INTERVIEW: Everyone Needs A Bit Of Dreadzone
If you have ever been to a music festival in the UK then you will sure to have come across Dreadzone at some point. If you haven’t, then you are definitely missing out as they are deemed a permanent fixture at some of the biggest across the land as well as in Europe, and they put on a brilliant show.
Dreadzone have been doing their thing for 20 years now and in their platinum year they are about to embark on another long-winded round of album releasing chores. Escapades is the name of their forthcoming release and co-founder, drummer and spokesperson for the band Greg Dread takes some time to tell me about the new dynamics on the album, having longevity and The Clash seeing them perform:
Interview with Greg Dread of dreadzone
Are you any closer to getting an E-Type Jaguar?
I don’t think so. I’m happy for now with my black 3 litre V6 S-Type. God, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson! You’ve been checking my Twitter then!? The E-Type is pretty nice but far too much money. I like bigger cars anyway. You don’t really believe I could afford a car like that?
I would hope that you do, soon enough.
An honour it is Greg for you to take the time out for me on this. We’ve got a little bit more going on this year haven’t we in comparison to previous, or is it always mad and manic?
No worries, Joe. It’s a pleasure to chat.
It doesn’t seem mad and manic enough sometimes. There are a fair few shows and lots of preparation leading up to the album release, but last year there was a lot of time spent in the studio making it.
I am filling up time by working on a new project called Rein which is a House thing. I’m also writing some soundtrack music for another thing at the moment plus new Dreadzone stuff in the pipeline. I am enjoying some quality leisure time as well this year. If it gets too mad then what’s the point? You need some distractions.
Have you done your usual festival runs this year? Glastonbury is a permanent fixture. Have you a few others where you always attend annually?
Glastonbury was especially great this year, what with the weather and seeing the [Rolling] Stones. Most festivals like to have you on alternate years. The most visited is probably Beautiful Days which is run by our manager and we play every other year. There have been a few good ones this year, Wickerman in Scotland and Secret Garden Party plus some nice ones in Europe. We are not super-busy as some bands are, but with the album out I expect next year we will see an increase.
Did you think you’d get this far becoming stalwarts in the music scene and appreciators from every genre there could possibly be?
No, you never know how it will turn out. I am glad we have taken this approach but have always made sure the albums and songs have some longevity along with a strong exciting live show that just keeps getting better. Plus we have avoided the traps like drugs and egos and have a busy, happy, dread family that is in for the long haul.
After 20 years and having band members come and go through a variety of reasons and unfortunate circumstances, how do you go through the process of moving forward and getting new members in?
I’m not sure how. Maybe it’s about having the core driving it all, and everyone else finding space around it. It’s hard to believe some members were not involved in some albums but the shifting dynamics has centred everything finally.
When people move on, others come on board. We were lucky to have the right people in the right place and time.
You have a couple of vocalists in the band and yet on your forthcoming release you have another being the delectable, Lena Cullen – who features on On My Way & Music Of The Spheres – were you after an additional dynamic to the release?
I think another dynamic is essential and finding someone like Lena who is like minded and a lovely talented person to work with we could develop the songs naturally instead of just sticking a vocal on top. We are trying to be better songwriters all the time. We worked from melody and lyrics at an early stage, so it grew organically.
You have the album Escapades due for release at the beginning of September in every possible format: A new video, a new website. Is it easy to keep up with the ever-changing times?
It’s easier if you have a good management team who take care a lot of stuff to help make it happen. We have our own label Dubwiser Records and a solid catalogue, so every little investment goes towards the greater whole, all the works and feeds off of each other. Also, we haven’t done a video for 3 years, so it was nice to do one for the new single. I like to stay active with things like blogs and all social media, SoundCloud etc. It’s all part of it and useful and enjoyable.
The album sounds crisp, light and full of sound rather than it being too bass heavy. Have you any plans to get some guys on board to do any remix packages? Trolley Snatcha’s remix of Gangster caused a great deal of awareness for you guys.
There is a very good remix package, like last time with Trolley Snatcha – click to view – (just shy of 2M views) – there are some great reworks of the tracks, not just the single but a few tracks from the album. We always like to focus on the songs and a certain type of production for the albums and leave the heavier dance-floor stuff for remixes which are in four genres this time: Dubstep with Teddy Killerz – (Too Late). Jungle Breaks with Sub Slayers star King Yoof – (Rise Up). Drum & Bass from very our own Bazil – (Fire In The Dark) and House remix from the new project Rein – (On My Way).
At any festival or big event where you are playing I tend to always come and see you guys perform, and the crowd always love what you do. You’re fan base is very strong and true to you isn’t it? Do you have any famous names that regular come and watch your shows?
Not really, it’s people young and old. People who grew up with us, their kids, their friends. New fans are discovering us every time. People stay true and faithful because we do uplift our crowds and deliver a memorable show. Mick Jones – of The Clash – comes to see us, but we are in another band with him. We were grateful he got involved on this album with the use of his studio and guesting on a track as well Too Late which is the new single.
What is next for Mr. Dread and Dreadzone?
More music, shows and loving the life. And always in search of the muse..
Greg Dread is a humble man, obviously. After having the usual troubles of man living life, he battles on as we all should and he still (along with his Dread family) manages to deliver some wonderful material and vibrant shows with brothers Leo Williams, Chris Compton, Spee, Earl 16 and Bazil.
The forthcoming album Escapades is in essence, typical Dreadzone. It is humbling, groovy and contains plenty of deep, rolling basslines. From the main single Too Late ft Mick Jones which is your standard Dreadzone awesomeness, through the bass-driven Main In A Suit to the dreadscape escapism on Music Of The Spheres ft Lena Cullen, which I might add, has a wondrous resemblance to the sound of Hybrid and also Portishead.
Dreadzone are an act that deliver excitement, dare and adventure. Which is what Escapades, is all about.
Photo credit goes to Sarah Read.
Escapdes by Dreadzone is released by Dubwiser Records on September 9th, 2013
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