The formidable Salmonella Dub step out as a 5-piece for their upcoming Australian tour. Seven spoke with Andrew Penman about the S-Dub experience.
How do things change when you take to the road as a 5-piece? With the Soundsystem we represent with a three-part horn section, percussion, the Mighty Asterix on the mic and me on the mix. The beauty for us with this is that we can represent our full catalogue with a more flexi dancefloor style in smaller venues. Effectively the Soundsystem is the full band without our live rhythm section.
What do you think it is about your music that has garnered such international support over the last 20 years? We have spent a lot of time playing in Oz and in Europe and the UK. Rather than just playing to our audience we have invited other artists to get involved with us. This has resulted in our bringing people such John Butler, The Mad Professor, DJ Digital, Rockers HiFi, Resin Dogs, and others to NZ to experience the festivals and shows we put on back in Aotearoa. Likewise we have brought young bands like Shapeshifter Kora and Fat Freddies Drop to Australia and other countries to experience the potential of the audiences we have built over the years. I guess all this has added to the myth and the respect we have created.
What is it do you think that is unique about the music of SD? I think it is a combo of our DIY approach, our tongue in cheek humour and our ability to mix up styles.
When we first started out we really wanted a sampler but couldn’t afford one. So I hot-wired an old cassette deck with a guitar on/off pedal to use as a sample. We rescued a box of mutant ninja turtle tapes out of a record shop dumpster and used to steal samples from TV and Cheech and Chong videos, lining them up in real time onto tape to then trigger via foot on stage. We used to do Public Enemy and Nancy Sinatra covers, changing the words to suit our locale. These are the kinds of thing that define us.
Tell me about your plans to record in Byron. We have been chipping away at new material since our last Kaikoura Roots Festival. Currently we have 12 tracks ready for final parts and we are heading to your lovely Byron Bay for a late summer creative retreat. We are taking a statesman approach to this album. It will be our 25th CD title and eighth album proper and it is a luxury not to be rushing. We spent a week in Byron working on our last album Freak Controller a few years back and find that Byron, like Kaikoura, is an inspirational and creative place. And it is so good to have the opportunity to mix it up!
What will we expect for shows in Byron? Will you take some album material on stage? Byron, like Takaka in NZ, is one of our favourite spots to play around the world. For this show we plan to build some new tracks and yes we have some great new remixes to play out. Our recent single Same Home Town dedicated to our quake-ridden hometown Christchurch has been remixed by Dub Fx. We have a new remix of That’s What I Want from DJ Digital and the Tui Soundsystem. But more importantly we will hit the stage with huge smiles on. Can’t wait!
Salmonella Dub SoundSystem play the The Hotel Great Northern on Saturday.