A chat with…Vibronics
Here’s some dubwise words with Steve of legendary Leicester outfit Vibronics, who appear at this week’s Sunday Joint. They have been doing their thing since the late nineties, pioneering a dub sound for the 21st century while continually touring and releasing music on their Scoops label. What’s more, it’s always a party when they join us in the basement! We can’t wait.
Tell us a bit about how the band formed. How did you all meet?
Leicester is a small city so sooner or later all the reggae heads just bump into each other. Most of us have know each other for 10 or 20 years!
How do you go about creating the ‘future sound of dub’?
At the time I started Vibronics (mid 90’s) I was really interested in all the (at the time!) new dub that was appearing, Iration Steppas, Disciples Alpha & Omega etc and that all used synths, samplers and digital equipment. I wanted to take this to the next level with a very hi-tech sound.
Tell us about your relationship with the Iration Steppas, who are very dear to us in Leeds.
First met Mark Iration around 1995, I had just started to make dub music and I send some up to him on a cassette tape, he phoned me straight back and was 100% enthusiastic about what I was doing. Since then Iration Steppas have given Vibronics lots of support and Vibronics have given Iration Steppas lost of music for their soundsystem, we also released the first every full vocal from Mark Iration called ‘Struggle’ on our SCOOPS Record label. We are family !
On bank holiday, I visited Leeds Carnival in Chapeltown. It was the first carnival I had been to, and I was amazed by the scale and richness of the event. Coming from a white middle class background, I felt very aware of my stepping into a different community. How have you found living in modern Britain: a cultural rich country that can also be racially divided?
Leicester is about the most diverse city in the country, and dub has this message that attracts people from every background, every culture, every class, so it’s places like Leeds & Leicester where dub & reggae thrive. Vibronics is totally a product of this kind of melting pot culture and still thrives in this kind of environment.
For the uninitiated, how would you sum up the values on sound system culture?
It’s many things, its a party, it’s loud & heavy, it’s a gathering of the like minded, it’s a place for spiritual upliftment, it’s a news broadcast. You have to go to a session to experience it, it’s a powerful thing.
How do you find being based in Leicester? What do you like about it, and what is the music scene like there?
Leicester is the centre of the musical universe of course. It’s small but friendly with a crazy mix of people & cultures and love of Reggae that reaches right back to the first wave of arrivals from the West Indies.
Who are your musical heroes? And what are you listening to at the moment?
My dub mixing heroes are still Scientist & King Tubby from Jamaica, but I really listen to a very wide range of music, I was brought up on punk rock and indie and I still listen to a lot of this music, new and old. On the stereo recently we’ve had Nick Cave, Warpaint & Mad Professor.
What have you tried to do in your running of the Scoops label? What have been your aims?
It’s all about the joy of having your own label. I have followed labels across many genres for decades now. SCOOPS is up to release number 55 , so we’ve got quite a back catalogue of great artists (Macka B, Michael Prophet, Ranking Joe, Prince Allah etc). The label is there to serve the studio – the studio is always busy so we always have a load of new releases lined up.
What was the idea between the ‘3 The Dub Way’ series you released earlier this year?
Disciples, Conscious Sounds and Vibronics all started late 80’s / 90’s ,all produce their own music in their own studios for their own labels – very cottage industry style – so seemed like the ideal collaboration, a chance to finally make some music together.
Tell us a bit about your most recent release.
New tracks from Jah Marnyah, Splitz Horns & Saralène .. some great vocals and musicianship on some hard dub rhythms .. check the videos
You travel all over the world to play. Where is your music best received? And where are your favourite places to visit?
Gotta be Yorkshire every time!
You have been at the forefront of the scene for about 20 years now. What is the secret to your longevity? How have you had to adapt in that time? What has changed in the dub community?
You’ve got to love what you do, remain constantly interested in the music, enjoy making it, continually have new ideas and be open to different collaborations, changes and progress.