Professor Kinski (Dub Addiction) Q&A

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Dub Addiction
have just released their awesome new album Khmer Dub Empire.
The
13-track
opus is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to their 2013
debut album Dub Addiction Meets Kampuchea Rockers Uptown. This
fiercely independent and original group play ‘Cambodian music
presented in a Reggae Dubwise’
style. Leng Pleng
spoke
to band-leader, vocalist and producer Professor
Kinski

to find out more.
Professor Kinski with Dub Addiction at Phnom Penh Nightmarket
Congratulations on the release of
the superb new Dub Addiction album, Khmer Dub Empire. How long have
you been immersed in this project?
    The first ideas of
    the new riddims you hear on the album were created by Sebastien
    Adnot and me shortly after our first debut album Dub
    Addiction
    Meets Kampuchea Rockers Uptown in
    2013. Either Seb or me create a bassline plus beat, let it rest for
    a bit and think about what kind of Khmer vocals or traditional Khmer
    instruments could fit on the beats. The whole process took us about
    one-and-a-half years. We have the iconic Lisha (Cambodia’s
    first hip-hop queen) on our album who did a fantastic job creating
    outta-space sounding minority tribe melodies on songs like Elewa
    Yanoy
    and Tonai Tin, she also recorded alternative
    versions of the songs Snae Hae Knong Pel Reatray (one of last
    year’s Cambodian summer hits) and Mae Roe Koh Haoy including her
    recognizable female Khmer Rap style.
    One year ago, Jimmy
    Kiss (well-known for his song Baby I’m Sorry)
    joined the band and he contributed four songs for Khmer Dub
    Empire
    . The whole production process was non–linear. We
    recorded over a period of one year, with Chhen Chantrea on
    guitar, Deth Toch on runeat, sampled a lot of Khmer
    instruments, even ‘Cambodia’s Ray Charles’, Kong Nay is
    present… and of course the usual suspects Toma Willen
    on drums, and Okoro Elias Jeffers
    African-sounding vocals.
    We had a six-month
    production break in the middle. A good album needs time to sleep and
    wake up again in order to come to real greatness.
Khmer Dub Empire
sounds like it was created in a world-class studio. Where was the
album recorded and mastered?
    The whole album was
    recorded and mixed in my own home studio in Phnom Penh, ‘Kinski’s
    Mad Lab’, like our last album. The difference is that this time we
    did not record a full drum set in a studio… we recorded and
    sampled the drum sounds and created the beats in a drum sequencer,
    added real hi-hats, drum fills played by Toma and percussion
    played by KCM. First, we programmed the bassline with a
    synthesizer and replaced it later with the real five-string bass of
    Sebastien. The magnificent (and in my opinion best Khmer
    guitar player) Chhen Chantrea was responsible for the
    solos and guitar licks, I played additional ‘Skunk Riddim’ guitar
    and on top of it we added loads of samples and synth sounds to
    provide the original Dub Addiction flavor. Jimmy,
    Lisha, Jeff and I did their vocal parts and, after all
    the recordings were in place, it had to undergo the Professor’s
    dub treatment. When the album was finally mixed we tried out four
    different mastering studios and the results could not have been more
    different…. so we decided to get it mastered in a studio in
    Marseille, France… the result is a lot of deep and massive bass!
The guys in the
band are from Cambodia, Germany, France, Nigeria… It’s kind-of hard
to classify Dub Addiction as either an
‘expat’ band or a ‘Khmer’ band. Is this the way you like it?
    Dub Addiction
    has always been a fusion of Khmer and foreigners. There is the core
    of the band: Seb, Toma and I who create the basic
    songs and there is the big variety of Khmer guest musicians and
    singers. You can compare it with bands like Massive Attack etc. who
    have always used guest singers on their albums. Every Dub
    Addiction album has different Khmer artists on it, from MC
    Curly, DJ Khla, Nen Tum and
    Pou Khlaing to Lisha, Jimmy Kiss
    and other not-so-well-known artists, not to forget the additional
    Khmer musicians (tro, runeat, kloy etc…). Dub Addiction‘s
    trademark is Cambodian music presented in a ‘Reggae Dubwise’ style.
    It’s new for Cambodian ears and also new for foreigners who grew
    up with this kind of music. Every singer on the album has performed
    live with us on stage and there were a lot (we count about 25
    singers including our non-official Dub Addiction
    Collective album from 2013 with international artists from
    Germany, France, Switzerland, Nigeria, etc…) Our next album, which
    is currently in production, goes even further in this direction: We
    have worked with singers from all over the world (USA,
    England/Jamaica/France/Bavaria and of course Cambodia). The album is
    due next year.
What has been your most memorable
live gig experience with
Dub Addiction?
    We played a show in a
    prison on Reunion Island …immediately the next morning after we
    arrived there. That was a pretty weird experience, playing for the
    inmates. Block A, Block B and finally Block C arrived and they all
    sat down on chairs 10 metres away from the stage in that half-lit
    meeting room in the prison. It took us a while until the first
    people got up from their chairs and grooved along the music. They
    seemed to have enjoyed the show. After we smuggled in some
    cigarettes for the ‘Creole gangsters’ inside and they were being
    locked up into their cells again, we enjoyed a big buffet with the
    Prison Chief, the guards and the journalist… Awkward.

Dub
Addiction have self-released this title on the Yatra
Production
imprint. Is Dub Addiction strictly an ‘underground’
band, would you welcome a deal with a major label?
    Major labels are very
    bossy in telling you what to do and what kind of style to play. Dub
    Addiction
    wants to be independent and decide itself what to
    produce and how to sound. Of course, I’d welcome a major label
    deal when they pay a million bucks in advance.
Dub
Addiction shows are usually very busy and very lively. Why do
you think the band’s live sound resonates with so many people?
    First of all, a deep
    groovy bass always hits peoples asses. The musicians in this band
    are all very talented and professional. Since our first show at
    Equinox in 2011, there was the same magic spirit at all of
    our shows. ragga plus dub and Khmer is a potion with a big seduction
    quality. A lot of people do classic Khmer psych-rock and it works…
    Dub Addiction tries to bring a new style of Khmer music to
    the people and it seems to be very infectious. Big up to all the
    people who make our shows a boiling pot of sweat and sexiness.
Professor
Kinski, if you could mix the Dub Addiction experience into a
special cocktail to be drunk at your next gig, what would the
ingredients be?
Mango happy-happy shake with loads
of vodka red bull and a bit of prahok on top.
Stay connected to the pages Leng
Pleng
and the band’s Facebook page for all the latest news
about Dub Addiction.
Many thanks to Professor
Kinski for this Q&A session.

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