Interview: Dreadsquad is unique and versatile
Polish reggae, dub, dancehall and more producer, Dreadsquad, aka Marek Bogdanski took some time out of his very busy schedule to chat to 25ThC about his new album, working with some great MC’s and the Polish sound clash scene.
You started Dreadsquad in 2001 through producing mash-ups, remixes and also a load of Polish sound clash victories. Can you tell us more about the sound clashes, what they consisted of and why you think you were so successful?
At that time we didn’t know what a real sound clash was. We didn’t have any dubplates or specials from any Jamaican singers. It was mostly about who had the best 45’s and mixing skills. We also played some of my productions and it was the first polish dancehall. Something very new at that time.
What is the music scene like in Poland, which cities or areas are the most prolific and which other polish artists would you recommend we check out?
It depends on the genre of music. Each city is different. When it comes to reggae/dub I would strongly recommend some Polish producers such as Radikal Guru, EMZK, Mothaship, Violinbwoy. There are so many soundsystems at the moment that it’s hard to follow all of them.
You have a brand new album out with Jamaican MC Blackout JA. How and when did you first meet and what can we expect from the album?
The album is a mixture of classic reggae sounds with some more modern genres. The music selection is very wide. You can find some influences from dub, trap, hiphop, bhangra, world music. But this will not be my only album this year. I will release the second part of the compilation “Riddim Machine” with various artists soon. I’m also producing, on the side, two albums for a rapper from Poland called Mercedresu and one from a singer/rapper from NY, USA.
Your sound manages to combine a number of different styles and genres including Reggae, Dub, Dancehall, Ska, Breakbeat, Jungle and Dubstep. Which artists in particular have influenced you over the years?
There are so many influences. I listen to so many genres of music that it has to show up in my production. What I try not to do is to be influenced by modern reggae productions. I want to keep my style unique, versatile and different from anyone else.
What is your studio set up in terms of hardware and software?
At the moment I’m in between changing locations. I sold my apartment where I had my studio and now I’m buying land on which to build a proper studio next year. This will be my biggest DIY project. Most of my instruments, especially big ones like hammond or clavinet, I had to move to my friends studio. I left for myself a very simple setup which is a PC with Focusrite Soundcard, a small mixing desk for dubs, Feder Jazz bass, electric guitar (semi hollow body), few melodicas, metalophone, Novation Super Bass Station, tambourine and all of my FX (ie. Roland SpaceEcho, Fisher SpaceXpander, Eventide delay and reverb). I try to use as many real instruments and FX as possible. My monitor setups are: A: Eve SC207, B: Shure SRH840 headphones + Subpac (this is totally dope), C: EVENT TR8XL + Eve Sub.
Over the years you have worked with many high profile artists including Tenor Fly, Top Cat, General Levy, Tipa Irie to name but a few. Who have you most enjoyed working with and why?
RIP bredda Tenor Fly. Very Sad news about his death. My condolences to all his family. I like to work with artists face to face. Unfortunately in the past I did not have many opportunities being based in Poland. It is hard to tell who was my favourite. You can compare it on so many levels: personal, lyrical, musical…
Are there any artists you haven’t worked with that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
There are plenty of them. I hope that someday I will have opportunity to work with some 1st league players like Damian Marley, Shaggy or Shabba. I think this should be natural progression. But at the moment I’m more into dub so I might make some instrumental music for a while.
You have toured all over Europe and also in the USA, Canada, Brazil and Japan. What is it about the Dreadsquad sound that makes it so appealing to fans across the globe?
Ask the promoters 🙂 I have no idea and it is not for me to judge. I try to make music that feels right at that moment for me. That way each year my style is changing. I like to mix all kinds of music. I don’t want to focus on just one sub genre of reggae and play only tunes that will sound similar to each other. I want to break barriers between styles. Maybe this is the reason?
Do you have plans to tour the new album and will that feature live shows with Blackout JA?
Yes, we already had some shows together and there is few more in the pipeline.
What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
As I said before, I will release a lot of music this year. Album with Blackout, Riddim Machine vol 2, and those two other albums that I’m producing. I also have two Riddim selections ready to be released and I have also started working on my dub album that is scheduled for next year. As you see I’m pretty busy in the studio, which is great 🙂 Anyone who would like to get in touch about my productions, mixes, remixes, dub mixes, etc. is welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about Dreadsquad and buy some of the releases at http://dreadsquad.com
Interview by 25ThC.