From street performer to performing in over 40 different countries and selling over 100,000 records, Melbourne born Dub FX is gearing up to release his third album Thinking Clear through his own label Convoy Unlimited in partnership with German label Membran on August 26th. Presales here
Having lived in a van for 6 years and performing on street corners worldwide Dub FX has built an underground fan base that rivals some of the most successful artists today. A pioneer of live looping, Dub FX builds each track in the moment by beat boxing a heavy groove, layering soulful vocals & warm melodic bass lines.
In 2009 Dub FX’s social media skyrocketed when Bristol filmmaker Ben Dowden captured his live street performances and uploaded them to YouTube. With over 600,000 Facebook fans and over 100 million YouTube views Dub FX promotes self empowerment and inspiration to independent artist all over the world.
You are no new comer to the music scene, if we go back to the beginning with you being filmed by Ben Dowden and uploaded to youtube, your social media went crazy and now you can support yourself touring the world.
That was social media at its best, back then did you like social media and see the benefits?
Absolutely… What I do is very visual as well as auditory… YouTube was the perfect vehicle for my art. Albeit I never uploaded videos of myself or put much energy into social media but I did see the benefits.. It gave me a world wide audience that I wouldn’t have reached busking in the street…
I have watched your music video for ‘So Are You’ and love it. (Seriously!) It is very uplifting and the movements of the guy around Melbourne made me feel like I wanted to do that!
So the concept of the guy running and the lion roaring when he starts symbolizing the release from Zoo. Was this concept something that you came up with?
Kind of.. When I recorded the song I wanted to make sure the sound effects gave purpose to the theme of the lyrics. the director suggested we have parkour in the video so I came up with the character who busts out of his office job and run to the gig in time to see our show… It all kind of fell in to place with the music and theme of the song.
I am in Melbourne, I enjoyed watching all the locations it was shot at. Where were the forest scenes filmed? I live in the Dandenong Ranges and was wondering if it was there?
You are correct! I live in Olinda and the locations where all around there… Some in my backyard!
I knew it! Recognize the Hills anywhere!
Regarding the meaning of “So Are You’ you have a gift in the way your music is not only enjoyable to listen to but the songs have either a social, political and spiritual message.
I can connect to ‘So Are You’ the feeling of being trapped in a Zoo, with life’s problems that are hard to escape from as well as the negative sides of social media. While I was reading your bio, I could not help thinking that Pokemon Go has actually encouraged people to get outside like you were in the song. What are your thoughts on Pokemon Go?
Honestly I can’t comment as I don’t have the game and I never watched the TV show… If it gets kids out of the house I can appreciate it a little bit but it still keeps them glued to a screen… In my opinion it’s just a digital fad that will come and go.. There is nothing spiritual or soulful about it so it has an expiration date.
Yeah me neither. I was hoping that you were ….. J
(“We need more social activity, physically in this reality, there is too much digital calamity”)
(“but we keep on using up more than we need and we build on slavery power and greed and I weep every time that I watch TV.”)
Can you elaborate on the meaning of these lyrics, for our readers to grasp the true meaning of the song?
It’s pretty literal and self explanatory… I guess I’m just highliting the obvious which may not seem too obvious when we are all so used to this ridiculous digital world we are living in… The fundamental message in all my music is self-empowerment… It’s obviously impossible to abandon this digital realm we live in, after all I’m replying to this question on my iPhone lol! But as an artist it’s my job to reflect the current social climate and remind people where we are, with points of view from an angle they may have missed..
You are playing in Spain in a couple of days and just finished your Canada tour, with 11 shows. How was ‘So Are You’ received there by the crowds?
Really well! It’s amazing how many people sing along.. I played in front of 5000 people in Bucharest the other night and I felt like more people sung along to ‘So Are You’ than my other more popular tunes! Same in Valencia and Milan! It’s crazy!
What has the tour been like? Seeing you have toured for the last 10 years, are there any funny stories you can tell?
