29.08.19

Words by: Felicity Martin

The 10 Best Imaginary Dub Versions, according to !!!

"If you know anyone with the stems to these songs, please send this article their way..."

Long-running dance-punk band !!! are showing no signs of slowing down. The New York outfit are, following 2017’s ‘Shake The Shudder’, releasing eighth studio LP ‘Wallop’ tomorrow through Warp. Ahead of their ’90s-leaning album release, the group have compiled a list of the dub versions they wish existed.

“I love dub. I love reggae. I love dub reggae,” !!! say. “And I love all things that dub touches. Sometimes I wish other styles of music were more attentive to putting out dub versions. The dub versions of ’70s disco tracks were one of the things that first interested me in disco. In the ’80s, I bought every Depeche Mode, Book Of Love and random synth pop 12” single I could get my hands on. Dub was hugely influential to post rock bands like Tortoise in the ’90s and finally of course, UK dubstep in the 21st century.

“Inevitably, when !!! is in the studio, we end up soloing a bass drum, a bass line and playing around with the effects thinking, ‘We should make the whole track like this’. It’s how we came up with ‘This is the Door/This is The Dub’ on our new record ‘Wallop’. So for this series, I have compiled my dream dub versions. The songs I think should have dubs. If you know anyone with the stems to these songs, please send this article their way…”

1. Pat Benatar – ‘Dub is A Battlefield’

“Moody ’80s classic that could do with a healthy work-over. Take the battlefield part seriously and let’s go heavy on the reverb explosions. Apparently, Don Henley visited them in the studio and asked if he could bite the beat for his song ‘Boys of Summer’. Hell, dub that one too.”

2. The Beatles – ‘All You Need Is Dub’

“From what I recall, Paul was the only Beatle who appeared to pay any attention to reggae in the ’70s, but I’m sure the others would appreciate this. The miracles of the Internet have revealed the stems for Beatles songs and as these stems are all smashed onto four tracks, we might have trouble getting free with these tracks. But it seems silly to overlook dubbing one of the original psychedelic bands.”

3. Rihanna – ‘Dub on the Brain’

“Ok, we start this one with just the acapella in reverb and then start dropping the drums in and out in splashed out crashes. With a title like ‘Dub On The Brain’ we’re gonna have to get wild and psychedelic, but we all know RiRi likes the sweet leaf, so I’m guessing she’s down.”

4. Steve Winwood – ‘Higher Dub’

“Look, Steve does a killer job on this but the background vocals are Chaka Khan, sooooooooo who’s in favour of just kinda focusing on those vocals a little more? Ok cool, cool. We’re all in agreement then. I’m actually not mad at that new Whitney Houston version of this. Little Ibiza-y summer 2019, but fuck it, it’s summer 2019 and she sounds killer on it.”

5. Queen – ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Dub’

“Look, I’m as ready for rock ‘n’ roll to be buried as the next, but I gotta admit my heart has been warmed by seeing kids wearing Queen T-shirts since that movie came out. Queen fucking rules and Freddy should be a hero for ages to come. Let’s focus on those handclaps and turn up that slap back on his vocals.”

6. The Supremes – ‘You Can’t Hurry Dub’

“Fuck it, let’s chop and screw this one too, you can’t hurry dub, let’s slooooow this the one the fuck down. I highly recommend the Motown museum tour if you find yourself in Detroit. You can clap your hands in the actual echo chamber they used for all those ’60s songs and it really does sound like those records. We’re gonna let that reverb shine in this version.”

7. Led Zeppelin – ‘Whole Lotta Dub’

“There’s an oft-repeated myth that Jimmy Page wanted Zep to be a reggae band but Bonham couldn’t play that style of drums. Seems like they did fine nonetheless. There’s an Ike and Tina Turner version that’s kind of a Norman Whitfield type of thing with a much heavier groove, but it’s missing that crazy middle drop, that’s practically already dub. Geez, that part used to fuck with my mind as a kid. Why was the echo of Robert Plant happening before him on the second drop?”

8. Force MDs – ‘Dub is a House’

“Late ’80s R&B with more reverb, that’s essentially Chillwave right? The genre that died too soon. Did it? Who says that? I says that. I miss it. We’re bringing it back with this version.”

9. Chief Keef – ‘Dub Sosa’

“The famed intro to this in heavy reverb?! Do we even need the rest of it? Of course we do, this one is gonna be sick. I can really hear this one in my head right now. Chopped and screwed is really just Texas dub, right? Trap dub versions are what’s gonna bring us into the 2020s. Let’s go!”

10. Dionne Warwick – ‘What the World Needs Now (Is Dub)’

“Throw Dionne and those bells through the echoplex and let’s try it. In times like these we need to try anything we can think of. Maybe just maybe, dub sweet dub is the answer.”

Watch the video for !!!’s ‘Couldn’t Have Known’:

!!!’s ‘Wallop’ is out this Friday via Warp.

Listen to !!! (Chk Chk Chk)’s Dummy Mix