It was the joint discovery of the Aba-Shanti-I Sound System and digitally sequenced music which first inspired Steve Vibronics to try his hand at building dub tunes. A minimal studio was put together at home during 1995 using the most basic of equipment – a dilapidated 16 track mixer, reverb and echo units, a couple of synths and a an Atari computer – all mixed – all mixed down onto cassette tape. One such tape was given to Aba-Shanti-I after one of his legendary sessions at the Arches in Vauxhall, London.
By the next dance it had been cut onto dubplate and the sounds of Vibronics were unleashed in the form of the thunderous ‘Universal Love’. Soon after links were forged with the Leeds Sound System Iration Steppas, this time with the hard stepping ‘Dub Discovery’ rhythm. Since those early days Vibronics have maintained strong links with Roots Sound Systems. As anyone who has heard Aba, Iration, Shaka or Tubbys will confirm that Dubs are best heard through 18″ scoop bass bins with the kind of volume and power that will shake a building to it’s foundations.
The Vibronics sound was introduced to UK dub pioneers Zion Train in 1996, and so begun a fruitful relationship with their ‘Universal Egg’ label that lasts to the present day. Shortly after the release of the Egg Files in late 1997 (‘Awakenings’ included on this compilation was the first commercially released Vibronics track) came the offer to be part of the Universal Egg Experience, a four week tour of Europe taking in 22 dates across four countries.
On our return Deep Root (a subsidiary of Universal Egg dealing strictly with roots 7″s) unleashed ‘Jah Light Jah Love’, a downbeat seppa with a bass line only heard before on exclusive dubplate mixes played by the mighty Jah Shaka Sound System. Following on from numerous dub-clashes on the Universal Egg Experience tour, 1998 saw Vibronics team up with dub activist Jah Free for the ‘Outernational Dub Convention’ album. Jah Free introduced the conference with a set of uplifting vocal tunes and Vibronics answered with six raucous lo-fi bass-heavy dubplates.
The album set the scene for a year of live dub conventions with Jah Free and MC Richi Rootz, taking in venues all over the UK and Europe from Southend to Summerjam and London to Lowlands. The Vibronics studio had by now evolved into the Bathysphere – a joint venture with like-minded associates in Leicester where collaborations with Alpha and Omega, Wayne McArthur, The Disciples, The Dub Factory, Jah Free and Zion Train have now taken place. Despite a brief appearance on ‘Jah Light Jah Love’, the voice of Boney ‘L’ had yet to be fully appreciated. Now armed with a microphone and a computer based hard-disk recording system, more authentic vocal recordings could be made – this resulted in the next two 7″ singles – ‘On Jah Side’ and ‘Positive Direction’. Both these tunes sold-out within weeks of release, affirming Boney’s and Vibronics’ place within the Roots scene. Live shows expanded where possible to include Boney singing live alongside Steve Vibronics, Richi Rootz and melodica player Vitamin ‘M’.
By now it was about time that Vibronics released an album in their own right – enter ‘Dub Italizer’. Working in the Bathysphere studio with a G4 Mac, a Soundcraft Ghost mixer and a host of equipment previously unimaginable, ‘Dub Italizer’ was recorded in February 2000, taking the cream of the crop of dubs tried and tested during the last two years live sessions. The album was greeted with unanimous praise, with Boney’s sublime ‘Jah Music’ rightfully taking the crown as the most talked about track. The success of the Italizer long player led to live bookings as far a field as Helsinki, Warsaw and Lisbon. The UK has never been forgotten with highly memorable live sessions in Glasgow, Brighton and, of course, their beloved hometown Leicester.
Around this time, talk between Steve + Richi was beginning to turn toward ideas they had been forming together, ideas centred on starting their own record label. The SCOOPS label was created whilst on tour, on long, long journeys between venues in France in late 2000. Vibronics music has always been built for the Sound System, and the Scooped bass bin is by far the best way to achieve the kind of foundation-shaking bass that makes a Jah Shaka, Iration Steppas or Jah Tubbys session so memorable – so SCOOPS was the perfect name! The first release featured a wicked Tena Stelin vocal, voiced at the Disiples Backyard studio, and mixed and arranged at the Bathysphere studio in Leicester. SCOOP001 also gave us the chance to release our first collaboration with Madu, until then, Leicester’s best-kept vocal secret. Long-time melodica accomplice Vitamin ‘M’ was called in to finish the 12″EP off in fine style.
The SCOOPS label has always been about contributing too, and maintaining a presence in the UK Roots scene. The success of the first 12″ has led Steve + Rich to turn SCOOPS into one of the Uks most reputable nu-roots labels. Every limited edition vinyl release has sold out. The riddims have been voiced by established talent such as Wayne McArthur, Tena Stelin and MurryMan and allowed new artists (most notably our own Madu and Vitamin ‘M’) to step forward in the scene. 2004 will see the first SCOOPS 7″s released and the unleashing of a powerful young sing-jay in the form of Jah Manyah.
Never one to stay still for too long, Vibronics has been quietly putting together an all-new album of cutting-edge dubwise action. The new slice of roots thunder called ‘Dubliftment’ is due early in 2004. This long player displays a more matured approach to the dub sound, featuring a range of lush musical contributions from the long-time crew of Madu, Boney, Vitamin ‘M’ and Stevie Splitz. It was mixed and produced in the all-new-Vibronics-Vibrations studio, a humble but vibrant base, equipped with an array of the latest computer hardware and vintage dub effects alike.