Categories
Interview

Interview with Daniel Jäckel (Wortfetzen MC)

Daniel supports, as an integral part of the Hibration and I-Revolution sound system, Hamburg Dubscene with his singing and speaking parts, the so-called toasting. In the interview he talks about the possibilities to act creatively, critical topics within the scene and his experiences in Jamaica.

What were your first points of contact with Dub and sound systems and how did you get into toasting?

Daniel: I have always wanted to articulate myself creatively. When I was 15 I tried to write my own rap lyrics and then practiced them in front of the mirror. At some point, however, I realized that there were no beats in the village where I grew up and I couldn't produce any myself. Writing poetry somehow seemed like the closest thing to rapping and that's how I got into poetry slam. On countless afternoons in the park many years ago, a very good friend just gave me his guitar and showed me two chords. I really wanted to learn this instrument in order to accompany me while I was singing, which I also really enjoyed doing besides the poetry slam.

Musically I was definitely influenced by an evening in a club in Prague, where Dubstep was played. I didn't even know this music and especially the ragga / jungle floor was so electrifying that I danced along wildly. When I moved to Hamburg in 2010, I was naturally looking for something similar here too. When the Dub-Band Zion Train in the harbor sound five years ago I couldn't hold back and jumped around like a rubber ball. With the sound system, of course, I came across the port birthday sessions and the events of the Dubcafes in the red flora in touch. Since there was always a microphone lying around there, I dared to use it and quickly replaced the guitar for me personally. At first I wasn't very tried, but I still got great vibes. Last year, through my appearances at Local Sounds here in Hamburg and even all the way down to Munich, I felt there were more events than there are weeks in the year. I remember when I first became aware of the music, there were maybe four events with 15 visitors, and now several are taking place every month.

So you seem to be in Hamburg Dubto be very firmly involved in the scene. How would you specifically describe your role or your function?

D: I think I'm only gradually finding this role myself. In principle, the role that I take on the microphone is to be seen both in the form of vocals and a bit as a medium between the audience and the people who put on the music. In addition, I describe myself as an activist, sound system activist. Setting up boxes and doing these sessions, I think you can give the world something good with that. To create a breeding ground for something that is good for this society. Just at Dub at this volume, there is something inspiring about it, somehow gives strength on an emotional level. I think “Roots & Culture” is a term that I associate with a lot Dub and sound system. Roots would be this term that covers the fact that this music describes where we come from and who we are in this world, a conscious music or a music with consciousness. Culture as the other part of the whole means you can create a kind of culture, a good breeding ground for culture.

A culture where everyone can bring in what they want.

Do you talk a lot about culture, especially creating your own new culture?

D: Yes, a culture where everyone can bring in what they want, a very open space. Creating is one aspect, although I don't think it's just about creating a culture. Rather, to create a situation, because I think we actually all have a culture. But you can only live this out in certain situations in a special way and the sound system dance offers an ideal situation for this. In the end, I think that we already have everything we need, you just have to give people the opportunity to live it out.

So on the one hand the reinforcement of certain positive aspects; Do you also address critical issues during your performances?

D: You know that at events where people go at night to have fun. There is certainly breeding ground for things that are not so good, sexism or sexual harassment are examples. Such issues can be addressed in a peaceful manner, and when they happen, it is of course out of affect. In addition, there are political, social or personal things that you can talk about in general, so I think about what I want to say in advance. I bring issues that concern myself to the outside world.

Since you are talking about sexism: A topic that is also criticized in connection with reggae, Rastafari and Jamaican music is the accusation of homophobia.

D: I think when it comes to these critical issues, it is good to talk openly about them without putting the devil on the wall: If there is something, if you are being molested by sexism, you will not be left alone with it. I don't even want to give homophobia the space as something that I don't approve of and where, musically, I really don't know what it is doing in this music. Although this topic is of course a problem for society as a whole, which unfortunately also finds expression in this scene. These problems should also be seen everywhere they take place and where they are approached. I believe that exchange is the right way to go and that there are people with whom you simply don't meet.

I have just been back to Jamaica for a few weeks, where homophobia is also an issue and homosexuality is even prohibited by law. I think the cultural background has to be understood, but promoting this way of thinking is wrong, a line should be drawn. However, we have had many discussions in our society that did not take place in Jamaica, regardless of the cultural and historical background. I can also imagine that many Europeans and people from other parts of the world who go to this island because they love what happens there, because it has inspired them and because they find themselves in it, share a lot of their attitude towards there bring there. I think the people who listen to reggae here are not very sexist or homophobic. They see this rather critically and react very sensitively to it, bring such topics into this society and sensitize them in a constructive and positive way.

