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Review

Interview with Tropical DUB Connection

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

Categories
Review

Vibronics: Woman On A Mission 2

In 2018, Steve Vibronics released an album for which he only invited female singers to contribute vocals to his productions. It had the programmatic title “Woman on a Mission” and was intended to shine a spotlight on female protagonists in the UK sound system scene. Because like generally in roots reggae, in Dub and largely even in the dancehall scene, female artistes are dramatically underrepresented. So a really well-intentioned action by the UKDub-Ursteins. Unfortunately, the musical result of his efforts wasn't really that good. What was even more important, in my opinion, was that the singers gathered here were exactly that: singers. Where were the female producers and female sound system operators? Now, six years later, the two albums are released “Woman On A Mission 2" and "Woman On A Mission 2 – The Dub Mixes(Scoops Records) and impressively correct this flaw. The first four tracks of “Woman On A Mission 2” are also vocal tracks again - this time with Carroll Thompson, Sandra Cross, Marina P and the Sisters in Dub on the microphones, but the remaining eight tracks are flawless Dubs, produced by female protagonists of the international Dub-Scene – Steve Vibronics lumps them together under “The Riddim Makers”. These are Sista Habesha from Italy, Empress Shema from the UK, Vanya O'hnec, Red Astrid Soul Steppa from the Philippines and Koko Vega from Spain. It remains unclear whether these producers brought their material with them to the Vibronics studio or developed tracks on site together with Steve Vibronics. However, the result is impressively coherent and, despite the geographical diversity, clearly bears the hallmarks of the UKDub. This in turn means that despite the exemplary commitment the album cannot win an innovation award - at a Sound System gig, however, the Steppers tracks could cause a huge sensation. Although eight of the twelve tracks collected here are already Dubs, there is an explicit one Dub-Album counterpart under the title “The Dub Mixes”. As expected, everything sounds a bit harder here, even more like four in the morning on a Sound System Night, more reverb, more bass and breakneck mixes. Of course it's important to forego the four vocal tracks here, but theirs Dub-Reincarnation is also not to be underestimated. Unfortunately there is the “Dub Mixes” are not on stream, so their enjoyment will have to be purchased with 10 British pounds, which will probably make them an exclusive listening experience.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Youthie & Macca Dread: Gecko Tones

Youthie and Macca Dread are setting new standards with their new album “Gecko Tones(Youthie Records) seamlessly picked up where they left off with “The Roots Explorers”, which in turn picked up where the two had previously left off with “Nomad Skank”. This continuity should not be misunderstood as stagnation. The multi-instrumentalist Youthie and the riddim maker Macca Dread simply continue their collaboration at the same high level. The 44 tracks on the three albums could have been created in a single extended session. I already suspect it: my words cannot be read without a slight criticism, as there is often a general expectation that everything must constantly develop and improve. But for us friends of Dub one thing is clear: good things remain. And you really have to give credit to the two French guys: what they do is really, really good. A change could jeopardize this status of perfection. That's why I'm grateful that Macca Dread produced just as powerful rhythms for "Gecko Tones" as they did for the previous albums and that Youthie delivers their instrumental playing in a way that couldn't be more congenial. In every note you can hear that Juliette Bourdeix aka Youthie, who was classically trained on the trumpet, has not only mastered her craft, but has internalized reggae to the core. Your trumpet, occasionally also a flute or accordion, does not play bluntly over the rhythms - as is often heard on reggae instrumental albums - but WITH them. Youthie feels the vibe of reggae in a way that only a true lover of the genre can, weaving her playing with the beats into an inseparable unit. Youthie and Macca Dread have created true instrumental “songs” in which rhythms and lead instruments complement each other perfectly and interact with each other. The result is completely coherent instrumental pieces that you don't hear too often in reggae. It's also clever how Youthie changes instruments from track to track, thus providing a lot of variety. It also evokes musical styles from different cultures, which makes the listening experience of the album a little journey that takes us primarily to Eastern Europe in the Balkans. She always finds beautiful melodies that shape her pieces and make them unique. But Youthie's music couldn't work its magic without Macca Dread's absolutely brilliant productions. He also manages to compose varied tracks, which he records entirely in analogue form himself and produces them in a dynamic, crisp sound. Anyone who still complains about the fact that there is no “real” Dub-Mix should stand in the corner and be ashamed.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Menotti HiFi: YKSI

