Interview with Mad Professor at the Dub Lights 3 Festival in Sète, France on Saturday 16th of June 2018
We had the opportunity to interview Mad Professor about a week ago in France. Learn more about Dub music, his collaboration with Lee Perry, etc.
How was the show tonight?
It was okay. The temperature changed a little and the mood… It was a bit difficult because it was the time we have Lee Perry and U-Roy on the same stage.
There are not many Guyanese artists that we know of in Europe, except Natural Black…
You don’t think so? There are a few more. Quite a few. Even in London.
What do you think of the Guyanese Reggae scene?
Guyana, hmm. Our music scene… It’s not necessarily a Reggae scene because Reggae is a natural music of the Caribbean, you know. Either Reggae or Soca, so it’s just like the other Caribbean. You could be in Saint Lucia. You could be in Trinidad. You could be in Jamaica. It’s the same thing, the same people. It’s not much different. It’s just that it’s different territories. It’s not as different as you could imagine.
You played a role in the evolution of digital Reggae/Dub…
Some might say so [Laughs]
Did the advancement in technology helped you produce more music? Did it affect the way you produce music in anyway?
No, because my studio still uses real analog equipment. We’re really stuck in time. We haven’t changed.
When Lee Perry came to work in your studio, after his studio burned, did he change things in your setup?
Yeah, we changed a lot of accommodating. We changed the way it was hooked up. We changed the way we were doing things. It was rewind. He still had a very good ear for a good song. He’s a very special person. He changed a lot when he came to my studio. Totally. I learned a lot from him.
When you play with him on stage, is he very picky about the sound quality?
Yeah, as you could imagine. Because Perry has got probably about 55 to 60 years of experience. He’s seen the decade of the 60’s, as a professional. The 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, now. He could see six decades. He saw the thing, the music thing from the evolution. He’s seen all kind of styles. So you know, he’s such a guy you could only learn from.
What do you think of the current Dub scene in Europe?
Well, it seems to be growing. You have younger and younger people getting into it. Some people aren’t sure what Dub is, I think. I think there’s a lot of misconception about that.
It is more like electronic nowadays…
Well, Dub has always been electronics. Because, it’s really the father of electronic music. But the thing is, some people now think Dub is about a guy coming in the mic “Bang bang bang…” [mimicking a guy deejaying] keeping it loud, and talking. That’s not Dub. Basic Dub is still with engineering, and remodel a track, you know. It doesn’t even need to any vocals in it. This is part of the misconception. Some people think Dub is about vocals, you know.
So you’re saying that it is not necessary to have an original track with vocals in order to produce Dub music… You can make Dub music from scratch?
Yeah, it could be anything. You’re only limited by your mind, what your mind could see or what your mind can see. That’s what stops you from doing it.
What do you think of sound systems using computers?
Well, I think, it’s up to each and every one to find a different source of their sound. Everybody has gotta find different source. Years ago it was like a turntable, turning at 78 RPM or 45 RPM. My source of sound is totally different. I use a multitrack.
You have worked with Luciano in 2014, are there other Jamaican artists of the current Reggae scene that ask you to produce their albums?
Yeah, lots, lots. We work with a lot of people.
Have you ever worked with Lloyd Barnes (Wackies)?
Do you know anything about his music?
Not so much you know, because Wackies wasn’t really that popular in London. I knew he did some stuff with Lee Perry but I don’t know. There was a group called Love Joys, but I don’t know their sounds. It didn’t really caught out in London, which is where I spent most of my career.
You have worked with Macka B…
Yeah, a lot. We have done 20 albums with Macka B.
How is it to work with Macka B?
He’s very intelligent, his brain is active. From you give him an idea, he expands on it. He work it, like you have a school and he’s like a top ten artist. He would always come in to talk to kids of his approach. Very intelligent approach.
Do you like Hollie Cook?
I’ve recorded some stuff with her. It’s coming very soon, very soon.
Her father is a drummer
Yes, Paul Cook. Yeah, I know him, and her mother too. Yeah, you know it’s a small community. We know everybody. Everybody knows everybody.
How do you pick the people you work with?
Combination of the vibe, the talent, the price.
Do you play any instruments?
These days, no. If I need a good bass, then I’ll call a real professional bass player. Same for the drums. I’m not ego-driven to say I play. I get real professionals. I don’t want to be cheap and try to do it myself.
What other genre of music do you like apart from Reggae?
I listen to all kinds of music. You have to when you’re as old as I am. [Laughs] Because you’re hearing so much things, and styles. Because you have to remember, certain styles of music weren’t even around when I started listening. I mean, when we started, even Reggae wasn’t really around. Reggae started in the 60’s, around 66/68. Before that, a lot of Soul, R’n’B, not what you call R’n’B now. A lot of Calypso. So the whole thing has evolved. So, here we go. I listen to everything.