The Dubbeez Interview - Peace, Love & Dub
02/19/2018 by Gardy Stein
Winners of the World Reggae Contest 2016 – that's quite a big title to live up to. The Dubbeez do, in their unique, charming and likeable way. Teeming with drive and inspiration, the Dutch band is a joy to see live on stage, but they also used time and prize well to record an impressive debut album in Jamaica: Peace, Love and Dub! How this came to be the title of the release, what experiences the band made on the island and what is on their schedule next are questions that Reggaeville asked lead singers Quincy and Joanne:
Greetings! You say I catch you at rehearsals… what do you rehearse for?
Joanne: Yes, we have a little tour coming up. Tomorrow is the kick-off at Paradiso Amsterdam, that will be the first gig to present our new album Peace, Love and Dub!
Last time we spoke was in Ostroda in 2016, when you had just won the World Reggae Contest. What has happened since then?
Quincy: Back home, we started to check which songs we wanted to record and contacted the producers. The initial plan was to record a few songs, but we asked them if it was possible to record a full album - and they said yes! We started a crowd-funding because we needed some extra money to do that, and thanks to our fans that worked out. And then we went to Jamaica!
Joanne: We went there and we had a lot of fun. From the second day we arrived, we started working in the Anchor Studio and then Tuff Gong and Mixing Lab. When we came back, we had some gigs preparing for the big thing, you know, we shot some videos, edited a documentary and so on. Now we are ready for the album tour, the album is released!
Was it the first time in Jamaica for you?
Joanne: Not for all of us.
Quincy: Three of us already went in 2014, Olivia, Milan and me. We tried to record an EP back then, but it didn't really work out.
Joanne: They needed me! (both laugh) For me and the rest it was the first time.
Quincy: To compare, the second time was best!
In the video documentary you mentioned that you, Quincy, couldn't go with the others to Jamaica straight – what happened?
Quincy: I had to fill in an ESTA form but it didn't go through, so I had to go from London the next day. And four of us got delayed in Atlanta…
Joanne: Yes, we stayed in Atlanta for a day and then had to go to MoBay and from there to Kingston. And there, everything was set up for us and it was really cool. So the trip was a little bit of a headache, but everything else went just fine!
It looks like you had a lot of fun. Did you make connections with other artists?
Joanne: Well, we had a house-party with the girls from Adahzeh, that was great. And we also went to some other parties where artists like Protoje hang out and we connected with them, so… that was really cool.
Which places did you visit in Kingston?
Quincy: I went to the place where they have this amazing ice-cream… I forgot the name, but it was very good!
Joanne: We went to a Red Bones party, we also went to some TV shows where we were invited as guests. We had a radio interview, too. And the news people came over to the studio to interview us, so we were in the newspaper… that was exciting as well!
Well, it seems you stirred up some attention! Do you think it was a surprise for the Jamaicans to have a Dutch band over?
Quincy: Well, we are from Holland, so it's not something that they see every day.
Joanne: I think they didn't expect that we know so much about Reggae! (laughs)
Well, you obviously do! Which brings us to your album… you said you thought about the songs before, so did you come to the studio with a ready package or did you develop songs on the spot as well?
Quincy: A few songs were jammed while recording - I think Rude Boy is one of them. The solo at the end wasn't really what we were supposed to do, but it came out nice so we kept it in.
Joanne: Most of the songs we had already played live a lot of times, so it was easy for us to take those songs and put them on the album, but we also took a few new songs that we didn't play as much.
How many songs did you record in total?
Quincy: Twelve, but only ten made it.
Joanne: We weren't really satisfied with the sound and one of them we thought is maybe good for a next album.
Is it the song at the end of episode four of your video diary, that sounds like a Dancehall track?
Quincy: Yes, that's the one that will go on the next album!
Joanne: It's a nice track, but it's so different from the other songs… and since we tried to make a story with the album, that one didn't match the story line so we left it out.
What's the story of the album?
Quincy: We start off young. Don't Walk Too Fast, you have wishes and dreams, things you wanna reach and see…
Joanne: Yes, and then you fall and make some stupid decisions like having a Hangover. (laughs)
Quincy: Then, as you grow up, you reflect a lot and you have to let go of some things like in Obsession… Joanne: And finally, after you went through all those things, you live your own life. And then you are sending out Peace, Love and Dub!