There's a new kid on the block: Menotti HiFi. Three musicians from Münster, Thomas Hoppe (drums), Gudze (bass) and Arne Piri (keyboard) form the trio, two of which were already members of the Senior Allstars. After three years of jam sessions, experimentation and sound discovery, they are now presenting their debut album: “YKSI” (Vinyl Only Records). The name and origin of the band refer to Dub – and yet the three don’t see each other as “Dub Act”. They sound (by their own admission) as if the Beastie Boys were recording an instrumental album in Lee Perry's Black Ark Studio. Since the Beastie Boys famously didn't play reggae, it should be clear that we're dealing with a sound pretty much on the fringes of the genre - which can be quite refreshing. To me it sounds like rock and breakbeat, played and processed according to the concept of Dub. Difficult to describe in more detail and equally difficult to evaluate because of the lack of clear references. It's best if you listen for yourself.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Categories
Review

iGL & Alecho: Revolution

Okay, you can really get excited about the fact that “real” sound systemDub has been standing still for 25 years, but you can also be happy about that Dub takes exciting new paths in the vicinity of electronic minimal music. The album is a really nice example of this "Revolution" by iGL & Alecho (Dubphonics). The duo Konstantinos & Alexandra lives and works in Athens, where this album was also recorded. It's unmistakably offbeat-driven Dub, which, however, subtly has one foot in the electronic music genre and cleverly explores the possibilities of crossovers. I particularly like the finely balanced arrangements of the minimalist-looking rhythms. Surprisingly, they are by no means monotonous or even boring, but rather exciting audio pieces - which are worth getting involved with. At the Sound System Clash, no one would think of playing music by iGL & Alecho, but anyone who indulges in contemplation and listens carefully (at best through headphones) will be entertained in an intelligent way. By the way, that doesn't mean that the music lacks power and dynamism. Not at all. The beats are quite impressive - at the right volume. Since the tracks consistently avoid boasting, big pants and aggression, the pleasant impression of real relaxation is conveyed. Very pleasant.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Dub Stax

At least since the Easy Star Allstars and Mato we know that everything is different dubben lets: The Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Daft Punk, Country & Western, soundtracks, even classical music. And now also soul. The album "Dub Stax” (Echo Beach) by drummer Achim Färber proves it. As is well known, soul and reggae have a common past. Especially during the rocksteady era, almost every US soul release was covered in Jamaica. So it makes sense to approach soul today using reggae means. Even more specific: With Dub-means. The big advantage: Dub reduces the fall height, because compared to a “normal” cover version, it has to Dubversion does not stand up to comparison with the original, but is viewed more as an independent work - which also opens up greater creative scope. “Why not?” thought Achim Färber, currently the drummer for the band Automat, got a few musicians together (!) and started playing and recording classics from the legendary soul label Stax dubben. Interestingly, Färber has hardly had anything to do with reggae so far. His impressive discography lists hundreds of names, including only one, Deadbeat, which I know from the reggae context. This may be why the sound of his recordings is atypical for reggae. But ultimately it doesn't matter, because what matters is the quality of the music - and not what it is comparable to. So let's listen carefully. What strikes you first: the supposed ones Dubs have a fairly large vocal component. Although these are often fragmented and the majority of them are lost in the echo, this still represents the categorization as “Dub“a little questionable. However, there are enough instrumental versions and even explicit ones on the album.Dub Cuts” to the title “Dub Stax” can ultimately be justified. Nevertheless, it would have been more consistent to do without vocals completely. But that may be a subjective judgment of taste on my part, because I like the excessive use of vocal fragments in the Dub not. Because singing inevitably banishes the instrumental music into the background. It becomes “backing” and loses its inherent value and only “serves” the singing. At the Dub But it's exactly about bringing the “backing” to the forefront, putting all the focus on it and letting it work in all its beauty. That's why singing bothers me Dub-Mixes in principle - whereas I love it when one Dub begins with singing, which then, in an act of unscrupulous anarchy and disrespect, is simply cut off in the middle of the word by the engineer and then dissolves into reverb and smoke. Okay, so on this aspect I'm convinced Dub Not Stax. Otherwise there is little to complain about. The interpretations of the Stax classics are truly original. The sound sometimes reminds me of the Senior Allstars, a bit dry, a bit woody, but with a solid groove. The DubHowever, the mix is ​​extremely subtle, a bit too repetitive and generally not really exciting.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Categories
Five Star Review

