asian dub foundation interview
(April 1999)

As I walked into the Boatrace the soundcheck was just ending so I went over and asked who wanted to do the interview. INTERVIEW? A torture invented by Satan surely? No volunteers, until eventually Steve gave in; it seems they've done quite a few interviews recently and one more (especially with me) was not an appealing prospect. Lucky, then, that I was prepared: I reached into my extensively personalised kangaroo-hide record bag and pulled out the Lazy Journalist (tm), interview machine without parallel in the known universe. Instantly the whole band was around the tape recorder revealing the rather interesting fact that all of them had just over a fiver in their pockets. Cooooool

So ADF, no musical contemporaries (at least, not in the live domain) and with heroes ranging from DJ Hype through Lee Perry to Mahatma Ghandi -- would you appear on Kid's Saturday morning TV? "Most definitely, so long as we had a chance to talk to the youth". There's nothing pretentious or pie-in-the-sky-we-can-change-the-world-with-a-song naive about this reply, two of ADF are teachers, touring youth clubs and groups around London, showing kids that making music is not a black art and--more importantly--within their grasp. They have a vision (and to some extent a reality) for Community Music and that's something that permeates everything they say today; community music and the music community. They've got a lot of time for other musicians, especially those that pay due respect to the innovators of today's music, that take something, build on it, and give it back--much like they do themselves.

Current single, "Change a gonna come" (on Nation) is a prime example, a mashed-up beatfest of junglist rhythms and dub bass. Better still, and also on the 12", is "Operation Eagle Lie", a pointed attack on Operation Eagle Eye backed by a laidback melange of drum'n'bass. The gig was superb as well, if you haven't checked out ADF live already, do it soon. For all that they're obviously having a good time, they're passing on the message without vitriol and polemicising. The Boatrace was packed: not common on a Wednesday night outside term time, the (true) music community out in force.


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