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A pilgrimage to dub – King Shiloh Weekender

Inna Dub Style went on a pilgrimage to Amsterdam to see and feel the massive vibe induced by the mighty King Shiloh Soundsystem. And what a vibe it was, truly something to never forget!

King Shiloh Weekender @ Q-Factory, Amsterdam 18-20.12.2016 w/ Ranking Joe, King Earthquake, Aba Shanti I & guests.

 

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Growing your own bass culture in Istanbul

”Last time we came here there was water covering the entire floor” Özgür Baltutan says with a small laugh, pointing to a big moist stain in the roof in a corner of the 20 square meter dancefloor. “But we fixed it!”

Pixie junglist

On a smaller side street to Istanbuls glittering shopping artery, Istiklal Caddesi, the pulse of the bass vibrates from underground despite problems with location as well as authorities. Since 2008, Baltutan has been the owner of Pixie Underground (Pixie on facebook / Pixie on twitter), Istanbuls only club for bass music and soundsystem culture.

“It all started when we built our own custom soundsystem: Dread Culture Soundsystem. We used it for two parties, but after that it was just lying around collecting dust. Sound system culture is not very known here, people didn’t know what it was all about so no established clubs wanted to hire us for gigs.” Özgür explains when I ask him about Pixies beginnings.

“In the early 2000’s Istanbuls electronic music scene was dominated by techno and trance, but we felt there was space for more alternatives farther away from the mainstream. So we decided to start our own place, play the music we liked: dubstep, jungle and drum n’bass, and teach the public to appreciate it. When we started only 4 DJ:s in the entire city even played music like this, now we have around 50!”

Özgür Baltutan

The small, tightly knit community around Pixie has also spawned names of international renown, like Ex Nihilo and Turkeys most internationally famous dubstep DJ: Gantz who has played the Boiler Room in London and has releases out on respected dubstep label DEEP MEDi music. Both had their humble beginnings spinning dub records at Pixie.

Running a small establishment focusing on a small niche of underground culture is not the easiest in Istanbul, a city run by conservative authorities where change is constant and gentrification takes unexpected turns:

“Right now, the only way to get a new alcohol license in (Istanbuls central shopping and tourist area) Taksim is to own a big fancy restaurant, the authorities are trying to close and chase away all the bars and smaller spots so they can sell the valuable land to their hotel developer friends” Özgür laments.

Corruption and conservatism go hand in hand: its easy for the politicians and cops to harass young urban adherents of a suspicious subculture when their own political support comes from the uneducated countryside. “Our greatest practical problem is the amount of fees we get: the sound limits in the street are absurdly low and the authorities know we’re a source of easy money so they come visit us quite often.” The interview is suddenly interrupted: word has gotten around that the cops are on their way to enforce another petty, arbitrary and new regulation, and the chairs and tables where we had been sitting down for the chat quickly have to be stowed back into the dark, small and increasingly loud bar: “Can you imagine they are trying to stop us from bringing our chairs and tables out and sitting in the street? Its just another way for them to try to censor us and hide us away!”

A longer version of this article (in Swedish) will be published in the February issue of Ny Tid Magazine .

Gantz is playing in Helsinki 26 February at Innamind Recordings label night in Ravintola Lämpö.

Article and pictures by Otto Ekman.

Audio

Will Tee – Descendant dubplates + Reggae roast interview. (FREE DL!)

Sheffield-based dub producer Will Tee has a fairly young record label, Descendant Music that’s releasing really nice music. Here’s a dubplate mix he did for Reggae Roast (who also interviewed him, check it out from this link). Don’t miss the chance to download this powerful mix by clicking through to soundcloud ;)

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Session video + a few words with Intergalaktik Soundsystem and Jahvice

I had the pleasure of attending a rootical session (video above, check it!) hosted by Intergalaktik Soundsystem. I had a few words with Olli Dublifter of Intergalaktik and Jahvice.

Intergalaktik stack

Intergalaktik stack

How did you get involved in dub music? Which artists/soundsystems have influenced you the most?

