Dreadzone is a British band whose music is an eclectic fusion of dub, reggae, techno, folk and rock. They have so far released nine studio albums and two live albums.
We heard that they were on tour and even better, they were going to be dropping into the Exeter Phoenix on February 13th. We were fortunate enough to catch them in 2015 and they were amazing so we're really looking forward to seeing them rock the roof off the place this year!
We caught up with Greg Dread at his favourite coffee shop where we grabbed a Latte, got comfy and chatted about working with Mick Jones, audience demographics and pre gig rituals, here's how we got on....
You’ve been a band since 1993, what is it that keeps you guys going as a unit?
Friendship, love of music , learning from mistakes, good partnerships, changing line-ups, embracing changes and soft drugs (not hard)!
On your seventh studio album, you managed to get Mick Jones from The Clash to help out on vocals, how did this come about?
We had just finished working together on the Big Audio Dynamite reunion tour and were making the album in his studio. one track in particular suited his involvement and we both understood the subject matter very well. all things pointed towards it being just right . it was always a dream to get him on a Dreadzone track, and in a video as well
For your first album ‘360’ you signed with Creation Records, I see Alan McGee is back on form now with a new label called 359 Records, have you kept in touch with him over the years?
I have bumped into him a couple of times but nothing to give a reason for staying in touch . we were Facebook friends but i noticed not any more.i think he must have unfriended me. maybe i said something derogatory about oasis..
In your opinion, which band or artist did you enjoy most from 2015?
It won't be long until the festival season is upon us, looking back over past festivals, which one stands out the most and why?
Glastonbury 2014. the timing of the show, the location in the glade, the power went off during a storm on all the other stages except ours and the crowd were brilliant and we played a blinder and it was Glastonbury still the best
We've seen you a number of times over the past couple of years, do you tend to find that your music appeals more to the ‘experienced’ generation (polite way of saying older) or are you attracting a younger fan base?
I notice a lot more young people at our shows , we're the kind of band that its ok to like if your parents like us
How has your approach to writing new songs evolved as the band have matured? Do you find it comes easier these days?
It's still the same approach of bringing ideas into being with some spark of inspiration, then comes the part of turning it into a fully fledged final piece of work, a product, which takes time and effort re writing and arranging. rarely are songs written in couple of hours. 10% inspiration 90% perspiration . it is easier if i want to refer to our template of what goes into making a Dreadzone track but i never want to resort to cliche and constantly worry if it is relevant and up to a certain standard. so the agonising is hard always.
Do you find that people react differently to your music from country to country? If so, how?
Not really , everybody seems happy to be bouncing to our music. the most laid back is always Belgium for some reason
What do you always take on tour with you (apart from the rest of the band and instruments?)
Laptop, phone, headphones, weed, book, the phone these days can be your best touring companion, so many things at your fingertips. When I started touring 40 years ago I could never imagine one day you could have a device that covers music, maps, phone, media, messaging, camera and more
2013 saw you celebrate your 20th anniversary, have you already got plans for the 25th and 30th anniversaries?
The only plan is to try to reach them!
Before a gig, Madonna and her crew of dancers/aides/ass kissers all huddle and say a prayer, do you have any interesting ‘pre gig’ rituals?
We always do the fists together and shouting whoo as we raise the hands up sort of thing , usually someone says something meaningful that it gets lost in a collective roar. but we never start a show without the whoo (as we call it)
In your eyes, which band or artist has produced THE perfect album? Explain your answer
I could choose a couple but maybe Primal Scream - Screamadelica, it captured the perfect fusion of rock and roll meeting dance culture with strong songs and riffs bringing out the best in the producers and players. riding the wave of a very inspiring period for British music -some of the best albums came from that time - Stone Roses, Massive Attack and The Orb.
Looking back to the early days of the band, how did you promote your music and get your message out there without the aid of social media?
Live gigs and the record label helping to promote via the press officer and pluggers. live shows then and now still very effective
Your last album was released in 2013, can we expect any new material from you soon?
I am hoping to release something this year. We have a lot of new unfinished stuff. The single from Escapades, 'Fire in the Dark' was released last year along with a re-release of our 2001 album 'Sound'. Beyond that is something that is taking shape now, watch this space!
We thought that it was only fair that Greg take part in the Quickfire Question round, fresh coffees were ordered and we got down to it....
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
Car or Motorbike?
Indian or Chinese food?
Ozzy or Lemmy?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Acoustic or Electric?
Regular gig or Festival?
Skiing or Sunbathing?
Fry up or Sunday roast?
Wine or Beer?
Camping or Camper Van?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Greg for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish him and the band every success in 2016. As I said earlier, we'll be at the Exeter show to capture the mood and take some pictures, if you're going, we'll see you there, if not, you're missing out!
You can get hold of tickets to all of their shows HERE
Interview by Steve Muscutt