How much did 80s music influenced your works?
I’ve started making records in the seventies, and I’ve been listening to records from the sixties. And I was a fan of the records in the seventies as a young person. So I think in my own production the influence of the sixties is musch more appropriate than the eighties. I was listening to a lot of the greate messages from the early reggae records, which have messages of revolution, of hope for the manking, of self improvements and I was a big fan of reggae from ’72, ’73, ’74 right through the 1980. And it’s only recently that I’ve got really much more into waht was going on with the digital revolution, the electrical thing in the eighties. I’m more a fan of the seventies and the spirit of that music than I am of the eighties.
What does “aestethic of dub” mean?
Dub started in the dancehall of Jamaica. It derived from what people called “version”: you had the A-side of song, and on the B you had the “version”, that originally just being an instrumental. Than in the dancehalls you would have a deejay shouting over the versions. So, to make the versions more exiting, the jamaican used the same rhythm, starting stripping the rhythm out and doing it “dubs”, with very sparse and using delays. Than you had innovators doing musical versions of the dubs and making them even more almost like a painting… chianging the colours. Than you would have vesions where you had different singers on the same rhythm, different deejays…. So “version” became “dub” and nowadays “dub” is used all the time, for techno, hip-hop and even pop music… but the real dub is derived from a song and a version and the best dub to me is still in the minor chord, in the black keys, more haunting, more mesmerising. Dub has become an easy word, everybody is a dub producer, everybody is making dub in their bedroom but non understanding that is not just a simple convenience. As a genre, the dub was not particulary popular in jamaica as it was perhaps in england or in america or in other countries, but the idea of it is fantastic, is the more spacious music in the world, because is uncluttered, there’s a space in the holes, and with good dub music you hear things that are not even there, you imagine things that are on your mind. And that’s a good dub mix!
Can we talk about well-defined music genres. How much important are they and how much did internet influenced all this?
I think it’s unfair using the tag “world music”, because it’s lovely that you’ve got music belonging to neapolitan or african style of music, that are very special to their native area. You’ve got fusion of music, genres and styles. It’s all willing good appling that to dance music, but it hasn’t really got a great amount of substance to it, where somebody might have spent years and years studying his own arrangements to become a proper musician and somebody would have sample it and incorporated on puf-puf-puf dance beat. But that’s the modern world, an internet part of the modern world. So I think internet has helped people, in some country where they can communicate where thwy couldn’t before, getting information they couldn’t before, it’s fantastic he way the world is moving to. I think that with music it’s like you’re can get on plane to anywhere, people travel more they ever did, ideas are exchanging, you havent got much more locked or undiscovered o secret things anymore: they belongs to everybody now.
When I was in school I used to listen to pop music, T-rex, Rod Stewart, like anyone else was. In england we have a very mixed society much more than Italy: west-african, east-african, caribbean, indian, and all in the same class, so at the time I was listening to lots of Tamla-Motown, lots of soul, James Brown, and then all the westernian were playing reggae and I just fell in love with it and other caribbean things like calypso. I got the bug for it! So I wasn’t doing reggae consciously trying to make my own or doing by a western angle, but I lived in England and what happened for me, which is probably my experience, is that I got particulary into the dub stuff as well and I went with Prince Farai and by working with him he said to me “It’s my sound”. If you listen to Prince Farai productions, we had a very unique, very slow, very heavy, very sparse: maybe using three instruments and his voice and it was definitively his sound. And working on dub records with him we developped a good understanding, a kind of identity for that: Pablo had his sound, King Tubby had his sound. Then I consciously tried to create my own sound, believing that it would have made my career last because if you can be identifible is a good thing, and I’ve spent the first few years formulating it and I tried consciously to develop a sound of my own. But I wasn’t trying to revolution the jamaican music. I’ve done reggae with some of the top musicians from america, I’ve done acoustic recordings, noise recordings, but my main love still is reggae and Ive applied those techniques to anything I’ve done, but I wasn’t trying to add an european angle, I was using proper jamican production techniques and trying to use my own sound to help myself, really.
What do you think about file sharing?
I think it doesn’t matter in the end of the day, if you have a good song and you are releasing them commercially. People want to be enetrtained. Nowadays records sell a dime, a plunging, and they are going less and less and less, but people still want to be entertained by good songs not by beat and samples and noises. As long as you have a good song and you are good to manipulate those sounds and noises it doesn’t matter. If you gave to ten people the same files, the person with the best ideas and the best feel, would still make the best rhythm. It doesn’t matter.