Dublifter: I started to get into reggae in the early 90’s, and in the mid 90’s the UK soundsystem thing started to come into the picture. I first went to london in ‘95 and saw some of these soundsystems and it was like a new world to me. I’d been listening to some tapes, and I heard a Shaka tape.

I’d been listening to some tapes, and I heard a Shaka tape.

I was wondering, since I knew Shaka records, but then I had a Shaka tape and was wondering “Why is he playing Dennis Brown and Johnny Clarke, this is supposet to be Shaka, what is this? ” But the first time I went there I was like “Noooow I get it”. Because I had a Shaka album where he is singing and producing and I was very surpised why I have a Shaka tape with Johnny Clarke on it. But afterwards I understood and knew what its about. And after that, I was really into it. So it started in the mid 90’s and even upto today this has been my main thing. I love a lot of jamaican music, old roots and reggae, but somehow the UK-style soundsystem has been the core to me. I kind of always wanted to do what these UK soundsystems were doing.

Olli Dublifer on the decks

Olli Dublifer on the decks

Jahvice: At a young age I was really listening to some reggae, but after meeting this guy [Dublifter], I got some tapes recorded from Tero Kaski’s Roots & Culture radio show.

I got some tapes recorded from Tero Kaski’s Roots & Culture radio show.

That basically got me hooked on the deeper side of reggae music and not just borrowing stuff from the library. I really got into it and the main thing that was speaking to me most was more like the jamaican style dancehall soundsystem, not really the roots. Like the 80’s 90’s style of mc-ing. I didn’t like the DJ:ing style at the time, like of voicing the records, but I really liked the energy that was going on in that environment and it really got me into reggae music. I would say Killamanjaro, Stone Love, Metro Media were those that got me into the soundsystem culture. But then when I got more experience in the scene and got more into the spiritual side of the music, then I really found out about the roots dances. I was good friends with Dublifter and it was kind of a normal connection and we started to do this stuff together. I’ve also been getting influence from him [Dublifter].

igs-3

Jahvice

Nestori

Nestori

Lhuger

Lhuger

Dublifter: For me also, Roots & Culture radio show by Daddy T-Roy Tero Kaski, the finnish Don of reggae was really influential. His programs and his influence was something that really, without it, I don’t think I would be as much into reggae as I am now. When I was a young guy without money going to high school, I was listening to his radio show and it was almost like a religion to me. I was even taking notes and learned about reggae music through his shows. Without Tero Kaski, I would have never gone to a Shaka dance. Through him I really got to know reggae because those days you had no internet and you had no way to hear. At a certain time of the week, you had to listen to Radio Mafia and press the rec-button to record it on tape.

What are your future plans soundsystemwize or dubwize?

Dublifter:I think we have a lot of plans, even too much to have time to execute! I feel that Intergalaktik is going in a good way, we have a lot of releases in the pipeline, and we just released two 7”’s, one by Jahvice More We Want and one by Ricky Benz. We have a lot of music that we want to put on vinyl, and for the soundsystem we have planned to upgrade the sound and start playing more. During the last 6-12 months we’ve been busier than we’ve been in a while and we hope to continue from there. Both on releases and soundsystem building and sessions and so on. And also to get a bit more international, we have a lot of contacts around the world and we want to try to get more to France and other parts of Europe where the market is big, and there are lots of good things going on. And with releases, I think we’ve got more recognition abroad, because they’ve found our records so hopefully we’ll get to do more with soundsystems there.

Jahvice: I just want to get my music out and want to do soundsystems. Doing my own thing, it’s not paying my bills but I’ve found my direction and I’m happy to be on this path. Whatever comes by, it’s appreciated.

Whatever comes by, it’s appreciated.

Thanks!

Interview with IVAH sound -crew.

