Reggae producer and engineer Mad Professor has had a significant impact on reggae and dub music, spearheading the second wave with his Ariwa label, which was and still is, home to some of the best UK and international reggae artists, as well as popularising the dub style with remixes for some well known pop and dance acts including Massive Attack and Sade. A self-proclaimed disciple of Lee ’Scratch’ Perry, he first worked with the Kendal born producer in 1989, and has collaborated frequently with him frequently since then. Ahead of his show at Band on the Wall with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, we caught up with Mad Professor to talk about his latest album with Perry and the progression of dub music.
On your latest LP with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry; Black Ark Classics in Dub, you’re revisiting some old school sounds from the studio’s heyday. Can you tell us about the music that features on the LP, and the importance of the music that came out of the Black Ark?
The Black Ark studio represents the home studio phenomenon and the start of the era of making records with Lo-Fi equipment. The music was played by some of the most professional musicians in the world!
Has dub music changed from it’s early ’70s origins to its 21st century sound? Have significant changes come about because changes to technology or musical developments and cultural changes?
The concept of dub remains the same, though there are those who seem to think that dub can be with full singing or mc’ing. I stick by the original concept and feel of dub using real musicians.
Your Ariwa studio is specifically equipped for dub, with an array of specialist equipment to give the music its signature sound. What are your key pieces of kit, and do you bring any on the road with you?
Key to dub is a good reverb, echo, phaser, filter…
Some of the early Ariwa releases from artists like Macka B and Zakeya are among my favourites, are you still in touch and working with any of the artists from the label’s early days?
I am in touch with all the early artists…most of us speak once or twice a year.
You’ll be joining Lee Perry at Band on the Wall in March, what can we expect from you on the night?