Dub Trio

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Dub Trio

Dub music group

Dub music, where vocals are usually sparse and the bass heavy, has been around for three decades. It originated in Jamaica, where reggae hits were stripped of vocals, and more bass, reverb and other extraordinary sounds were added to create dub music. Pioneers like King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry built a new musical sound that has been continually evolving. In the beginning, dubs were made from reggae or rhythm & blues (R&B), but almost any genre can and has been used.

Dub Trio, a threesome consisting of guitarist D.P. Holmes, bassist Stuart Brooks, and drummer Joe Tomino has taken dub music to yet another level. Most dubs are done in the studio, but Dub Trio also plays instruments to create great studio albums and exciting live sets. Holmes described the group's live performance to Greg Prato of Thrasher Magazine: "The live show is a pretty visceral experience, because we all have a lot of different things that we play. We're not just drums, guitar, and bass. All three of us each play keyboards, and we all have a bunch of pedals, effects, and gadgets. … It's not like some guys standing there playing their instruments."

Dub Trio began when Holmes and Brooks met while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and formed the group Actual Proof. They moved to New York at around the same time. The drummer in the band left, and Joe Tomino joined soon after. Tomino actually introduced the other two to dub music and they began to implement the style in their live sets. Stu Brooks told George Zahora on the Splendid Ezine Web site, "It was interesting because we hadn't been in the studio yet with the concept, so we had to fly by the seat of our pants going in there. Musically we were prepared, but we weren't really sure how we were going to go about doing the dubs." The group members, with decades of training, were all talented in their own right. They each found work doing sessions for other artists, such as The Fugees, Tony Yayo, 50 Cent, and Common. As a group, Dub Trio continued to work on creating original dubs, using the usual studio equipment but incorporating live instruments. The name Actual Proof was dropped, but another had not been decided upon. The band, however, continued to find gigs, and since they were making a mark in dub, someone put the name "Dub Trio" on a marquee and it stuck.

While Dub Trio's beginning work consisted of the usual combinations of dub, reggae, and hip hop, the band stretched and added punk and noise metal to the mix. What set Dub Trio apart from the other acts were their performances. Most dubs are studio productions with the recordings used during sets, but the band chose to recreate each cut instead of using a recording or computer to do the work. Zahora described Dub Trio's work as "using their instruments and a healthy assortment of samplers, reverb units and other effects gear … that employs a classic dub aesthetic for its foundation, but ventures into hip-hop, electronica, punk R&B and god-only-knows-what-else as it flows out into the universe."

During one set, artist Badawi of RIOR Records, known in the industry for signing reggae and dub musicians, was in the audience and told the head of the label, Lucas Cooper, about Dub Trio. Within a week the group was signed with ROIR. Dub Trio released its first full-length CD, Exploring the Dangers of, in 2004. Dub Trio toured to support the CD, opening for other notable acts such as Meat Beat Manifesto and Soulive. They released a second CD, New Heavy, in 2006. Bill Leight of Bass Player called the release "an agro-chill mood-music mélange made more monstrous by the band's potent creativity, studio savvy, and scarily tight precision." In this CD, Dub Trio included one track with vocals and asked singer Mike Patton of Faith No More and Peeping Tom to write and perform the lyrics. The group had never met him, but Patton had heard of them and agreed. The band met Patton a year later when he asked them to back him during some concert dates and for a taping of The Conan O'Brien Show. Patton told Prato, "These guys are true originals, hijacking the studio-based phenomenon of dub and bringing it into a confrontational live environment. It is fantastic to witness the alchemy of the private studio world being brought to the stage—and one can't help but be fascinated when watching the magic unfold before your eyes."

Dub Trio continued to tour and shared stages with popular acts such as Gnarls Barkley and The Who, as well as with genre-specific groups such as Gogol Bordello and The Wailers. In January of 2008 Dub Trio released their third CD, Another Sound Is Dying. They also planned to collaborate with Patton again, releasing a full album of vocal tracks. Dub Trio has continued to win over new fans who appreciate the new and innovative ways the band creates music as well as their electrifying stage performances.

For the Record …

Members include D.P. Holmes , guitar; Stuart Brooks , bass; Joe Tomino , drums.

D.P Holmes and Stuart Brooks formed Actual Proof in Boston, c. 2001, and were joined by Joe Tomino; began playing dub music, changed name; signed with ROIR Records, 2004; released Exploring the Dangers of, 2004; New Heavy, 2006; Cool Out and Coexist [live], 2007; Another Sound Is Dying, 2008.

Addresses: Record company—ROIR Records, 611 Broadway, #411, New York, NY 10012. Web site—Dub Trio Official Web site: http://www.dubtrio.com.

Selected discography

Exploring the Dangers Of, ROIR, 2004.

New Heavy, ROIR, 2006.

Cool Out and Coexist [live], ROIR, 2007.

Another Sound Is Dying, ROIR, 2008.

Sources

Periodicals

Bass Player, May 1, 2006, p. 70.

EQ, September 1, 2006, p. 10.

Thrasher, July 2006, p. 192.

Tikkun, May-June 2006, p. 79.

Online

"Dub Trio," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (January 12, 2008).

Dub Trio Official Web site, http://www.dubtrio.com (January 14, 2008).

"Dub Trio," Splendid Ezine, http://www.splendidezine.com/features/dubtrio/ (January 14, 2008).

"411Music Exclusive Interview: Dub Trio," 411 Mania, http://www.411mania.com/music/columns/41133 (January 14, 2008).

—Ashyia N. Henderson