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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Aug 26, 2010
Like his diverse Brooklyn borough, Dr. Israel constantly fuses different styles to create eclectic dub tracks. Catch exclusive versions of his classic dub tracks and sound system remix versions of his new singles at the Elbo Room on September 5th at Dub Missionís 14th anniversary
SF Station (SFS): Your sounds has roots in dub, dancehall, and reggae. What made you decided on these genres?
Dr. Israel (DI): A long time ago, I decided that the root of my music would be based in dub, dancehall, and reggae because I wanted my direction to be based on a conscious root. To me these musical styles represent a voice of revolution.
SFS: What's important to you when you write lyrics for your tracks?
DI: When Iím writing lyrics I think itís important to talk about themes, thoughts, and ideas that are ongoing to the human condition, and then apply them to everyday situations. With my lyrics, I donít want to tell people what to think, I simply want them to encourage them to think.
SFS: You have performed with big names like Mad Professor. In the dub world, how do you manage to keep the genre going in the U.S.?
DI: Dub is a genre that seems to be constantly growing and expanding, itís also influenced many different styles throughout the world. I expect that over the next 10 to 20 years, we will see dub getting bigger and bigger throughout the world.
SFS: Why do you think it's more accepted and liked in other countries?
DI: I think, in general, the U.S. is probably the most affected by commercial radio and anti-music music corporations like Clear Channel, etc. Europe and Japan are good examples of some places that help to provide an environment where art and creativity are sometime supported for the sake of art and creativity, not solely for commercial gain.
SFS: I heard you might be doing a feature film? Tell me about that.
DI: Iíve been working on a few film projects, actually. Itís a little premature to expand much more on that, but Iím very interested in taking certain elements of the dub aesthetic, and applying it to other forms of media, in addition to music.
SFS: Also, you just released Method of Defiance, which features a lot of prominent people like Bernie Worrell, Toshinori Kondo, Guy Licata, Garrison Hawk, and DJ Krush. What was your inspiration behind the album?
DI: Method of Defiance is a project that started out as a recording collaboration between Bill Laswell and Submerged, a drum íní bass producer from Brooklyn. At some point, it morphed into a live unit, which has basically become the conceptual brainchild of Bill Laswell and myself. Method of Defiance is largely about resisting the corporate elements of the music industry by using music. Itís about music as a weapon of revolution.
SFS: What's going to be different on your first studio albums, Jabulon (vocal recordings), and Incunabula (instrumental recordings)?
DI: Jabulon is an exercise in the vocal infiltration of pop music. It has vocal songs in an accessible format. Its going to be interesting because although it exists in an accessible format, it still has a lyrical center which is rebellious aggressive and revolutionary.
Incunabula is an exercise in music; itís a little more abstract, taking from elements of dub, reggae, funk rock, and improv, and free jazz, with a guest appearance from Herbie Hancock. The two records together are meant to show the versatility of Method of Defiance. In addition, the live show now incorporates elements of both.
SFS: Whatís something you think everyone should live by?
DI: I just want to wish everyone peace, love, and positivity; and make sure now more than ever to support independent music.
Visit Dr. Israel online at http://www.drisrael.net/
by Christina Li on Aug 26, 2010