This episode of Dubspot Radio Rewind revisits Liondub’s bass driven all vinyl mix followed by an exclusive interview where he talks about running his label Liondub International.
Liondub has been active in the New York music scene for decades expressing his talents through live performances, original productions, and creative graffiti works. As a label boss, he has dropped notable releases such as the forward-thinking track “Subsoca” by Marcus Visionary to some of the final works of the late Sugar Minott featuring Ticklah. Behind the decks, you might catch him spinning dancehall selections to bass driven jungle sets. As a music producer, Liondub often flips a selection of steppy dub styles, dancehall movers, jungle rhythms, low-frequency wobblers, and DnB cuts featuring reggae vocals.
1. Pinch – Croydon House
2. Boddika – Underground
3. Jack Sparrow – Dread feat. Ruckspin
4. Jack Sparrow – The Chase
5. Jack Sparrow – Loveless
6. Benga – Technocal
7. Boddika – Electron
8. Skream – Trapped In A Dark Bubble
9. Pinch – Elements
10. Kryptic Minds – 768
11. Kryptic MInds – Cant Sleep feat. Alys
12. SP MC & LX One – Judgement
13. Jakes – Time Ends
14. Helixir – Summertime
15. Ena – Sign
16. Pangaea – Inna Daze
17. Starkey – Robot Hands
18. Peverelist & Hyetal – The Hum
19. Ramadanman – Work Them
20. Addison Groove – Dumb Shit
Liondub sat down with us for an exclusive interview after his all vinyl mix to talk about Liondub International and offer some tips about running a label in New York.
How do you choose the music to release?
Usually, I choose my releases based on a combination of what sounds best to my ears on first listen and what goes down best on the dance floor. If a track is not mixed well but has all the qualities of a solid release, I will often suggest revisions. I like to listen to everything that is sent to me in order to respect the artists that submit and keep an open mind about what is out there. There is a grip of music that I won’t sign but will play out or include in mixes. It’s a process, and I believe that the music changes over time, so I like to keep an open mind. I’ve learned that occasionally a song that I didn’t like at first will grow on me and will affect people differently depending on the time and place. A few times, I have released songs that I refused at first.
What inspired Marcus Visionary’s ‘Carib’ EP?
Marcus was unsure whether the world would receive his work well. I was floored by the album and the material that led up to it, so I encouraged him to explore the sound more thoroughly and to follow through. Once he explored it more, he too realized that the potential was all there, and when we released it, people were fully supportive, and it sold very, very well.
What mastering studios and distributors do you prefer?
I’ve used many mastering studios including VP, Sony Whitfield Street, Transition, MPO, Sterling, Manmade, and others. It varies depending on the job and the source material whether it is CD, vinyl, or digital. Distributors are a personal choice, but I suggest that one chooses the distributor that shows the greatest interest in the material you are releasing, and communicates best. Communication, connections, and motivation are everything.
What are some challenges electronic music labels face in NYC?
I think that the basic difference from other cities is that the electronic music scene in NYC is smaller and less developed. There are fewer labels and outlets for the music as well. Accordingly, the infrastructure which makes running the business simple is not developed in many ways, which basically makes it more of a long term learning experience and a bit more of a struggle. Also, there are fewer distributors, fewer outlets, and fewer people to share ideas and learn from in relation to the business.
Tell us why you prefer wax?
Wax is essential to my label. I absolutely love vinyl. Its sound is untouchable, and it presents the listener/deejay with a tangible product that represents your music visually and aesthetically. Depending on the release, we press between 500-2500 copies.
How does your imprint create its identity?
The imprint is essential to establish an identity. Liondub45 is the label that I have created in partnership with Ticklah as a means to push out the roots music that he creates, which has inspired me so much over years.
How do you work with vocals?
Build a rhythm or obtain a rhythm, call the artist, find a proper space with good vocal channels and lock in the studio time, take care of the financial agreement, and make it happen. There’s more to it obviously, but it’s one of those things that you have to experience for yourself in order to understand it. My one piece of advice for producers who want to voice vocalists is to be prepared, know what you want, and have your business and engineering skills tight.
Who are some artists you would like to work with?
