Smart Monkey Interviews Dubwise
I recently caught up with Dave from Dubwise in the (now) sadly defunct Reggae Revive, record shop. A few wistful looks later and the much sought after second Dubwise release "Can't Take No More"/ "Ganja Defenders" was in my sweaty palms. A week later as promised I met with Chris, Dave and Rupert.
The following interview charts the label's development from its first 7" "Babylon Pressure" to its 4 track EP which credits Roots singer Winston Fergus, a Disciples remix and a whole lot of bass and groove going on, alongside some conscious lyricism.
Smart Monkey: Why with all this technology are you making Roots Music?
Chris: I believe we opted for the 'roots'option because I think that we felt more at ease with that sort of music…..although commercially it may not be the best move. A lot of my friends say "Why are you making reggae music? You aren't going to drive a Rolls-Royce with that sort of music", but the fact is that we enjoy it and that's the important thing.
SM: You've been into Reggae Music for a long time?
Chris: We're all different, I'm the "middling guy", Dave is the long term reggae man. We're probably just beginning to get to grips with it.
Dave; Well I don't really classify music, I just listen to it. A lot of the time people will say "do you know such and such a record by so and so?" and I say I don't know 'til I here it. I don't just like reggae I like all kinds of music.
SM: Was it always your intention to make and release records?
Chris: I had the bug in me and Dave supported me. We started going to studios and meeting people. 'Jungle' was probably the easiest thing we could make and from there we decided to make reggae music. Then we met Rupert along the way and he was fed up with all the hype surrounding the making of music. Whereas with reggae it's more of a genuine kind of thing.
SM: You've been a supporter of the UK Roots Scene for some time.
Dave: Yeah, a long time. The good thing about Roots Music is that it never goes out of fashion, because it's never been in fashion.
SM: Does it follow a fashion?
Dave: No, not really
SM: Some of your music sounds really hard and some people tend to think of reggae as 'soft spliffed up chill out music', but if you listen to stuff like Shaka and the Steppers Rhythms what you've got is an industrial feel to the British Roots Scene sort of transposed from the concrete jungle we live in.
Chris: Well it's similar to jungle in a lot of ways, I can appreciate jungle as it's realistic music which comes from the heart….They are saying what they feel.
SM: Were there previous releases before Babylon Pressure?
Dave: We did have two jungle releases "Jungalist Souljah" much was in a kind of Ragga Junglist Stylee.
SM: Was it important to get your own Label?
Chris: I think that's the key, to be in certain control of what you are doing because we only want to bring out music and we have all been stopped from doing that in the past.
SM: There's a long standing linkage between Ganja and Reggae Music. Do you think that it is important how it is presented in the music? I'm quite critical as it is often perceived as some kind of drug ….and I wondered what your interpretation of it was.
Chris: Individually we have our own views. For me it is just a part of my personal life. I haven't got a 'spiritual' angle on this, it's just part of my day to day life which I have a view on and one that I can defend. I don't think people should judge me based upon what they see without speaking to me first and I feel comfortable saying it on the forum of our records. The Weed personally I can defend on that level other than just smoking.
Smart Monkey: That's interesting, as the media tend to emphasize aspects such as smoking instead of the medicinal qualities such as being good for glaucoma and a number of different disorders.
Chris: In fairness my approach is a personal and relaxational one and not a medicinal use.
Rupert: I think that the legalization of marijuana would do a lot to give respect to a lot of people who are marginalised from society. In other words people who smoke marijuana are breaking the law so therefore people who smoke marijuana are less likely to have respect for the law because they are outside and against the law before they start. To legalize marijuana would go some way to show how society feels so that the laws are more of a reflection of how society feels. Rather than laws being imposed upon society….In a way it does fall to people like musicians and artists to try and change things like that because if you were to leave it to society as a whole, they tend to be too busy and stuck in their ways. Whereas people like us who are doing music or arts or whatever are the only people who can really change things like that, because otherwise no-one else is really bothered about those things.
SM: I take that on board because one of the things that I hear from some people when they talk about Reggae Music is that "you have to be stoned to listen to it !" I see people shaking their heads here!
Rupert: I don't smoke marijuana at all and I still listen to Reggae Music and I love it. And I still believe in the legalization of marijuana, but you don't have to be on marijuana to listen to Reggae Music.
SM: So there you have it. Stay tuned in 1999 for millenium bustin' dubs from these guys.
Dubwise can be contacted via us at
Free Radical Sounds, PO Box 2869 Brighton East Sussex England.
or you can email them at
or check their own site http://wkweb5.cableinet.co.uk/dubwise/