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Asian Dub Foundation: 'We just write what we feel regardless of potential impact'

Interview with Asian Dub Foundation.
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Just before their show at Athens Burger Fest on Friday 13/09, Asian Dub Foundation had a chat with MixGrill for various subjects including politics, their "La Haine" Live Soundtrack and of course, Greek culture.

MixGrill: The band has changed form through the years. What is the essence of Asian Dub Foundation? Which is the element that keeps every member, older and newer, together?

Asian Dub Foundation: Hard to say, I suppose it’s because we have a very distinct sound that can withstand - and to some extent absorb - changing trends and changing people. Though people have been saying (particularly in the UK) that the band is needed more than ever given the times we find ourselves in.

MG: How can you describe Asian Dub Foundation's music in 2019?

ADF: It’s the music of Asian Dub Foundation, some have said we’re a genre unto ourselves and I think that may be true!

MG: What can we expect from the new album you're working on?

ADF: Wait for the Athens show!


MG: You recently presented "Youthquake pt 1" featuring Greta Thunberg’s U.N. speech on climate change. You clearly still believe that music can raise awareness. Do you consider yourselves romantic and utopists?

ADF: Not at all. We’re very practical about these things. I thought that the words we used from Greta were actually quite hard and provocative, not romantic in any way.

MG: Politics are not a taboo in music anymore - not like it used to be. In the age of over-information, do you think that this could have positive impact on people, or rather the opposite result?

ADF: I can’t judge that. We just write what we feel regardless of potential impact.

MG: We will resist to the temptation to ask you about Brexit. Instead, is there a song that you would dedicate to UK's prime ministers that have had to handle the EU referendum results?

ADF: We have a new song called “Stealing the Future”. The clue’s in the title…

MG: What is the difference between a live soundtrack performance and a traditional ADF stage performance? Do you have a preference?

ADF: They are almost the complete opposite experience ! With the full band you get communion with the crowd, whereas with the live scores the film is the centre of attention and the band is peripheral visually…But with the film you sometimes get the feeling that you are inside it, which is incredible. So it’s very hard to choose one medium over another.


MG: Last year you revisited "La Haine" Live Soundtrack and last March celebrated the 21st anniversary of "RAFI’s Revenge". How did it feel? Any old memories coming alive or new experiences?

ADF: Well we had a break from ”La Haine” between 2006 and 2012 but we’ve been doing it ever since so it hasn’t really been revisited as such. What was interesting for me with the rerelease was how a lot of reviewers said the subject matters seemed more relevant now than in 1998, and that the 90’s feel like more benign times these days! Also a lot of more Indie –guitar orientated listeners who weren’t aware of the Jungle MC tradition found Deeder’s vocals too fast to comprehend. But after a decade and a half of Grime his vocals sound bang up to date, which is amazing.

MG: Is there an occurrence that has intrigued you enough along the years but for which you haven't written a song yet?

ADF: Great question! You’ve reminded me of a song I started a couple of years back , about the depressing persistence of small minded, arrogant British Nationalism which I naively thought would have diminished by now. It’s called “Hermit Kingdom”, a term usually reserved for North Korea but becoming appropriate for the UK.

MG: You have a connection with the Greek audience. It's not only the party-vibe of your life performances, but also the ideas behind the music. Do you feel that on stage?

ADF: Of course, but also we have been very interested in Greek music like Rembetiko. I myself bought a Tsoora and used it on a few tracks on our third album “Community Music”.

" Asian Dub Foundation will open Athens Burger Fest on Friday 13/09 at Gazi

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