'Pistol-Clashin' Dub At It's Finest'
Dub Pistols' brainchild is a visionary. Said Barry Ashworth and co. confidently offer a sonic stew of brooding dub, ska-soaked breaks and dense hip hop as an anecdote to our spirit-weary, war torn world. Equating the DJ to a soldier, Six Million Ways To Live is Dub Pistols' hopeful, post-apocalyptic soundscape that dares to converse as it grooves.
Utilizing the inimitable vocal talents of Terry Hall (The Specials, Fun Boy 3, Colourfield), Horace Andy (Massive Attack), rapper Planet Asia (Cali Agent) and New York's own Sight Beyond Light crew, Six Million Ways To Live is an invitation to free your mind with a 'Who's the punk?' attitude and greasy helping of funk.
From the sinewy dub plate pulse of "Soldiers" and "World Gone Crazy" featuring Horace Andy to the hypnotic ska-woven sheen of "Problem Is" with Terry Hall to the infectious hip hop and lyric-laden party starters, "Architect", "Riptides" and "Still Breathing" to the lively nu-skank of "Official Chemical," Dub Pistols effortlessly soundclash message and music with the medium. Six Million Ways To Live is an astute commentary on modern living amidst a symphony of block rockin' beats.
Chatting now one-on-one with founder member Barry Ashworth, I first wondered where the bands name had originated and what others the project so easily could have been called? "The name originated from nowhere, it just came into my head one day and I thought it would be a great name for a band. The name came before I even thought about the band. I was into punk and dub when I was younger so it just seemed obvious. It could of been The Moon monkeys, Social Outrage Choir and many others."
What point are you trying to get across with the title of this new album? "Live your life anyway you want, but just make sure you live it no regrets."
What is your favorite track off this new CD and why? "That's really hard 'cos we made every track with the same ethic. Which was to try and make it the best one on the album! Each track has it's own moments and I constantly change my mind about which is my favourite. Today I'll choose 'Soldiers' 'cos it was a difening moment in making the album!!!"
What are the differences in playing the clubs over in England to those over here in the US? "For a start we dont get busted for having partys like in the US! The government there are doing the best to destroy the American dance scene before it even gets going. Problem they have is like prohibition though - if you drive things underground they just grow bigger like the early rap scene. There's not really that much difference except club culture is part of the UK way of life now and it has been for over a decade. In England, everybody goes clubbing and most people have a decent knowledge of DJs and different styles."
What was it like playing live with Fatboy Slim on New York's Hudson River 12 hours before the 9/11 tragedy ... and what are your memories of your euphoria quickly changing to disbelief? "Playing with Fatboy Slim and Crystal Method on the Hudson River 11 hours before 9-11 was amazing. I was on a real high anyway as we had been touring for about eight months already and our album was finally comming out the following week and all the signs of it doing well where there. The show was for MTV and was free so it was packed. I remember being on stage with the crowd going crazy and the twin towers in the background thinking life doesn't get any better than this!!!! The following morning I flew to LA where I was due to start another 3 month tour. I was staying at a friends house, a guy called Todd. His place was amazing and he had the biggest television you had ever seen. I woke up early, can't remember why - jet lag or something - so I went to the front room and switched on the television ... I always watch the news on tour! Don't ask why, just habit! It was then that events of 9-11 started to unfold before my eyes. I couldn't believe the sickening images I was watching and like the rest of the world felt terrible emotions of sadness for the victims and anger towards the terrorists. I knew then that our album wouldn't be comming out the next week but didn't realy care anymore as it seemed so unimportant compared to what was happening to other people's lives. It's taken exactly two years to the day to finally get the album out!!"
How did Terry Hall get involved in this project? "To me, there where only ever three bands that meant anything. They where The Clash, The Jam and The Specials. Terry Hall was the main man of the Specials and therefore my Hero, a God!! So when we where putting the album together I drew up a wish list of artists I would like to collaborate with Terry at the top of that list! I never dreamed in a million years that he would agree but through my publisher and management he was approached. I remember jumping around the streets in West London when I was told he had agreed to do it! He came around to my house and me and Jason recorded him in my front room. It was honestly one of the highest points of my life. We have since become friends and Terry is performing 'Problem' with us on a few shows in the UK."
Word has it that you're almost done with the NEXT Dub Pistols album!! If this is true what direction does it take and has it got a name yet?! "It's not quite finished. We have written a lot of new tracks and have the bulk of the work done, but still have work to do and I haven't realLy decided how the final overall mix sound will be. There are a couple of guests I'm also trying to lock down for the project. One thing's for sure though it won't be another four years to get the next album out!"
Describe your sound in just three words "Skunk, Punk, Dub."
If you were locked into a studio and told to make music with three artists (thinking of their instruments, etc.), which three would it be - and what would be the name of the song?! "Would love to do a track with Mick Jones from The Clash 'cos he realy is a hero of mine and The Clash are my fav all-time band. And he lives up the road from me, ha ha!
Lee Perry is some one I'd love to get in the mix with. He is a legend and an out there artist. His mixing techniques are unique. I'm currently trying to get Tricky to do a vocal for me. We toured together for a couple of months so I'm hoping he'll agree. He is always dark and edgy which I love."
Finally, if I ever found a vinyl record of the old Woodentops song 'Why, Why, Why' performed by Déjà vu would I suddenly be the richest man in the world?! "Don't think you would be rich, more a weirdo!!!!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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