Now here is an artist whose greatness I discovered last night after seeing an amazing video of him “dubbing” in his home studio!
Justin Pietro aka The Dub Architect produces real dub reggae and also performs live reggae with his band.
In a time where dub has been misidentified as dubstep, I value artists who still keep this tradition alive, as I’m really feeling the value of this genre.
So, here’s a few words of wisdom from Justin:
In a world filled with “dubstep”, here you are making good ole traditional dub-why?
Ahh the dub vs. dubstep question! I get asked this a lot both with my band Dub Campaign and doing production work as the Dub Architect so hopefully I’ve had enough practice rehearsing this answer!
Dubstep is a really cool new genre but it never has grabbed me the way that reggae and original dub music has. I’m first and foremost a lover of good music regardless of genre but dub reggae struck a chord in me that no other genre ever has.
I’m all about taking it easy, enjoying life, and moving slow when things move fast which to me just lines up with slow and spacious sound that reggae provides. Combine that with the genre’s long history of fighting social injustice and malice while uplifting the masses and sending messages of love, understanding, and thankfulness and you basically have the reasons I choose dub reggae as my vibrations of choice!
Do you think dubstep has helped the music scene or not?
I think any artist that pushes a good message is helping the music scene and the world as a whole! It’s really hard to comment on what a genre as a whole is doing because it groups everyone into one category which I’m not a fan of.
We’re all artists, regardless of genre, and I think everyone deserves to be seen that way as opposed to lumping them into some made-up category. I’m not a fan of music that doesn’t have a positive message or just promotes boozing, partying, money, etc but you find that in every genre I believe, even reggae sometimes!
It’s more than just music to me, it’s life! So if you’re putting out the same positive vibes in your music that you do in life, then I’m bound to like what you’re up to, regardless of genre!
Please describe your process of dub production including preferred tools used
Expensive hardware and gadgets are awesome for production! Technology has come a LONG way, even just in the past 10 years, and we can do some amazing things to sound nowadays! But I know a LOT more producers that aren’t millionaires then I do those who are! I started off recording and dubbing using a decade old laptop from college and a 2 channel USB interface!
I’ve upgraded pretty considerably since then but I like to share that in hopes that I encourage new producers not to be daunted by the overwhelming price tags associated with music production!
Currently I have a Mac desktop and I use Ableton Live as well as Logic as my DAWs of choice. I use an Akai APC40 as my control surface and just a simple M-Audio KeyRig 49 as my midi keyboard controller. For recording I run everything through a PreSonus Saffire Pro 40 and use M-Audio BX8’s for studio monitors.
Whenever I start a new dub production the first process for me is really listening to the song. I mean I really listen to the song. I listen for where the changes are, what instrumentation has good potential to be dubbed later on, what I could drop out or add, and what the music is really speaking to. I’ll then add EQ and compression as necessary to all the tracks to get the right mix balance that I’m looking for.
I then begin thinning down the production to the bare minimum of drum, bass, and vocals. This still leaves a nice framework for the whole song but it also allows me a pretty blank canvas to paint. I’ll then setup some basic delays on return channels in the DAW with dotted eight note delays or whatever the particular song and effect call for.
Most of the time I’ll then do a “live run” which is basically just dubbing the song live and recording the automation results. I’ll then go back and smooth out the automation curves, start adding some crazy effects like phasers, flangers, auto-pans, and reverb, and focus on the the more intricate dub FX.
As a white man, how is your music accepted by others especially as dub and reggae is seen as a “black thing”
Discrimination is everywhere on this planet regardless of the color of your skin. I’ve definitely been looked at funny before, even had some nasty things said to me, but I’ve never really paid it any mind.
You can’t make people accept you, that’s something they have to choose to do on their own. I just let my music speak for me and hope that people will judge me based on the quality of the vibes and message I put out and not on the color of my skin. I hope the whole world will do that one day!
5- please name some past and present influences
I could probably go on for weeks on this one! Of course my introduction to reggae was Bob Marley at a very young age and I have only grown in admiration and respect for the legend since then! I was (and still am!) a huge Sublime fan as a kid and Brad’s messages always have seemed to resonate with me.
Peter Tosh, King Tubby, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear, Yellowman, Third World, Israel Vibration, Barrington Levy, Ernest Ranglin, The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo, Roots Radics Band, and Toots & The Mytals would be just a small sampling of older influences.
New influences include: 10Ft. Ganja Plant, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Slightly Stoopid, Easy Star All Stars, Passafire, Thievery Corporation, Groundation, all the Marley kids, SOJA… the list just goes on and on!”
No messing with Justin! I seriously appreciated his answers to my questions and urge you to support his work. Some of his material is even free on soundcloud and bandcamp.
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