The DNB Vault speaks with Liondub about Liondub International ran by himself and Marcus Visionary. We get an inside look at the massive label and learn more about their upcoming releases and plans for the future.
Please tell us about the label.
Founded in 2008 by myself and Marcus Visionary, we are an international imprint founded with excellence and integrity in mind, pushing out music that is produced with style and originalty, maintaining authenticity and that bass heavy underground sound. Overall, our highest goal is to create and release timeless music and we take pride in doing just that.
How it started?
Marcus and I met in the spring of ’08 at a gig in Toronto. Saigon brought me up with my partner Rcola from the original Chopstick Dubplate and we all played together that night. Marcus and I had a good talk and we set up a meeting the next day at his studio. It was then that we decided it was time to join forces and push out music together as we had both been working seperately, but with similar goals and similar sounds. We knew it would be a perfect collabo and so far its been golden. Marcus has been a great friend and business partner and his music is the backbone of this label. He’s a inspiration to me and to many others and together we have high hopes for the music and everyone involved.
I grew up a native New Yorker, and was a part of a very musical family that nurtured my love and appreciation for all styles and genres. I grew up listening to everything but gravitated towards reggae, rock, hip hop anbd hardcore at a very young age. I have played in bands and roadied for bands since i was 9 years old. I have been djing for fun since 1986, and professionally since 1991. In ’96 i was exposed to jungle music and the rave scene, and in ’99 i landed in London for the first time. From that moment, as i walked throught the doors of BM Soho and met Nicky Blackmarket, and then Ray Keith Downstairs, it was as if Jungle chose me to be a part of it, and i have never turned back. I’ve got to thank Ray for lacing me with those original Congo Natty and Knowlege and Wisdom whites, and thank Rebel and Terry T because that original wax shaped my path and my love for Jungle for the next 15 years.
Your goals/ambitions for the label?
To put out the best timeless, original music possible, while maintaining a respect and appreciation for what has come before our music….We aim at keeping up an intense release rate, building with and collaborating with a wide range of artists and producers internationally. We have an immense appreciation for the history of the music that inspires us, yet we are forging new pathways and new style s of music on multiple levels in order to leave a mark and a great catalog for people to listen to for generations.
Are you going after a particular sound etc?
We have always been influenced and leaned towards the reggae, dancehall and dub music sounds, and we have a strong foundation of and appreciation for the jungle drum and bass culture and sound. We have very particular styles when it comes to each of our labels; Liondub International is always Reggae and dub influenced jungle and dubwise d&b, The Liondub Street Series encompasses many sounds but focuses on Jump Up, and now some great liquid and experimental 175 bpm bits. Liondub45 is all about vintage reggae and dub music, and the new Liondub-ODT Muzik imprint has a bit of it all, and then some.
Who are some of your influences?
Bob Marley, Coxsone Dodd, Dennis Brown, Johnny Osbourne, Lone Ranger, Dave Kelly, Donovan Germaine, Sly & Robbie, David Rodigan, Shy FX, Roni Size, DIllinja, Remarc, Potential Badboy and Benny Page to name a few. We find inspiration in tons of different musicians and producers but again our focus is on creating music that honors those sounds that came before us, but we do it with originality and style that is all our own.
Are you all digital?
Never, we have always pushed out Vinyl and will continue to do so as long as we are around. Its critical for the music, the heads and the industry as a whole to still push out wax and physical products that find a place in peoples homes and lives, as well as on the club circuit. In 2014 we pushed out eleven 12″ releases and we aim to match that schedule this year and next.
Please tell us about your first release and how your label changed/matured since then?
Our first release in 2008 was Visionary featuring the late Peter Ranking (RIP) and was titled “Now.” We released it first on 12″ and then followed with digital later. It is a classic Reggae inspired jungle dubwise style track with original vocals from a Jamaican artist, something that we specialize in. We have always pushed out music with incredible singers and MCs from around the globe and we still do to this day. Really aside from the production techniques, we are still on the same path, and that’s to push out timeless, original music.
In a heavily saturated and competitive market why start a label?
We started the label to push out music produced by Marcus and myself, and the music that we loved, by artists that we either worked with or supported for a long time. We don’t really watch the market or what other people are, or are not doing. We have our stable of excellent artists and producers and we are growing to this day without a hitch. It’s all moving forward very progressively and i only see great things happening for the label and our artists from here on out.
What is the response/feedback like?
The feedback over the years has been excellent and even overwhelming at times. We’ve gotten love form a vast array of international club and radio djs and have had nothing but love from the ravers and underground as well. I’ve heard our music played on Radio 1 and in the smallest clubs around the globe by local and international DJ’s. The love for the material is real.
Who have you gotten support from?
So many heads really: David Rodigan, Dj Hype, Rusko, Benga, Shy FX, Annie Mac, Annie Nightingale, Chrissy Chris, B Traits, Chrissy Chris, Brockie, Toddla T, Bailey, Potential Badboy, Bryan G, TC, Jumping Jack Frost, J Star, Dub Phizix, Turno, Serial Killaz, Nicky Blackmarket, Hazard, Remarc, Chef, Ruffstuff, Roni Size, Dillinja, Interface, Dub Pistols, Aphrodite, Ras Kwame, and many more hi profile individuals have supported, and the list keeps growing to this day.
Please tell us about your current and or upcoming releases?
Marcus Visionary and myself have just presented and released a 13 track LP entitled “Jungle To The World Volume 1” which is a prime selection of some of our best new tracks coupled with VIP, and re-mastered tracks from the back cat. We are very proud of this release and it has been getting tons of love across the board from DJ’ s and listeners alike. Its climbed steadily to the top of the UK download charts and the feedback is pouring in from all ends. Volume 2 is already in the works and slated for a December release.
I recently joined forces with long-time touring partner and friend MC Navigator, to create the new Liondub-ODT Muzik imprint. We have been lashing out new releases including “Sound The Alarm” and the “Sound The Alarm Remixes EP.” We are about to drop a 4 song Navigator EP featuring production and vocal work from myself, Marcus, Ranking Joe, David Boomah, Potential Badboy, Aries, Bass Nacho and Jah Lingua entitled “Junglist Sound EP.” This will be out on August 28th and is a personal favorite of mine.
In addition we are about to drop the first new Street Series release in over 5 months and its a heavy jump up 6 tracker from San Diego based Sub Killaz. This one is due to drop onSeptember 18th and has gotten early support from the likes of Turno and Filthy Habits.
There’s a ton of great work and releases in the pipeline and there are no signs of letting up anytime soon. We’ve signed LA based ‘Lost City’ exclusively to the label and are very excited about pushing out their unique new style Ragga Jungle. We’ve signed amazing new material from up and coming artists like Brian Brainstorm, Macky Gee, Contra, Kenji and, had some sick new remixes just touch down. We continue to push the envelope and drop solid music out from stable artists like Marcus Visionary and so many incredible UK and JA based singer song-writers. Its a great time for the label and its only getting better.
Many thanks to Marcus for rolling it out with me for all these years!!! Salute Kandiman out of Kingston, my brothers Remarc and Navigator, Eastman and the Kool London family, and Potential Badboy for always holding it down and believing in Liondub and the Liondub label…I’ve got to thank all the DJ’s, both in the clubs and on radio for supporting the movement, you have shed light for us and we appreciate that! Out to On The Rise and all the PR Press writers and blogs for letting the people know whats good, and most importantly, thanks to the ravers and the listeners for supporting us, without you, none of this would be possible…Salute!