Multi-talented music man Dub FX shares his story with us

Other | Wednesday 8th July 2015 | Annalisa

Dub FX is the definition of an independent musician – he built his name by busking and street performing, and he creates live music using his own performance, live looping and effects pedals. The genre-spanning music man shared the Dub FX story with us.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your story?
Oh man that’s quite a big answer. I’ve been doing this for like nine years now, started off as a street performer travelling around in a van selling my music to people on the streets. I just sold loads of albums and people sort of spread it around for me I guess. When YouTube started coming up people started filming me and putting it on YouTube, and then people started sharing that. I guess through all the sharing and social media and street performing, I just started getting booked loads for lots of festivals and things and that’s what I’m doing nowadays.

Tell us some of your inspirations.
Inspiration is just everyday life I guess more than anything. Travelling loads and listening to loads of music, talking to loads of people and being open minded to anything and everything. That’s the main inspiration.

How did you come up with the name Dub FX?
That’s a bit of a funny one, I wanted to have a reggae band back in Australia and call it Dub FX because I just started experimenting with putting effects over my vocals. I was just learning how to do that, before the loop stage, just the effects pedal, and I had the idea of having a reggae band. I never got to do that, back then I was like 19, 20 years old, no one took me seriously, all my friends were good musicians already getting gigs with older singers and older people who had more shit going on, and so I had to kinda prove myself I guess. So I went away travelling and started doing the street performing thing. One of the first times I was in England, I was in Manchester, I rocked up, before that I was playing guitar, singing, something a long the lines of Jamie Woon or Ed Sheeran. That’s the kind of music I was making back then because in Australia that’s the kind of pop sort of stuff you have to make to make money in music, otherwise you just play covers, to do something super original it has to be pop. I was in Manchester, I looked around and was like “man they’re not gonna like this shit”, so I was like “what are they listening to?”, they were listening to grime and I just went in the street and started beatboxing. This kid comes up to me and is like “nah man do the beat you were doing before, do the other beat”, and he starts telling me how to beatbox. I’m like “who the fuck is this guy”, he was so confident, so I started doing a beat, and all of a sudden all these people started gathering around, because before that no one was really watching me. Anyway cut a long story short, this kid just gave me all these ideas and a sound that I could run with during the day. I was going by the name Benjamin, so at the end of it I was like “what are you guys called?” and he’s like “my name is Banton Killer”, the other one is like “Hurricane”, “Blizzard”, they’re like “what’s your name”, “Benjamin”, and they all laughed at me. I was like “fuck”, and then in my mind, I wanted this idea called Dub FX back in the day, and I saw my shit on the ground, all the pedals, I was like “ er Dub FX”, and they were like “yeah alright cool”, and that was it.

How do you describe your music?
It’s just a mish-mash of all my ideas thrown together with technology basically. I’m at the mercy of the technology but that’s good because it gives me ideas. I write a song on guitar, I pull it apart and put it into the loop station, maybe make it drum and bass or make it reggae or make it hip-hop or whatever, and that’s basically what it is, I take ideas from everything that I like listening to.

What do you bring in your music that’s special?
I don’t think about it too much. What I picture when I sing, when I play my music, I picture that I’m channelling music, I’m channelling energy from another dimension and I feel like I’m just pulling from that. That’s kinda what I try to do.

You will open the gigs of Die Antwoord and Bonobo in the next few days, how do you feel about it?
Yeah it’s gonna be good. The two are continuing, shows, shows, shows. It’s just good fun to play with them and being on the road. I can’t wait to get home to be honest and relax but when I’m on stage it’s when I’m like bang, I feel like I’m good again. When I’m off stage I’m a bit of a zombie.

You played at a street show a few weeks ago with a lot of good artists, how was it?
It was great, there were quite a lot of technical difficulties to be honest, a lot of shit went wrong, a lot of problems. It was the first time we ever tried something like that. To be honest I probably would have preferred just setting up somewhere and doing a free gig but we wanted to try something new, we wanted to try and put on an event based around the kind of street performing thing. It’s not the sort of thing that’s ever really been done before, we’d never done it before, so we were just trying to come up with something different. The fact that we sold all the tickets and everything at the bar was great because at least we know we can get people to come, if we put it on properly we can have something going. It was a good, fun day, it was a beautiful day, I’m glad the weather was there, all the artists that performed were excellent, the soundsystem was fucking shit, that was annoying, the food was good. We wanna start doing five or six of those all around the world, like one in Budapest, one in London, one in Berlin, that’s what we wanna do, we just need to figure out how to do it properly.

How was Coachella?
Honestly it’s probably one of the shittest festivals I’ve ever been to. It’s not really a festival; it’s just like a shopping mall with loads of bands on a field. It doesn’t feel like a real festival, there’s no festival atmosphere, it’s just like shit loads of big names and everyone playing in a row all at the same time. It feels a bit congested. But as an artist I got treated amazingly. I don’t want to knock them as far as the way they look after their artists, beautiful, but it didn’t have the vibe of a festival, it felt pretty shit actually.

So what is the festival you like the most?
I like crazy ones where people just lose their minds and get naked and run around and be stupid. It’s meant to be a wild kind of event, you get together with music and people and nature. Shambhala in Canada and Shambala in the UK is amazing, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown, they’re cool festivals. Even Glastonbury, it’s way too big in my opinion now though, that’s the mother of all festivals, but Coachella is just a money making regime to be honest.

So do you like America?
Mmmm, next question.

Should we expect something new soon, a new project?
Yeah I’m working on a new album right now so that should be done definitely by next year.

Follow Dub FX on Twitter.