Pinnacle Sound: In Dub, vol. 1

Released in the last few meters of 2023, the album “In Dub, Vol. 1” (Bat Records) from Pinnacle Sound is one of the highlights of the year for me. Okay, I've criticized the retro sound often enough and in fact you can ask yourself how much sense there is in recreating the sound of historical reggae styles. But on the other hand, the historical material is already limited in terms of quantity - not to mention the sound quality. So when new music is created in a historical style, it can easily be dismissed as eclectic or historicist, but at the same time it can be wonderful music. Maybe it would help to delete the “historical” and simply take the style for what it is, without any implicit judgment: a characteristic sound form. So what if we understood “Early Reggae” simply as a musical style with no historical dimension? As well as z. B. Steppers or One Drop? Although the comparison is flawed, it would be a welcome solution to my dilemma that I like Pinnacle Sound's new work so much - even though it is historical early reggae in its purest form. I love the album: the sound is so irresistibly fresh, so energetic and so catchy that it is a pure joy - and any academic discussion about the justification of eclecticism is forbidden. Apart from that, “In Dub, Vol. 1” a quality of Dub, as it did not exist 50 years ago.

My new favorite album has been released on Bat-Records, the small studio and label based in Clermont-Ferrand that, in addition to Pinnacle Sound, also owns Dub Shepherds belong. Both creators of beautiful retro reggae. In the present case Dub album have Pinnacle Sound and the Dub Shepherds worked together congenially, after all it is about them Dub-Version of the Pinnacle album “Soul Medicine” from 2022, which was released at the time by the Dub Shepherds was mixed (and probably also recorded). What could be closer than that? Dub-Mix to put into the hands of the shepherds? And they did a fantastic job. If you wanted to explain what in a music seminar Dub then you would only need the track “Psam 2” from “Dub Medicine” play and then the Dub-Put on the “Psalm 150” version. The seminar could remain wordless, because... Dub gets to the heart of what our favorite music is all about: using the mix to create a completely unique piece of music. The difference between the two psalms – despite the identical material basis – could not be greater.

Even if the psalm is something very special, the album is convincing throughout its entire length. Everyone Dub is a through-composed piece of music with wonderful arrangements, great melodies and good mix ideas that go far beyond the (sparing) use of reverb and echo. A mix that gives the pieces a real dramaturgy - like a meta-arrangement. I'm glad that this album was released in 2023, because in this way I can fervently and with full conviction contradict gtk's thesis that the annual output in 2023 is bad.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Categories
Charts

Dubblog annual charts 2023

It's that time again: We serve you ours Dub-Top 5 of the year ending. As you can see, diversity counts for us. How could it be otherwise with such a diverse genre? We look forward to your comments.

Top 5 from René

Zion Train: Dissident Sound

Maybe the best Zion Train album ever. Everything is right here: composition, production, mix. Even the message fits.

Pinnacle Sound: In Dub Flight. 1

Appeared at the last meters of the year and immediately became my highlight of 2023. Runs on a loop over the Christmas holidays.

Guiding Star Orchestra: Communion

Finest instrumental roots reggae with fantastic brass sections, soulfully mixed and gently presented.

Prince Fatty meets The Gorgon in Dub

It's hard to believe what the fat prince gets out of the Bunny Lee productions he's heard thousands of times.

Jah Myhrakle: Who Keeps The Seals Dub

A mystical and mysterious album from Belize, from a musician about whom hardly anything is known. It doesn't have to, because the music speaks for itself.

Top 5 of Ras Vorbei

The Thugs: Holy Cobra Dub

Tracks that have exactly this expansive, profound attitude, this feeling of constant invention.

