Photo: Dragana Rankovic

A widely respected figure in the international bass music scene, Radikal Guru melds the roots of the past with the branches of the future as few other artists can. His releases, primarily on Moonshine Recordings, have consistently impressed by crafting progressive dubwise sound system vibes to inspire dancehall and meditation sessions alike.

In this exclusive Q&A for NiceUp, The Groove Thief learns more about Radikal Guru’s approach to his upcoming Australasian tour, influential artists (like Zion Train), and his recent vinyl releases.

TGT: For those less familiar with your work, what can bass lovers in New Zealand and Australia expect on this tour?

RG: I’m really looking forward to coming back to Australia and New Zealand for the second time now. I’ll be visiting some new spots on this tour so I’m glad I can deliver my sounds to a new audience on the other side of the world.

Bass music lovers can expect a lot of dubwise goodness in all forms and shapes. From classic Jamaican vibes through to 4/4 steppers and the darker side of things. I will present mostly my original productions in the session, but also some remixes and upcoming releases from fellow producers associated with my home label Moonshine Recordings.

TGT: Having recently released an official 30 Years Of Zion Train Mixtape, how has the group’s (or Neil Perch’s) aesthetic influenced your own? Any other unsung influences that have impacted you over the years while producing?

RG: Zion Train has been a great influence for me. It was a pleasure having the opportunity to work on the mix. Zion Train was one of the first modern electronic dub groups that I came across – as well as Alpha & Omega and Vibronics – who has represented UK steppers style across the world, introduced a new type of dub to the new generation, and started the whole new revival of this style of music that spread across Europe. Later on, I was also inspired by the dubstep movement at its early stages with the works of Skream, Mala, Rusko, etc.

I decided to fuse both styles and incorporate that in my own productions. At the same time, I was also following a lot of trip-hop and jungle, which actually inspired me to start DJing.

TGT: What does the vinyl re-release of The Rootstepa earlier this year mean to you? How did you revisit it creatively while planning the artwork and other release details?

RG: The Rootstepa was my first full album that was released only on CD and digital formats in 2011. It was my first official collaboration with Moonshine Recordings.

Later on, the other 2 LPs (Subconscious and Dub Mentalist) were released on vinyl, so after those years, Mack from Moonshine Recordings and I decided that this album also deserves a full release on wax. Especially since a lot of fans kept asking us about it over the years. We sent the tunes to be re-mastered again specifically for vinyl print, and we’re really happy about how it sounds now. It’s a different experience altogether. We kept all the graphic details and artwork true to the original CD release.

TGT: Having sadly missed the release of the Revolution Dub 10” myself, I’m curious about your thoughts on such limited edition vinyl-only releases? What should the role of exclusivity be within the digital era?

RG: I’m strongly holding on to the sound system tradition in my works and take inspiration from that culture. Generally within the reggae and dub music culture, having an exclusive dubplate or raw version of a tune was always a big thing. Exclusivity always played an important part and these days you rarely see it happening anywhere else, except the genres of music that take direct inspiration from that culture.

For me, releasing a limited tune is also a form of gift to the record collectors and sound systems. I like to put out some exclusive releases once in a while to only a limited audience. I love it when every time you go to a dance you hear loads of unreleased tunes and special remixes that only a few people have.

Check Radikal Guru in New Zealand:
Friday 26 October @ Laundry, Wellington
Friday 2 November @ Neck of the Woods, Auckland

More info:
Radikal Guru Facebook
Radikal Guru Bandcamp
Moonshine Recordings website

(Photo: Dragana Rankovic)

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