I take issues that concern myself to the outside world.

Another topic that toasters and singers like to address in this music is Rastafarian. Apart from the negative elements that we just mentioned, do you bring the more positive elements from them into your texts?

D: Definitely the term Babylon, that's an integral part. Although I have to say that I'm not a Rasta. I do believe that there is more than we can see, understand, know, calculate and describe. But I am critical of religions when things are forming and organizing. Rastafarian has elements, like other religions and philosophies, that make sense to me. What I really appreciate about it, for example, is that this religion created identity in the time after Jamaica's independence, which was very important. In addition, this religion brings issues into society, such as awareness and spirituality, but also conscious and healthy nutrition and an ecological lifestyle. I have great respect for this belief and this culture.

Chanting and talking in the Jamaican Patwah is also common. How do you feel about the accusations of the cultural appropriation of this language by “whites”?

D: Of course, if that's someone who feels that way, I can understand. True to the motto: The guy has now heard reggae and is simply parroting the language. But my experience in Jamaica was that people celebrated that when I used it while toasting and singing and I don't think they took that as a disrespect.

You just said quite nicely that some people go to this island to find themselves. Did you find yourself there? What experiences are you richer by now?

D: I definitely found myself in reggae. Since I like making music and being creative, reggae showed me the meaning behind it. That feeling was reinforced in Jamaica. Our recording of one was a very nice experience Dubplates in the studio. In addition, I was able to meet many great people, taste delicious food and enjoy the beautiful nature. What was really unique was that when looking into the jungle, due to the density, I couldn't see two meters far.

How is it going Dub in Jamaica?
D: Often stands Dub as the headline for the events, but that's not that Dubthings we do here. I think there were very different developments when the music came to the UK from Jamaica. Dancehall is definitely very present there, but also a lot of roots and rub-a-Dub. Definitely good music.

Dub for me is: musical, interpersonal, cultural, spiritual.

“Different things than we do here” - what is Hamburg doing Dubscene for you?

D: As I said, there used to be very few sessions and over the years the number of events and sounds grew. I talk to people in sessions, including those who support all of this. A lot more people want to be active in the scene. What is also an important point in character is that when we put on a dance, we have to take care of everything ourselves. We don't go anywhere, play our stuff and leave. We have to take over the whole fucking place. Build the infrastructure, equip the bar, occupy the door. Building up is one thing, doing it and then dismantling it. That's why I'm doing it, that's why I'm there, for the dismantling (laughs). A lot of work, but you get the opportunity to do everything yourself. A lot happens here in Hamburg, both in front of and behind the sound system.

Finally, the standard sentence for you too: Describe Dub in one sentence?

D: After my formative Zion Train event at Hafenklang, I read a quote: “Instrumental psychedelic reggae”. For me it is a lot more than that: musically, interpersonal, cultural, spiritual.

Interview from 17.05.2019

Categories
Interview

Interview with Raphael Alberti (Lazer Fennec)

Raphael, Dub- and Disco-Selector from Hamburg, according to his own statement, is "still pretty fresh on the scene." Dub, addresses sexism and homophobia in the scene and the volcano in his head.

Do you remember when you first met Dub came into contact?

Raphael: I grew up in Ulm, my brother was in a crew that played reggae and dancehall. That was when I first became aware of the music, for example I also attended the Chiemsee Reggae Summer Festival in the same year. Through my brother I got to know a lot of different music in general: Wu-Tang, Nirvana, System of a Down ... Dub wasn't so present for me at the time. And so I started with my record collection at first very wildly mixed with rock classics and things like that.

Do you remember your first record?

R: That must have been an album by the White Stripes so close to 2010 graduation. At the time my brother in Stuttgart shared a flat with drum 'n' bass and Dubstep DJs and I remember that one evening the "Dub Echoes ”document was running. I thought it was so good that I had to get the soundtrack straight away and put it on at the next flat share party. A live concert by Lee Perry finally made me think: Wow, Dub is that thing! 
Some DubI went to events in Offenbach and Darmstadt, first as a photographer and, after I got to know the guys from the Rebel Lion Soundsystem, as a selector and at some point I was part of the crew. From 2012 we organized regularly for several years Dubparties in the Oettinger Villa in Darmstadt, that was a really nice location. As a result, we already hooked the people in the Rhine-Main area with music.