Jah Myhrakle: Who Keeps The Seals Dub

Jah Myhrakle is an electrifying reggae performer who presents a mental and spiritual challenge in a positive sense.

Dublerone: Dub For Kailash

Handmade Dub-Chocolate at its finest with a jazzy touch from the Swiss capital.

Creation Rebel: Hostile Environment

After more than 40 years of absence from the stage, Reggae/Dub-Legend back with a brilliant new album.

The Grapes of Dub: Combat Dub

Head Music: These strange sounds are remarkably bizarre yet exciting to listen to.

Top 5 from gtk

2023: Unfortunately no!

Just between us: 2023 was not a good year for that Dubgenre, especially in the area of ​​roots. Of course, a “merely good” album could have been placed here, but that wouldn’t have been deserved. That's why no No. this time. 1 – unfortunately!

Dub Syndicate: Acres of Space (Re-Release 2023)

Even at No. 2, you have to fall back on the tried and tested: The “Acres of Space” album, originally released in 2023, is also available in 2001 Dub Syndicates is a wonderful work refined by Adrian Sherwood. A long-awaited re-release!

Mellow Mood & Paolo Baldini DubFiles: Manana Dub

About the quality of the Dub-Counterparts from Mellow Mood’s “Mañana” album only require two words: Paolo Baldini.

guidance Star Orchestra: Communion

“The finest instrumental roots reggae with elaborate brass sections and not so subtle ones Dub-Effects” – that’s what it says in the album review and you really can’t put it better.

Dub Plantation: Beware of the Megamagicmushrooms!

The debut of Dub Plantage sounds like a lost album mixed by acoustic wizard Paul Smykle that could have been released in his heyday - around '84. Wonderful!

Categories
Review

Masamune: Mirage

Musical styles develop, meander through the musical landscape, absorb musical and generally cultural influences, change the direction of technical innovations, become mainstream, become narrow streams or, often, even dry up completely. Dub has changed since its invention in the late 1960s. The leap into Europe and the development of the UK brought about an important realignment.Dub. Since then it has been Dub has become an international style and has increased enormously in its diversity. But if you tried to identify a general trend, it always failed. The genre is too pluralistic. But now I dare to hypothesize that the flow of the... Dub is getting closer and closer to the current of electronic music. Yes, yes, I know, Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus already did it in the 1990s Dub and techno have merged, but what was an exception back then now seems to be increasing in volume and frequency. I expressly mean not Dub Techno, what pure techno Dub-effects, but the counterpart on the reggae side: Dub with techno appeal. Purists will of course reject this out of hand, but I believe there is interesting potential here. The Frenchman Masamune (who apparently named himself after a famous Japanese swordsmith of the 13th century) explores this with his album “Mirage” (ODGPROD) carefully. He does this cleverly by exploring familiar electronic territory with track 1 Dub starts and then slowly moves towards techno, where it finally arrives at track 4 - only to take the curve to drum & bass at track 5. This makes sense and is also fun. If you're not afraid, you should take this short introduction to techno Dub and beyond that, definitely listen to it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Interview

Interview with Paul Fox

Your name: Paul Fox
You live in: Southampton, UK
Title of your last album: Standing Dub

What is your personal definition of Dub?
For me, a dub is almost always a dub version of a vocal tune. This means that the dub is another version of the original song that breaks down the tune into component parts and focuses on certain parts at certain times. The dub Will also inevitably incorporate echoes and other effects to make it more 'out there' than the original song. At other times, dub is a mixture of rhythm and effects to produce an interesting and hypnotizing version of a song.

What makes a good dub?
To me there is no definition of what makes a good dub. If there was a formula to make good dubs then once you know the formula, all of yours dubs would be great! So I feel it is always about the end result. Does the end result feel good to your ears and body and soul? If it does then you have made a good one dub. Sometimes it may be a hardcore steppers dub or it may be a very mellow chilled dub. As long as it 'feels' good then it is good! This may be different to every listener.

