Swiss producer, multi-instrumentalist, and Dub wizard Dubokaj started working in the music field in the mid-1990s and has tried his hand at all-things electronic, including scoring movies. Dubokoj’s electronic pop act Filewile has achieved cult status in Europe and he has toured through Mexico, South Africa, and much of Europe. He has also remixed the material of acclaimed artists like Nicolette, Dawn Penn, and Bonaparte. Dubokaj dropped his album Alpine Dub earlier this spring and is set to release follow-up record Alpine Dub Re Dub on January 13, 2017 via Mouthwatering Records.
Hello Dubokaj! It’s so great to touch base with you and find out more about your new album. What is the Alpine Dub style?
It’s what happens when you live in the mountains and you capture the sounds and the space surrounding you and mix it with the music in your head.
There’s a long tradition of the appreciation of the mountain echo in Switzerland, and Swiss folk music. When did you make that connection with your Dub music?
It’s about my musical preference on one side… but it really came up after I had this incredible experience with a natural five-times-echo during a walking tour in the Alps. I couldn’t believe what I heard! I was standing in front of a huge mountain and shouted at it like we do in the Alps… but this one was really special. I didn’t expect that it would echo five times… and even from the right to the left! It was like one of those programmed stereo delays at the end of the preset folder!
This January you have a new record coming out, but it’s actually a new version of the record you released this past spring. Can you spill why you felt the need to revisit your original Alpine Dub recordings for the forthcoming album?
During the dubbing session for the Alpine Dub album we jammed and recorded different versions of each of these tracks. For Alpine Dub I generally chose the easier, simpler versions… but now on Alpine Du Re Dub it’s time for the heavier versions, the more spaced-out stuff, to surface. With some distance and fresh ears after a few of months, I realized that there were really some dope versions that were worth it to release!
Personally, which version do you prefer?
I always like the latest ideas the most, so of course now it’s the Re Dub album that I prefer. Also, when playing live, it sounds more abstract, more dubbed out. So it’s closer to that. But Alpine Dub is still the original!
Can you tell us a bit about the actual dubbing session? You actually went about it the same way Dub records were cut back in the day…
First I programmed everything in the box… All the details, in Ableton live… to the point where all became stiff and a bit cold and predictable.
I wanted to change the set-up for the mixing, so I moved to an analogue studio with a big console and we started to strip down and dub the tunes. In a very short time we recorded a lot of versions of my tracks which felt much more lively, spontaneous, and natural. We got rid of lots of details and could more easily focus on the really important sounds; the bones and the essence… And the console shaped the sound into a warm, rounded music with much more body in the lower frequencies.
Is there such a thing as a proper Dub scene, one that champions the technique over the roots sound?
I assume so! But I don’t know much about the scene; I’m an outsider. Also, my music is not really that kind of classic dub you expect when talking about Dub music… Dub to me is more about how I work, not so much about the classic genre. Dub for me is using the studio as an instrument and the idea of a never-ending process in working on recordings…
I saw a transcript of a conversation with you and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. It mentioned an upcoming collaboration between the two of you. Is that really going to happen? You had talked about recording up in the mountains…
Since I was busy with my other project, DEJOT, for which I worked in South Africa for three months, I didn’t push the idea forward lately, but we really talked about this idea and I had the impression that Lee was keen on it too. I definitely wanna follow up on this. I think I need to check on a couple of venues first and then wait for spring for the snow melt in the mountains.
Written by: Jen Dan
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