2&6 Interviews: 6 Questions with DUB FX.


We are fucking gassed to say that today we are interviewing the legendary MC, Beatboxer and Street Performer, Dub FX. Ben (Dub FX) will be gracing us with his tunes at his upcoming show at Melkweg on the 7th of March. This is one of a handful of appearances Dub FX has made in Amsterdam since his street performance in Dam Square blew up over 7 years ago. Thanks for chatting to us about all things UK Drum n Bass, current playlist highlights and what its like working with Mr Woodnote.

Make sure to grab some tickets, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see an artist who has been grafting and honing his craft for over a decade.

1) How has UK Drum and Bass/Garage Music influenced your style of beatboxing in the early days of your career and now?

Those genres were completely off my radar until I came to the UK back in 2006 when I was 23 years old. I remember landing in Manchester and being blown away by how diverse the people were in the city centre and all the different types of music blaring out of cars and shops. In my first week I discovered Jungle, Garage, Dubstep, Liquid DnB… the list goes on.  Australia has a good Techno, House and Breaks scene which I loved, but the DnB scene is very small and they tended to play a lot of angry Neurofunk, so I never got into it.

My first day street performing in Manchester was hilarious, I had all these rude boys coming up to me asking me to make a Grime beat, but I had never heard of Grime before. They showed me examples on their phones and I did my best to recreate it. All the MC’s lined up to have a go on my mic, I just watched, listened and learned. I have to say, landing in Manchester was the best thing that could have happened to me back then. It was that first day busking that I came up with the concept of DUB FX. Since then I have been heavily influenced by these UK genres.

2) To that end, i would love to know who are some of your favourite artists on rotation at the moment?

I listen to a lot of different music all the time depending what mood I’m in. I’m loving an NZ artist I just discovered called Lord Echo. I tend to listen to a lot of old Rocksteady and Jazz. As far as bass music goes I love Dub Physix, Shy FX, Calibre, Break among many other amazing producers. One of my best homies is Opiou and I love listening to his stuff. I also listen to a lot of female vocalists like Queen Omega, Soom T, Hempress sativa, Jah9.. there is so much good music out there.

3) If your wiki page is to be trusted, i believe your solo career began in Italy after moving from Melbourne. What were your first impressions of living in Europe and experiencing the Italian music scene? Did the music you were expose too leave any lasting influence on your own work?

That’s pretty funny. My Mum is Italian and lives in Italy, so when I first left Melbourne back in 2006 I stayed with her for about 6 months while I found my feet and created my set up to street perform. I was making a very different style of music back then because I played guitar and sang to backing tracks off an iPod. I used a loop station to get me out of trouble if the backing tracks failed or if I just wanted to jam by looping a beat and then singing covers over it with my guitar.

I quickly realised that the beatboxing and looping got people more excited than the backing tracks. When I was street performing in Italy everyone thought I was ahead of the curb. But when I first got to Manchester and showed people my music, they all told me they didn’t like it because it sounded too nice! One guy said this wet poppy white boy reggae is ten years behind.

4) You’ve worked with Mr Woodnote for a really long time thinking back to Dub FX Flow days all the way up to BADCARD. I would love you to speak to what the collaborative process between you two is like and why everything you do together turns out so sick.

Thank you for saying so. my dad always said my biggest talent is surrounding my self with good people. Both those videos you mentioned were filmed by the mighty Ben Dowden who pretty much coined the one take live video format so widely used on youtube today. As for my relationship with Woodnote, we have very similar taste with music and we gelled from the get go. Our process is very simple, i write a song, Woodnote comes up with a horn line and somewhere in the track he takes a solo.. it works because we both come from a jazz background and we don’t approach the song with ego, we just do what ever feels good.

5) Have you ever had any awkward mishaps with the loop peddle that make you cringe when you think back on it?

Not really, although i might have blocked them out, the only awkward cringe moments i have are from the small handful of times i tried Charlie.

6) Are you excited for your upcoming Amsterdam show? I know you filmed an epic video in the middle of Dam Square back in 2007, any chance we can get you out there again!

I would love to street perform again but it’s a lifestyle, not something you just do every once in a while. you need equipment, permits and time. Currently i have none of which! these days Im touring 6 months a year and spending time with my wife and two daughters the other 6 months. i hope to get back in to it some day.. maybe when my career finally goes to shit!

Written by Chris Kelly

Images: Dub Fx