Your name: Tomas Kroutil aka DubT
You live in: Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Title of your last album: Raabta Dub
What is your personal definition of dub?
Dub music, to me, is essentially a studio reimagining or deconstruction of a track or song. It emphasizes the drum and bass, employing effects like delay, echo, and reverb to reveal a deeper, more atmospheric, or meditative dimension of the original piece.
What makes a good dub?
A solid groove is foundational, but it's the originality in the studio approach that truly defines a good dub. This includes introducing dynamic shifts and unexpected moments in the mix, enriching the listening experience.
Which aspects of dub music fascinates you the most?
The unique atmosphere of dub music – its depth, space, and the hypnotic, almost mystical vibe – is what fascinates me the most. It's an immersive experience that transports the listener.
How did you discover your passion for dub, and how have you and your music evolved since then?
My journey into dub started with reggae music. I was instantly drawn to the dub elements and the sparse drum and bass sections found in almost all reggae songs, especially live versions. This fascination has guided my musical evolution.
What does the creation process of a typical one mean? dub track of yours look like?
It all starts with an idea or concept. The Tropical DUB Connection project is based on applying the dub principles on various genres. I begin by choosing a genre – be it Indian, African, Latin, etc. – and envision transforming it into dub. The process involves finding intriguing sounds, rhythm patterns, and melodies. I play and record almost every string instrument, including ethnic ones, along with keys and percussions. Sometimes, it involves extensive searching in sound libraries and working with samples. After establishing the riddim and layering all instruments and vocals, the fun begins with applying FX and mixing, leading to the final mix and master.
When you are satisfied with a dub track you have produced?
I'm satisfied when everything sounds clear and crisp. If, after listening in various situations and with fresh ears, I feel nothing more needs to be added, the track is complete.
What is the most important thing when producing dub?
Remembering the foundation is crucial: a good drum and bass groove and maintaining musicality before getting carried away with effects.
You also work with singers (or sing yourself). When do you decide to turn your production into a song, and when does it stay a dub?
Most of the time mainly due to lack of possibilities and occasions, I'm working with samples and acapellas from various sources. Voices, much like the message they convey, are treated as another instrument in the mix. I'm open to collaborations and have plans for projects involving live vocalists.
Basically speaking: Do you prefer songs or dubs? Why?
My preference varies. As a listener, I enjoy a wide range of genres equally. As a producer, I ensure dub elements are prominent, regardless of the project.
What is the situation of dub music in your country?
In Sri Lanka, where I currently reside, the dub scene is virtually non-existent. However, in my home country, the Czech Republic, the scene is vibrant with regular events and talented producers.
What is your unique strength in music production?
I believe my gift lies in vision and musical ideas, particularly in blending various elements harmoniously.
Which album do you consider your best?
It's difficult to self-assess, but based on audience reception, Dubam' La Cumbia vol 1 has been well received. I'm currently working on the sequel, aiming for a release at the end of March 2024.
Are you able to make a living with your music?
Barely. Luckily having other things going on. Give thanks.
Which aspects of music production do you enjoy the most?
The entire creative process, especially when separate tracks begin to groove together, is what I find most fulfilling.
What do you hate in the studio?
Hours of sitting.
When you're not working on dubs, what do you like to do the most?
I enjoy immersing myself in nature, meditating, reading, and traveling.
What music do you listen to besides dub?
Quite a wide variety of genres. From all kind of world music, mainly African, Latin and Indian to RnB, Jazz, Soul, Blues. All the way to Sri Lankan pop music which I'm naturally exposed by living here with my wife.
If money and time were no object: What project would you like to realize?
I'd love to collaborate with musicians from Africa, India, and Jamaica to create a unique, dub-infused production akin to Real World Studios' style.
Are there any Sound System events that you particularly like to attend? Why?
In Europe, I'd choose King Shiloh events for their memorable experiences, although my performance focus has been more with bands.
What do you prefer: studio work or sound system performance?
While I enjoy occasional gigs in local beach bars, I feel more at home in the studio environment.
Who do you think is the greatest dub artist of all time?
Hard to pick one, but if it has to be a one, would say Lee “Scratch” Perry.
And who is the most interesting? dub artist currently?
Equally hard. And at the same time not that much aware of some on the youngest generation, so I would name a living legend: Adrian Sherwood.
Which Sound System do you appreciate the most?
Jah Shaka – real foundation.
What are your personal top 5 dub albums?
Easy Star All Stars: Dub Side Of The Moon
Dub Syndicate: Fear of the Green Planet
Lee Scratch Perry: Blackboard Jungle Dub
Israel vibration: Dub Vibration
Suns Of Arqa: Jaggernaut Whirling Dub