DUB SIDE SELECT every THURSDAY this MAY 2015
Rotating selectors playing the very best in sound system music.
Ranging from roots reggae, ska and steppas, to dub, contemporary and dancehall…
This night is built to inspire positivity, build community and create vibes.
BSide Liquor Lounge & Arcade
2785 Euclid Heights BLVD
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
From the depths comes the mysterious echoing frequencies of a man enchanted. With a rare spirit and extraordinary delivery, Michael Red is a creator of magic. Through his many beautifully overlapping projects, this man works in the medium of sound and light, mixing them effortlessly with space and darkness.
As head of the forward thinking Vancouver sound system collective Lighta! Sound, Michael Red reigns supreme in the dance. In another light, he channels an alternative energy, a deeper emotional expression with Low Indigo. Going deeper still, you might find the music of souns, another more exploratory AV creation of Michael’s. Most recently, he has paired with Gabriel Solomon aka GBS of Yellow Swans to create Chambers, a name which quite accurately suggests the style and sound. Through these many channels, Michael Red crafts a collection of frequencies all his own.
Last year at Bass Coast, I had the chance to speak with Michael about his music and his involvement with the Bass Coast Project. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the interview was never published, until now. Like a vaulted wine, ingesting these words and rhythms will provide you a taste of Red which would stimulate the palate of any contemporary music connoisseur.
Check out the interview below, and be sure to have a sample of the many sounding flavors of Michael Red. For those headed to Bass Coast this weekend, BIG UP YOURSELF. It’s going to be superb. More info on Bass Coast here.
GANJAOLOGY :: We are here with Michael Red at Bass Coast 2013. Maybe we can start with a brief intro…
MICHAEL :: My name is Michael Red. I’m from Halifax Nova Scotia, and I’ve been Vancouver based since ’98. And, I’m into all sorts of different things.
GANJAOLOGY :: Excellent. I know that you’re a part of Lighta! Sound and you have some other independent projects. I guess let’s start with Lighta! Tell us about that.
MICHAEL :: Ok, I’m not exactly sure when we formed, but it may have been 2004ish. It started off initially rooted in ragga jungle, dancehall, and soundsystem culture. At the time when it was forming, it started off as a fusion between dancehall and jungle. Later on it started to define itself more. Now, we can backtrace it to say “Oh, that’s what’s happening.” But, at the time it was just fresh and really moving fast. Slowly artists came on board… It’s definitely Vancouver based. I like to think it has a West Coast flavor with a real Vancouver identity.
GANJAOLOGY :: Who were the originals and who is involved now?
MICHAEL :: The originals… Well I invited everyone on. It starts with the logo, which I view as an icon. It has an impact. it’s a kind of statement to be perceived in a certain way. I had the image in my head for years before putting it into physical form.
Because we were strongly rooted in Jungle and fusions around that, the starting members were people that are not active now. But that was Condition Red, who is from Victoria. He’s the Jungle archivist here on the west coast. He’s got the biggest collection and the most knowledge. That made sense. This guy knows his stuff and we were playing shows together. And then after that it was Angst, who is San Fran based now. I think he’s from San Fran originally and he came up to Vancouver, spent some time and then went back down. He was very much holding a torch for Ragga Jungle up here. He was on it with the Ragga Jungle resurgence which was happening at that time.
Next I believe It was Calamalka. I met him at a party and he gave me a record he had pressed himself. It was like hip hop dub fusion. Very rooted in dub… that whole dub aesthetic.
Essentially what it is now and where it comes from is sound system culture. It’s about the live experience. Today it’s a lot of dancehall reggae. That’s a very strong element which will always exist. And also, modern sound system culture… What dubstep was and arguably still is in a purest sense. And any extensions of that. My view, and I think our collective view of sound system culture is always pushing forward. When you look at Jamaica and that sound, it’s always the next thing. Lighta! is so diversified now… with all of our different members and what they do.
GANJAOLOGY :: You said you had 12 on stage today. Who are they?
MICHAEL :: Myself, Calamalka, Max Ulis, Self Evident, DJ Tusk, Tank Gyal, Mandai, DJ Cure, Daega Sound, Taal Mala, and…
We haven’t made an official announcement yet, but it’s no secret. Our latest member is Librarian. And we’re all super excited about that. And it just makes sense. It’s not really any sort of decision. She’s just obviously part of the family. We’re a family you know.
