Gregory Zigo Mavridorakis, drummer of Dub Inc spend his time with Irieunity, to answer some actual questions to the group in a detailed interview. Big up Dub Inc and stay as natural as you are.
How do you want to reach the people with your music, what is your message?
You know we are a band that mix seven very different persons, we all are from different social and geographic origins, and we think we are a kind of perfect harmony between different person, so we try to bring the message that mixing different people is the best way to get peace, I mean it sounds like a hippie message but its kind of true. you know most of the people when there is a problem try to find some guilty person, and generally it’s the person that is quit different that you accuse, and we think thats generally its better to mix everybody and then you get some more richness.
To give the people the chance to see how it is possible to connect together?
Yeah and you know, in France and more generally in Europe, this continent now is based on immigration, this continent has grown with slavery getting all the richness from Asia and Africa and so i think its the normal thing now that everybody comes to Europe and try to, i don’t now, to get a piece of the richness too, so we try to say to people don’t worry by somebody who is different from you. I mean it’s the main message of dub inc, of course most of our songs talk about social things inequality, corruption, like this.
A lot of french happenings were in your lyrics too, Sarkozy was mentioned a lot in your songs…
I mean Sarkozy was the perfect example of all the problem we talk about, racism, corruption… problem between France and Africa, where France try to get all the richness, so yeah of course, he was the perfect example but things change with the new president because he’s from the left side but i mean the deep mood in France doesn’t change. Homophobe people start to have no complex to say they don’t like gays, the extreme rights with the Le Pen family starts to grow so much we didn’t expect so much and even the normal right part starts to get into the extreme right idea. So i mean of course its not Sarcozy anymore but the global mood stays like this and it’s very scary for us, so we still have many things to say in our songs.
So you won’t finish writing songs this fast!?
No no definitely!
It took you a lot of years to tour and also get in the charts over the boarders of France. Why do you think is it so hard to get a popularity aboard, is it because of the lyrics, which are a lot in french?
I think its just that our music doesn’t really interest the global media, ok. We have never been played on TV never been played on radio, even the press, the paper press, doesn’t really focus on us. But at the same time we never really try to research any media we always let the people talk together and we didn’t wanna rush anything with growing. Since the beginning the only goal of Dub Inc is to play on the road and whatever, if it’s in a big venue or in a small bar, it’s just the idea to have fun with the people. So we never tried to get a lot of people it just grow naturally, i mean even now that we are big in France and we try to go outside of France more far away, we still don’t wanna play this game to get the media with us, we just let the people talk. Generally when you do two, three time a show in a city during three or four years then it starts to get bigger and if it doesn’t it doesn’t matter because there is so many places to go and we try a lot. Now it’s very cool because we have the chance now to have a big name in France and in Europe and so it allows us to go really more far and to get more credit. Even the first time we come generally there is more people than before, so…
Do you plan to go to the United States too?
We’ve been to USAa already, in New York several times, and Canada, and South America, even we have been to India and to Australia…
I heard of Lebanon too?
Lebanon was crazy really nice, i mean for us, it’s that kind of places we go not especially for business but thanks to the internet we can meet some people. Like for example Lebanon it was some people, some fans of Dub Inc, musicians ,that wanted just to make a show with us. They say ok we don’t have so much for you but if you can come you will have a nice time so we came there, we stayed four days i guess, for one gig and it was just wonderful because all our message suddenly get really. It is the situation we talk about in our songs. Lebanon, Beirut is a very nice city, mixing a lot of different people, religions, people who… refugees and you have that modern city mixed to all the bombs… scary and thats, thats was crazy… and there is a lot of places like this, where we play we’re suddenly we… like in Africa or stuff like this.
What would be your advices to young musicians trying to get popular?
I would just say don’t try to get popular, because it’s the, in my opinion its the best way to make shit, because if you try to get popular, you change something or what you wanna do. What i say generally to young musician is “don’t forget that you are musician because you like to play music, the goal is to play music, not to be famous, famous doesn’t change anything.” When you are on stage in front of a hundred thousand people you still play music like when you are in a bar. Of course you get a lot of love when you are in front of a huge audience, it gives kind of bonus thing to your music. But the songs fashion you have to spread, is your love for the music, so that’s what the people have to hear, so whatever you are in a bar. So if tomorrow Dub Inc stops, i will still be happy to play in bars, even if i have not the most crazy stage in the world. My passion is music, so they don’t have to forget that. Because like in that kind, how do you say, you know this contest on TV, where you have the singers and they always say “ohh its my last chance to be a musician or a singer”, what the fuck, you have a voice you can sing all your life, it’s not the problem.
