WHERE: The Boot Pub
WHEN: Monday, May 28
Not many bands assign themselves a mission statement. Song writing, rehearsals, promotions, booking and performing certainly seem like mission enough. Vancouvers Dubfreque, however, prefers to look at the big picture and is exhibiting extraordinary patience in getting there.
"It is the mission of Dubfreque to bring people together on both stage and dance floor in order to create a symbolic relationship of harmony, understanding, musical appreciation and pure dancing pleasure," according to a statement on the bands Web site. Sounds simple enough, but Dubfreques bassist, Greg Hathaway, says the state of Vancouvers music scene is proving a challenge for their ska/reggae sounds.
"Its a tough crowd. Its somewhat fractured. Its hard to bring everyone together. Theres a number of little camps all over town. Some people support such and such a DJ and others support another DJ and it can be difficult to get all the crowds together. There is a large reggae community, but putting on a show, it can be difficult to actually get all the people out to the show," says Hathaway.
Dubfreque has a bit of an advantage in that theyre in favourable books with all the camps and DJs. The reputation of many of the bands members Greg and brother David Hathaway (previously of Roots Round up), Andy Cakes (of Roots Round up and Troublmaica), Omolara Oyesiku (Troublmaica, Small Axe, Afro Nubians) Panos Grames (Grames Brothers, Alpha Diallo), and Kirk Layman (a newcomer quickly making a name for himself on the drums) has helped to open doors, but its their long-term vision which is going to determine the success of Dubfreque in Vancouver and world-wide.
Their debut album is in the works. Composing and recording should be complete by the end of the year. A west coast tour is planned for this time next year with a European swing in the following year. Where many new bands would be chomping at the bit to hit the road, the experienced musicians recognize the value of timing and preparation.
"If you realistically want to get over to Europe, you really do need a two-year plan. Our album is the first step, but then you need a good chunk of time to set yourself up to properly do Europe. You need to get manufacturing and distribution deals, you need to present yourself well in advance. You cant just pick up and go and think that youll get gigs once youre over there," says Hathaway.
"But Europe is definitely worth it. If youve only got a two week touring period, its hard in Canada because its so large. In Europe, youve got a large population in one place. And for us it should be good because theres a very healthy reggae population over there."
In the short term, Dubfreque returns to the Boot this Monday. This is the third time the band has played in the shoulder season, showing great confidence in their ability to draw a crowd.
"The locals did come out to our shows in the fall. The tourists have left again and I think we can bring those locals out of hiding," Hathaway concludes.
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