Exclusive interview with Neil Perch from Zion Train
UKRG exclusive interview with Neil Perch from Zion Train @ Endorse-it festival 2009
Zion Train are Dub/Dance pioneers and have been undisputed leaders in the genre for more than 15 years. The band are heavily involved in alternative and DIY underground culture and have been since the 90s as well as being purveyors of the finest Roots Reggae music throughout this period. They are one of the finest live dub acts in the world and promoted the practice of dynamic onstage dub mixing which they perform alongside acoustic instruments and the best live vocalists.
The last Zion Train album 'Live as One' won 'Best Dub Album' in the 2008 Reggae Academy Awards in Jamaica. 'Live as One Remixes' is released on 8th September 2009. Zion Train spared no diversity in the efforts of producing the remixes as production came from places such as Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Croatia and Italy. Remixers include Rob Smith, Digital, and Dub Terror, mixing in all styles including dubstep, dub and drum and bass. Zion Train will be touring in the Autumn through 14 nations in support of the release. We caught up with Neil Perch from Zion Train at Endorse-it festival to ask him about the new album and tour.
UKRG: 'Live as One' won 'Best Dub Album' in the 2008 Reggae Academy Awards in Jamaica. How did that make you feel?
NEIL: It was really nice knowing it was popular out there. It gave it some credibility and it proves you don't have to be black and Jamaican to make a good Dub album. Dub is worldwide and I think we showed that with 'Live as One' It was great because people who we grew up with were listening to it.
UKRG: The new album is a re-mix of 'Live as One'. What made you decide to do that?
NEIL: Well you know its really interesting as we travel the world doing gigs we often link up with producers and spend a couple of hours in someones studio. We go all over the place and what we've done with the 'Live as One' remix album is after we've been around promoting the original 'Live as One' release is we've discussed with old friends and new friends the chance of them reproducing some of our tracks. We are introducing some well known and not so well known producers with the remix album. Its good that someone can move on musically with what we've spent so long working on. What happens is people repeat our music on to different styles so people do Drum and Bass remixes, Dubstep remixes and that's good for musical open mindedness.
UKRG: What part do you play in the album? Do you just choose the best mixes and decide what order they go in?
NEIL: Yeh exactly, compiling it and executive producing it a lot of people do unsolicited remixes and one of those has found its way onto the album which is nice. Its really good fun to do.
UKRG: You said there is a Dubstep re-mix on the album. Are you a big Dubstep fan?
NEIL: I'm not a huge fan, I'm a passing fan. I like some dubstep, I play some on the sound system but a few tunes and I'm done. I'd like the style to move on a bit but its great that there's this new electronic Dub it is shining the light on some of the original UK and Jamaican Dub sounds. There is a whole new generation of people into the music from a different angle.
UKRG: Zion Train will be touring through 14 nations in support of this release. Where are you most looking forward to playing?
NEIL: Lots of places actually, going back to Japan. There's not many places we go to newly anymore, most places we go to we've been before. We go and meet old friends and a lot of the same people.
UKRG: What can we expect from these shows?
NEIL: We've got some great dates around the UK. I'm looking forward to playing Scotland and Wales, we rarely play in Scotland and Wales and we're playing both in Edinburgh and Lampeter. We are looking forward to the whole thing really.
UKRG: Is Dubdadda resident vocalist on the tour?
NEIL: Who? (laughs) Yeh Dubdadda is 100% Zion Train vocalist.
UKRG: Are we ever likely to hear tracks like 'Beautiful Children' again live as you don't have a female vocalist anymore?
NEIL: No, not in a Zion Train live show. What we represent when we're on stage is the four of us and the musical energy and situation that creates. So some things are very specifically suited to some voices and Molara's voice is very strong on tracks like 'Rise' and 'Beautiful Children' which are fantastic but to try and recreate that with different people would be a bit of a musical travesty to be quite honest apart from anything else. So what we try and highlight is the best elements of the four of us can bring.
UKRG: We're here at Endorse-it festival, you always play quite a few festivals. Do you enjoy the festival scene in the UK?
NEIL: Yeah this year has been particularly good there's a few small very sort of positive ones we've been too. We went to one near Durham called Thimbleberry which was great, slightly anarchic even though the weather was tragic. Yesterday we were in the Forest of Dean for the Boomtown Fair which was also great, that was the first time I've been there and that was nice and Endorse-it is always a pleasure.
UKRG: Thanks for talking to us Neil :)
Interview by Dready Sam
Live as One Remixes track Listing
Why - Alambic Conspiracy Mix
What A Situation - Dub Creator Mix
Boxes and Amps - Rob Smith remix
Baby Father - Digital Dubs remix
Boxes and Amps - Vibronics remix
Give Me God Sensi - Brain damage remix
What A Situation - De Niro remix
Boxes and Amps - RDK Sound System remix
Baby Father - Weeding dub remix
Life That I Choose - Prof Skank remix
Baby Father - Dubsync remix
Terror Talk - Studio As One
Why - Bungalo Dub Remix
Boxes and Amps - Dub Terror remix
Terror Talk - Digital & Lutin remix
UKRG Review: Live As One
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