Dubmarine on song

As one of the most dynamic live acts on the scene Dubmarine continue to push new ideas and experiences in both their song writing and live performances. Front man and founding member Kazman spoke to Sly Steve about the secrets of a good live show, creating odd time signatures and experimenting with the formula.

I last saw you guys at Bluesfest this year, you had the opening set on the first day which is always a tough ask but you were on fire. How do you prepare for a live show?

Well before we do any show, we rehearse our set and we’ll think about what kind of show it is, like the Bluesfest: we knew we had a couple of shows there and we knew that they were going to be at that timeslot. So we sort of write to cater for the time slot. We don’t have any fear with opening up for the shows whatever the time of day it is, we’re going to bring it on and give it our all. We believe that no matter what, each show we do leaves a memory for the audience and ourselves.

Would you have any advice for up and coming bands on what the secret is to a good live set?

There’s a few different pointers, number one always have an idea of what time you’re going to play in the day. You know bands have their rockin’ songs and then they have their deeper songs or some might have sexy songs, or their emotional songs or whatever. So you should write the set to cater for what time of day, what kind of mood people are going to be in. If it’s early afternoon and people don’t want to really go jumping around like crazy, especially if it’s a hot day, they just want to enjoy the music. Then if the suns down you bring the party on make it like a fresh sort of vibe. Then you know if it’s late at night then you can get into the deep hardcore kind of vibe.

How important are festivals like Boomerang or Dreaming Festival to showcase modern Indigenous culture to a broader audience in a festival setting?

I find that cultural festivals, especially Indigenous ones are awesome ways for educating the mainstream Australian without all the bad news. You know we’re just infiltrated everyday by the news and media about the downfall of the culture, but when you go to these festivals you see the culture is actually vibrant and alive and you get to see different varieties of it and aspects of it. I think people tend to magnetise towards positivity and that’s what these festivals do but at the same time they educate, but they educate in a different way. They educate in a very similar way to what the corroboree was like, the corroboree consisted of like, it was a cooperation of the whole family, of the whole clan all participating, there was story tellers and there was painters, there was dancers and so on and they all related. That was sort of our school in a way as we grew up, dance festivals and that sort of thing and telling a story, and that’s how people remembered. So cultural festivals like that in Australia are a great way to educate people in a real positive sense.

I guess people are having so much fun that they won’t realise that they’ve learnt something straight away, that might stay with them later on

Yeah sometimes that’s the best way to educate, we’re taught at school to read this, learn this, get told that and remember it and then move onto the next thing and it’s really sterile you know, where as if you put in energy and action and fun then it brings out a spiritual feeling as well, you feel it within. They talk about emotional memory, you know when you get taught and you get emotive with it you’ll take it in deeper, deep into your soul and those sorts of things you don’t really forget. In this day and age we’ve got ADHD with how much information we get, we just get smashed with stuff, you know there’s too much to think about, but if you get inclusive then it really stays with you.

So what’s on the cards for the rest of 2014?

Myself I’ve been obsessed with song writing at the moment, I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough when it comes to writing tunes. I’ve found a formula if you like which enables me to write any kind of tune I want and experiment with it. Lately I’m working on this idea called the 6/4, which is based on 6 beats plus 4 beats as a cycle, sort of like 6 forward and 4 backwards. The idea comes from what happens in the ‘shake a leg’, if you’re in a corroboree and you see a shake a leg, basically when they do the shake a leg they move up 6 or 7 or 8 beats then they sort of stop, then they pull back and then they repeat the process. I’ve found a way to write that in a contemporary way into our music. So we’ve just been doing odd time signatures but trying to find a groove and I guess a danceable feeling in stranger time rhythms and mixing it all up a bit.

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