What aspects of dub music fascinates you the most?
Having listened to dub music for about 40 years and having been making dub music for more than 30 of those years, the aspect of dub music (and any kind of music) that fascinates me is something about it that sounds really interesting. This could vary from one to another dub track to another. It could be something like a very strange sound that is being used which works really well or it could be some amazing musicianship like incredible drum playing or a fantastic flute solo. It could be the original use of an effect on something that catches your ear. Basically, the thing that fascinates me the most now after all of these years is something that draws me to the dub because it is interesting and original.

How did you discover your passion for Dub and how have you and your music developed since then?
Simple answer – Jah Shaka. When I first started listening to reggae music, I enjoyed it dub versions but did not really pay much attention to them. However, when I first went to see Jah Shaka Sound System I was completely blown away and fully appreciated the beauty of dub music and the places it could take you to in your mind. I started making reggae music and dub after going to some Shaka sessions and my music has developed a lot since then. For many years I think that I was so heavily influenced by sound system culture that I believed dub music should be created with sound systems in mind. The way my music has developed is that I no longer think in those terms and I am totally free to make whatever kind of reggae and dub that suits me. I listen to a lot of genres of music and now I like to incorporate other flavors into my music which keeps it interesting for me and hopefully for other people too.

What does the process of creating a typical Dub track of yours look like?
As I said, the dub Almost always starts life as a vocal track first so the process usually starts by loading up a song that contains vocals. If the individual tracks (drums, bass, chops etc) are already quite produced (EQ, compression, effects and so on) then I will think about what needs to be different in the dub to distinguish it from the vocal version. This could mean changing the EQ on the kick drum to make it sound heavier than the original version if that is what the track needs. Or it could mean changing the levels slightly because I want the focus on something different. Then I will choose the right effects and decide if I need any new sounds that were not in the original song. Before doing an actual mix I will just play the dub through many times mixing as I go and making a mental note of the things that work well and the things that don't. I will also be aware that if that dub is part of an album, then I have to make sure that the mix fits in with the album. So in other words, to keep the album interesting I don't want everyone dub to start with the same kind of intro like just chops and a melody before the drums and bass come in. There should be a variety of approaches and some dubs may start with all of the sounds or just drum and bass or just vocals and chops.

When you are satisfied with a dub track you produced?Almost never! But at some point you have to admit that it is probably not going to end up sounding noticeably better the longer you spend on it and also you have to keep interested in it yourself. If I worked on one dub for a year solidly then it might sound really great but it is more likely that I would have lost interest in it and that would be heard by the listener. If I feel quite excited about a track then I want to stop working on it when it has 'peaked' in terms of how good it sounds to me.

What is most important when producing dub?
The same thing as working on any kind of music – make sure that I like it and would want to listen to it and make sure that it is interesting to the ear.

You also sing yourself. When do you decide to turn your production into a song and when do you just stick to dub?
I almost always start a track assuming that I will sing on it or someone will sing on it. I have released a couple of dub only tracks over the years but this is very rare. This usually comes about because I have a concept that I like. For instance, I released a dub called Roots Rock because I wanted to make a sprawling long song (nearly six minutes) that had horn solos, guitar solos and other sections a bit like Journey to Addis by Third World. In fact the b-side of my first release was called African Mask and was about 8 minutes long I think and was a similar concept of a long sprawling track that took you on a journey but that one changed into even more of a dub version halfway through.

Basically asked: Do you like songs or dubs better? Why?
Instinctively I would say songs but there are definitely times I prefer them dub version of a song. I think that some dubs are so classic that they outshine the vocal version such as 'King Tubbys meets Rockers Uptown' even though the vocal version is amazing. Similarly I prefer 'Your Teeth in my Neck' by Scientist to the vocal version even though I love the vocal version. I think overall I like hearing a good vocal followed by a good dub version which sort of makes the experience feel whole. The reason I probably prefer vocals is because that is where the journey normally begins for me and the feeling I get from the song is what initially pulls me in.

What is your special strength?
I wish I had one! I am not sure what my strength is. Maybe it is to keep producing new music regularly for 30 odd years without getting bored.