Ivah Sound had a big and really well arranged dub dance, FRWRD#3, at Ravintola Lämpö (Helsinki) a few weeks back. The dance featured big names, Alpha Steppa (UK) alongside bassmusic guys LAS and Mikael (FIN). What a dance it was. And the Ivah stack packs quite a boom-shaka-lacka too! This time the stack was divided into two smaller (but still big!) stacks providing a more stereo BOOM for your stepping pleasure.

frwrd

Inna Dub Style had the chance to talk to a few key players of the ambitious Ivah Sound -crew…

Who all are part of your soundsystem-crew, and who does what?

Frej: Basically we’re 6 members in our crew, and we’ve got people who do everything. In the crew we got sound designers, technicians, MCs, producers and things like that. That’s how we started, but still for making a party like FRWRD, you need a lot of help like graphic designers and ticketsellers even.

Jahkob: I do a lot of things with the soundsystem itself, designing and thinking about what we should build and building them. Of course everyone helps in the building, but I’m sort of the sound designer. I also play music. Frej also plays music and does graphic stuff and manages everything.

Frej: The structure, paperwork and business aspects of the soundsystem are some of the things I do.

Jahkob: Then we also have Ras Kurmas, who also plays records and he’s the sound technician. If I’m the designer, he would be the technician, he knows that stuff.

Frej: And he’s also a chef!

Jahkob: Then we have Fyah-I, who’s mostly on the microphone, but he also produces tracks that we sometimes play. And Thomas is a DJ, a really great one and of course he helps with other things also. Also Konsta Autuas is a DJ and helps with a lot of stuff. And Konsta can write finnish, we’re not so good at that (FYI Jahkob and Frej speak swedish as their mother-tongue) .

Jahkob and Frej.

Jahkob and Frej.

How long have you been running a soundsystem and when did you have your first own dance?

Frej: We’ve had this collective for a bit over 4 years, but we’ve had the soundsystem for around 2 years.

How did you get involved in dub music? Which artists/soundsystems have influenced you the most?

Jahkob: We’ve gone a long way, like, through different genres of music into dub, and also into other stuff. We’re pretty wide in the musical range if you compare to other sounds, so how we got involved, I don’t know, through Rastafari, maybe I did. Then of course, I like heavy bass music, that’s the thing. I listened to reggae first, and we played reggae first, and then we got a bit into dubstep, but then I realised that dubstep got a little bit strange and I found steppers and heavy dub and I was like “Shit! This is like the good dubstep but with a good message and reggae vibe to it” So that’s how I got into it. Can’t speak for everyone though.

Frej: We’re not only about dub and reggae, but we’re also about jungle and that’s a big part of the soundsystem. There aren’t that many soundsystem-collectives in Finland that mix jungle and dub in the same dance, but we’ve always done them together because that’s what we want to do.

Ras Kurmas: I got involved with reggae and dub in Lahti, and this has been a family thing. In lahti the first soundsystem I heard was Revolution Hi-fi a long time ago in the 70’s. Seeing Aba Shanti in Lahti, and Channel One also were big ones for me.

What are your future plans soundsystemwize or dubwize?

Jahkob: I think it’s a lot about getting the culture forward here in Finland because it had been, how should I say it, not so high standard, and we want to push the bar higher. We want to do really good things and push the culture forward.

Ras Kurmas: Getting this soundsystem culture bigger in Finland, getting more sounds and to get more people to come to the dances and understand what this thing is really about. But it’s not just about the music, it’s so much more than that. This is a rocky road, Jah road, Rastafari!

Thanks!

Ivah on the webz.

Audio

Interview with Ben Alpha

Ben Alpha aka Alpha Steppa aka Steppas Records chiefbossman was in Helsinki a few weeks ago playing a set at Ivah Sound‘s FRWRD#3 session. And what a session it was! I had the chance to ask him a few questions Inna Dub Style…

frwrd-2

FRWRD#3 session. Big up Ivah crew!

When did you produce your first tracks and how did you get into bass-heavy rootikal dubstep?

