We spoke to Bristol's Chad Dubz last week about his new 10" release on Unity Through Sound titled "Drained / Dubaholic", the pros and cons of vinyl and digital releases and why he loves the Bristol scene. Full audio of the interview will is up for download via our Soundcloud as the first in a series of podcasts. Listen or read on...
So we’re here mainly to talk about your EP coming out on Unity Through Sound on 31st March, can you tell us a little bit about it?
So it's two tracks on Unity Through Sound, which is Darren Underhill's label. I sent him the tunes and he said he was interested in putting them out so that's about it!
Oh so I was going to ask you how you came to work with them, but that's answered my question! Did you know Darren before?
Yea so we just had each other on Facebook, swapped tunes, he's played mine and I play his out and so yeah we've just been musical buddies.
So tell us about the tracks themselves.
Drained was the last tune I made on Logic before my computer died last year so I didn't actually get to complete the tune 100%, I wanted another hour or so on it but it was pretty much there and he liked it so I called it finished.
So the tune that is out is one you didn't think was finished?!
Yeah haha I never got the chance to finish it 100% but it was close enough, who knows maybe if I had finished it he wouldn't have liked it.
What was your process in producing the tracks? Do you have a set format or routine in the way that you produce music?
I start with my drums, and then my sub and then I just experiment and mess around a lot. I'm not a very technical producer I'd say.
This EP is coming out on 10” vinyl only, there’s been a lot of debates in the past about the compared values of releasing music on physical or digital formats, what’s your opinion on that?
I think as someone that was brought up on vinyl and as that's what I started mixing, I think it's important to recognise the roots of it and I prefer mixing vinyl because it's more fun. Although I don't have money to collect vinyl right now so I've just started buying the odd one that comes out here and there. Obviously I'm pushing out a lot of vinyl myself through my own label Foundation Audio, and I think it's important to keep vinyl going. People want it, it's physical, it's personal and I think it's good to keep that bit of the scene alive with things like test pressings, dubplates and stuff like that. So yeah I do think it's important to keep vinyl going, yeah.
Do you think the value of releasing music has been diluted in the digital age now that it’s so easy to throw an EP up online with platforms like Soundcloud & Bandcamp? No I think it's good because you can put out music quicker, and you don't have to pay as much to put music out. You can put out artists that wouldn't necessarily sell vinyl but you want their music to be heard, so you're pushing out more underground and more experimental artists that people haven't heard. So you're giving these people a platform to be heard through digital. That's what I really like about digital.
Cool, that's really good. So, I think dub especially never really lost its’ routes with vinyl when everything else was primarily being released digitally, why do you think that is? I think it's maybe to do with the culture, I know vinyl is in a lot of music culture but it's very much a part of how the scene started and I think it's just stayed because it's quite a small scene and it's kept that size and I think the fact that it is underground has helped it stick with that.
Cool, so on that note, do you have any favourite vinyl releases from the last few years?
Yeah sure, here are a few percys that never leave the box!
Mala - Left Leg Out / Blue Notez
Digital Mytikz - Walkin’ With Jah / Earth A Run Red
Loefah – System / Molten
Richie Spice - Burning (Coki Remix)
SP:MC - Trust Nobody / Future
ILL_K – Distortion Dub / Draht
Could you tell us a little bit about your journey into music? How did it all begin for you?
So I started out as a massive metal head, I had hair down to my arse...
I hear that from so many people that produce!
Hahah yeah. Well I was in a metal band but we broke up when I went to University. Then I went to my first rave which was Subdub over in Leeds with Iritation Steppas etc and I just thought I want to be a part of this and I wanted to take it to the next step because I'm quite musical anyway. My aim in my early days was that I wanted my tunes to be played at SubDub and become part of the scene and start pushing it.
I think that's often the difference the difference between those who make movements and those who don't, it's that push to want to be involved in something because of the dissatisfaction of only being a bystander.
Yeah exactly, it was like that.
So OK, what did you do from there then? Did you download logic or?
I studied Music Technology at college, just about passed it and I'd say at this point I wasn't producing music. I was just going to college, nipping around and relying off group work if I'm honest. Then I got into Leeds College of Music, basically by fluke because the guy liked my email address "dimebag2002" which is a heavy metal guitar player... He was like "Nice email address, don't tell anyone how you got through but you're in."
So at Coconut we primarily support Bristol & southwest based talent as there’s just so much of it, how do you feel personally about the scene here? I just love it, I love the scene in Bristol. I visited a friend before I moved here, knew i liked the place. Luckily got a job through him and moved down from London and for a year or so I wasn't getting any bookings, in my second year started getting more bookings and then it's just rolled from there. Became friends with a few promotors and a few friends that put on nights and have luckily had regular bookings since. It's been lovely.
Great, so have you got any gigs coming up?
25/03/2017 - RC1 @ The Trinity Center, Bristol
07/04/2017 – Undergrow, Bristol
04/05/2017 – Noise Test vs Samurai Music @ Blue Mountain, Bristol
03/06/2017 – Cubana @ Lakota, Bristol
17/06/2017 – VK Festival @ Spartacus Potsdam, Berlin
Are there any particular producers or labels in the city that connect with you?
Well I like my friend C-Sides label Transient Audio. Then Jake at Hold Tight, they put on great nights and do a good job of it. Obviously Tectonic, Pinches Label, were a big influence when I started dubstep. Bristol though generally I'm just happy to be part of the scene as it's thriving. You can now go out on a Wednesday or a Thursday and find a decent dubstep night. I love it.
So you run a label called Foundation Audio, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yeah cool so I was a massive vinyl head when I started mixing, so something I really wanted to do was set up a vinyl label but for the first three years just put out digital releases because I couldn't afford to release vinyl. But then when I moved to Bristol and started earning a little big of money I set up and started pushing vinyl. So we're on the 27th digital release and it's been four years since we started the label.
Wow, do you have a set period for how often you release music on the label?
It sort of just happens but I aim for a release a month with the digital, although it doesn't always work out like that. Usually ends up between 8 and 12 a year. Vinyl I’m aiming to put out every quarter (3 months).
Lastly, what have you got coming up in the near future?
Apart from those dates. I've got another vinyl release coming out in June/July on my label. That's one I've been sitting on for a year now so I can't wait to put it out because I'm so happy with the release. Then I've got a couple of other vinyl bits but no real time frame as well as a digital release from myself to celebrate the 30th release from Foundation Audio.
Photos & interview by Beth Sheldrick
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