Which album do you consider to be your best?
This will depend on what mood I am in. But it would probably be one of my recent albums such as Imaginary Lines, Same Blood or Standing Tall and those dub versions.versions. The dub album of mine that I usually listen to the most is Dub Blood, the dub version to Same Blood. But with standing Dub being released recently I am also leaning towards that one. The reason I like these albums and theirs dub versions is because I created these works without feeling like I should be making sound system music – I just wanted to make good, interesting and original music. So these are my most varied albums.

Are you able to make a living from music?
No. I wish I did but I have never made that much money from music and I have to work a 'normal' job to support myself and my family.

What aspects of producing music do you enjoy the most?
I think in very general terms I enjoy the journey the most. That is to say that I like having a concept in my mind and then seeing where that takes me in terms of sound choices and other aspects. It is a great feeling to sit back and listen to the last few hours of work knowing that before that, this idea had never existed. It is very satisfying when all things come together and the end result is sounding good to my ears. Nowadays I tend to get guest singers and musicians on almost all of my tracks. I do this because I like having other influences other than just my own on a track to keep it interesting. So when a drummer sends me his files or a guitarist sends me his files, it is a great feeling to bring all of their work and my work together to produce something new.

What do you dislike in the studio?
The one part of the process that I like the least is writing lyrics. I have literally written hundreds of songs. When I release an album, it will usually be around 12 tracks picked from up to 30-40 tracks that I have written in that period. So coming up with new lyrics and melodies after writing for over 30 years is a challenge especially because I want songs to sound new and original.

When you're not working on Dubs, what do you like to do most?
I like to listen to lots of different kinds of music. I also love a good movie!

What music do you listen to besides Dub?
It is probably easier to say what kinds of music I do not listen to! I like pop, alternative pop, dancehall, rock, progressive rock, hip-hop, rap, Afrobeats, singer-songwriter, soundtracks, punk music and more. I don't listen to country music or thrash metal and probably a couple of other genres but I am very open-minded about music. All it has to do is sound good to me regardless of the genre.

If money and time were no object, what project would you like to realize?
I would love to work with some of the new reggae artists in Jamaica like Jaz Elise and Lila Iké. I would also like to make a project that involved traveling to different countries and working with artists and musicians in those places. It would end up being a sort of fusion between world music and reggae/dub.

Are there any Sound System events that you particularly enjoy attending? Why?
I haven't been to a sound system for a while because I don't enjoy that environment as much as I used to. This is less to do with the sound system culture and more to do with being around so many people! I am more introverted than I used to be and just enjoy being with fewer people when I want to relax. However, when I have been to reggae or dub events, I still love the vibes. I have always enjoyed the vibes of Aba-Shanti. As long as the vibes are positive and the music is interesting and varied then it would be an event that I would enjoy.

What do you prefer: studio work or sound system performance?
Definitely studio work. Sound system performance can be amazing and incredibly rewarding to feel the vibes of everyone focused on the same thing but there is also a pressure and an aspect of nerves that does not exist with studio work. Being on my own or with another person in the studio is complete freedom and relaxation.

Who do you think is the greatest dub artist of all time?
I would probably have to look at the classic dub artists like King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry and Scientist for that title because they were the pioneers and deserve a lot of respect. I do enjoy more modern dub producers as well as long as the music is a bit different and is not just trying to emulate the golden age of dub music which people think of as the kinds of dub being produced in the 1970's. We have to look forward and be pioneers ourselves.

And who is currently the most interesting Dub artist?
Me of course!!! No, not really. I think someone who does things a bit differently grabs my attention but I don't have a favorite dub artist. It depends on the individual dub itself.

Which sound system do you value most?
Jah Shaka was my introduction to sound systems and so will always be greatly valued but I really like Aba-Shanti. Often small local sound systems have an appeal because they have an original vibe unless they are just trying to emulate Shaka or others. So there is a local sound system near me called Countryman Sound System that plays a varied and pleasing selection that does not descend into endless steppers.

What are your personal top five dub albums?
Classics only on this list….
Augustus Pablo: King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown
Lee Perry: Great ape
Jah Shaka & Aswad: Jah Shaka Meets Aswad in Addis Ababa Studio
The Twinkle Brothers: Dub Massacre Part 1
Sound Iration: In Dub