It started with a passion for music and has grown into a 14 year long journey to create the best sound experience for all dub, roots and reggae lovers around the world. Started by two brothers Amar and Prez on the other side of the world, KBI Sound System now boast one of the most specialised speaker set-ups in town and hosting parties that bring all lovers of dub together.
We had a chance to chat to Amar ahead of the launch of their new monthly event Dub Pressure in our Main Room on Sunday August 19.
Firstly, tell us a little about KBI Sound System and how it got started? As well as creating and running the sound system itself you put on a variety of events and I hear you’ve been on quite a journey since starting KBI Sound System 14 years ago!
Back in 2002 in Leicester, UK. It all began after attending his first dance at the Brixton Recreation Centre in London headlined by Channel One Sound System and Aba Shanti I. Prez-I fell in love with the roots sound. Keen to share the vibes of Dub music with people, KBI Sound System was created.
KBI had a vision to promote Love, Peace & Unity through Sound System Culture. Through many years of dedication and hard work KBI and crew designed and hand built custom speaker boxes for that tight deep bass sound played through one turntable using vinyl.
Since being in Australia the KBI Sound System and crew have embraced many events across Perth and Melbourne linking up with International and local artists along the way. Events we have been involved with include ‘Teachings in DUB’ a night we promote ourselves in Perth, ‘Fisherman’s Style’ who host a number of international and local artists, ‘Freedom Time’ – Outdoor Tropical/Reggae music event, ‘Bob Marley Outernational’, ‘RTR FM’s Winter Music Festival’, ‘DUB CLUB Melbourne’ – Heartical Hi Powa Sound System and ‘RAGGA FEST’ – International artists from NZ, UK and AUS.
For those of us who may not be as literate with production and sound – can you tell about the system itself and the importance it has on the experience of the music?
The process of establishing our sound begun well before 2002, where Prez-I and Tubby MC travelled across the UK following legendary sound system operators like Jah Shaka, Jah Tubby’s, Aba Shanti I & Channel One Sound System. Whilst also attending live shows from artists/producers like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry who have been known to have had a influence in the creation of DUB music along with King Tubby from Jamaica. These were some of the originators and pioneers or Roots Reggae Dub in the UK, Europe and Worldwide.
This was a major factor in deciding to start building our very own sound system. Our vision was to enable communities to come together in one place and embrace a way of life which benefits all through Love, Peace & Unity. We begun designing and building our own speaker boxes, with the help of some very good friends in the Sound System industry who guided us in the right direction to set up a foundation for ourselves to express our views through our music.
Through many years of dedication and hard work KBI Sound System began getting bookings for our Sound System for all kinds of bass heavy music ranging from Drum & Bass to Roots Reggae, this was the beginning of many events KBI Sound System were involved in.
You’ve noted that dub, roots and reggae have a rich culture surrounding the music. How does KBI Sound System relate with this, and have you noted any differences in terms of your experiences in Launceston and those here in Perth?
The message that was being portrayed through Roots Reggae music and the way of life of Rastafarians was embraced by KBI Sound System.
There will always be a difference between here in Perth and Leicester, UK as we were exposed to a number of different Sound Systems who were all built completely differently and that is part of the whole experience of attending these events. We actually bring in our own custom built speaker boxes and set up for each event, and this form part of the struggle to find adequate venues to cater for the vibe we want to bring forward to the people of Perth. However, our elders told us in the UK it was a similar situation for them but you keep on trying to do what you love. Working with everyone at the Rosemount Hotel is an absolute pleasure and it’s with their same vision we can expose Sound System culture right here in Perth.
There’s an incredible selection of acts performing at the first installment of Dub Pressure – DJ Flex, Paul Gamblin, John Safari – how did you select the acts that would be involved?
This was an easy decision as we know they all have the same passion for Sound System culture as KBI and it only therefore made sense to have them entertain everyone on a Sunday afternoon alongside us.
What can people expect to see and experience at the launch of Dub Pressure?
We want to create a vibe where everyone can come and enjoy a night of pure love and postivity, meeting and dancing with family and friends to the sweet sounds of Reggae, through a traditional style Sound System.