other way around.
H&J – You’ve played some big festivals and sessions this year, what have been your highlights?
The best ones have been the ones with the most link ups between crews. We love being able to link up our sound with our brothers Lionpulse from Bristol. We have done this a few times over the past year. Boomtown Fair and St. Paul’s Carnival are two that really stand out. We had Reggae Roast representing on both occasions, as well as a number of other vocalists and selectors from all over the place. It’s great to have so many creative people coming together through sound system music and culture.
RR – How did you get into the music? What are your inspirations?
We both got into music in similar ways. Through pirate radio and listening to music that both our parents listened to when we were growing up. Jungle music was a big factor too, which was a strong initial exposure to dancehall for us. It’s funny the different routes everyone takes to find the music they love. We aren’t close-minded to only listening to one type or style. That’s probably why we play such an eclectic mix of music in our sets.
H&J – Is there anything you’d like to say regarding the big Vinyl / Digital debate?
We prefer to play vinyl, but it’s not always practical with travelling around (weight/size). ‘Sometimes you affi fly Ryan Air!’ It’s also very frustrating when you turn up to perform at a dance and the decks aren’t calibrated properly, or the needles are broken; but that is another conversation. We generally use Serato; we don’t play MP3 files, we only play full quality WAV files. We both buy vinyl and support the scene 100%.
RR – Top 3 tunes at the moment?
H&J – Mikey General – Kuff N Dem, Ramon Judah – The Vibe, Prince Jammo – Sheep To The Shepherd.
RR – Which artists are you really feeling at the moment?
H&J – All new and old artists that are creating and influencing. Basically anyone who is doing their thing properly, not being too flash or show off; just representing music. It’s great to discover new vocalists and producers. It’s wicked when you get collaborations between artists from different countries or vocalists/producers from different eras. It can sound good to get a lover’s rock vocalist on a steppas tune or even a roots vocalist on a hip-hop beat. It’s important to school people. You have to show the young ones how to do it otherwise they wont have that certain know how from day. We especially feel artists that take time to give something back to the scene, in order to help it flourish and grow stronger.
RR – What are your plans for the future?
We are really looking forward to getting more releases out there. We want to double the Unit 137 Sound System at some point too. There is so much that we want to achieve and do within music. Its great to do separate works from time to time, but something that is really important is working together and having a family vibe with what we do.
RR – How important is it to have your own Soundsystem in today’s scene?
H&J – It depends what people want to do, and how they want to push themselves. For us it was a really important step that we needed to make. In general the most important element is having fun and being creative. Whether that is through organizing events, performing, producing or just dancing. It’s all part of what makes the scene.
We can’t wait for Tuff Scout to come and mash up our Christmas party at the Lock Tavern on the 22nd of December! Check out this interview with one of the main producers of the music on the label, Gil Cang, courtesy of ‘Start Dreading The News’. Bim!!
To celebrate the new single from Kiddus I & Scratchylus, ‘Reset The Mindset’, being chosen to be the offical single of Black History Month 2013 we caught up with the Kiddus to ask him about his time in the Music Industry, Rockers & playing at the One Love Festival with Bob Marley………
RR – ‘Rockers’ is one of our favourite films, how important was the film in regards to your career and why do you think it has stood the test of time?
KI – Because it depicted and captured part of the history of the Reggae movement. The movie was made in a way because of its natural message, in a sort of Robin Hood way, and the sound track is one of the best sound tracks ever with icons such as Jacob Miller (deceased) Greogory Issac (deceased), Dirty Harry (deceased), Tommy McCook (deceased), Marcus (deceased) and Burning Spear (alive) caught in their natural environment, no pretence. In a comedic fashion, hence Robin Hood, showing the ills, depicting the ills and who controls the music business, which still exist today.
When we were doing the movie, we were hoping that people would enjoy the movie, and all today it’s still going strong, capturing the imagination of the younger generation today.
For my career, WOW, maybe not monetary but marketing and publicity has been tremondous world wide, which I wouldn’t have been able to pay for myself, so this movie did this for me.
RR – What was it like playing at the famous ‘One Love’ concert with Bob Marley and how did that come about?
KI – That came after he was shot and I had been at 56 Hope road (before actually shooting) (be)cause we were close, thats where we found ouselves (playing football, music). The night of the concert a lot of the musicians did not turn up, Cat Core (from third world), Ibo Cooper, Carot Jaret, myself and some other musicans played with Bob.
RR – You’ve released many records on vinyl over the years, have you got any comments on the vinyl / digital debate?
KI – Vinyl is analogue music, sound quality, more harmonious to life. Digital music actually shorts circuits your electro magnetic system. If you want to test for yourself, stick out your arm, and play digital music, it weakens you, so your hand drops. Digital music serves a purpose for today, but I prefer analogue, every time.
RR – What was it like working with Makasound on the ‘Inna De Yard’ acoustic LP?
KI – We do what we did with Makasound everyday, we play music, daily. When they came we recorded it, yes, the natural feel of our music was appreciated by various ones in the media and general public. And Makasound did an excellent job of promoting and marketing the Inna de Yard Concert.
RR – How did you first become interested in music?
KI – When I got a slap on my backside and I shouted out in protest and I’ve been protesting since.
RR – Who are your influences and favourite Soundsystems?
KI – My influences came from living life daily and stimuli of interaction with bredin and sistren, reading and living in the heavens, seeking to understand the personalities and observing the varities of differences of mankind. My favourite Soundsystems are: Emperor Faith, King Tubby, Tipper Tone, Stur Gav, Coxson, Down Beat Sound, Jah Love Sound.
RR – Are there any new tracks from you we should be keeping our eye out for?
KI – As well as Reset The Mindset, Topsy Turvy world, released LP and I have a few singles and I’m in the process of finishing projects with Camile, Bazz-Bazz and Fitzy from Java, Tore Kunda and 2 other projects
RR – Over the course of your long career in the music industry what are the highlights?
KI – My first Zigglee concert in France, Garance in France, performing at Barbican in London and Woodstock in Poland.
RR – What are your thoughts on the Reggae scene in the UK?
KI – There use to be lots of record shops in London but when I went there 4-5 years ago, there was only a couple, because of the digital age. But we feel there’s a rebirth of cultural music and we think the minds of the British people, are again ready for the message in the music.
RR – You’ve worked with some legendary producers, is there anyone in particular that stands out for you?
KI – Lee Scratch Perry, Earl Chinna Smith, Bunny Lee, Coxson….They all had a certain style that came out of the studio, there was always some excellent music coming out.