GANJAOLOGY :: I honestly thought she was already party of the crew.
MICHAEL :: That’s why. A lot of people are like “oh, she’s not a part?” So that’s why. And that speaks to my personal interpretation of the whole thing. That’s just what makes sense and feels good. It’s right. It feels right. That’s kind of what people want it to be. It’s already understood.
GANJAOLOGY :: Anything else you want to share about Lighta?
MICHAEL :: I don’t know… We’re stoked. It’s cool. There remains a potential which is really strong. It’s in no way stagnant. Theres lots of room. There’s lots of direction. There’s lots of future pockets to be filled. You know, we’re a family… and we’re excited.
GANJAOLOGY :: It’s a pretty inspiring group for sure.
MICHAEL :: It’s a collective, you know. It’s bigger than the sum of all of us.
GANJAOLOGY :: So that’s one project. There’s this other project, maybe similar. Chambers… Can you talk about that?
MICHAEL :: Sure. Chambers. We started about a year ago. It’s me and Gabriel Solomon aka GBS. He was a part of a duo called Yellow Swans. If you want to talk about intuition and ethereal stuff, we came together in a very dreamy way. I feel, and I think he would agree, that it’s not even realized yet. It just feels right, and we’re going somewhere and we’re not sure where. It feels good. It’s a lot of improvisation. It’s absolutely rooted in dub. In traditional dub aesthetics.
GANJAOLOGY :: Is it live?
MICHAEL :: Ya it’s live. He’s playing guitar with analog effects like delays and reverbs with a mixer. He also uses cassette tape loops. I have my live PA setup which is three midi controllers. I take a live feed of what he does and I put more effects on that. And live, we jam. It’s about spaciousness and attention to space. It’s minimal with a focus on the deep details. The micro details. it’s heady. You know, you can lose yourself in it. I do. He does. I know others can too. I’ll say, It’s heavy in a subdued way. I think that is accurate.
GANJAOLOGY :: The other major project that I know you’re involved with is Low Indigo. Tell us about that.
MICHAEL :: So… in sequence from all that you’ve asked, Low Indigo is the most undefined. And undefined in a very comfortable way. It’s like my experience with Lighta’ and how it formed, and made sense later. From that experience, I’m kind of surrendering and letting it go to see where it ends up.
Musically speaking, on average Low Indigo is more left field, abstrakt, slower, more moody, chilled out, and more on the fringe. It’s not main room. The way Lighta! would be main room, we can do the hype party kind of thing. Low Indigo is what was the rave chillout room. That is the place for more exploration. It’s more participatory as well and thats the way I kind of left it undefined and it’s kind of slowly defining itself over time. Through the FB group, people are contributing with “Hey check out this artist, or check out that project.”
There’s a rap artist, Sol from Anticon. He and I got the chance to collab on a track some years ago. I think he just makes lyrics up off the top of his head, like he’s channeling something. I always remember one of his phrases in that rap. He says, “that which is perfect is finished.” As soon as you define something, it has boundaries. And people can say it’s this. It’s not that. It’s black and white…
I’m interested in the grey. I’m interested in the organic reflecting real life which is not defined. It’s exploratory. “Let’s see how this goes” kind of thing. I view Low Indigo to have it’s own soul. And for now I’m a facilitator of that. So I guide it and we’ll see where it ends up. And Like I said, it’s rooted in the more exploratory fringe stuff so naturally that equates to left field, fringe thought as well. Like those sparkles of inspiration. In a setting like this at Bass Coast, I’m interested in affecting individuals so they’re like, “I’m gonna change my whole life right now.” You know, it may or may not happen but it’s those moments, regardless of what happens next. I’m interested in those moments of inspiration and life changing epiphanies and stuff like that. Which I think a lot of that music lends itself to. That dreamy, lose yourself, meditative introspection.
GANJAOLOGY :: What can you say about Bass Coast?
MICHAEL :: From the very start… Well, let me tell you for a second. As soon as I saw Andrea, the Librarian in Whislter… Wow. She was DJ’ing with myself, Daega Sound, 2562 and Mat The Alien at his night up in Whistler. She was opening up and none of us knew her and Mat was like… “Ya man, she’ll do a good job”. As soon as I saw her and heard her selections and her vibe, I literally said to her… We need to work on some stuff. Tell me what you’re up to because… Let’s do something. And she says, “well actually I’m thinking about doing this festival called Bass Coast this coming summer” And I was like alright! let’s keep in touch!
