A British dub-reggae band admit they have nothing to dread up ahead.
In fact, writer, arranger and rock drummer Greg Roberts says it’s an exciting time for Dreadzone, with a UK tour and new album.
“It’s always exciting at the beginning of the year when you’re going on the road, plus we’ve got our eighth studio album out,” says the former Big Audio Dynamite drummer, who formed Dreadzone back in 1993 with Tim Bran, who had previously worked as a musician and sound engineer for Julian Cope.
Entering an impressive third decade, Dreadzone, one of the most energetic, exciting and powerful live bands to emerge from the post-rave scene, release Dread Times tomorrow, which coincides with the Sheffield leg of the tour, at Plug.
Dread Times is the third release on their own Dubwiser label.
Their old skool Dread sound comes bubbling to the surface on the album whichdigs deeper into their dub and reggae roots, while still keeping the beats fresh and the textures electronic.
Conscious lyrics, social ills, matters of the heart and mind merge with 21st century dubwise flavours.
And the new album is an eclectic rolling journey that recalls elements from an illustrious 23-year history, while always looking ahead to the next phase.
“The new album sounds really good” says Greg.
“We’re getting a lot of good feedback
“There’s a really good vibe around the album from a lot of people. I think it’s one of our best.
“Our albums are quite eclectic. The last one – 2013’s Escapades – was a bit more rock n roll.
“We did the Big Audio Dynamite reunion in 2011 and that sound seeped in.
“This one is more reggae and dub, the early Dreadzone sound. It feels much more complete.
“It’s based around the fact we haven’t really done a reggae/dub-orientated record and we feel the people who like Dreadzone deserved hearing something like that,
“It’s 12 tracks – we had 20, that moved down to 15 and then down to 12 and they all seem to work together.
“We hope it will just spread the word of Dreadzone around.
“Dread Times is already getting a fair bit of radio play, on BBC 6 from DJs such as Chris Hawkins and Don Letts.
“There’s a good buzz around it and hopefully it will keep us going.”
However, the 58-year-old – Greg will turn 60 in May next year – does not expect to trouble the charts like the band did back in 1996 with Little Britain, a year they also performed to 125,000 people supporting Oasis at Knebworth.
“We’re not going to stretch into the top 40, like we did with Little Britain,” he says.
“We know we’re from the 90s, but we’re respectable, we are still making fresh music.
“When we sit down and write songs, something always comes out of it.”
And they have become renowned for their live shows.
In fact, since their inception, Dreadzone have been bringing the party to every club, dancehall and field they have shown up at, always blowing audiences away and steadily earning for themselves the best possible reputation as a live act in the process.
“It’s just a big soundto start with and good voices,” says Greg about their live performances.
“But it’s always a very energetic show.
“We got got a good fanbase,. We just keep going.
“We’ve been doing this for years – it’s outlasted my marriage.
“We’ve stayed together and we’re still going.”
Dreadzone play Plug tomorrow, Friday, February 17. Tickets, priced £16, are now on sale from www.the-plug.com