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By Dori Kornspan
Boston-based group Mang Dub is Dub Reggae at it's best. Dub music borrows from
the styles of the 70's Jamaican underground. Mang Dub captures this sound with
ease. Mang Dub's all-original instrumental dub breaks things down to the fundamentals.
Many reviews have compared their style to be reminiscent of Jamaican artists
such as: Lee 'scratch' Perry, King Tubby, Yabby You and Ras Michael. Dub music
has never been more popular than it is today as people worldwide begin to rediscover
it. Boston is no exception, as Mang Dub makes their mark on the Boston music
scene and reintroduces reggae lovers to dub. After all that some of you may
still be wondering, what exactly is dub reggae?
I sat down at the Western Front with Jason Lytle (JMARR) and Steve D, members
of Mang Dub as they were loading in for a Thursday night show to find out more
DK: How did you get your name "Mang Dub"?
JMARR: We got the name from the "Jungle Books" by Roger Kipling. There
is a character in them that is a bat and his name is Mang. He is sort of like
the good guy bad guy character. That's where it comes from and a lot of our
art work has bats on it.
DK: Explain to someone who doesn't know much about this music the dub part of
It's a lot of effects based engineering techniques pioneered by Jamaicans in
the 70's. It's really meditation, experimentation, and music. They are all combined
and we use a lot of delay effects with a lot of bass. It's basically all kinds
of craziness going on with the sound.
DK: Is there a lot of dub being heard in the Boston reggae scene?
JMARR: Actually electronic music, ambient music, and house music all borrow
styles from the dub. It is so ingrained in popular music nowadays that to say
that other bands are not really embracing the dub stuff in the Boston area.
If you really look at the origin of dub and how the music came out, it is really
deeply ingrained in all of what's going on in a lot of different styles of music.
We play a Jamaican traditional style dub, but you can hear the same kinds of
things happening with a lot of different bands.
DK: Is it important to you guys to stay true to traditional reggae also?
JMARR: We like to listen to roots music and check out that kind of stuff, so
that's what we like to play too.
Steve D.: There is also a time period we try to stay within. If you look at
Jamaican history or music history its sort of like the golden age stuff that
we like to stay in. It's like 70's and early 80's a little bit.
DK: How did you guys personally get started in dub because it's not the kind
of music that everyone from Somerville would have knowledge about?
JMARR: A lot of the dub plates that they used originally they got singers in
Jamaica to sing over. It really evolved into mainstream reggae, so if you listen
to a lot of reggae you'll see that the same rhythm plates are used over and
over again. You end up loving the rhythm, but maybe you don't like what someone
sings over it, but you love the plate. Then you look for the dub version of
it and it kind of takes off from there. That's how it happened for me.
Steve D. : Yeah, it is part of being a fan of the music and listening to a lot
of different flavors or reggae, but we've also been playing reggae for fifteen
years now. We've been in the business so long and seen so many reggae acts.
I have always gravitated more to the dub stuff because it can mean so many things.
It is not stamped with a meaning with some words on top of it. It's got more
of a primal aspect to it and that's dub.