From The Album In Between Dub
Jack Johnson is not a reggae musician, but growing up in Hawaii he’s been immersed in the sound and the sensibility as long as he can remember. “Reggae music was kinda like mainstream here,” he recalls. “That was something that was always around. When you jump in someone’s truck to go drive or go surf it was mostly reggae records playing.” On June 2 the pro surfer turned multiplatinum recording artist, film maker, and environmental activist will release In Between Dub, a selection of tracks drawn from Johnson’s two decade-deep catalog, served up “with a dub twist.” While Johnson never aimed to play reggae music, he recognizes its influence on his folk rock aesthetic. “I always identified the tones that I’m shooting for,” he reflects. “On all my albums we kind of go for a nice round bass sound.” When you check it deeply, Johnson did once accompany the legendary Jimmy Cliff performing “The Harder They Come” at a European music festival. Johnson and Ben Harper also joined backed Hibbert while performing “Pressure Drop” on Saturday Night Live. And Johnson will make a guest appearance on Stephen Marley’s forthcoming solo album. So perhaps it was not such a crazy notion for him to reach out to dub visionary Lee “Scratch” Perry in 2020 to work on a kind of greatest hits in dub project. “It didn’t feel like it would be going outside of our natural zone,” he says. “I felt it would be interesting to hear the songs dubbed out even if they’re not straight reggae. I felt they might fit into that pretty nice.” Boomshots is proud to premiere the dubbed-out visuals for “Traffic in the Sky,” a gentle acoustic tune from Johnson’s 2003 album On & On, which Scratch transforms into a spongy slice of digital dub sport. The video of Scratch was culled from actual studio footage sent by his wife after his passing. Run it! Video After the Jump…
After a “surreal” FaceTime call with Scratch, the project was set in motion, with Johnson wisely granting the legendary Upsetter and his longtime band Subatomic Sound System total creative freedom. When he got news of Scratch’s passing in August 2021, Johnson was just sad to hear the news and assumed that the project was never completed. “Then a couple days later Scratch’s wife sent all the tracks that he did.” Johnson says it gave him goosebumps the first time he heard Perry’s dub mixes. “To get to hear Lee “Scratch” Perry—somebody who’s just such a big inspiration, not just to me but to the whole world. Anybody who makes music and creates I think has a lot of respect for all the things he put into this world and invented and created.” Johnson says he doesn’t usually share his own music with close friends, but the Scratch mixes were a different story. “I was really bragging a lot when I got those rough tracks,” he says with a laugh.
The next single from the dub project is the Nightmares On Wax remix of “Better Together,” which will be dropping tomorrow, March 24th.
While we’re in the zone, here’s a classic Scratch Perry interview by the one and only @RGAT
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