Too many to mention… We have a game on tour where you win points for doing crazy stuff.. No one really keeps track of the tour points it’s just an excuse to do silly shit! A lot of the best stuff is “you had to be there” type stuff that won’t translate well written down.. I’ve rocked up to venues where they forgot to set up the system and I had to put it together myself.. One time in Canada, a promoter booked me but never released the name of the venue so no one knew where to go! One time my gear got lost in transit so I played an acoustic set on a fan’s guitar! In Madrid last year my keys player decided to stage dive but no one caught him! That was pretty funny! While lying on the floor he demanded they pick him up and carry him to the stage.. He won some tour points for that!
You have a break in September are you planning on making the trip home or are you having a break somewhere else?
I’ll be home for that! It’s only a 3 week break but I’ll need it!
I hope to see you at The Pleasure Garden Festival in December. You have played at many of the world’s biggest Festivals, do you have a preference for playing at a Festival or tour or is any chance playing live a good thing?
I love performing in the street, in clubs or festivals… Each environment changes the way I perform… The pleasure garden will be great fun!
You can purchase tickets here for this great lineup.
You wrote most of the lyrics for the album ‘Thinking Clear’ while on tour, is that where you find your inspiration or is it just that while touring you are in the zone?
I have a lot of time on tour to write lyrics because I’m in a bus or in aeroplanes most of the time.. When I get home I just focus on making music for the lyrics…
“I’m always evolving artistically. By working with Evan Tweedie (Bass) & Andy V (Keys) I have been able to explore new territory in the song writing process.
I have listened to many of your songs and I agree that you have entered new territory by adding other musicians. Is this something that you think that you will continue?
Absolutely! The only reason I started out solo was because I couldn’t afford the musicians I wanted to use.. Now that I have an audience those musicians are more than happy to work with me.
Watch a video here on Ben writing the album.
I was looking at your facebook page and really enjoyed the short videos you post and how you declare your love for your partner. You are super active on your facebook page,
Recently you had some misunderstanding fans on a post you made so you did another post ….
“Ok… so the last post I made about race got a lot of people fired up…Lets back track a second….etc.” (readers can see this here)
There were loads of people that supported your views, and I think that you summed the who discussion well with “Educate the next Generation that will rule the world on day.”
Do you like having these debates or discussions with fans on facebook or does it sometimes do you head in when people post some racist comments?
That post got very heated… It’s a subject that I’ve only really discovered myself. I wanted to use my platform to put forth a discussion to highlight something that is very present today but nobody talks about. As a white man using music that comes from non white cultures such as reggae and hip hop, it’s my duty to acknowledge where the music comes from and be fully aware how privileged I am to have a career making this music.. Most of the people who came up with these genres used music to escape their daily grind and never even considered to make money from it… I wanted to remind people that this happens all around us in many different ways.. A lot of people thought I was white bashing which isn’t at all true. I just wanted to raise awareness to something that all people of colour see daily while most white people don’t even notice it because it doesn’t affect them.
Thanks for your time Ben, I wish you well for your release of ‘Thinking Clear’ in August.
10 years strong Ben Stanford, aka Dub FX, has played almost every major festival worldwide including Glastonbury, Coachella, Sziget, Boomtown, Shambala and Exit.
Currently on tour through Canada before heading to many corners of Europe, Dub FX heads home in December to play the inaugural Pleasure Garden Festival in Melbourne.
Recorded in his own Treetop Studios, Thinking Clear is a blend of urban genres sown together with soulful conscious lyrics. “I wanted the album to sound live and electronic so I wrote & recorded the album with a bass player, pianist, percussionist and a 3 piece horn section.”
“I’m always evolving artistically. By working with Evan Tweedie (Bass) & Andy V (Keys) I have been able to explore new territory in the song writing process. The album was recorded in 4 months but I wrote a lot of the lyrics while on tour. I feel like this album captures the essence of all aspects of my journey” Dub FX says of the record.
Dub FX has a way of exploring social, political & spiritual subjects that leave you positive and inspired. The blend of live instrumentation over his signature beat boxing gives an edge to his unique sound.
THINKING CLEAR – TRACK LIST
1. Birds And The Bees
2. Road To Babylon
3. Heat Wave
4. Where I Belong
6. So Are You
8. Fake Paradise
10. Get Down
11. Thats The Game