Did you then also inspire other crews to do something?

R: Yeah, at least that some crews do more Dub who previously preferred roots to the set. Peifensound from Wiesbaden, for example. But the Rhine-Main area with Frankfurt as a metropolis has unfortunately not managed to set up a proper sound system until today, somehow that never represented the center for this type of music.

Was that perhaps the reason why you moved to Hamburg at some point?

R: No, that was more because our Rebel Lion sound system broke up a bit for various reasons, because of moving and children and that sort of thing. Mainz, where I lived at the time, was just too small for me at some point. I then quit my studies and moved to Hamburg to do an internship at Backspin Hip Hop Magazine.

So did hip hop always play a role for you?

R: Yes fully. But I also knew that I was in the Dubscene wanted to be active here in Hamburg. First I had the Hibration sound system in mind, but then decided on I-Revolution.

Dub is just full of the nerd. Reggae for nerds. Smoking nerds who like bass, that's this one Dubscene.

You are currently known from I-Revolution, how did the connection come about?

R: I first went to some of the parties in the T-room at the university. At some point when the university was occupied, they looked for people to hang up via a Facebook group. I felt like it and just went there with my records. That sparked immediately with the guys both musically and personally. That was in April 2018 and since then I-Revolution has been kind of going downhill: we held open airs and a few parties in the Gängeviertel.

How are you currently positioned at I-Revolution?

R: I-Revolution just consists of seven DJs and a lot more people in the background, without whom it just doesn't work. We also build a lot ourselves, for example sirens and amplifiers. Dub is just full of the nerd. Reggae for nerds. Smoking nerds who like bass, that's this one Dubscene.

The problem is sexism Dubscene not resolved either.

With all the fun, you also notice the clear political orientation. For example, if you look at the event texts on your Facebook events, you will always find announcements against sexism and homophobia - topics that are often criticized in Jamaican music. Do you think that there is a greater awareness of such issues in the scene?

R: The DubThe scene in Germany and Europe is definitely very left-wing, just because of the event rooms, such as autonomous centers or occupied houses. But the problem of sexism is in that Dubscene not resolved either. Just because fewer lyrics are used in the music and therefore there are no problems with critical statements, there are still points, such as the gender ratio, that you can definitely work on. Most crews are made up of guys, which might be related to this nerd culture. I think music and subcultures are mostly shaped by males, nerd cultures as well, when both come together, it doesn't get any better. Taking my experience with the people who are new to the world DubThe coming scene is that many feel very comfortable, many women also say that it is simply relaxed at the events.

Do you have the feeling that the left-wing issues mentioned were only noticed through your involvement in the scene?

R: I think we didn't make it an issue, it has always been that way. So when I look at Jürgen Becker alias Crucial B here from Hamburg, for example, who started in Hamburg 26, 27 years ago, and his crew has already set up events in the T-Stube or carried out squats. I think it was in the 90s Dub a protest muck anyway, because there was a connection to punk, especially in England. There are certainly some about punk too Dub come, that's why the left-wing scene character. But of course it's difficult, you never know when you're putting on tracks, even if there are no explicit homophobic or sexist lyrics in them, what makes the performers tick. Maybe that's one of the reasons why many left-wing people are in the electro scene because they think that no lyrics mean no homophobia and no sexism. In the Dubscene and in other music scenes there are also oldschoolers who say that everything was better in the past. I think the Dubscene also needs a bit of humor. Reasons why it's so difficult to get into the scene. A relaxed but also closed circle. 

Regarding the closed circle: do you think that there is cohesion within the scene, also across regions, for example?

R: Yes, you can travel all over the country, you always meet someone you know. I also wanted to go to France this year to take a bit of the scene with me. Whether it's a big event in Berlin or a small festival on a sheep pasture in northern Hesse, which I went to two years ago. With pony rides for the children and homemade ice cream, the family reunion is full. It's really nice in the scene, you help each other. We also saw the guests who help out at the I-Revolution outdoor sessions last year. A lot of people lend a hand and don't just go home. Many also feel like doing door shifts, for example, that's all good support and networking.

It all sounds really nice, when someone is so outside and wants to be part of, how could that work?

R: As a complete outsider, I think that's difficult, so you have to celebrate the music. At the moment, however, many of the audience are from the electro scene, you can tell by the way people dance. I think some are bored of the same events there in the scene and especially steppers Dub it has similarities with techno, it's dance music.

