a brighter future (10")
2006, Universal Egg/Cargo
bass matters (lp)
2007, Universal Egg/Cargo
'As a matter of bass'
- interview with Vedran und Vrki of Radikal Dub Kolektiv
RADIKAL DUB KOLEKTIV are the
newcomers of the hour on the well-known ZION TRAIN-label 'Universal
'Bass matters' appears in January 2007 and shows a self-
esteemed band conquering and mixing the styles on their own way.
Members of the band are very active in the croatian music scene.
They don't mind on style barriers - they promote and play in projects of
reggae and dub, hardcore and trance music.
They are involved, for instance, in organizing the seasplash festival in
Pula on the croatian coast - the only European festival lasting several
days just in the name of dub music.
Hello Vedran, hello Vrki,
before founding RDK you were active in the croatian HC/punk-scene. What
happened that you decide to start through into a very new musical
Vedran: To be honest, it doesn't have much difference for
me, except for the music style which is different, and it can't be
explained as the wish to experience some other rhythms after playing the
same for a dozen years. But, the attitude towards music, band and the life
in general didn't change much, we still do most of the things by ourselves.
Vrki: I believe that this scene (d.i.y./A/hc/punk) has much
better and more honest roots. I prefere the idea that everyone is equal
and that the money is not the primar thing which runs things. In the
reggae world some things are not always like that and there is much more
ego shit. Especially you can see some artists who ask for so much (money)
as they were gods and more
worth than rest. Our music is still played in many cases to hc/punk
people/friends and its very cool cos of this way we destroy some clichés
like this in this scene. The people who are 'free' in their heads
don't bother them so much with names and forms, they are open to
experience whatever makes them move and inspire.
Dub-O-Rama: You named yourself RADIKAL DUB
KOLEKTIV, not Radical Dub Collective, so it's an international name with
a croatian writing. Is it a fact that you in your beginnings don't have expected
to become an international act, or is it a wink for your 'croatian
Vedran: The name of the band came spontaneously during one of
our rehearsals after we already existed for some time. We wanted to become
an international act in the very beginning, as we had experiences from
former bands, and we knew that we can't survive if we will be forced to
play only at home. But in one way you got the
point, we somehow wanted for the name to be both original and
Vrki: The name itself I think is easy to understand
internationally, the c to k is somehow not the big issue. Maybe quite an
opposite effect, cos of this state and cos of the way politics have been
treatened us. Maybe that's the radical part of name, cos we see that
something is wrong with this society and has to be corrected, this society
should go through radical changes. Of course: Start with yourself!
Dub-0-Rama: In your beginnings you were
three members, but growing to an eight-head collective. Today you are five
people. Are all three founders just members today?
Vedran: Yes. Jadranko (guitar), Vrki (bass) and me (drums).
Beside us there are still Vanja (keys/melodica/voice) and Damir (sound).
Dub-O-Rama: After your shake-ups from an
eight-headed collective to now (maternity, personal issues, differing
attitudes and the death of one member): Do you think and act into one
direction or do you get your power from inner and outer tenses?
Vedran: We don't have any strict plans, we get our
power and weakness from all what's happening in and around our lives,
and in or out of the band.
Dub-O-Rama: Tell us about the circumstances
of your meeting with the Universal Egg-Label / DJ PERCH and how it leads
to the label contract.
Vedran: We knew each others four years before the recording
happened. In one way, we pretty much liked what ZION TRAIN were and are
still doing, and on the other side NEIL PERCH follows
how the band was developing on different shows and festivals during the
It all started with the 1st
ZION TRAIN SOUND SYSTEM visit to Zagreb in 2002. We supported them with
our first show ever. Four years later, after one of our shows on the first
europe tour in Germany, supporting I-SHEN ROCKERS in their hometown
Augsburg, PERCH was there dj-ing and told us that we progressed a lot and
that we should visit his studio in Cologne to record some material as a
potential Universal Egg release.
Vrki: We are really grown with ZION TRAIN in our ears, so
after as we started doing our music it was kind of logical that
probably NEIL would hear some stuff inside that he could rely to. The
absolute best thing that could happen for us!
Dub-O-Rama: What's to tell about making a
dub-release in Cologne, Germany? The pre-thinking about 'bass matters'
and it's result?
Vedran: I guess we were pretty prepared as we played the
recorded songs for most than a year in different versions, on many stages,
developing them if we felt the need. More or less we knew what to expect
when talking about the recording procedure, but we couldn't imagine the
final result which somehow turned a little bit different from our
expectations. Our sound lately is digital soundsystem steppers upbeat dub
style played with live band instruments, with a lot of sounds and grooves
that can be easily connected with digital production, so we were expecting
for the last mix of the album to be more closely to that sound. But, as a
live band it is not a common thing on such a scene. PERCH decided to lead
more acoustic sound, bigger parts for live instruments, overdubbing some
of our midi keyboard parts with the brass section and violin. 'Bass
matters' was recorded in four days, mixed a few times in one year. I
think we are all happy with the results: We get many great reactions from
all around the world.
