Kitty Su interviews DubFX right before his performance at Kitty Su Delhi on 29 March. He lets us in on how he makes music, what helped him get recognised and why street performance still holds a special place in his heart.

You’ve been to India before. Is it any different this time?

–       This is my third time in India and second time in Delhi. The first two times I was with my partner but this time I’m by myself. I’ve played at clubs in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Goa, but what I would rather do is come back and stay for a month and play not just in a 5 star hotel but also in the ‘dirtier’ places.

You work in different performance spaces – in clubs, at festivals and on the streets. How different are they from each other in terms of your experience as a performer and how the audience reacts to you?

–       Street- performance was where DUB FX was born, that’s where it began. I would never have become Dub Fx if I was practicing in my bedroom and went straight to the club. I performed on the street for years, though I would play at clubs and festivals occasionally ninety percent of the time it was on the streets. So what I do is designed for the streets and its much better on the streets, when you watch my shows. When I play in clubs I take advantage of the sound system, I don’t have to get people’s attention to watch me or do things to entice them, unlike the streets. I just concentrate on making them dance. Whereas when it comes to playing in festivals, it’s my favorite environment since it’s a mix of the other two. Its not just people going to a club, and it’s not people walking past you in the street, but it’s the same atmosphere where its outdoors, people are looking to have a good time and its during the day. It’s my favorite place to perform.

How do you put together various genres like beat boxing, singing and rapping in your performances?

–       It’s not something I think about too much. I just do it naturally. The way my brain works while performing is that I don’t want it to get boring for the audience. Especially when I’m performing on the streets as soon as people get bored they walk away, while I want them to buy a CD before they walk away. So I’m always trying to impress them. So I beat box and make a beat, I put my voice in a loop, and then I concentrate on giving a great performance on top of that. So I rap for a bit, I rap and rap and when I feel like its going to get a bit boring I switch and start singing. And then I get back to rapping, change the pitch of my voice, and make it high pith or low pitch. So with those three voices I can basically be three people and it never feels boring. I don’t think of each of those as being individual but think of them as being one.

Ben Dowden put up two videos of you on Youtube. Was that a turning point for you in any way?

–       Definitely. Up until that point, I had been street performing for three years, was living in a van and had sold about 50,000 CDs on the street just hand to hand. So I was working really hard already, spending 3 to 4 days a week on the streets trying to sell 50 to 100 CDs. So we had laid the foundation, people knew of us because they had seen us on the streets or had heard someone talk about us. There were other videos of me where the audio or video quality wasn’t very good.  And when I got to Bristol I met this guy Ben Dowden, who said “I’d like to film you and make a video on you” so I was like “Sure, come down”. So when he came down to film it I didn’t think much of it since many people had already done that at that point. But what happened was that when he recorded it I happened to be recording the audio. So I mastered the audio, made it good quality and gave it to him. So he put that on the video and it was the first video of Dub Fx with good quality video and audio. And because I had already sold 50,000 CDs, maybe each one of those people told another person about the video so 100,000 people were waiting for it and when it came out it just got shared and shared and it kind of just blew up. And the second video came and it blew up too. I’m a hundred percent sure that if it wasn’t for Ben Dowden then it wouldn’t have really exploded for me. But if I hadn’t laid the groundwork I don’t think it would’ve happened either.

You work very closely with your fiancé Flower Fairy, bringing out and album called Nursery Grimes. Besides that you’ve worked with other artists. How does it feel to collaborate with other people and how does it come about?

–       We are very disorganized people actually. I mean we don’t have a record label who pumps money into and helps us. Its only me, my fiancé and my manager CAde. If CAde didn’t exist, me and my Flower Fairy we’d still be living in a van, traveling around and performing on the street. CAde and I have known each other since I was 15. He’s very good with computers and social network, websites and graphic design. So he took the idea and concept of what I was doing, built a website for me, put me on Facebook when I didn’t know about it, and made a Youtube channel for me. So he has been building up my profile and getting me better gigs and putting me at better places. I’m just an artist and CAde is mind behind making the machinery work.

Some images from the night —



 

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