I suppose it started when I was quite young. Some of my earliest memories would be going to the studio with my dad (John of Alpha & Omega), I was probably 3-4 years old. I remember… quite vividly, him giving me the microphone and telling me to say something like “Alpha & Omega” or “Rastafari” so I said “Rastafari” and he recorded it, but played it back to me pitched down, so it was like “RRRAAASSTAFAARRI” and this kinda blew my mind. I thought he was a wizard at the time.

I thought he was a wizard at the time.

Do you think that I’ve heard you on some Alpha & Omega tracks?

Actually yeah, technically my first release would’ve been in 1991 at the tender age of 3 or 4, and that was on the Almighty Jah album with Dub Judah. I’ve given up the vocal work since those days.

How did you end up starting a record label?

Well, I’ve been making music for a while… different types of music independently from my dad and my aunt Alpha & Omega. Creating my own sound, you know. And then in 2009-2010 I put a few tunes together with kind of eastern influences, because I was living in South Korea at the time. So I had a lot of influence from the traditional music there. So I just wanted to put one of the tunes out and just see how it went. I thought to put one tune out and be done with it. Then I put a record out and decided to call it Steppas Records, and it turns out that it’s quite addictive, so I didn’t stop.

Then I put a record out and decided to call it Steppas Records, and it turns out that it’s quite addictive, so I didn’t stop.

You have lots of things going on. How do you balance yourself between running your own label, producing your own music and doing live shows?

I just do it…heh, there are always ways to make time, you know. You have to find space and find time, and you really also have to find time to do other things, to kind of take you away and gain your inspiration. I travel a lot through touring and DJing, and I get to meet a lot of interesting people and go to a lot of interesting places, and that kind of inspires me to keep going with the music. So I go home and make music.

Alpha Steppa on the controls.

Alpha Steppa on the controls.

Your sound is quite unique as is the sound of Alpha and Omega. Do you get musical advice from your dad and aunt? If you do, do you listen to it?

Heh! That’s a good question. I have to say that obviously Alpha & Omega are my biggest influence musically definately. From a young age I’ve been listening to Alpha & Omega. I do have my own sound because I’m interested in bass music, dubstep and deeper dubstep, and that also influences my sound, so I’ll make tunes and often send them to my dad and my aunt. Sometimes they get back to me and say “This tune is bad! It’s rough!” and sometimes they won’t get back to me at all. You never know really, you have to play tunes out to really truly test them and find out whether they stand up and are strong enough to release.

I’ve noticed that you have lots of oriental/asian elements in your music and you seem to be into Asian philosophy. What inspires you and how does your creative process work?

Basically, the way I see it is that umm… I can’t really take full credit for the music because it’s not fully coming from me or my identity. Maybe it plays a small part, but the music is coming from my inspirations that I come across meeting people and traveling. All I’m doing is transferring that inspiration into a kinda physical form, which is, the music. I’m quite interested in traditional music of various countries, particularly Asia because I used to live there, so it rubbed off on me, you know.

What are your future plans for yourself and Steppas Records? Heavy tunes coming up?

Yep. This year is quite busy, we have a lots of releases coming. I don’t really plan too much, you know, I try to focus on the present, but when you’re running a label you do have to think ahead. We’ve got the second Dub Dynasty album coming in a few months, which’ll be me, my dad and my aunt (dad + aunt = Alpha & Omega), our collaboration together. It’s not Alpha Steppa and it’s not Alpha & Omega, it’s something different, and that’s the second album coming. I’ve got a few more 12”s in the pipeline, and I’m running my sister label, Trigram, and there are only 8 releases altogether and we’re on the third one now. So the next [Trigram] release is coming in June, and actually it’s the first full Alpha Steppa-only release on a 10”. Trigram is a deeper and darker side of Steppas and bit more leaning towards bass music, instrumentals, and things like that.

Why do you do it?

