Since the debut release of "Champion Sound Clash" in 2004 Dubmatix (real name Jesse James) has been been in demand worldwide for his unique style and sound -- blending old-skool traditional dub with future-dub and everything in between. To date Dubmatix has been involved in over 30+ projects around the world - with 4 CDs, 8 Digital releases, 9 7" vinyl singles, and over 25 remixes & collaborations. From Canada to France, Scotland to Portugal, USA to Italy - he's worked with a variety of artists (including Luciano, Anthony B, Alton Ellis, Sugar Minott and Michael Rose to list only five) and musical styles and has gained international acclaim not only for the releases but also for the remixing/mixing skills Dubmatix brings to the table. He recently toured Europe stopping at the "Feest In The Park" festival in Oudenaarde, Belgium, where he took time to do an interview with GertozZz.

GertozZz: Welcome to Belgium Jesse. It's not the first time you've been here?

Dubmatix: I've been to Belgium 4 times. Two times in Brussels and 1 time in Mons and another place I don't remember at the moment. The first time I was here was with Groundation in the VK.

GertozZz: You are touring at the moment with Brother Culture?

Dubmatix: I'm touring for almost a month now. I did some festivals in the UK first. After that I went to France and then back to the UK and now I'm here!

GertozZz: The crowd was very young today? Average age was 16-25. Is that something that you are used too?

Dubmatix: On festivals you always get a broad scope of people. In the UK we played at the Secret Garden Party. Out of 25,000 people most of them were around 20-40 and they were all dressed up like animals. This is the youngest crowd I've seen so far. A lot more teenagers here in Belgium.


Dubmatix

Dubmatix & Brother Culture
GertozZz: Your biography states that you can play many instruments?

Dubmatix: I started out playing drums. I got my first drumset when I was about 3-4 years. My father is a musician and my mother has been in music her whole life too. So when I was around the age of 11 I had to play in the symphony. It was a classical symphony and I had to choose between tuba and bass. I knew that bass was much cooler so I did that for 7 years. I studied classical piano, I took jazz guitar lessons. But when you get the bug... I wanted to learn other instruments. When I was a kid I had a recording studio, first a 4-track after that a 12-track. I wanted to record the music that other bands were playing and if I wanted to record some instrument I didn't know I just tried it... I've always been around in recording studios since I was 8. It always has been in a basement. Today I have my own studio and it's in the basement of my house. It's small but it's comfortable. I just try to do everything and I'm kind of a control freak. You hear these sounds and you know what you want and sometimes it's hard to describe it to other people. The only time I bring people in is if it's a vocalist and when it's a vocalist I want them whatever they want to do because that's why I'm bringing them in. To let them bring their vibes into the sounds. I'm not telling them what to sing, but when they're in my studio it's under my drill. I hear things and I mostly have a basic idea about what I want. For example the horn lines you hear on the CD are kind of written in advance in my head or on my keyboard. It's very important to let other people bring their input into my music. It's not an ego-thing but I want to make the song the best by putting all of the things together in the best mix.

GertozZz: What is your opinion on the internet? You seem to use it a lot as a medium to spread your music and you reach a lot of people. You make free downloadable albums and give away free music.

Dubmatix: Before I was doing Dubmatix mp3.com was very popular. Normal advertising mostly costs a lot of money. For example you can spend 1000 on a magazine ad. There's no way you can correlate what you get back. You can't track whoever saw the ad, actually bought the album. There is no connection to people and through the internet you reach a lot of people. From my first album I released 3-4 tracks for free. The best and cheapest way to make publicity is to give it away. If people like it they will probably buy the album or come to a show sometimes or tell their friends and share their music. It's a fundamental aspect of marketing music. I've given away piles of music but it's an important step because you have to get the music out there. I will never stop to give away music. People know me for that but there's always a balance of course. Having the internet is two-sided: on one side it devalues music in some way because you can get anything you want anytime, but at the same time it's the best way for new artists to get their music out there... so it's a double-edged sword.

GertozZz: You see it as an investment to give away free music?

Dubmatix: Absolutely! I've done that for many many years. It's an important way to show I care, it's not just a business. It's not just about money but it's about reggae too! Anybody in reggae, radio or media know it's a passion. Well, this is my passion and I want to share it with everybody else. It's interesting, facebook is dying. I've seen it when it was very popular, but it doesn't have the same musical correlation as myspace has. There is not really anything that centralizes music anymore. Last.fm is more like your own personal music station. Maybe Spotify is the new thing but I don't know a lot about that. Myspace should have been on top but the company got screwed by Rupert Murdoch (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch).

GertozZz: Do you ever google your own name?

Dubmatix: Yeah! Absolutely! It's fascinating what I find. I see things I never heard about in my life.

GertozZz: What do you think when you see rapidshare links offering the latest Dubmatix album?

Dubmatix: Come on, listen. It's the internet! I've realized that a long time ago. My first album was only initially released in Canada and a year later in Europe, but before it was released in Europe it was on the internet for sale everywhere. I didn't know anybody... It's just not something you're gonna stop. So I think the flipside is that you hope that people actually appreciate your music, will buy the CD an support what you are doing and the ones who are basically "pirating" it that out of that pocket of 500 that maybe a few of them will come to a show or share it with a friend.

GertozZz: Steel Pulse and Alborosie are playing here tonight. Have you already collaborated with them?

Dubmatix: I'm always interested in music I like. The people on my album are people that I contacted. The people outside that are mostly people that contacted me. It's becoming more and more and I'm very happy about it. I'm in a position I wanted to be 5 years ago. I'm in contact with a lot of great musicians and tourmanagers. I don't know the details but I did a remix of the first track of an album that probably is going to be released this year. But I'm a studio freak. I can spend 12 hours in my basement. Touring is a different thing. I love doing shows and travelling.

GertozZz: What are you gonna do with all the money you earn later? Are you married?

Dubmatix: I've been married for 16 years. She wants to go on tour with me. I love what I do but everything goes back into the music. But being a musician is hard. You always have to pay. New equipment, taxes, etc... I don't really think about the money really but I grew in the music business through my father and I understand what it is about and I understand that you have to work very hard to do what you are doing and you have to be good at it and who decides that? The people... I'm very gratefull for everything I have and I'm lucky. I'm very aware of the fortunate situation I'm in and I work very hard and it's not about prove what I'm doing but I love doing music. Sometimes I do a show for 100$ because the people are great, but as you grow you have to make a balance of course... I have a few place where I will always play for free and have a good time. Those are the moments that mean the most to me. Business is business and then I go home and I get my creditcard bill. (laughs)

GertozZz: Thank you for the interview!

Dubmatix in his basement studio

GertozZz & Dubmatix
Interview by GertozZz
(Please do not reproduce without permission)