Circus Dub Sound System
Moore is the name of the man behind the Twilight Dub
Sound System. Born in Canada, he recently moved to the Netherlands
where he is generally to be found behind a mixing desk or a
wide assortment of instruments. His latest album, "Foundation
Rockers" has just been released to general and deserved
acclaim. Ryan Moore enticed a number of renowned artists to
step up to the mic for his dubs, contributions which have greatly
enhanced enriched his dub riddims. The new album features Big
Youth, Mykal Rose, Luciano, Ranking Joe and Brother Culture.
"Foundation Rockers" will please dub-headz everywhere
? and may even open up the dub universe to died-in-the-wool
reggae and dancehall fans. Ryan Moore spoke to Irie Ites...
just released your highly acclaimed album "Foundation Rockers"
on M Records. A lot of reviews point out that it does your music
good to have so many fine vocalists gathered together and say
that you have finally found the right voices for your dub. Do
you share this view on the progression between your last albums
and this one?
a strange way I seem to have taken a reverse kind of approach
in that I have built up a whole catalogue of dub-oriented instrumental
releases and now am moving into working with vocalists and a
more standard song type format. Whereas, historically, dub was
more of an afterthought in the process eg: making a cheap B-side
by reworking the vocal cut.
At the same time, I always just follow my instincts in the studio
and try and do what seems appropriate for the music or track
at hand and in this case, it seemed like it would serve this
music best to hook up with vocalists and other guests like the
Luciano, Mykal Rose and Ranking Joe ? three reggae veterans
gathered in one project. What made you pick these extraordinary
artists for your special brand of dub?
I tried to think of the vocal artists who would probably work
best for the particular track & then went out and made the
link up to make the collaboration happen. It took a lot of time,
energy and networking but it was worth it ultimately. The artists
were great to work with, appreciated the material, and the results
are good so it all seems as if it were 'meant to be'.
review of the album, I wrote that "Foundation Rockers",
the title track feat. Brother Culture, sounds as if it had been
recorded live in one take. You mailed back that it probably
sounds spontaneous because you recorded the track in his living
room in Brixton with a mic & laptop. Brother Culture listened
once and laid down his vocal in one take! That sounds like a
great experience. Where did you record with the other artists
(subways, cabs ..)?
Culture was a classic 'one take' experience, we talked a little
about the idea, he listened to the track and basically said
'OK, hit play' - letting rip with that whole vocal part on the
spur of the moment. Quite amazing!
The vocals were done in various locations ranging from living
rooms, in the case of Brother Culture, to hotel rooms , to more
'proper' studios like Junior Delgado's studio and Eccentric
Directions in London.
Actually I found that recording vocals in non studio situations
worked really well because that helped lend a more relaxed,
informal vibe to the sessions. Sometimes the pressure or atmosphere
of the studio environment can lead to a reduced or at least
somewhat affected performance - especially with singers.
Culture was working as an MC for Nick Manasseh, Mungo's Hi-Fi
and others. What do you particularly like about him?
first heard him on the Mungo's Hi Fi 10 inch with 'Wickedness'
which I thought was great and I thought he would be the man
for the 'Foundation Rockers' riddim, plus the Mykal Rose DJ
breaks. I managed to get in touch via a French label contact
and as it turned out, he rocked the mic spectacularily on the
tracks - far surpassing what I even envisaged on the tunes.
is someone who is still around a lot and releases almost virtually
consistently good albums for producers around the world. What
was it like to work with him?
great experience - we set up in a room with his whole crew on
hand, big pot of soup cooking in one corner and so forth. The
view was of trees, fields and nature outside - very inspiring
and after one run through he built up to this amazing moment
where he put down his lyric sheet and started pulling entire
verses out of thin air - singing them live into the mic and
that's what you hear on the album. Maximum vibes!
at pictures and listening to music by Big Youth, he seems to
be somewhat of a wild man. What was he like when you worked
with him on the tune for this album?
a really fun character and nice guy to work with - all the artists
were absolutely brilliant to work with on the album actually.
