An Interview with Liondub from MissRepresent

An Interview with Liondub from MissRepresent

Lion Dub was the Winner of the 2015 “We Love Jungle Best Radio Show” and is responsible for jungle label, Liondub International. The New York based DJ, Producer and Label CEO talks to us about his past year and career highlights.

Many thanks for your time out! I know your’e a busy man, I get to see your output on a regular basis.Can you go back to your childhood, growing up in the USA and what music you listened to?

Thank you for taking the time out for me, its an honour. Growing up in New York was a rich, cultural and inspiration experience for me. I listened to literally everything but after a ton of good times at NYC Hardcore events in my early teens, I fell in love with Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop. The rest is history.

Why the name Liondub?

When I first started djing, I was well known for playing strictly roots and dub reggae music and my good friends gave me the name cuz I was so passionate about dub and would play it constantly in my sets. They said I was tuff like a lion and called me “Dub”.

What drew you to jungle?

My brother and good friend Banzai turned me on to it back in 95. I actually didn’t feel it at first cuz it was so different from what was popin’ in NYC but there was a definite vibe to it that caught my attention and when I finally travelled to London in the late 90’s, it made sense and I was hooked. Got to give it up to Ray Keith and Nicky (Blackmarket) for turning me on to Congo Natty, Dread and Knowledge and Wisdon at Blackmarket Records early out. To me, that music had a special place in history and in my life. Inspirational really.

The jungle scene at the moment seems to be pretty healthy considering other genres of music have completely slipped off the radar. What do you think it is that is keeping everyone working together so well?

Jungle cant die. Its a family affair. Junglists are passionate and love the music, the rave and each other on the level. Its all about the music and thats real unlike other genres that come and go.Even the producers and DJ’s, they are passionate about the music itself and keep finding inspiration from it whether young or old.

The jungle legends have truly paved the way for the rest of us. How important is it to you to mentor the next generation?

Im thankful for those that have taught me about music in the past and paved the way. I appreciate people those who are open minded and share knowledge with others and I will always do the same. The youth are the future…

What DAW are you on and any favourite bits of kit in the lab?

Been working on Logic since 2003 and still love the workflow and the sound engine. Absolutely love Waves’ recreation of the Fairchild 670 (Puig Child). The Lat/Vert compression function on that plug in is so next level. Also love all the fab filter plugs and I’ve got some sweet outboard for some added flavour. Great River Pre’ss, Distressor, Space echo, etc…But really, its all about the feeling.

You have opened sets for a multitude of reggae and dancehall artists over the years like Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Sizzla, Capleton, Johnny Osbourne, Morgan Heritage and Black Uguru. Who has been your most memorable and why?

Working with Buju back in ’99 was next level. His performance was unlike any other I had ever seen or experienced and his band led by Mafia & Fluxy was wicked. Amazing to see the combination of analog and digital performance styles live. Working with Steel Pulse was definitely up there as well. Their musicality, performance, stage presence and tightness as a band was the best i have ever seen to this day, hands down. See, the combo of Jamaica and UK music is legendary.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take one jungle tune with you to listen to forever, what would it be and why?

Johnny Osbourne and Marcus Visionary – ‘Jah Promise (Jungle VIP)’. That one brings back so many memories for me and it was such an experience bringing that track to life with both artists. That one is a personal of mine on many levels and the history behind it reminds me of why i do what i do, and how much i love music and life.

You have been over to Jamaica and worked with Sly and Robbie part of the Firehouse crew, alongside engineers as Soljie, Teetimus, Dr Mashall, Fatta and Barnabus. Do you get nervous and what did you learn being alongside these people in the studio?

Never been nervous around them to be honest. (smiles) I just wanted to catch a vibes, get to know them and learn whatever I could. I love going to Jamaica and working in the studio. The vibes are next level. These guys are so incredibly knowledgeable on a technical level yet its all about vibes for them. To me thats the perfect balance.

You have the first international show to broadcast on the legendary Kool London station out of London. Being a staple part of the station now, and Kool hitting 25 years old – how important is it to you to have a stable platform for you as an artist?

