23 Tuesday 23rd November 2010

Scientist’s stark bass music takes you back to the roots of dub-reggae. Of all people he should know, he invented the genre for Pete’s sake! Not in the way that most would expect. This isn’t a front man bragging about writing a few tunes but a technician’s son from Kingston, Jamaica who actually built amplifiers. Learning from another master, King Tubby, none other than the inventor of reverb he was brought in to mix the Channel One sound system. Currently out in California after his recent Red Bull Music Academy show in London, he linked up with Don’t Panic to chat about his excitement at the dub-step scene, reveal the truth behind the smoke of marihuana and strictly non-jerk chicken diets.
What have you been up to today?
Yeah I’ve been just doing some producing listening to some dub-step and all that.
You’re named Scientist because King Tubby saw you were advanced with your electronics, are you still really into looking for new equipment now?
Ah yeah you know what it is with the electronics it’s always changing and you’re always adding new things to the electronics. When I started with King Tubby everything was analogue but now with the digital age Reggae can be produced on a computer. Across the twenty years there hasn’t been anything big that’s changed. It’s just adding more and more electronics.
Is there a favourite tool you use for producing?
Well anyone who wants to talk about analogue who lives in the past don’t know what they’re talking. Everyone knows me for analogue dub but in fact I’m a huge fan of digital. Years ago I started designing a console which was going to work the mikes and amps in a different way and then comes this software and I realised I’m just wasting time. There are so many parts that you have to put together. Analogue is dead and people just have to wake up and realize that,
Do you still use lots of channels or is it all on the computer?
Hmm, no you can’t drop some amps. You can’t hear the media through your computer. You still need the whole nine yard. But you can never say that recording on a tape machine can be better than a digital recording.
What is your favourite sound of Dub-reggae?
There are so many sounds it’s hard to have a favourite. There is no favourite person in my family either; I am one of those people really.
Do you see a major difference between dub coming out of the UK and Jamaica?
Damn I don’t think there is a Dub culture coming out of Jamaica no more. Here’s what’s happened. King Tubby’s not here right now. There’s nobody there actually teaching anybody the beat or how to set up a constant bass. At first I was sad that the bass was dead but then I saw that all around the UK there were all these different dub-steps. I came down for one weekend and it was all... dub-steps. These kids gone crazy. So I never imagined it in my wildest dreams but I started using the same drum that is to do with electronic music.
Do you see Dub-step as the next stage of dub?
Erm... yeah, but here’s what. I’ve come to the age when I remember twenty years ago when I was hearing all this crazy Drum & Bass. There was also these crazy kids doing things like dub-step but now they’ve come of age.
A lot of people are looking back on the very heavy early bass of Dub-step and they’re looking down on it?
You’re saying that Dub-step is becoming refined? Well here’s what my granddad taught me how to use bass. Their generation was the first to exploit the bass music. So I am always behind the bass. Some people may treat it like marmite. For some people there might be too much spice.
You’ve got a song Hungry Belly. What do you cook when you get a Hungry Belly?
[Laughs] Oh god. It depends how hungry I am. At the moment I am on a strict diet I don’t eat junk. Everything I eat now has to have benefit.
Have you ever been knocked out by bass music?
No, but make no mistake, bass music is the only method for truly testing speaker systems. There is no way companies could have tested the full spectrum of speakers without Reggae music. If you go back to when I was mixing my personal EP’s and after that when I started working at Channel One I defy anyone to say we were not the first to allow speakers to be properly tested.
Do you think that marihuana and Dub-reggae are inseparable?
Here’s what and please make no mistake here we are that have governments that make it illegal to possess a plant. That is madness. Please, I want the brightest law student and come to me and explain logically why I can go to prison for a plant. I can’t believe that a plant can cause these types of problems. Here’s what the truth is King Tubby, he didn’t smoke. Prince Jammy didn’t smoke. But here’s what people have to stand up in court when Politicians are smoking pot to solve crime? Some of the most righteous people are smoking weed but condemning it publicly. In Amsterdam it is legal and that is a functioning society. Locking people up for twenty year is madness! Come on!

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