Basically we hooked up in Holland in early 2003, had a chat
about working, the idea for the tune - and then met up again
some time afterwards in London where we voiced at Junior Delgado's
It was one of those recording moments where you sense the artist
building up to a peak, get your machine in record and cross
your fingers and hope that nothing is going to go wrong like
a computer freeze as that magic moment on the mic takes place!
Big Youth was putting on a whole show in the studio, dancing
around and rocking the mic on that take - a classic performer!
Joe has recently gained a lot of recognition as a deejay with
a brilliant and very distinctive style. What made you pick Ranking
Joe to voice your Riddims?
again it was one of these things where I heard the 'Zion High'
reissue on Blood and Fire and thought Ranking Joe would be the
man for some tunes so via some mutual contacts I got in touch
and it turned out he was in London at that time and into the
material so, I hopped on the Eurostar to the UK & off we
went to the studio. The rest is history as they say.
Burial", Mykal Rose sounded different to his latest solo
projects. I really like that difference in style a lot: was
it intentional and will there be more tunes like this to follow?
sure he sang in another style than usual, which a lot of people,
like you mention yourself, seem to appreciate. I guess he was
feeling the vibes of the tune and as well we were trying not
to disturb the other hotel guests at 3 AM (!) so the performance
has a more cool feeling. I love the vocal direction and lyrics
he came up with on that tune. I have another Mykal Rose track
coming out on 10 inch soon - but this is more a full energy
artists would you like to work with in the future? Do musicians
as successful as you are still have dreams?
funny thing is I have really hooked up with the 'dream team'
for me already on this album - so I plan to do more productions
in the future with these 'Foundation Rockers' artists and probably
some additional talents as well.
In terms of artistic successes like having people appreciate
the music, putting out records I like, travelling the World
and so on, things have surpassed my wildest dreams of what I
envisaged years ago when I first started playing music. At the
same time, you need new dreams and challenges to keep things
fresh - so, I am just looking forward to keep making records
the best I can, grow as an artist, learn more things and continue
to focus more on the production side of things.
dub seems to be influenced by Tubby, Perry, Scientist and Co.
- the dub veterans in the Jamaican tradition - and UK dub from
the mid-90s. Since dub is constantly evolving, how do you see
your particular style of dub progressing in the future?
sure my roots lie in the old school style seeing as I got into
dub in 1981, which was just at the tail end of the whole Jamaican
dub craze. I was always fascinated with dub at how the bass
& drums would hypnotize the body and the extra higher frequency
sounds would influence the mind. So, I would like to experiment
with some more strange stuff, spacey textures with the dub.
Seriously outer space. We'll see…
so many truly poor remixes around, yours come as a sheer relief.
What is your secret recipe for a good mix?
you only knew! (laughs)..
Seriously though, I am very picky while doing my mixes &
can always find room for improvements. Its a non stop learning
curve. This album was a particular challenge due to the addition
of vocals which is new territory for me so, I had to take a
lot of care with balances and frequencies to make sure they
sat OK in the mix. While mixing this record I kept other CDS
on hand by the vocal artists which I constantly cross referenced
in the studio - just to help me stay on the right path in terms
of vocal placement in the mix.
But like everything, I approach the mix in search of the vibes
& try and build up to a peak 'performance' on the desk -
usually there is one mixing pass where it just seems like the
magic is flowing at some kind of maximum and these almost always
end up being the 'keeper' mixes when you listen back to them.
from Canada you are currently based in the Netherlands. What
made you relocate? Was it work, or were other factors involved?
came over to work with a band in the 90's - the plan was to
stay for a few weeks but I ended up staying on and emigrating
here because at the time there were more options available here
to work on music full time, which seemed a little more fun!
projects have you got in the pipeline?
the short term some more 10 inch dubplates, remixes and collaborations
- and for the long term basically I will keep on being a busy
bee in the secret dub lab and bring forth more tunes for as
long as I can, the best I can. I am a 'lifer' so its going to
be 100% music for me.
Interview: Karsten Frehe (01/2004)
Zum jeweiligen Irie Ites-Review geht's mit einem
Klick auf die Cover!