MANILA -- DJ and dub musician Red-I is headed to England to perform in the One Love Festival at The Hop Farm in Kent from August 30 to September 1.
Red-I will be on the same roster of popular reggae, dub, and electronic artists such as the legendary Symarip, Eek A Mouse, Jerry Dammers (who founded and played keyboards for the influential Two-Tone ska band, The Specials), as well as dub artist and recent Manila visitor Vibronics, among many others.
The Manila-based Red-I is also a founding member of Irie Sunday Manila which provides exposure for reggae, dub, and rock steady Filipino artists, and has performed with other artists such as Ziggy Marley, Nas, and Johnny Osbourne among many others.
Dub music, which is essentially remixes of stripped down mostly instrumental versions of songs, grew out of reggae in the 1960s and influenced other styles such as house, techno, and trip hop music among many others.
“I started out in hip hop then shifted to electronic. But when I was doing my research about electronic music, I discovered reggae and dub music,” shared Red-I of his musical origins in the vernacular. “When I discovered reggae and dub there was no looking back for me.”
Red-I’s debut album, "Jahdgement Day," released independently on vinyl in 2012, quietly kicked off a revolution of sorts among Filipino artists. At a time when digital and streaming formats were supposedly rendering physical music formats obsolete, Red-I looked the other way and went ahead with vinyl.
“I grew up a fan of vinyl,” explained Red-I. “Not only does it sound better on vinyl, but it is a great way to preserve the music.”
Now there are less than five copies of the album on sale.
Incredibly, Red-I seems to have found a bigger audience abroad. He has performed on board cruise ships and on multiple occasions in Europe, Southeast Asia, and in Japan. In fact, it was during one of his performances in the Land of the Rising Sun where the owners of indie label Oto Records discovered his music. The result was a seven-inch single on vinyl, “Natty Dread I Beat,” that was released in April 2018, and a 12-inch extended play album, "Mystic Revelation," just this past March.
The four-track "Mystic Revelation" is a collaboration with fellow MC Brother Culture from the UK and African dub producer, Jacin.
Despite finding more success abroad, Red-I isn’t upset that dub music hasn’t taken off in the Philippines.
“Dub has never been a mainstream sort of music,” he acknowledged. “It’s what – underground? Niche? But it is more popular abroad and I am just happy that people from Europe and Jamaican acknowledge that even in the Philippines, there is a small but growing reggae, ska, and dub scene. If I am an ambassador for the music so more people will look at the local reggae and dub scene, then that is good. I am glad to be of help.”
Red-I will cap 2019 with a double LP release of new music.
“I just got back from Japan where I mixed the tracks. It just needs to be pressed and it’s out,” beamed Red-I. “I am just happy to be given all these opportunities and to live out my music dreams. And I am really excited to be a part of the upcoming One Love Festival.”