Balkan Dub? Freegan Kolektiva talks with Vanya O from Radikal Dub Kolektiv / Dubble

We are delighted today to publish the first interview in Freegan Kolektiva zine. Radikal Dub Kolektiv has been an inspiring DIY activist dub band, groundbreaking yet retaining a balance between experimentation and a solid reggae/dub sound. They have been pioneering a live dub style in the Balkan region, building a scene! Now it seems that the time has come for new projects to carry the torch. New vibes! Vanya O tells us more about the Croatian bass-infused reggae/dub scene and the Balkans:

Where is the Radikal Dub Kolektiv? What is happening in the RDK camp?

Radikal Dub Kolektiv (RDK) is not playing anymore and its members decided to explore individual projects – actually there are quite a few now, namely Dubble, DJ Meniga and Digitron.

Dubble is a dub duo of Dubolik and myself . We were both involved in RDK; now we play more heavyweight UK style dub but with subtle elements of Dubstep and Trance while we are keeping the DIY dubwise spirit. DJ Meniga is the former drummer of RDK and a prominent promoter of bass music in Croatiaand the Balkans in general. Digitron are more into the dub soundsystem culture; they are actually the first Balkan soundsystem. As for RDK the 3rd album “Hellness Center” is about to be released finally next year!

How is the music ‘scene’ in Croatia, especially when it comes to reggae dub? We know Antenat, we know also Dubioza Kolektiv from Bosnia but not much more…

The Croatian dub reggae music scene is slowly but surely growing and getting more and more people into the sound. There are quite a few collectives and soundsystems getting the music and parties to people – to mention only few: Trip to Zion, Roots Hi Fi, Balkans Hi Fi, Digitron Soundsystem. They are producing and/or collaborating with international artists and organizing events and promoting the reggae scene.

There is especially one young band worth mentioning called Bamwise (Zagreb). They are influenced mostly by the French sound but also the heavy steppers UK style. They bring an exclusive, eclectic sound, very tight and vibrant. Be sure to check them out; they are playing around Europe very soon. There is also a new band called Waitapu, combining dub with more rock influences.

Dubble live at Metelkova, Ljubljana, Slovenia (19 December 2011):

What is the first thing that comes to your mind about ‘Balkan dub’?

The first thing coming to me by mentioning BALKAN in music is this really awful folk style music that I personally just don’t dig. Apart from that prejudice – i guess it’s the specific half oriental half Mediterranean melodies that give a certain note to a tune.

How do you see development in the Balkans? Friction between a future in EU and local values? especially in times of multiple crises…

Well, this is a hard one:). On one hand it’s good not to be treated as 2nd class citizens any more while travelling around Europe: it’s good not to be double checked at the borders, it’s easier not to pay any tolls etc., but on the other hand, it seems like another slavery, another ‘community’ where your voice and choice doesn’t really matter, where again someone else is making decisions…

The first time I visited Croatia I mentioned the word ‘Balkans’ at the borders and the police officer replied: ”Croatia is not Balkans, we don’t want relation with the Balkans”. What is the perception of people of the Balkan identity?

Dubble: Vanya O and Dubolik

Hahahhaaa! That’s sooo significant to a lot of Croatians! Such a distance from the Balkans and if you ask me (and you are:) i think it sucks big time, coz we just ARE in the Balkans and there’s no point of running away from it and trying to be something we are not. Not only geographically but also culturally  – we are where we are and we shouldn’t really be ashamed of it. We should be ashamed of our personal (and collective) dishonesty and corruption, nationalism, homophobia and racism…

There are so many summer music festivals in Croatia! How do you explain that? Is there a nice atmosphere in those festivals?

There is the sea and the sun, good vibes and good people (mostly:), it’s much cheaper I reckon for the foreigners to have a holiday here and especially on the North coast the atmosphere is very cosmopolitan and that’s the most important thing: to get people over and keep them coming.

Do you want to share with us your favourite links? The ones you believe they are crucial…

Surely, i’ll go for this one, as i think it’s the most interesting place to visit in Zagreb if you are into alternative underground subcultural events: ‘Autonomni Kulturni Centar Medica‘. There is nice atmosphere with lots of artistic events, an info shop with its own programme, a monthly flea market and regular musical events. Not to be missed is also one of the festivals you were asking about, Seasplash, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary next year. There is also Outlook festival, which is a British-Croatian collaboration.

The finale is yours!

I want to tell you keep on spreading good vibes and positive thinking to people and stay tuned for upcoming musical news from the Balkans!

Love & respect!

___________________________________________________________

Discover more dub artists via Freegan Kolektiva:

  1. Morphy – The Three Wise Dubs EP (2011, charity giveaway self-release)
  2. Goli & Ashburner / RSD / Alpha Steppa – Get Up (2011, Steppas Records)
  3. Full Dub – Potentiodub EP  (2012, ODG Productions)
  4. Boom One Sound System – Japanese Translations in Dub
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