Kryptic Minds have inspired me recently, and I’d love to see how they create their music. As for vocalists, I’ve worked with them before many times, but I am always inspired to work again with Johnny Osbourne and the singer Luciano. It would be wicked to get in the studio with Sade as well.
Tell us about any current and future projects
We’ve been pushing hard, and our releases have been solid this year already. Recent releases include Beenie Man feat. Fambo “Rum and Redbull (Noah D Remix),” which received great support on Rinse, the Navigator “Inequity Worker 2011 (Noah D Remix),” which has been caned on UK’s DnB circuit, and Marcus Visionary’s full length “Humble” which topped Juno Download’s UK DnB charts at the number 1 position for 30 days consecutively.
As for the future, there is a grip of solid Jungle releases on deck for the Liondub International label, including new 140 and 175 BPM material from Marcus Visionary as well as singles from Noah D, Navigator, Bladerunner, Jah Cure, Bunny General, Little John, Sizzla, and John Holt. We are also working on a series of Jungle singles with Johnny Osbourne, which is a project I am very enthusiastic about. There is a remix project collaboration with the Lustre Kings label in support of Jahdan’s new “Babylon Nightmare” album in which Ticklah, Nick Fantastic, Nate Mars, Potential Badboy, and myself all remixed the lead single, “All Comes Back To One.” These remixes will release simultaneously on Liondub and Lustre as an EP. I am also very proud to release two new singles from Bladerunner, a UK Jungle producer who has been making incredible waves in the DnB scene over the last few years.
As for Liondub45, we have a Courtney John 45 and a Rob Symeon 45 in the wings as well as more collaborative work with Jahdan and Ticklah. Personally, I remixed Elephant Man’s “Vampires” and there’s another version of the “Chrome Optimism” remix dropping on Subatomic Sound, a new single with MC Zulu, another single with David Boomah which will drop on the mighty V Recordings, as well as remixes for Dubmatix out of Canada, Runtingz out of Bristol, and Murdertronics out of Brooklyn. Plenty of music about to release and I’m gearing up this summer for my third European tour which includes a couple of sets at the legendary Outlook Festival in Croatia and my favorite event in Leeds, UK, Sub Dub. It’s an exciting time, and I’m very thankful for all the support the label and I have been receiving.
In addition, every third Friday of the month, I throw the Full Spectrum at The Cove in Brooklyn – an amazing multi-genre party all about the music, for the people.
Liondub comes correct. An authentic product of Brooklyn, his musical mindset was formed at the crossroads of major international bass vibrations originating from Jamaica, NYC, and the UK. Inspired by the global rhythm culture emanating from the streets beneath his feet, LionDub has spent a lifetime pounding that very pavement in pursuit of his passion for bottom-heavy beats.
Armed with raw talent, right intentions, a humble demeanor and the tireless determination of a true New Yorker, he began DJing back in ’91. As a 17-year-old sound system selector hustling in the Lower East Side of the Dinkins-era, Liondub embarked on a journey that has since taken him to the four corners of the dub diaspora; from Jamaican Roots Reggae to the Jungle depths of the UK, from high up on Hip-Hop to down-low on Dubstep. Along the way he has studied under great masters, paid untold dues, and kept it Bed-Sty real in the name of music all the while sharpening his skills, developing expertise, and establishing critical relationships across geographic and sonic divides. From NYC, he crisscrossed North America and from London he conquered Europe, all the while cultivating roots in his home-away-from-home, Jamaica. Always armed with a current arsenal of Jungle, Dubstep, and Reggae dubplate specials, Lionbub’s soulful, explosive, unique, and precise sets have gone down a storm on stages shared by a lengthy list of legends and luminaries. He has worked with Sly & Robbie, The Fugees, Sister Nancy, Johnny Osbourne, Steel Pulse, Black Uhuru, The Beatnuts, Smith & Mighty, DJ Kush, Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay, DJ Hype, Andy C, Goldie, Pinch, Loefah, Kryptic Minds, and Damian Marley to name but a few. Emerging from the shadows of giants, Liondub’s mixes has moved him into the spotlight with recent podcast exclusives airing on urb.com and kmag.co.uk, home of the highly influential Knowledge Magazine.
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