Jamaican Music Music Interviews

Reggae Interview Series: Reggae Music In Russia

Written by Xavier Murphy

This month our series “Reggae Around the World” we interview Dub Vision a reggae band group from a Russia. “Dub Division” participated in several music festivals in Russia and abroad. There goal is to promote Dub and Reggae in Russia.

Question: What is the reggae scene like there?

It is really ill-developed. The situation can be partly changed by concerts or festivals with foreign (for example Jamaican) star performances. But it is a great problem because Russia is rather far and it costs a lot to get here.

Question: How about the ska scene?

Ska music is more developed than reggae in Russia. But here I speak about British ska (for example Madness). It is much preferred to Jamaican ska.

Question: What first drew your attention to Reggae?

Reggae has its special vibes. And that was the point.

Question: What was the first Reggae song you ever heard?

As far as I remember they were “Brown Girl in the Ring”, “No Women No Cry” (Boney M.), “Sunshine Reggae” Laid Back, Eddy Grant “How Do You Feel My Love” (but I was rather young then =)

Question: Who and what are your influences?

UB40, Bob Marley, Police, Madness, Dub Syndicate, Eddy Grant, all roots of the early 70-s, and of course there is no omitting mention of Mozart and The Beatles =)

Question: What style of reggae is played often in your country? [Dancehall, Lovers
Rock, Conscious etc.] What style do the majority of fans seem to prefer?

Roots-reggae, Dub, though recently there appeared a tendency to play a mixture of Dancehall, contemporary R’n’B, Hip-Hop with a light odor of Rock =)

Question: Was the fact that Reggae is English and Patois a barrier?

If I understand the question properly, in fact the audience doesn’t care of the plot of the songs. Mostly people value pleasant melody, though “advanced youth” adore songs about Jah =)))

Question: Is Reggae mainstream and is it played on the radio there? Videos on TV?

No, unfortunately, it is not. It is hardly ever played on the radio or TV.

Question: How is Reggae influencing your culture?

Almost no how. It seems to be just a beginning. Our musicians have learned to use words like Africa, Jah, Haile Sellassie and Jamaica in their songs. The only thing left is to learn how to work =)
Pop music is another topic. Sometimes they try to make reggae songs, but that doesn’t change anything. They still play low-quality music.
Give the wolf the best food, but he would hanker for the wood.

Question: If someone traveled to visit your home and wanted to hear reggae music
what would they have to do?

M… if one knows Russian a bit, I can advise to visit http://reggae.ru and find a showbill. But concerning any other ways, unfortunately, have no slightest idea what to do…

Question: How would you describe your country’s reggae sound and development?

It is close to roots. There are almost no sound engineers skilled to work with reggae, dub and ska both in studio and on the concerts. There are no soundproducers skilled to make high-quality world-standard products. Furthermore there are no reggae clubs in Moscow, in the capital of Russia.

Question: What are some of the names of the popular local artist? Who would be the
top 5 artists?

Warmth Protection Committee (Komitet Ohrany Tepla or K.O.T)
Caribace (Karibasy)
Dub Division
Rasta Orchestra (Though originally they are Estonian, ex-USSR, they are all russian-speakers and they give concerts mostly in Russia)
Sunny Freeman & The Rockers Band
B.El Sol
A lot of new young bands are appearing,
So I think the list of these “top 5” is going to change soon.

Question: Who are your favorite Reggae Artists?

Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Dub Syndicate, UB40, The Police

Question: Where do you think Reggae will be in 10 years time? And in Your country?

I hope there will appear more professional musicians, bands, sound engineers and this way reggae will develop, and we are eager to assist and cooperate in it!

Question: Do you think there is anything preventing Reggae from flourishing for
you and your fellow artists there?

Lack of sound-systems in the full sense of the word, with its hardware, generators e.t.c.
Though we are going to buy our own generator one of these days, and all the other stuff is already bought – so we are going to be the first sound-system in Russia =). It seems funny that the first sound-system in Russia is going to appear only in 2007. Of course here we speak about reggae, dub, ska music only. As it was already mentioned, there are no reggae clubs in Moscow, in the capital of Russia. That is outrageous. And our musicians should participate in some international festivals, in Europe or elsewhere, but the main thing is to visit Jamaica on the purpose, cause it’s reggae motherland. Invite us! =)

Question: How are you involved in Reggae?

We arrange concerts and festivals, make sound-system, we’ve created http://reggae.ru, we are trying to produce CDs, though with the help of big labels but not ourselves. But for all I think it is time to create a special reggae, dub, ska label in Russia.

Question: In some countries you might see people wearing a Jamaican-style hat with
fake dreadlocks attached when they attend reggae concerts and other events. Do you
see anything that you see in your country?

Sometimes I don’t think it is anyhow wrong. These people though in their own way side reggae and dub culture. Furthermore for one reason or another not all but just a few have an opportunity to wear dreadlocks and be the so-called “true rasta”.

Question: Have you ever been to Jamaica?

Unfortunately, I haven’t.

Question: Do you have many/any Jamaican people living there?

Hardly any of them.

Question: Do you eat Jamaican food?

Honestly, I have no idea where one can try Jamaican food in Moscow.

 

Question: Any final words for the visitors at Jamaicans.com

 

Bless!

About the author

Xavier Murphy