We spoke to Yorkshire dub mega band, Gentleman's Dub Club about the advantages of having so many members, their most memorable performances so far, and what influences them.
The band formed in 2006 and have gone on to tour the world. They've become a festival must see - consistently delivering energetic and exhilarating live shows, and they have plenty lined up for the rest of the year.
With the amount of members that make up the band, how does this help to keep your energy up on stage?
It’s an amazing feeling to have such a big group of people on stage - we all feed off each other, you look left and right and everyone is absolutely vibing, so it spurs you on. It’s not just on stage that it helps: when we’re touring it plays a really important part. There are points when we have travelled without sleep for long periods, and the only thing that gets you through is that shared experience, and the energy that we pass between each other.
You’ve performed at a lot of festivals over the years, but which one has been your favourite?
We couldn’t pick one as there are so many that stick in the mind for different reasons, but playing Boomtown Lion’s Den a couple of years ago was very surreal, the whole of that main area was completely rammed, and hearing that many people singing along with some of our most well known tunes was pretty overwhelming! The Amphitheatre at Outlook is another very special venue. It’s something like 2000 years old and is definitely one of the most beautiful places we’ve played. Rototom is the first proper Reggae festival we ever went to in 2006, it was one of our initial inspirations to do what we do, so to be invited to play the main stage there 2 years ago was such a privilege! We’re going back to all three of those sites this year, so hopefully we can expect more mind-blowing experiences!
How would you say your music has changed since you formed? Have your influences changed much?
Our original inspiration came from the simplicity and weight of reggae and dub music, and over the years we haven’t messed with that formula too much, other than trying to improve our songwriting. Our inspiration very much comes from the members of the band and our own personal influences. We wrote the last album together in the middle of Wales where we had no internet, so the ideas had to come from within the group. We do our best to be as unique as possible within a familiar format, but obviously we can’t forget the influence of artists like The Twinkle Brothers, Bob Marley (who can say they aren’t influenced by the great man?), Israel Vibration, Steel Pulse, Iration Steppas, King Tubby, Scientist, Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Specials, The Beat…the list goes on!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never listened to you before?
Feel good music designed to make you move your feet!
Do you have a favourite country or venue to visit when touring?
We’ve played three times in India and I have to say that the people, the atmosphere and the food out there are unparalleled. There’s a real demand for UK music as well so we get a great reception every time we visit. The USA probably comes in at joint first, we played in San Francisco and at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival a few years back: that is a trip we will never forget. Everyone dreams of playing in the US and we’re proud and amazed that we got the opportunity.
As both spectators and performers, do you prefer outdoor gigs or indoor gigs?
Good question! There are positives for both: with indoor gigs the sound is often better because the sound systems are tuned to the room, and in general it’s a bit more manageable than playing outdoors, because there’s less risk of rain (a constant fear living in England!) and everything is a bit less manic. On the other hand, we’ve probably had our best experiences playing festivals: when the weather, the sound system, and the stage crew are all on point, there is nothing that can touch it!
Gentleman's Dub Club are heading out on a string of shows this year, including a show with Submotion Orchestra on Friday 5th July!
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