GANJAOLOGY :: You were quick to support.
MICHAEL :: Absolutely. In an instant. A bunch of Lighta artists got booked and we supported it all the way. It was very clear to see that big things for Bass Coast were soon to come!
I think that the amount of growth and potential that Bass Coast has, at this point is still pretty much infinite. A lot of people that come here feel that as well. And that is one of the reasons why I believe in it and support it wholly. Because it’s a feeling. People come here because it’s larger than just the experience itself. We all have the potential for larger than what the media might tell us. Or in our day to day, what we might believe, our ego; we are larger than that. Here’s a place that actually realizes that and expresses that and helps facilitate people growing in that way. That’s what I think Bass Coast is… and that’s why I love it!
GANJAOLOGY :: It’s been almost a year and Bass Coast 2014 is around the corner. Last year you were working on a release with Modern Math, plus your Low Indigo music and of course Chambers. Any updates?
MICHAEL :: Absolutely. The Modern Math EP since dropped and did pretty well. Chambers has secured two vinyl releases for Digitalis. One in the fall and the other in the winter. Very stoked to have it mastered and pressed by D&M and distro’d by Forced Inc. Plus Boomkat going to get behind it and the artwork is developing quite nicely. I’ve just completed my work for the debut vinyl for Undone, a really great Vancouver-based blog who are branching out into releasing music now. That release is split with Taal Mala. We each have a tune on there, and are remixing each others work on there too. Low Indigo’s got a few more releases out since we last spoke. Lots more releases being incubated currently, plus a video coming out this September and a much healthy distro network secured now too. Two tunes for South Fork Sound before the end of the year, a souns tape for Digitalis and a remix on a limited CD for IO Sound, and lots more being worked on as well. Had my first vinyl appearance earlier this year on a Hybridity comp – a remix for Sabota, which I’m happy how it turned out. ..Busy and excited, basically.
GANJAOLOGY :: What excites you most about Bass Coast this year?
MICHAEL :: Genuinely very excited to check out a pile of friend’s sets this year, like any year though really. I know a few folks have been pouring their hearts into live sets that they are going to be debuting this year. Not going to miss those. And just being surrounded by the extended family that makes up everyone there, you know.. stoked to be “home” again.
Big Thanks to Michael Red, Lighta! Sound, Bass Coast Project and everyone out there listening and sharing this extraordinary music. #Respect
Lost Tapes Pt 1. w/ Daega Sound Here.
I had the pleasure of rolling down to Lightning in a Bottle this past weekend, and damn… What an event!? As usual, Do Lab just does it right. Nice up to the whole team!
While I had the chance to catch some stellar national/international acts, one of my favorite sets came from the homie Brice Lowell of PDX, aka PRSN. I’ve been hearing more and more from this cat over the past year and his sounds are seriously fire. I came home and immediately dug into his soundcloud to get a better ear on what he’s been putting out. This mix was bumping on repeat from one the steeziest vendor booths at the festival, the shared shop belonging to Portland designer Rags To Muffins and Oakland designer P.E.A.C.E. Fits. I had to bring it to the forefront for all you online listeners.
Check out PRSN’s mixtape entitled Third Person here. Look out for this guy this summer. He’ll be performing at What The Festival!? outside Portland, OR at Wolf Fun Ranch.
Turn up and tune in!
Songs of positivity are almost a rarity these days, but Popcaan has created just that while not making the song cheesy in any sort of way. ‘Everything Nice’ is a chilled out dancehall tune that gives a reminder to everyone in the world that, just as the title hints, EVERYTHING IS NICE. ‘Everything Nice’, produced by Dubble Dutch, is the first single off of their debut album ‘Where We Came From’, which will be dropping in June, and the remix is featuring longtime dancehall veteran, Mavado. Both song’s are really good, so check them out, enjoy the video, and stay tuned for the album release from Popcaan in June.
