Gloucestershire’s only analogue dub reggae collective
One of the best things about writing a reggae blog is discovering new music that I wouldn’t ordinarily hear. I get sent a lot of music to listen to by band and labels, and feel privileged that they are willing to share the fruits of their labours with me. The latest music file I received was from Sam Fryer who is part of Samur-I Sounds, they describe themselves as ‘Gloucestershire’s (a county in the UK) only analogue dub reggae collective.’ They have a new track coming out at the end of November called ‘Unity Gain’, and on further investigation some really interesting tracks in the pipeline. My interest was piqued, so I sent over a few questions to Sam to learn a little more about Samur-I Sounds.
Hi Sam, you seem to have some great dub sounds coming out of Samur-I Sounds, so who is involved, what is your set up there?
“Hello Toby, great to chat! Samur-I Sounds is basically a collaborative project of myself and various musicians from around the UK. I like to write the riddims and then use various musicians to come and add their flavour to the track whether it be horns, vocals, piano or percussion.
We have a pretty basic studio set up in my house that consists of a Soundcraft console as well as a bunch of effects and mics and the beautiful Revox b77 mkii tape machine. There seems to be a nice warm vibe when people come to record and it's great to be creating fresh music with positive vibes in a positive space!”
You seem to work with different styles, but reggae and dub feature heavily. What got you into reggae in the first place?
“A close friend of mine introduced me to reggae back in college and showed me some great artists such as Scientist, Culture, Freddie McGregor and Alpha Blondy. We started playing together in a band and that taught me a lot about the fundamentals of reggae. It was a few years later when another friend ‘Nef’ caught wind I was recording a local blues gig night and told me I had to set my desk for dub and dub the mixes. That was the catalyst into this journey.”
You mentioned Scientist and thinking of your ‘Driller Killer Dub’ track (which you can hear above in the SoundCloud link) and the excellent production on it, I guess he must have been a big influence?
“It would be a lie if I didn't mention that I adore Scientist. I’ve listened to so many of his albums and they just blow me away every time. I remember listening to it all and wondering how it was all done as I was primarily a reggae musician rather than producer! After our band took mixes down to Al Breadwinners and we got a little taste of a dub studio session, that really kick started me to crafting a sound!”
Unity Gain, your new heavyweight single is an excellent track to kick off the label with, how did you link up with vocalist Paul Divers?
“Me and Paul met a few years back when I was playing in a stoner rock band and he was playing in an acoustic reggae act. We did a few gigs together and became familiar faces. Nearly five years later when I wrote the instrumental track for Unity Gain I was thinking about who would fit it and Paul popped into my head. I called him and he was keen so we started work on it. Lucky for me too, Paul was working with producer Dave Bates so I was able to easily record and add to the track despite living further away.”
I guess this is the start of many releases, what is coming up in the future for Samur-I Sounds?
“Well, I've got my first album coming out 2018 which will feature a full ten tracks of pure deep roots dub. We've got some releases coming out this year with JPDL a UK based poet and MC where we have fused reggae and Hip Hop. It's different for sure but a refreshing sound for both scenes. And then I've been working with some out of town bands recently, so should see some more instrumental singles coming out.”
Finally a question I love to ask everyone I interview, I think it gives you an understanding of where an artist is coming from. Sam, what three albums could you not live without?
“Oooo easy one... Frank Zappa, One size Fits All – Scientist, Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires and Easy star All Stars - Dub Side of the Moon”.
Unity Gain is out on the 24th November and is a must buy if you like reggae with a strong message and a big dose of human consciousness. Add in Paul’s expressive vocal, the powerful horns, the cool echoes, the reverb, serious dubbing and you have a rather ‘kickin’ track. The song will be available from all the usual platforms, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Juno and more.
I hope you liked this interview, it's good to see another interesting producer coming onto the scene. Please share this post on social media and spread the word.
Bless, Paper Lion.