Im honoured and feel blessed to be a part of the Kool Family. Performing on Kool every week is crucial to my growth as an artist and vital for me in terms of connecting with the people who love jungle and drum and bass. Gotta give it up to Eastman and Suzie and all the Kool fam, inspiration from day dot really. I remember hearing the tapes of Kool Fm and Weekend Rush back in the day and being blown away by the vibes. Fully appreciate that Kool is still going strong 25 years in. Funny thing is both Kool and I started back in the fall of 1991. Love that.

You have had a lot of guests on your show, who has been your favourite and why?

I love having Remarc on my show cuz its always jokes and good times. But really i have enjoyed being able to bring in ALL those guests over the years. It feels good to give a platform for people and I get inspired by them. To name a few though. Bryan G, Potential Badboy and Brockie sessions were ace. Got to give it up to Viper too, those first shows I played on Kool were because of that brother there. Salute.

Now you won the “Best Radio Show” on the awards last year, how did that feel and have you seen much impact on bookings or recognition this past year from it?

Felt good to be recognised 100%. I appreciate the support and the award on every level cuz it means Im on the right path and people appreciate the works. Profile is definitely up and Im glad to be nominated again this year for the same category and best label as well. The awards are important for Jungle music in order to help it grow and to give everyone recognition for the hard work they put in. Yeah its positive all around for sure.

You came to the UK in 2010 and played at Jungle Fever in London, then Sub Dub in Leeds. How different is the London music scene to that of New York?

They are two different worlds. In New York I play open format but mainly Hip Hop, Reggae, Dancehall and R&B, and in London its the opposite cuz Im usually only playing Jungle Drum and Bass and a bit of bashment… Totally different and in all honesty the New York scene is small and not really interested in supporting its locals when it comes to jungle. I just focus my energies on whats positive and progressive. Music over UK and Europe side is just stronger, the culture, the vibe…

You played at Boomtown 3 years in a row. If you could sum up this event in 5 words what would they be?

Absolutely brilliant, firing music festival.

Outlook was a regular haunt for you too, and you have played at Fabric in London. Do you have any plans to come back to the UK soon?

I will be in the UK and Germany for a mini tour in March. 3rd March catch me in Leeds at the legendary Jungle Jam, 4th March at Hospitality in Bristol and then Saturday the 11th i will be joining the Kool family at Jungle Fever in Mannheim Germany. Looking forward to making it out for those, trust.

You are signed to Run Artists agency and Cybergroove, AM in the USA – can you tell us a little about these for those that don’t know?

Run Artists is a new agency out of London/Leeds founded by Aman of Jungle Jam fame. He brought the finest, top a top talent together to create a roster that reps Jungle to the fullest. Its an honour to be on such an incredible roster. Cybergroove is an established New York agency with a really amazing roster of artists from all types of genres. Im really looking forward to building with both of these agencies over the years.

You run Liondub International with several sub labels (Liondub45, Liondub ODT Muzik & Liondub Street Series). I see your output is very regular, with a lot of work and thought going into it all. I wonder sometimes how you find the time? Is it just sheer dedication? Could you give us a run down of a typical day / week?

I love the music and I appreciate being able to push out music for other artists and producers. It gives me a sense of well being to know that my work not only feeds families but it can help people, and inspire them to keep on striving for greatness in music and life. As for the time, well, It;s well spent…I love what i do so I work non-stop. Growing up a New Yorker is all about the grind too, but It’s a dream come true doing what i do. For that i have to stay focused and do my best for all involved. Progress is the name of the game.

You work closely with Marcus Visionary and Navigator too on these projects. How much input do they have?

Navi and Marcus are Dons! Marcus has really helped to build Liondub International to a high level and contributed serious amounts of great music, work and input into establishing the main label. Navi, like Marcus is a legend with an incredible history in the music and they both bring knowledge and experience to the table as well as amazing music. Really I have to salute and thank them for their support, and most importantly for their friendship over years.

