Salmonella Dub: The Plating Game.

27 May 2002 | 12:00 am | Chris Ryder
Originally Appeared In

When Push Comes To Dub.

Salmonella Dub play the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on May 29 and The Zoo on May 30.

After ten years together, Salmonella Dub are ready for the world. With their latest album Inside the Dub Plates enjoying amazing success in their homeland New Zealand (where it debuted at number one on the charts in its second week of release), as well as enrapturing their ever-burgeoning fanbase here, the group are set for one of their biggest and busiest years ever, with a world tour on the horizon as well as a new album set for release early next year.

But first, the group are about to release a remix album in late August. Titled, logically enough, Outside The Dub Plates, the disc sees Salmonella’s beefy grooves and ocean-bed dub-sonics retooled by some very famous names, including the Mad Professor, Adrian Sherwood and Dreadzone, to name but three. Understandably, the group’s vocalist and engineer Tiki Taane is rather chuffed with the results.

“We’ve met a lot of (the album’s remixers) over the last five years,” he enthuses. “All these people we just rang up and said ‘this is what we’re doing over here’ and surprisingly they’d heard of us which was quite cool, and we just sent over a package and everybody we’ve approached has said ‘yes’, which was surprising. I thought at least someone would say Nuh!” Tiki chuckles at the thought. “It’s quite cool that they’re all up for it and not only have they done one mix, some of them - like Adrian Sherwood has done three or four different mixes, Mad Prof’s done about four, they’re all just busting out different versions so that we can choose from them, which is really cool. It’s like they’re taking a real interest and care in the whole thing.”

As well as overseeing the progress of the remix album, the band has been squirreling away in their new studio, preparing tracks for their next album proper.

“Yeah, there’s a new one in the pipeline,” Tiki confirms. “We’ve got about three or four tracks on the go that are still in their infancy, but they’ve got rough vocal guides on them so we know what we’re doing. We’re doing a lot of dancehall/ragga stuff and trying to get the bass production a lot tighter, a lot bigger, and the drums a lot fatter. But we’ve got plenty of time, you know, we’re not looking to release it ’til next year, so it’s nice to know we’ve got eight months or so up our sleeve.”

For a group with such an intoxicating live show, it must be a challenge to try and harness that same energy in the recording studio. To that end, Tiki reveals, a lot of tracks for the next album will be fine-tuned on their Australian tour, in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

“The thing about the way we write tunes is, we go into the studio with absolutely nothing and we just stuff around,” he elaborates. “Just push record and we do a session of maybe two or three hours of recording and then it’s a matter of sitting down and piecing it together. So the cool thing about this next album that we’re doing, is we’ll get some of these tunes up and rolling and we’ll be able to test-run them on the road, which we’ve never done before. Always in the past we’ve recorded an album, released it and listened to the album to learn the songs. So this time we can take it on the road, and once you take it on the road that’s where it all kicks in, you start to realise ‘well, this part works, this other section of the song we should roll out for another 32, 64 bars,’ you know what I mean? So it’s kinda cool, on this tour we can drop a couple of the new songs into the set and that way we can have a feel for what we want to do with it in the studio."

Joining them for their Brisbane show next week are fellow Kiwis Shapeshifter, a spectacular live drum’n’bass juggernaut who are about to test Aussie waters prior to their relocation to Melbourne. Tiki is certainly not shy about singing their praises.

“We’ve taken them on a few Salmonella tours in New Zealand and sort of helped them build their live audience up I s’pose,” he begins, “to the point now where their last tour sold out every venue, which is crazy given that they’re playing the same venues as us. So these guys now are a really big force in New Zealand, they’re probably at their peak, so it’s going to be exciting for them to relocate to Melbourne. It’s gonna be cool, man, ‘cause these guys are amazing live, in fact I’m a little bit scared that they’re gonna blow us away, y’know!”

With one of the finest, boogie-friendly live shows around (I still get a stupid smile on my face when I recall their monumental set at Livid a couple of years back), upstaging Salmonella Dub will be no easy task.