Ok its fun, we have a funny life, we make party every day. Thats the good thing, we are blessed and i have knew before what is the hard life. Because before Dub Inc works, we had to go to the manufacture to work in the night and then rehearsal in the day and weekend going to play. But if you love what you do, just do it, and of course sometimes it’s hard but if it has to work, it works. And i mean with Dub Inc we could, when things started to be big in France especially, we could have change our mind like just get all the money and stuff like this, but i think we are a good example. I say it’s humbly, but i think we are a good example of friends that just wanna have fun and don’t give a shit about star system or stuff like this. Because we can say we are big in France, we played in venues of 7000 people, it’s not nothing. Most of the artist of the major companies in France doesn’t do what we do and doesn’t sell what we sell, Cd’s, stuff like this. But for us it’s still the same we like to go outside of France to play in very small venues, sometimes in front of 30 people, but it’s still fun and you still meet some people, still meet some artists and discover new cultures. That is the only goal we have, so yeah, i would say if you wanna live our life or try to, just don’t focus on being famous, just have fun on stage, make good music, be inspired, listen to other people and try to have good relationship with the people, that’s it.
Was it a passion for all of you to become musicians, or did some of you originally wanted to become something else, because you started with three people and became a group of eight?
The band started we were three, the beginning in 97, with Jéremie the guitar player and another bass player, who is not there anymore. And we were in high school and it was just a high school band. And then we stopped high school, like graduated and we met Akim… the two singer who were friends already, but we decided to try to do something together and yeah. But there was no goal, i mean, it was just for fun and then in 98, in november 98, we did the first gig of Dub Inc, the very first one in front of, i don’t know, it was in the countryside, like maybe 600 person, it was like a big party of the village. It was our first gig together and we realized that we we’re good on stage, we didn’t knew that. We didn’t have no experience as musician, nothing, we knew nothing about music business, absolutely nothing and we realized that we were fucking good, we had fun, the people jumped, scream… So we said wow, ok, we are 19, let’s try to go on the road and to do it, we don’t need nothing. So we just bought a truck, a little van and we went on the road, like sleeping outside after the shows, getting no money, no food, just have fun, every weekend, trying to… like gipsy. Trying to go around the city and more far and more far and finally it became what it is now. I mean it didn’t really change, except we are well organized and now it’s a big business, but still family thing. There is still no goal, we still don’t make marketing plans or anything. We try to sell nice shirts, and because we need it to develop the other things. And that’s it. We still not getting big payment, I mean we try to keep it low and put the good money we have on aboard just to… sometimes, when we need to get payed when we are not on tour, we get payed. But we are still not like big stars or stuff like this. We try to keep the feet on the ground you know and I think it works good like this.
It does! (laughing) You use a lot of different style, is there any style you wouldn’t use?
Yeah, uff, I don’t know, because you know, sometimes we take little things there… of course we don’t do like electro dance music or… yeah, but sometimes we take a sound of this, a sound of that. You know I think our main music is Reggae and modern Reggae Dancehall, but look now we play with an accordion on stage I mean… Because we went to Colombia for a gig and we heard so much Cumbia there, we said, our keyboard, one of the keyboard player, plays very well accordion. We say “ok lets try to do something like this” and we did it. And we always said that we don’t want to put any barrier to the creativity, if something happens with something, we take it. And in the past we used to play some, I don’t know Afrobeat or stuff that are not really expected for us. Maybe we don’t play it anymore on stage but it’s still a part of the history. Every album has one or two songs that are hard to define, I mean, but no we have no limits. I mean I don’t think we will do some jungle beat or stuff like this (laughing) but we never know, but I mean you know, things change sometimes so…
As you told me Reggae is your main style, lot of people are combining it with the expressions One Love and Rastafarian. What does these expressions mean for you?