You were chosen to play at Mick Jaggers 70th at the Skylark in NYC, that must of been huge how did it go?

Fantastic. Mick and his family and friends were probably the most fun group I’ve ever played for in my career. Loved every minute of it and was honoured to play jungle for the Stones on a rooftop in NYC! Serious vibes, I’m telling you, they Love Jungle!

You have several residencies in NYC not just playing jungle but other genres, can you tell us about those?

Reggae Dancehall and Hip Hop are what I’m known for back home really. I’ve also played at grip of other clubs throughout the city and its been a wicked experience because you have to be versatile and multi-talented to hold anything down in NY. The New York scene requires me to play in a open format style and that has always been rewarding and challenging. I love it really. If i could do one thing forever in my life, it would be DJ’ing..and not just one style, I’d always play across all genres.

You have remixed some huge tunes for legends such as Top Cat, General Levy, Tenor Fly, Navigator, Stevie Hyper D, Congo Natty and The Ragga Twinz… which track has been a personal favourite for you?

Ahh, i really love them all and am honoured to have remixed or produced any of those legends…They inspired me, so to be able to share a stage with them or work with them on studio tracks is a like dreams becoming reality. Love that. Salute all the Jungle legends, RIP Hyper D.

Can you tell us about the new Rumble Project with Marcus?

Multi genre Jungle Bashment collab. We’ve been talking about this project for 5 years now, so its perfect to come together with Marcus and focus on such a solid project. First release featured Suku Ward 21, and we have follow up singles from Red Fox, Blackout JA, Don Cotti, Mr. Lexx and more in the works. Loving this project we’ve gotten good support from Ras Kwame and plays from Rodigan already so yeah, we rolling it out proper. Hold tight!

So can you tell us what is up next for 2017?

Rumble!. Navigators full “Alignment LP’, bashment heat from Soultrain and myself as well as more releases from Phantom Warrior and Bassface Sascha. A grip of really serious releases on the label from the likes of Saxxon, RMS & Dcision, Hungry T and Jungle To The World Volume 3 is ready as well. Building the label up proper and staying focused. Im gonna keep the fire burning, and I’m proud to work with such a powerful crew. Its inspirational really.

Who do you think are the ones to watch for 2017 and for the best breakthrough category?

Soultrain Locomotive, Brian Brainstorm and DJ Hybrid straight.

Top tips for the next generation coming through?

Stay focused, believe in yourself and don’t let anyone or anything keep you from achieving your goals and realising your dreams. Even more, be sure to help others along the way and always stay humble.

Which one jungle legend would you place in a hall of fame for 2017?

Remarc. Real Jungle Don, doing the damn thing from day dot! Salute fam.

And where can we catch you playing in 2017 in the UK?

So far…. Jungle Jam Leeds, Hospitality Bristol, Innovation In The Sun Ibiza alongside my bredda Navigator, and Europe side at Jungle Fever in Mannheim. Looking forward to catching up with everybody UK side for sure and def looking forward to festi season this summer.

If I see you out, what are you drinking at the bar?

Water…Other than that I’ll hold down a Guiness..

Any shouts and thanks?

Too many to mention really, but off the top. My Mama, Father and Eligha for always believing in me..Shouts to my brothers Remarc, Marcus Visionary, Navigator, Jarred Deluxe, Doctor Saykon, Jugga and the rest of my NY family. Shouts to the Guvna Eastman and Suzie G and all the Kool fam. Out to Nicky Blackmarket, DJ Hype, Congo Natty & Potential Badboy for the inspiration. Jr. Dangerous, Soultrain and especially Bassbaybee for pushing the movement proper..Shouts to everybody that believed in the label and contributed to it over the years. Extra special thanks to all the ravers, promoters and supporters of the music. I know it sounds cliche, but I wouldn’t be anywhere without you. Thanks for showing love over the years. Salute!

Many thanks… really appreciate your time and all the best for 2017!!

Thank you Aliina!..Peace and respect.

-Liondub – NYC 9 Jan 2017

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