Big up Vibration Lab!
This podcast is a must for all fans of that classic 80’s Digi-Dancehall sound! The dynamic duo of Steve & Bazil have dug deep into their personal vinyl collection to find some of the ruffest, rarest & dangerous riddims from the golden era of Digital Reggae…..TUFF!!
We also had a little chat with them about their time in the music industry and what the future has in store……
RR – Big up! The Reggae Roast regulars will be fully aware of Vibration Lab however for those who aren’t can you give us a brief introduction?
Vibration Lab is production/dj duo Bazil Perryman and Steve Walker and we are based in London however we also have a studio in Devon. We have been doing this project for around four years and we have both been in the music business in one way or another for a long time.
Bazil was a successful producer for decades starting with his band with Daddy Chester called ‘Boom Shak’ and then his own Reggae/Dancehall sound called ‘Notorious’. He was also one of the pioneers of dance music in the West Country and worked as a producer/remixer with the House group ‘The Rurals’ along with his own productions as ‘Cue Kids’. At the same time he ran one of the most successful nights in Bristol for 15 years called ‘Fruity Antics.’ Bazil is also part of a Reggae sound from Exeter called ‘Highest Grade’.
Steve is originally from California and started listening to Reggae music in 1977, first started djing in 1983 and had a 5 year residency in San Jose with his brother as ‘The Brothers Dub.’ He also was a successful House music promoter in the Bay Area and managed several bands. Moving to the UK 14 years ago, he became the label manager for Peng Records where he and Bazil met and decided to form Vibration Lab together.
RR – How did you catch your 1st break into the scene?
There were three things that were significant, the first was when we put our very first tracks on Soundcloud and we were soon contacted by J-Star and then RSD (Rob Smith), so we knew we must be on to something! The second was getting our first gig, which was in Brighton. Mark Dialect contacted us and we did one of the Unity Hi Fi events called Future Dub with Gussie P & Roots Garden, our first time playing out to a decent crowd on a proper Soundsystem! The third was moving up to London and linking with DJ Crises (Mindstep) who took us under his wing!
RR – It’s been a couple of busy years for you guys, what have been the highlights so far?
Highlights so far: Recording with one of our idols Linval Thompson, becoming part of the Reggae Roast family, performing at Glastonbury, touring in Europe,
playing a set at Dub Mission in San Francisco and being a part of the Moonshine Records compilation: ‘Steppin Forward’.
RR – What was the 1st Reggae record you ever bought?
Bazil: Ini Kamoze – Ini Kamoze (1984),
Steve: Bob Marley & The Wailers – Uprising (1980)
RR – Your podcast includes a number of very rare Digital riddims, what is it about that sound that inspires you?
Steve: I think Bazil is the better man to answer that question being that we used all of his records for the mix! Bazil was actually on the scene in the 80’s when those tracks were just coming out.
Bazil: My friends and I would regularly travel up to Hackney in London and go to The Shenola Club and see Soundsystems like Unity Hi-Fi with: Kenny Knotts, Richie Davis, Flinty Badman & DC Ninja (later to be known as the Ragga Twins), we would also check: Gemmy Magic, Saxon Sound and Bodyguard. When we weren’t in London we would go to session at The West Indian Centre in Gloucester and The Blues at Ajax in Bristol. Another “huge” influence was the Rodigan and Barry G’s legendary radio sound clash in 1985. I was inspired by freshness and raw experimentation of the productions. The tracks on this mix are all tunes that were played at those dances and we have gathered a little selection of rare vinyl from that time, many of which are very expensive and hard to get. (We have more in the vaults!)
RR – Vinyl or Digital?
We say both! The ultimate is vinyl, for sound quality and warmth. Releasing music on vinyl is so much more significant as it is a physical thing and what we grew up on it. We also value digital as a way to easily test our tunes in the dance and then make adjustments back in the studio. If we had to press dubplates every time it wouldn’t be very cost effective, also a lot of clubs don’t maintain their record decks very well these days, so for us it is better to play WAV files burned to CD.