Vrki: It was kind of hard to hear it the first time, cos of
knowing our tunes with either different effects, different parts in
different times, but I got used to it and the thing that NEIL and us did a
good job here. I think also that if we would do the mix by ourselfs they
would go more to digital sound rather than a band sound, as we listen
and play out a lot of digital dubz inside of our crew.
contrasts of the two PERCH-mixes to the two RDK-Soundsystem mixes on the
10inch ep 'a brighter future' demonstrate this tense really.
You made a small tour in Germany. What's to tell about your experiences?
Vedran: More than good. Some cities in eastern Germany we´ve
played for the second time and we had great reactions with more people at
the shows already. We still know many places to play in Germany, we´ve played
to this time only in ten cities so far and we'll see what will happen in
Vrki: Some places we made strong connections to organising
people, so it went to a love thing sometimes and we love it cos of this. Leipzig,
Jena, Eisenberg, Bielefeld, Rostock are places we want to come back
because of the audience! If anyone of those people should read this interview they know that they get our full
love and respect!
Dub-O-Rama: The opener of 'bass
matters', 'U.N.I.T.Y.', features OMAR PERRY who spreads out the
d.i.y. principles of the RDK-ideology?
Vedran: To be honest, I don’t understand everything he sings
in this song. Originally it was recorded as instrumental named 'pirate
trap'. After the first mixes, PERCH and OMAR in the studio, he asked him
to sing some lyrics on our music. It turned out to be very good, so at the
end the song was named 'U.N.I.T.Y.' because of the lyrics that Omar
sings on it, and it is the only full vocal song on the album.
Vrki: We are happy how this turn came out in the end.
Dub-O-Rama: In contrast to PERRY german guest
singer LUA gave 'a brighter future' such a pretty face. I think she
was the perfect choice for this song.
Vedran: You must ask PERCH about that. It was also his idea
and some kind of surprise for us.
Vrki: It comes out excellent as the lyrics have strong
lines, and her voice is warm and easy to get in the head.
Dub-O-Rama: 'Bosnia by bus' as a very
great instrumental track of your album seem to go back on own experiences.
I wrote in my review about an anxious insecureness by driving through your
Vedran: Yeah, that song was the last named on the album.
Originally it was called 'chello', what was stupid to leave after
PERCH overdubbed live violin on the album that sounded different. The
decision for that name of the song came after our concert in
Trieste/Italy, when one of our friends, who was working in Bosnia as a
volunteer in a peace-camp during the war, came and said that nothing goes
well at the moment in her life, explaining furtherly that situation as
similar to driving through 'Bosnia by bus' (who doesn't know, the
roads there are really bad), and that was how our song was named at the
Vrki: We have strong connections with Bosnia, as JADRANKO
and VANJA were born and lived in Bosnia, but cos of war they had to go
from there. Also half of my family is Bosnian, the country is a really
beautiful piece of mother earth!
Dub-O-Rama: You seem to be 'workaholics'
in the Zagreb music scene. You are playing, too, in other bands of your
town, you make as RADIKAL DUB SOUND SYSTEM big waves in your city, you
organize and work in your area for reggae, dub and trance-festivals.
Vedran: All of us are involved in many different things,
connected with the music scene, or working, or studying, etc. For me,
besides the band (with a lot of work involved besides the playing itself;
booking, promotion, correspondence, releases, merchandise, distribution,
etc.), there are a lot of other activities, organized shows, parties and
festivals. Seasplash festival is probably the biggest project, this year
we have the 5th jubilee (Pula, Croatia, 19.-21.07., check >www.seasplash.net<).
I also work with Kingston shop, label and distribution, visit us if you
are ever in Zagreb, and check >www.kingston.hr<. I help with booking
shows for one of the best Croatian (and internationally known) punkrock
acts OVERFLOW (check >www.overflow-tv.com<). The most of us from the
band are also DJ-ing, occasionally playing with other people and many more
things. For example, at the moment I am booking many artists for different
events in Croatia and the surrounding area for the summer festival season,
and it seems that we'll also be on the road the most of the summer.
Vrki: Yes, we try to escape senseless. If you don't do
things, no-one will do them for you. If you choose to spend your life as a
consumer you won´t get very far around. We believe that it's a big thing to make something new at a place were it never happen, than to do
the same things over and over. This is why we do most of things, to show
that theres more to all…
Dub-O-Rama: Do you like your new and more
western town Zagreb?
Vedran: Not very much of course, but anyway it’s the city
where you cannot enjoy life in full.
Vrki: I just like the ghetto of Zagreb, I don't like
everydays drivebys, but you get used to it after the first ten bullets
that you survive... yeah...
Dub-O-Rama: Is the drummer the biggest dub
fan of the band?
Vedran: That's me and the answer is no. I like dub, but not
only dub, and I think the soundsystem crew is much more into it at the
Vrki: If you listen
to only one kind of music I believe its a ghetto for your mind. You have
to listen to all kinds of different riddims, of melodies all
sides of world. That's when you will realize that you have to
listen dub more! Combine everything but let the dub run first place!
The interview was led by