Seattle reggae rockers Kore Ionz will be gracing the stage at Nectar Lounge this month, plus special performances by DJ Kidhops and, all the way from Brooklyn, NY… New Kingston! This is sure to be an evening of positive vibes, so get your tickets now. Buy them directly from Nectar here!!
Kore Ionz is a Seattle based reggae band which does roots reggae like it is in their blood. Led by Hawaiin native Daniel Pak, the band brings a sound which is truly inspirational, in a literal sense of the word. My first time at Nectar Lounge a few years ago was for a Kore Ionz show on Earth Day. They had one of their young son’s on stage with them to sing and play melodica. What a treat!
“The intention of the music and the message is to give people a glimpse of the truth in a way such that it just might uplift them to go do something to change it.” -Daniel Pak of Kore Ionz
More from Kore Ionz on their homepage here.
No matter how you cut it, Brooklyn based reggae band New Kingston are a family. Many bands find strength in blood ties, but these guys really have it going on. The three brothers share the stage with their father who lays it down on the bass. With two full length albums under their belt featuring artists like Mr. Vegas and Collie Buddz, this little crew swiftly moves the dance!
More from New Kingston here.
While digging through my parents old record crates I came across an LP that grabbed my attention instantly. On the front is a very surprised looking man dressed in a tiger suit, with a hip-pack on, and enough gold on to purchase a couple mercedes. The name of the LP is BAM BAM and is by Tiger, an old school dancehall artist. I put the album aside and continued gathering music from my parents collection. How my parents acquired this artifact is a mystery to me…maybe it was a gift, maybe it came by way of one of my parents many adventures in record stores…anyway…the vibes being pushed through your speakers by Tiger are strictly positive. Enjoy!
Summer vibes never die! Just as the rain is getting ready to star penetrating deep into the souls of everyone in the North West and Snow is beginning to fall out East, one of West Canada’s most prominent bass music artists, Self Evident, has just released a dancehall mix that preaches the energy of every summer. This 30 minute mix could inspire thoughts of what’s to come in the summer of 2013…or…it can trigger all the positive memories of this past year, 2012, and years prior. Any inspiration you take away from this mix is going to be good. Embrace the sounds that Self Evident is spreading!
The LWP004 Release off of Low Up Records is a great EP to say the least. This London Based producer, has put together a nice, smooth set of club tunes that have a very melodic feel. All of the percussion throughout the EP is crisp and clean, with elements of both electronic and organics within them.
The ethnic vibes on the track entitled “Prism” really come through clearly with the eastern sounding melody, as well as what sounds like some sort of asian horn or flute. The title track for the EP – “Quartz”, its a very interesting tune. It starts off very minimalistic, but in a good way. The strange vocal sample bounces around until the track breaks down into the nice lead which was introduced in the beginning. The dimension that the producer has placed behind the synth line creates such a full feel. As it moves forward it builds with moving sounds and interesting synth lines as well. It ends up feeling very full with different instrumentation and leaves you wanting to get on the dance floor.
My personal favorite is the track “Soundboy”. This one is sooo smooth. That vocal sample is so sick, straight up. The sample teamed with that synth stab, drops the song seamlessly into another dancey club anthem. It’s definitely the highlight of the album for me, and the EP as a whole is a winner.
It’s nice to hear original vibes as always, and Murlo has delivered exactly that. Check the tunes below and go support Murlo and Low Up Recs by grabbing this EP if you get down with it too!
This mix is a treasure and is certainly one of a kind. If you don’t know, Mandai is one of the extraordinary female DJs representing Vancouver’s Lighta! Sound System. The mix was meant as a tribute to Mandai’s recent birth to Lighta!’s newest little BassBaby, and was recorded with her young child strapped to her body. The mix consists of some rare dancehall from Mandai’s personal collection that she has been developing over years of traveling around Africa and Jamaica, along with some Lighta! originals. Enjoy and be sure to show your support!
It’s only the first half of the week and I feel like dancing… Thankfully Mad Decent just released an 8 minute mini mix which will get your ass groovin’ out of work and into the closest bar for happy hour! This mix is extra swagged out and incorporates a ton of different styles. moombahton, dancehall, dubstep, electro, and a few tracks that are unable to be categorized. The level of diversity in the music that Mad Decent represents and brings to the dance floor is my main reason for my deep love of the East Coast record label. Good Job Mad Decent, keep the mixes coming!