Petr & Lucas
Juakali & Jana
photos courtesy of gunjah.cz
Discography BABYLON STATION:
original recordings (gunjah, 2002)
live at studio1 (gunjah, 2005)
food fi di youth / Poust
(Single, gunjah, 2004)
I wasnīt Born to Suffer
Run Babylon / Freedom Dub (gunjah, 2005)
diverse contributions on 'dubflash' and 'gunjah' record samplers
of the band with info, music examples, a video, and possibility to
order their records:
The singles can be
ordered also on:
Emsa, guest singer, bringing
is babylon station, a station for reggae, dub and dancehall beating
as one. We have a 5 minute stop"
interview with SYNCRO of
STATION is musically a definitely different band - a clash of a wonderful
six-headed reggae team with religious riddim spirits into driven dancehall fun
and a caleidoscope world of fabulous dubs. They are living offside from
bigger reggae, dub and dancehall communities in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) in
the Czech republic.
For my opinion, no other act in the world keeps so close to a triangle mid
of traditional reggae, modern dancehall and timeless dub.
SYNCRO, tell us about the circumstances who led to found your band.
Bernhard, peace be with you and with the readers of Dub-O-Rama site. BABYLON
STATION band is an evolution of my one man project called SYNCROSPACE. I have started with acid and trance back in the year 1993. As
I've got deeper into the electronic music I have realised that Iím
really interested in bass heavy music and melodic basslines. Then I have
discovered the dub music and immediately started to listen to the tracks
coming from the UK scene. It was the great time of steppers and electronic
dub which was something completely new for me. I have moved from dance
electronic to dub influenced ambient music and started a new project
called RASTASKINS in 1998. Once I asked my friend to come to play a guitar
solo to one of the new tracks and we both enjoyed the vibe of the session.
He told me about a girl playing bass who should come to a rehearsal. We
have jammed a bit and it was really uplifting. That was the birth of the RASTASKINS band.
JANA, the bassplayer, invited her friend, female singer
with very smooth voice, who added some vocals to our music. We changed our
name to BABYLON STATION and started to play something between ambient and
dub. It was year 2000. Then more members joined in, one of them was MARTIN, our sound engineer.
And when did the band start really?
As we went into direction to more dubwise and reggae sounding riddims,
some original members didnít want to follow it and we had come to split.
It looked like the end of the band, but me, JANA and MARTIN realised that
we want to continue the thing and we had found a common opinion in what to
do. We didn't want to impress masses, didnít want to see ourselves in
the mags, etc. We just wanted to do our music to satisfy our inner
motivation. Therefore we started to look for some similar oriented
musicians and brought BABYLON STATION into the next stage. It was 2003 and
we still continue in present days. Today we are a bunch of friends who are
just having a good time together, keeping a good vibe and doing our music
with conscious purpose.
tell us on your site, you have a "straight message deeply inspired by
Rastafari and Orthodox Christian Church!" I canīt really believe this,
because I feel so much happyness and tolerance spreading all over in your
Religion, well, but the main theme?
all about the idea of 'One Love'. Iím not an orthodox rasta because I'm
not a black sufferer in the Jamaican ghetto. Iím not in need to
repatriate to Africa, because I'm at home where I am. But I really like
the idea of pure consciousness, unity, equality of people, etc. I think
about the Rasta ideas as the metaphors, symbols. As for Orthodox church,
I'm half Russian and half Czech, therefore I have my sympathies for the
Orthodox christianitz. Iím not an active member and there are a lot of
things I personally don't like about the organised church itself, but I
like the message of humanity in the christianity. It's hard to sum it up
in a few words, but all in all itís a strong inspiration for me and my
friends. We try to fight "Babylon" with our music, with our behaviour,
with our way of life. Solidarity is just a consequence of this idea that
we all are one people and we all deserve to be treated like a miracle of
Creation, like children of the 'Most High'. It doesnít matter if you call
him Jah, Allah or any other name. What does matter is if you believe that
there is something what's beyond our world, something what is the last
instance, the essence of all things and all the flowers, animals and
people. If you believe in this, you simply have to act conscious.
are a six-headed band, working with international guest singers. Whatīs
about the unity and the differences in the band?
fact it's simple, we all are good friends. The core of the band is JANA,
MARTIN and me. Then there are JIRI, LUKAS and SWAGR helping us to perform
live with their instruments. They are not so much involved in the
production phase, but they are a great help in playing the ideas live.
