Dubfreque on a world mission 

WHO: Dubfreque

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. Vancouver’s 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 band’s Web site. Sounds simple enough, but Dubfreque’s bassist, Greg Hathaway, says the state of Vancouver’s music scene is proving a challenge for their ska/reggae sounds.

"It’s a tough crowd. It’s somewhat fractured. It’s hard to bring everyone together. There’s 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 they’re in favourable books with all the camps and DJs. The reputation of many of the band’s 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 it’s 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 can’t just pick up and go and think that you’ll get gigs once you’re over there," says Hathaway.

"But Europe is definitely worth it. If you’ve only got a two week touring period, it’s hard in Canada because it’s so large. In Europe, you’ve got a large population in one place. And for us it should be good because there’s 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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