Nothing much, I mean about religion, Rastafarian and stuff like this, nothing. Because in the band, we try to… some of us believe in their gods and stuff like this, but everybody keeps it to himself it’s not a subject like, that we would like to speak about in Dub Inc. I think what we take in the Reggae message is more the social part, we have never made a song about ganja, for example, even if for example, personally I don’t smoke, but I love the ganja tunes, for me it’s very fun and I love to hear that. But it’s not a message we want to give to the people. I think in France the young people are really into getting a message, so of course we don’t teach anything to our audience. Our audience is already conscious people, who already know and approve all the message we give, but we wanna keep the people in that consciousness, that’s something very important for us. We have the chance to have mic to speak to so many people, let’s talk about something more intelligent. We have in every album one or two songs like more entertaining, dance track, just to have fun, but… and more generally the shows are just talking about serious things and having fun and party at the same time then you can mix a strong message and a positive attitude of having fun, and you know…
You are making lots of featuring, like for example with Omar Perry, Jah Mason, Tarrus Riley etc. What are your past and current Reggae favorites, who influenced your music?
Oh yeah so much…. Hmm, it would be hard to name people, but you know in Jamaican music, I think most of them. Because it goes from Bob Marley threw Morgan Heritage, to Sean Paul too. I mean, all of them have something to… for example Alpha Blondy, we took so much things of Alpha Blondy’s life in… his life in Bercy, Paris, all of this. But he, Morgan Heritage, and all of them, they are so much influencing us, for example for… especially for live arrangement and stuff like this we are really inspired by them yeah. And but it doesn’t stop to them, and for example Hip Hop scene, like from Public Enemy to Jay Z, we have so many things to get from them, all this creativity. But I would say that in Jamaica it’s a crazy island of pure creativity. There is so many artist, so many movement going from them. I mean if you watch the sound systems, how they dance, how they entertain, they are the king for that. Even if it’s a small poor island they spread so many things in the world, and yeah. But it’s just about the message I think. For example we love Dancehall, we love having fun during sound system, but we just don’t like the bad part of the message, like against gay or gun things or stuff like this, you know. We are never pretend to be bad boys or stuff like this we are not, we are I think nice persons so… (laughing) we don’t try to behave or look like bad boys you know. That’s something sometimes, when you see the european Reggae movement, when somebody try to behave like a bad boy or big Rastafarian its not so much what we like in Reggae. But anyway, no judgment anyway!
What are the first things you will do after your tour in free time?
Sleep! (laughing loud) We gonna sleep… No because this tour in Eastern Europe has been so much party everyday, that’s crazy, and we’ve been welcome everywhere so… no we gonna sleep and… But we just have ten days off, in fact, the tour is not finished, it is just the Eastern Europe tour is finished, we have ten days off to take care of the families and now we go back on the road in France and Spain and more generally Europe, until the end of summer, then september we should go to Brazil for three weeks of tour and then go back in Europe until december, then we have a break for two month, and not on the road. Now we gonna work in the studio because we have many projects, not about album, but different studio projects. And then we go back on the road, I think it’s gonna stop at the end of 2015. We have along way still (laughing).
What are your future goals for the band?
Well the main goal would be to stay like this, to be able to tour so much, having fun and recording music. I think today I would say that we could continue like this for ten or twenty years. If you ask to each member of Dub Inc, nobody is bored, everybody is still inspired, everybody is still love touring like this and having fun. We just, the goal is just, to go everywhere in the world now, really I mean not as big stars, we just, our story is like now, the tour of the world. I mean we’ve been in Moscow we’ve been in places… If I remind, 15 years ago, to go to Lyon, which is a city 50km from us, was an event, I was thinking about that this morning. I was thinking hey, we were scared because people said that the audience of Lyon is more hard than in St. Etienne. But I realized now that all this places in the world we’ve had played and all the places we are expecting to go, like making a real big tour in USA for example… We want also to make a kind of caravan, you know, to go from France to West Africa and playing everywhere you know, we have many projects, I don’t now if we’ll run every project, because time goes fast and… But it’s gonna, most of them generally, we run it.
Thanks a lot for the interview and enjoy your show afterwards for the first time in front of Austrian audience!
Thanks you too, respect!
Interview by Irieunity