Yes, we have guests, mainly on vocals, although we are very happy when
anyone who feels it plays with us. As for the vocals, we have had a great
time when EMSA toured with us and spiced our music with some hiphop
flavour, we liked the vibe of JUAKALI on the microphone and we were very
pleased to cooperate with other international singers on our records.
It's always very interesting for us to join our vibes with someone else,
because different people from different cultures have so much common that
itís really unbelievable. And the music itself is the uniting language.
am very impressed of JANAs bassplay. She keeps the mid of the band, the
I'm really happy that I can work together with her. She's not just a bassplayer, she is one of the key persons in
BABYLON STATION. When we started to do some things together, she was a young girl
just learning how to play. But she very quickly realised what kind of
freedom a bassist can find in dub. It's maybe the only style of music
where the bass is the main instrument.
you are called as 'commandante'! What's to tell about it?
just an old internal joke. As I am the head of the band and sometimes I
had to make a not so popular decision, our former keyboard player JENIK
brought this nickname and I've quite adopted it.
have a friendship with the more well known Czech band HYPNOTIX.
were the first Czech dub band who had some impact to the dub scene across
the border. I have always respected them and their music. Even when they
have moved to ethno trance, they are still a very interesting band. When
we wanted to record our first songs, we didnít have a suitable studio
then. Therefore we asked them to record it in their studio and it became a
great time spent together. I personally like them all and especially their
former guitarplayer PETR, who sometimes plays with us now.
guest singers. How about to integrate them into your band?
not really easy, because we are located in the small town in Czech
Republic, you know. When you want to feel someone like a band member, you
have to spend a lot of time with him in everyday life and it's simply
not possible with peoples from other countries. But we have started a
close cooperation with JUAKALI, a reggae singer from Trinidad & Tobago
living in the USA. He visited us this year for two weeks. We did some
rehearsals, recordings and played a concert which was so nice for all of
us that we decided to plan a small tour together in June and July 2006.
What is the thought and the background about
releasing two singles at one time now?"
Syncro: We spent a lot of time with MARTIN
and JANA discussing how this production should be. We do admire the way
how the Jamaican producers operate, they make a lot of good production
with very limited resources. Riddim productions are essential part of this
strategy. You have one instrumental, but different vocalists add different
flavours to it. Each song is unique, although they have the common base.
Selector can mix it together like one song, like a combination thing and
make a lot of nice effects juggling with two or more plates on one riddim.
I personally like this style. Both A sides of our singles are unique and
they are very different in approach. LUTAN FYAH did a great job, I'm a
big fan of him and I was really happy to make this thing. His song is
really rough and it creates that certain type of pressure I love. JUAKALI
is more calm, although his lyrics are very sharp. He has something in the
voice what makes me listen closely to each and every word he says.
Together itīs like two sides of the coin, both very important for us.
singles, very well. When can we expect a longplayer of you?
like we had prepared the LP some one year ago, but as it took some time to
complete it, we have decided not to release it as we weren't sure about
the songs anymore. Probably it's not the right time to do it now and we
have to wait till we collect enough material which cope with our
expectations. I personally think that the reggae culture is a singles
thing. When I select in a soundsystem, I play just singles, no albums. I
buy longplayers from jazz bands, ethno or some experimental things, but I
do have very little lps with reggae. I prefer to listen to mixtapes or
even riddim LPs, but there are very few longplayers I listen continually
from the beginning to the end in dub and reggae.
you for your interest in our band. I wish you and your readers many nice
moments when enjoying the dub and reggae music. Blessings, Syncro.
The interview was led by Bernhard Groha