Asian Dub Foundation Interview

Ahead of their show at Warehouse 23 on June 1st, we were delighted to grab a quick chat with Steve Chandra Savale, guitarist and founding member of ADF.

It’s over 20 years since ‘Rafi’s Revenge’ and coming up to 20 for ‘Community Music’ – what’s changed for you as a musician and ADF as a group since then?  

I hope we’ve developed , particularly in moving outside the tour/album system with our live soundtracks. Also forces beyond our control – social media, downloading have changed everything for everyone. 

What was your thought process behind the re-release as opposed to focussing on new material? 

Personally I didn’t have much involvement until I got it in my hands and I thought it was a fantastic artefact. I haven’t stopped focussing on new material.

– We enjoyed the band’s thoughts on Jungle being the ‘purest form’ of music during your recent documentary shorts, and that your movement was the real British sounds during the Brit-Pop era – does the Jungle scene hold strong in 2019? And what do you feel are the real British sounds today? 

Those tunes hold up remarkably well. There’s been loads of great music since of course but for me personally nothing has surpassed it. As for the “scene” I don’t know anything about scenes, there’s just good music and not good music for me.

What does / should Brexit mean for music? And has / should music be making a more vocal response to our current political climate? 

People should write about what they genuinely feel. I’ve always had the feeling that people often write about what they think they ought to for “credibility “or commercial reasons. I was certainly pleasantly surprised by the way Grime artists had an effect on the 2017 election. That’s exactly how ADF always believed things could happen with music. Hope it happens again! I can see absolutely nothing positive about Brexit for musicians at all. The whole music industry is based around freedom of movement and export to Europe. And it’s techs, riggers ,security, food stands…not just musicians that will be affected. 

We are currently running a youth project called  #YoungTeam, where young people are immersed in DIY culture and given the chance to run their own DIY project aspart of our festival. ADF were also born from a grassroots music initiative – is this kind of thing still valid and a good place to focus our efforts? 

Sounds good to me! These projects are always as good as the energy they generate – there’s no rules really.

– What are your strongest and most positive memories of those early days of the community from which ADF emerged? 

Community Music in the 90’s was an oasis of creativity, opportunity and an incredible musical and social diversity. You’d get exiled South African jazzers in their seventies jamming with teenagers off a housing estate mixing Jungle and that would be normal. It was also consciously NOTHING to do with the mainstream music industry. It was amazing how it existed at all in that form.

Tickets for their show at Long Division available here.