I was half way through Friday night’s Pick N Mix show when someone came to the studio door and said that two gentlemen were in reception and that they wanted to drop off a hard drive.
“Want to meet Scientist?” asked Brendon, the studio manager.
So we had a quick huddle, switched around the timings for the last hour of the show and went outside to meet Mr Hopeton Brown and his manager, and asked if he had a spare ten minutes to come on the show. He did.
Here’s what happened, though of course you can hear the whole thing here.
Hello and thank you.
It’s our pleasure. In terms of dub reggae, you’re one of the guys that originated things back in Jamaica, influencing much of the music we’re all enjoying today.
Hmmm. Short but sweet. Some people will have seen you last night at Fabric, playing with The Upsetters. They were on the stage and you were in the booth, controlling things. How was it for you?
I can’t complain. It was very good, one of the best gigs I’ve done in a long while.
Can you explain why you weren’t up on the stage with the band?
I am shy.
You must have had a problem, then, with all the eyes peering at you through the grid around the DJ booth…
I felt it, but I had to keep focused on the objective which was to make the band sound as good as possible.
It was a really nice evening. You spent all of the day before down here at the studios. Can you tell us what you were doing?
I recorded three tracks with The Upsetters. I shared some recording techniques. They captured some of it on tape: how to mic the drums, and after that I did a dub mix of one of the songs we recorded.
Are you usually a fast-working person?
Growing up in Jamaica you’re pushed to the max, just like they pushed that racing car outside. A lot of folks doesn’t have an unlimited budget. Some folks can only have a bit of studio time, and exactly what happened here happens there. You do four songs in four hours: mix, overdub, horns, percussion, the whole nine yards.
Another thing you’ve done recently is work on an album that’s forthcoming on Tectonic where you reversioned tracks created by dubstep artists. Can you tell us how that came together?
I played at Bloc Weekend and after that I came to Bristol. I was interested in doing some more dubstep after I saw what I saw that weekend. I’ve never seen anything like it before, a whole weekend with 20,000 people. Lee Perry was the only person there with vocals.
That was your first introduction to dubstep. It must have been interesting and strange: you must have seen the connection to what you guys did, but you must also have seen how it’s been switched up…
Yes, and I appreciate the switch. The guys doing dubstep, they’re onto something very good. I personally endorse it and want to see more of it.
What do you know about dubstep now that you didn’t know before you entered into the fray so to speak?
I am hooked on it.
Is that the addictive quality of bass culture?
Yes. Music is music. It’s like good food. Everybody appreciate good food.
What else have you got coming up?
When I get back to the States I have a Santigold mix I’m finishing up. But who knows what else. I might end up mixing the Fairy Godmother.
I’d like to hear that one. Scientist, thank you very much.