Interview: Dubmatix hoists a pint in Brighton
This November, the Jellyfunk Allstars / Stoned4u will be hosting Canadian composer, producer, multi instrumentalist & five time Juno Award winner & nominee Dubmatix, for his first ever Brighton Show! 25ThC posed a few questions to the legendary reggae producer:
On 24 November you will be joining the Jellyfunk Allstars and Stoned4u for your first ever set in Brighton. What are you looking forward to checking out while in the city?
I’ll be on the lookout for Fatboy Slim first off. Actually it’ll be an experience to visit the place I’ve read about in so many of England’s greatest musical exports – who’ve all been through Brighton as a summer destination. And hopefully get a chance to check out the scene a little.
What do you have planned for your set?
My sets have evolved from pure roots dub 10 years ago to a blend of a lot of styles I’m into – but all with a reggae influence deeply embedded – roots reggae, digital, steppers, a taste of trap, dubstep, jungle – overall, Bass Music.
The Jellyfunk Allstars and myself are big fans of Canadian acts and have promoted the Funk Hunters, Skiitour, Stickybuds and Jpod in the last couple of years. I appreciate that there are in a different genre of music to you but can you tell me more about the scene there and why you think Canada has been responsible for so many breakthrough acts.
I just did a show with Stickybuds – cool that he was there. Canada has exported a lot of music and never more so than the past 20 years – with Alanis Morrisette, Celine Dion, Nickelback as some of the more mainstream but now we’ve got Drake and Justin Bieber at the top but regardless of being mainstream or indie – a part of it is the geographical size of Canada and the small population that push us to try and build a career outside our borders. Winters are another aspect as being indoors is conducive to producing music.
What is the reggae scene like in Canada? What sound systems are established there?
The Canadian reggae scene has been around since the 60s and has continued to grow. Today there are a lot of bands, artists, and DJs but the most difficult challenge is again, the infrastructure needed to support and develop any scene to it’s potential – it doesn’t exist on a National level. Currently we have two soundsytems in Toronto that have been steadily growing 40hz and Dub Connection Soundsystem – both of whom have built their systems and are dedicated music lovers.
I’ve read that you have been around studios from a very young age. How old were you when you had your first studio, what equipment did you have and what did you use it to produce?
I’ve been lucky on that front. My father is a musician and our house was usually the rehearsal spot – and when they’d all leave – I’d dive in to their gear. The ultimate was setting up my drum kit with the kit left for rehearsal for the double awesome set. The first studio I can remember was when we lived in Atlanta Georgia. My father managed a recording studio for a couple years and I was there all the time – imagine being seven and getting to run around a full size studio with a KISS pinball machine? And at home he’d built a drum booth and had a four-track Dorkordor tape machine and other outboard gear – which I got to know and use over time. We’ve always had a studio at home which is where I really spent the bulk of my time growing up and today – both myself and my father have our studios in our basements. Man I think I’ve spent more than 50% of my life in basements…
Can you tell me about your current studio space and some of the vital equipment you use?
My current spot is my oasis. A little crowded and unruly but it’s as it should be. I’m currently employing an Allen & Heath GL 24-track series mixer. 14 year old Mackie speakers that I still like. Avalon Pre, and Apollo Quad Soundcard which I really like for it’s sounds and cleanness. Vital kit for me is my collection of guitars to try different sounds, tones, my Korg burnt, battered organ, wah wah pedal a must, my drum kits, basically – all my live performance instruments which I use on most tracks to some degree. For mics I’ve got a nice collection growing – Rode, C414, U87, share’s, and a few ribbon, condensers, etc.. Outboard gear it’s Roland Space Echos, Spring Verbs, and two I’ve used on almost everything – the Boss pedal version of the Roland Space Echo and the Kord KAOS Pad 2 – patch #29 for all the dub heads.
You are a multi-instrumentalist and play almost al of the music on your releases yourself. What instruments do you play and are you learning to play any at the moment?
My main instruments are drums and bass. Drums self taught and started very young. Picked up bass age 11 for our school Symphony and ended up playing and teaching Classical for the next 7 years. During that time it was my “I wanna play like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page” period while taking some Jazz Guitar lessons (My fingers were too slow for Jazz). And as my father is a pianist – being taught and taking conservatory lessons for a few years. I’d like and have tried to play sax and trumpet but just haven’t had the time to really sit down with them. I’ve got a sax I rented in January still collecting dust but I’m determined to at least record a few skanks with it before returning it to the rightful owners at the music shop.
You use a lot of fx chains in your productions. If you could design your own fx module what would it consist of?
Ahh great question – I’m waiting on a unit from Scientist that sounds perfect – reverb, delay, phaser, siren, filters – all in one unit. I find these are the most used and useful for both the studio and live. You’re not going to use tremolo much or bit crushing in live performance to often – outside of EDM I suppose. Give me a fat phaser, wah wah, spring and digital verb, decaying delay/echo and I’m a happy guy. I’ve got almost 20 delay/echo outboard and pedals now. Like hot sauce – these are a couple of my passions. Hot sauce and echo. Don’t get better than that. haha
You have been fortunate to work with some amazing artists over the years including Michael Rose, Tenor Fly and Luciano. Who did you most enjoy working with and why?
It’s an amazing experience to be able to work with some of the singers you grow up with and revere. I’ve really enjoyed them all but there’s always a couple that stand out – Alton Ellis being one – for his beautiful lyrics and message in Blessings for Compassion. Ranking Joe on a track called Tornado – going to the old school style, his delivery is like another percussionist on the track – it just kicks. Horace Andy, the duet of Cornell Campbell & U Roy, Michael Rose. So many great times and tunes.
What projects are you currently working on and when can we expect some new releases?
Right now I’ve got a lot of projects on the go – working with producers in France to release “The French Sessions” Remix album (As a freebie too) in the new year. I’ve been doing production work, remixing, dub mixes – a new one that’s on the Dub Syndicate Dub release via Echo Beach. Collaborations with several UK artists. And also looking towards the next proper Dubmatix album in the tradition of the past 3 releases. But I’m grateful to be making music and being able to collaborate with artists around the world – that’s truly an amazing and humbling experience to have. And getting the chance to come play in Brighton and hopefully get a chance to meet as many people as possible and hoist a pint.
Tickets for the show on 24th November in Brighton are available now from http://www.komedia.co.uk/brighton/music/jellyfunk-allstars-present-dubmatix/ and you can find out more about Dubmatix at http://www.dubmatix.com
Interview by 25ThC.