Your events are always packed.

R: Yes, and above all there are a lot of kids there. You can tell that they are more socialized on techno and then shuffle to steppers (laughs).

So do you think that everything has a future?

R: At the moment the scene is doing pretty well, I think. More and more sounds are being created and work is being done in Germany to set up larger festivals, for example in Münster, which are already heavily equipped with sound systems and Berlin too. Even in southern Germany.

Since we were talking about your always packed events, how did the connection with the Gängeviertel come about?

R: Jimmy, who is also active in our sound system, knows someone there. I think what gave us a good boost in autumn was that we set up our monthly event relatively quickly after the Gängeviertel birthday. Then the Gängeviertel also shared our event on Facebook. On the first evening already 500 confirmations or interested parties and a total of 3000. That went on with the second event. In the meantime it has normalized again to around 700. At the last party we had to stop after three hours. It's really tough, let's see how the whole thing continues in the Rote Flora.

I especially like music that is visual, creates soundscapes and Dub is just ideal for it.

I also wanted to talk about your selections, which are always very diverse: you play Dub, Funk, Soul, Afrobeat, Hip Hop, where does that come from?

R: I don't really know, it is always difficult for me to stick to one style when DJing, which sometimes upsets me when I switch back and forth in such a confused way. I especially like music that is visual, creates soundscapes and Dub is just ideal for creating something like that. But sometimes it is like this: how slow and how weird can that shit be that I put on and I try to get out of the ordinary and not just play hits.

M: Now you've moved to the Flora for the next event with I-Revolution, are there any further plans for 2019?
R: I would like guests and outdoor sessions, maybe here at the Veddel, bridge party or something. So the campus is also a cool location for that, but maybe the cops won't come here so quickly (laughs).

M: In conclusion, describe Dub in one sentence?

R: If I may quote King Tubby: "Dub is a volcano in my head ”. That's it. 

Interview from 26.01.2019

Categories
Review

Alpha & Omega - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednega

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Steppas Records, Alpha & Omega are signing up "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego" back. Like its 2017 predecessor “One by One”, the album brings together five vocal tracks with associated ones Dubs in showcase style. Big surprises are not revealed: The British sound system pioneers serve established A&O listening habits in a mystical, monotonous and powerful bass garb. Musically adapted to current production possibilities, the tracks sound fresh, but still don't lose their typical A&O sound. Christine's live bass underlines the high quality of the audio. With Joseph Lalibela, Ras Tinny, Wellette Seyon, Danny Red and Nai-Jah, a cross-section of contemporary roots singers will come together. The latter, with his soft and plaintive voice on “Maisha”, is the highlight of the record. Joseph Lalibela processed, as usual apocalyptically, the story of the three Judean men of the album name in “Steppin in the Fyah”. According to the biblical story, they refused to kneel to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and survived the death penalty in a red-hot oven. The majority of the titles take up explicitly religious themes, such as “Jah is Here” and “Hail Him”. Wellette Seyon formulates her messages more abstractly in “Real Eyes Realize”. "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego" provides solid sound system fodder for dance freaks and bass freaks and is available on vinyl, download and streaming.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Babe Roots - Remixes EP

With its deep and technoid sounds, Babe Roots serves the niche that has faded into the background Dubtechno. The sound of the Italian producer duo is reminiscent of publications by the genre pioneers Rhythm & Sound. In contrast, the relatively young project succeeds in catching reggae hooklines more often. On the first work of the same name, listeners discovered not only “Kunta Kinte” but also Burnings Spears “Jah nuh dead”. In addition, the songs do not lose themselves too much in repetitive stretching, nor do they disappear into insignificance after listening to them once. The great success of the debut LP in 2017 attracted a number of interested parties. In addition to the founders themselves, Mike Schommer, DB1, Felix K. and Forest Drive West now dismantle and interpret a total of five songs on the "Remixes EP". The latter two inflate the original works by a few minutes. Forest Drive West thins out in a minimalist way, while Felix K. drives brutally forward. Schommer's new creation is most successful: after half an eternity, almost agonizing white noise, the Deepchord co-founder lets the dogs off the leash - albeit leisurely. This EP brings together interesting excursions and approaches for all those who do not run away at the term techno. For use in the sound system, turntables should better use the original publication and heave babe roots out of the neglected niche. "Remixes EP" is available as vinyl or download on Echocord.

Rating: 4 out of 5.