I don’t know really, sometimes you just… it’s not really me doing it, it’s just doing it by itself, you know. I do play my part, but it’s doing it by itself. And really, you find out why you do it, you know, as a producer you spend a lot of time locked away in a studio while other people are out enjoying themselves in the sunshine and you’re in a dark studio damaging your ears repeatedly listening to the same hi-hat for 2 hours or something like that. But when you go and play a session and you play the tunes out… if it’s a serious heavyweight session, you can see people brought into the present moment, so for a while their true self is revealed, you know. It’s liberation. It has all to do with liberation.

It’s liberation. It has all to do with liberation.

So you go to a soundsystem session and you really don’t have a concept of past and future, all you have is the present and you’re lifted into that. And within the present it’s just… pure joy. And if you can help other people reach states of pure joy, you should definitely do that. You know, why not? If you have the ability then do it, so I’m going to keep doing it until I can’t do it anymore.

Thanks!

Here are a few Steppas/Trigram -mixes for your listening pleasure. Click through for a free download too!

 

Interview with Partial Records

I had the pleasure with talking with Liam, head of Partial Records. He was in town (Helsinki, Finland) with a bunch of records, and played at a rootical Intergalaktik Soundsystem dance. It was a blessed session. Now to the questions….

How did you end up starting a record label?

I had worked for a few record companies and labels before in distribution, promotion and things like that, so I was kinda involved anyway for a while. I decided that it would be something I should do, and it felt right.

I decided that it would be something I should do, and it felt right.

I was in the position where I had contacts and access to lots of music.

Where does the name Partial come from?

The name was… it was nothing really behind it. The word just came into my head for no reason, and I’d looked and seen that no other label was called Partial and that was it. And also I got problems with my vision so in England I’m known as partially sighted, so partial is a word thats sort of is always in my head. Really there was nothing more to it, I really didn’t put that much thought into it. It just seemed like a good idea and rather than think about something for three months I decided that that’s it. And also, of course in reggae, there’s a jamaican thing me nah partial, it’s kinda a phrase that’s used, so it really should be no partial or nah partial but it just looked better like that.

I’ve understood that many of your releases are re-releases. What’s the usual process for re-releasing tracks? starting from choosing what to release?

Normally the tracks that I’ve re-issued are personal favorites, tunes that I know aren’t available anymore, so simply I just approach the producer or artist and see if we can work something, and 9 times out of 10 it works at the moment. A lot of these tunes are tunes that have been in my record collection from, you know 91-93 or later and they’re just tunes that I really like, and sometimes the producers are people that I’ve known for a long time already and that makes things easier.

Liam Partial

Liam of Partial Records doing some tight selection!

What got you into heavy dub reggae music? What inspires you?

Simply, I ended up going to a Jah Shaka show in the Rocket in ‘91 on Holloway Road in North London. Not by accident, but it happened and that was it, really. I still am into many types of music but that one particular path took me to see Jah Shaka and I’d already flirted a bit with reggae beforehand, but that was the starting point. I’d never seen or heard anything like that in my life. From around 91 to about 2000 I was completetly immersed in it, going to dances every week and I don’t think I listened to any other genre of music. In fact I sold every single record I had of any other genre of music. I now regret that, and I’ve been buying back the records I sold back then. But basically, it was Shaka.

But basically, it was Shaka.

What are your future plans for Partial Records? Heavy tunes coming up?

Yeah, there are! In fact this year I hadn’t planned to release as many as I already released. Theres been 13… no 15 releases out now, and theres already 13 ready to go. I’m just thinking about how I’m going to space them out. And some of them are certain artists and producers that I’m really very excited to be working with because they’re people that I’ve admired for so long. And on top of that…  personally exciting for me, as I’m a kind of frustrated musician… I’ve played many musical instruments and it’s always been a hobby and I’ve never been that professional. However, I’ve been building my own riddims and I’ve got about 5 tunes coming out soon, that I’ve produced myself and I play all the instruments on. They’ve been voiced and they’re ready to go so it’s just a case of spreading things out. So it’s going to be a mixture of old stuff and new stuff again. For the rest of the year, it’s pretty much done!

Thanks a lot!

Check out Partial Records on Facebook.

edit. Facebook-link changed ;)