dublab has been an internet radio station for over ten years now, pioneering the format and introducing L.A.–and the world–to up-and-coming acts from all genres of music. Hip hop, psyche, jazz, funk, punk, beat–you name it, and it's streamed on dublab.com. Flying Lotus, the Gaslamp Killer, Linda Perhacs, Can, Stella Om Source, the Egyptian Lover, DJ Nobody, and many many more are some of the world-famous acts who have done live performances, events, videos, workshops, and mixes in association with dublab. Frosty (né Mark) joined us to talk about Dublab, the L.A. music scene, and independent music.
There are a lot of indie radio stations in LA–KXLU, KCRW, KPCC, KCSR etc. What does Dublab add?
dublab exists in its own world between a lot of lines and way outside of others. We are broad in our creative spectrum while staying focused on the journey of musical discovery and dissemination. We have been fortunate to build and operate dublab 100% on our own terms. We don't have a university or broadcast conglomerate looking over our shoulders and so the path is wide open. We are guided by the desires of our DJ/artistic collective and the listeners who support us. We love other community-focused radio stations and are thrilled to have an LA.radio dial full of inspired sounds. It's always a pleasure to connect and collaborate with other radio outfits.
How are you different from traditional indie radio stations, internet and otherwise?
Something that sets us apart from many radio stations and online entities is our production of unique content: live band recordings, original albums, films, art exhibitions, highly-themed live happenings, etc. We are always exploring new tangents. While dublab is rooted in and loves the LA community we operate on a universal scale. Over 50% of our listeners are outside of the U.S. We always keep these folks in our minds and actions and frequently connect with them through tours and traveling.
In an interview you did awhile back with L.A. RECORD, you talked about the potential investors that courted you before dublab was even launched. In recounting these events, you said: “We were offered money before we even launched. I was fresh out of college and I'd sit in meetings with these people and think, 'If you're dumb enough to want to give us money, there's something wrong with your company and you're not gonna last.' ” Would you have handled those potential donations differently now, knowing what you know?
I'm so glad we didn't take any of that money. It was one of the best moves we ever made. It was funny money in a way. Much of it was tied up in company equity or resources that disappeared when that bubble burst and most early internet companies dissolved.
Can you tell us any crazy stories about any Dublab livestreamed DJ sets? Anyone curse compulsively or spill beer on equipment or anything?
Yes! The Gaslamp Killer rushed into the studio once during a live Brainfeeder Radio broadcast, zoomed straight to the mic and yelled something that would make the most hardened long shore man blush beet red and look for the closest fainting couch. I can't repeat it here because the LA Weekly will be shuttered in an instant. [Interviewer's note: Doubtful. Have you seen our classified ads section?] With time I've come to appreciate the humor in his comment. It has blossomed into a truly memorable instant in retrospect but at the moment I was exasperated. Another one of our lovely djs, Jimmy Tamborello, was recording a mix once and in the middle of back-announcing songs he spilled a completely full, sugary cafe con leche on the mixing board. On the recording you could hear it sizzle and bubble before it fell silent. I am also totally guilty of tipping a full pint of beer into the broadcast console.
What are the benefits of being internet-only?
F*ck, sh*t, po*p. It's a relatively cheap way to reach a lot of people. The tools are developing rapidly for broadcast as well as listening. It's a lot of fun to find new ways to play with the medium. While we love terrestrial radio the internet is still a little like the wide open frontier. You can make it up as you go along.
Dublab is home to a huge variety of genres. What do they all have in common that they can coexist in the same virtual space?
Our umbrella genre is one which we coined called Future Roots music. It features the newest, most progressive sounds of many styles while paying homage to the sounds that inspired these musical innovations. We love to connect the dots and showcase the exciting parallels between supposedly disparate music forms. Our DJs are inspired by each other, their environments, the guests we welcome into our studio from around the world, international travels and more. When you feel inspired things never get stale.
Have you met any personal heroes through dublab? Who were they?
Yes! Many many many. Morton Subotnick, Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Damo Suzuki of Can, Linda Perhacs, Prince Paul, Harold Budd, the Egyptian Lover, Saul Williams, Terry Callier, Juan Atkins, DJ Jazzy Jay, Cluster, Manuel Gottsching, Matmos, Shinehead, the Orb, Tony Allen, George Clinton, Sly Stone and more!
Who are some of your favorite guest DJs to have done a set or mix for Dublab?
Just off the top…Cut Chemist, Flying Lotus, Nobukazu Takemura, Mr. Scruff, Tim “Love” Lee, Four Tet, Lucky Dragons, Peanut Butter Wolf, Neil Hamburger, Jonathan Ward of Excavated Shellac, Animal Collective and more more more. The resident Labrat djs are my favorites though!
You can listen to archives, live mixes, and more here.
dublab also puts on a variety of local events that you can find out about by going here.
dublab's mp3 blog is here.
Check out videos from Os Mutantes, DNTL, and more here.