RR – Who are your influences within the Reggae world? Who are your favourite Soundsystems and why?
Influences- Scientist, King Tubby, King Jammy, Linval Thompson, Channel One, Rodigan & Barry G.
Favorite Soundsystems – Unity, Saxon, Gemmy Magic, Bodyguard (explained above) and Channel One for a proper Roots experience
Influences- Scientist, Lee Perry, anything Channel One, anything Studio One, the movie: Rockers, Wackies, RSD (Rob Smith), OSC, Radikal Guru, Mungos Hi-Fi, Curtis Lynch, too many to list!
Favorite Soundsystems – Channel One (Roots), King Shiloh (best in Europe), Mungo’s Hi-Fi (the new school)
RR – What’s next for you guys?
We will be playing in Poland this May for the very first time, We finally have our first release on Reggae Roast coming out (Sound So Wicked with remixes by 6BLOCC and Violinbwoy)!
We also have remixes coming out on various labels like Lion’s Den, Onehundred Years, Bracket Records and for the band YESKING. We are looking forward to performing at some festivals this summer like One Love and Glastonbury. We have a load of our own new material that we will be releasing this year including a second track we did with Linval Thompson!
RR – Top three tracks at the moment?
Cultural Roots – Run Around Lover
Major King – Jahoviah
Dave Robinson – Aligator Tears
Wayne Smith – Ism Skism
Kalbata & Mixmonster – Inna Skateland (Feat. Puddy Roots)
Mr.Williamz – Miss Brown
Capital City Rockers – Buddy Bye 2014 (Feat: Johnny Osbourne) [6BLOCC RaggaTrap Refix]
RR – Any shout outs / Big ups?
WOW! So Many! Ok to start, Big up and nuff love to our whole Reggae Roast Family: James Harper, Adam Prescott, Ramon Judah, Bongo Chris and Clapper Priest.
Nuff respect to the whole UK Reggae and Bass scene! DJ Crises, Mindstep Music, King’s Hi-Fi, Mowty Mahlyka aka Dark Angel, Parly B, Tradesman & Danny T, Only Joe, Unit 137, Hylu & Jago, Hundred Years, Papa B, Galak, Mark Dialect, Tim Dub Boy, Charlie P, Tenja Steven, Ed West, Sleepy Time Ghost, DJ Syte, Lowki, Ben Alpha, J-Star, Stingray Studios, RSD, DJ Madd, Kenny Knotts, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Dub Smugglers, Curtis Lynch, Mr. Williamz, Brother Culture, David Rodigan, Channel One Soundsystem, Brigadier JC, J:Kenzo, David Hill(Rootikal)
Leo Sampson, Riddim Tuffa, Dub Dynasty, Stink Like Sock, MC Ishu, Ras Tuffy, Ras Taliman, Rodney P, Soothsayers, Jack Curtis, Nick Manasseh, Donovan Kingjay, Ruben Da Silva, Jah Bigs, Johnny Dubhunter, Stardelta Mastering, Black Market Records, Conscious Sound Bush Chemists, Roots Factory, Freshly Baked, Dubkasm, Solo Banton, YT, The Deep End, Highest Grade Sound, Bare Safe, Aeon Festival, Earl Gateshead, Hold It Photography, Version Girl, Paz Ranking, Jah Powered Radio
Bless up our international Fam: Mack Moonshine, Radikal Guru, Maikal X, Mel (Memphis Tenpro), Ras Lion (Lion’s Den), Simon Strictly Dub, Sep (Dub-mission), Roommate, Max Powa, Violin Bwoy, 6BLOCC, Dub Gabriel, Chris (Brothers Dub), Jacky Murda, Suns Of Dub, Serious Dub (Romania), Cian Finn, Linval Thompson, Robert Rankin, Maneesh, Wayne Jarret, Bun Zero, Crusty Locks, Adrians’s Wall, Dub Docters, Solomonic Sound System (Philly),Prince Alla, Rod Taylor and Fleck!