Wow, I now get a much better understanding of the album! Did all of the songs work smoothly or did you find some of them difficult to record?
Joanne: Some songs did change during the recording, like Don't Walk Too Fast, we changed the drums.
Quincy: And we added another bass-line from Robbie Shakespeare. He came to the studio one day and asked Olivia if he could add his bass-line to the song, so now there are two on it. One is from Olivia's father, Patrick Ramdat, we dedicated the album to him, and the other one is Robbie Shakespeare!
Joanne: And also we bring new vibes to it… Hangover was already out on video, but now it has some new lounge kind of vibes with backing vocals and so on.
Another song out on video is Obsession. Do you plan to do videos for any of the other tracks?
Joanne: We are not sure yet. Maybe we'll just take the time to listen to the album and see where it goes, how the reactions are.
Quincy: We have to brainstorm about it. I think it would be nice to do a completely new song for a video.
I personally think that I Love Me would be a great candidate. It's very special – what's the story behind it?
Quincy: For me, it's a bit personal…
Joanne: Can I start? Ok. I started the song it is about a girl who's not really ready to be herself yet. She just feels like she always has to please others, so this song is for her to really get to love herself, because I've been through that. I thought it would be nice to put it in a song. And then Qincy added his personal touch to it, which is…
Quincy: It's about not really being accepted by people who appear like me, or… yeah. That was a struggle when I was young. So, it's about skin colour, but it's not really the typical thing you hear always. It was more like my cultural background that didn't accept me.
I love the message in it. And I think it goes well with the album title Peace, Love and Dub as well. Was it to be called like that from the start or did you decide on it later?
Joanne: Peace, Love and Dub is our motto, we started off selling T-Shirts with the words on them…
Quincy: It's like the group's anthem!
Joanne: Yeah, so it was only right to call the album like that. AND we had a song by that name, so it only made more sense.
You spent a lot of time in the studio, but there was a day off as well, right? What did you do?
Quincy: Sam actually brought us to some places, to the Blue Lagoon and the Blue Mountains…
Joanne: We had a coffee over there! It was awesome. We were about to go to some Falls but it was already closed when we arrived, so we went to the beach instead. Also, my boyfriend's aunt lives over there, so we met up and she and her family took us to a beach as well. We had some fresh fish and all, that was wonderful.
Apart from Robbie's visit to Olivia, which were your special moments? What was the greatest thing for you?
Quincy: To me, one of the special moments was when we made some demos of our recordings so we could listen back at the house, and when we did I thought "Wow, we are really busy!" So that for me was great… and the studio, such big professional studios!
Joanne: For me, it was us bonding together as a band, really being with each other 24/7, because normally everyone has school and work and we just see for a few hours on the weekends. That was cool.
Now you are getting to tour. What's the difference between recording in the studio and performing live? Can you say something about the vibe and what you prefer?
Quincy: Well, I like both actually. I'm more known with live performance, cause that's how we started. We played in a studio before, but more like things to practice on and recording demos. So it wasn't really… not like it was now. The recording experience for me was great. We did it a few times and we dropped an EP in 2016… I love to record, I wish we could do that more!
Joanne: To be honest, I don't like recording at all! I'm a live singer, so I like live, harmonies live and everything. But I do think it's a different experience in the studio, I appreciate it if I can hear back the tune, because on stage sometimes you feel the moment but you can't re-live that moment. And in the studio, you can hear it again and again so that's a good thing.
Quincy: Both are special in their own way. Live is special because you get direct feedback and you can feel the music in your body. Recording now… you can try and bring that feeling on the record!
I imagine you are looking forward to the tour. Where does it bring you?
Quincy: We have four shows in the Netherlands now, and in the summer we have some more gigs. Just check us out on social media, we'll keep you posted! Looking into the future, do you feel that Jamaica inspired you for new songs?
Joanne: Yes, we are always writing, but we also have to take the time to develop the songs.
Quincy: It's nice because now we have the album, but we are already busy writing new songs.