Miss Foxy gets the low down on Leo Williams and Greg Roberts from Dreadzone, as they get ready to headline Nozstock Festival 2012.
Miss Foxy: I’m just here to get a bit of info about you, what you’ve been up to and how you’re getting on. So firstly is this your first Nozstock and if so how are you finding it so far?
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Ah it’s an interesting place, I think it’s our first time here right?
Dreadzone(Greg Roberts): I think so yes, yeah we finally found it!
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Yeah , we saw a party going on, and we were like oh, there’s something up there, something’s going on and so here we are!
Miss Foxy: Well, this will be my third year it’s an awesome festival!
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): It must be good then!
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): It’s a very young festival, I’ve noticed.
Miss Foxy: Yeah, it’s lovely it’s got a great vibe, and an infectious atmosphere since everyone is really laid back and chilled. I’m really looking forward to your set later too.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): I’m glad you’re excited about our set; I hope to see you bouncing next to the amp at the front!
Miss Foxy: Great stuff! Ok so at the moment how many other UK or European tour dates to you have in the pipeline this year?
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Over the summer we have a few dates In Europe
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): Yeah we were in Croatia last week, and we’re in Portugal next week. And then we’re heading to Poland, which is where Leo’s wife’s from.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): She’s just had a baby actually!
Miss Foxy: Oh lovely!
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): A new edition to the Dreadzone family.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): So yeah that’s what’s going on at the moment.
Miss Foxy: So you look to be very busy, you’ve got a good summer ahead of you.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Yeah we’ve been busy all round.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): We’re making a new album at the moment. We’re in the studio recording new material and in between that doing some festivals. So we’re doing Kendal Calling tomorrow in the Lake District, and we’re doing Beautiful Days. So the festivals have been on the minimum while we finish the album a bit, but nearly there.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): And then we have a tour sorted for the autumn.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): Yeah so we’re going to be doing all the little clubs. But same thing as the festivals this summer, not too many this year but next year, with the album out we aim to do as many as we can.
Miss Foxy: Awesome, because as I understand your last album ‘Eye on the Horizon’ back in 2010. It was quite an electronic sound, I really loved the album. What can we expect from you new material, are you looking to go in a new direction?
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): It’s an interesting question, because somebody who said that the other day who loved ‘Eye on the Horizon’ hoped we would be keeping the same vibe, and I thought it’s very difficult since every album of Dreadzone is different. And obviously you can’t progress, so we are keeping the Dreadzone vibe.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): But we’re pushing it a bit further, it’s quite exciting. It will be interesting. When we put the albums out there, we’re not putting something out that we don’t like, so it’s going to be interesting.
Miss Foxy: Definitely. When I’ve looked into different reviews everyone talks about lots of different styles that you have going on over the time you’ve been together. It appears that experimentation is quite a key concept to your music; would you say this is correct?
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Yeah it gives us a great chance to expand, and do different things, so we are able to show that things are possible.
Miss Foxy: Would you say that your music is quite influential to your backgrounds?
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): I should definitely thing so.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): I guess so, yeah. But the thing is, we’re not spring chickens, so we’ve been around through quite a few decades of music. We were lucky enough to grow up with lots of good types of music. And rather than stick to one or another, we’ve soaked it up. We were in a band in the ‘80s called Big Audio Dynamite, which had rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, hip hop and all kind of things. So we’re full of different influences which we use regularly.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): It keeps us fresh.
Miss Foxy: Is there anyone currently on the music scene who inspires you or that you’re interested in?
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Maybe a bit of drum n bass stuff.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): There’s always good electronic music going on, dubstep and drum n bass. Particular artists? I always sight Tombola, he’s the last or most exciting artist I’ve heard. He’s from Denmark. And I really listened to the Drive soundtrack.
Miss Foxy: Oh that’s an amazing soundtrack.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): Yeah so there are things taken from everywhere. I mean I also listen to a lot of classical music or old dub. And you discover lots of influences, you sample things. And you discover something new from that, as you look for new music.
Dreadzone (Leo Williams): Yeah, I mean we’re not old and jaded.
Dreadzone (Greg Roberts): Yeah, we DJ as well, so we like to stay on the cutting edge of some kind of dance music. But I think when we make our own music, we just put ourselves in there, so what feels natural. This new album is going to be a bit more live, so trying to capture the live sound that we’ve had over the years. I think the song writing is better; we’ve gone onto the next level. The influences are all over the place again. I mean, there’s no good being static.
Miss Foxy: Exactly, it’s all about moving forward. [MC Spee enters]
Dreadzone [MC Spee]: Hi I’m in and out but I’m Spee, the vocalist for Dreadzone but nice to meet you!
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: Would you like a beer?
Miss Foxy: That would be amazing!
Miss Foxy: So obviously Little Britain is a big favourite. I’d like to know what’s the story behind the song?
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: Originally the song sampled a line from British film ‘If’ by Lindsay Anderson. And then we started building the track around it, it tells the juxtaposition of British things. Like the first thing that came after the strings was the bass line. So Little Britain itself was kind of summing up all the good things about Britain, like West Indian communities, Celtic influence, the way England and Britain has always welcomed in other cultures, and ideas to regenerate their own. And instead of being Great Britain, here we are falling over everyone, let’s make it Little Britain. And then all of a sudden somebody came along and had a comedy programme [laughs]. We did have it first! But yeah it kind of fitted in with the whole album which had a sound adventure around the world, encompassing different music from different backgrounds. Which is today celebrating a lot of things, such as The Olympics. And we were hoping that somebody would say ‘that would make a good song for it’.
Miss Foxy: I was just thinking that!
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: But they didn’t!
Miss Foxy: So you’re set tonight, what material can we be looking out for? What are you going to be playing?
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: A whole mix from different albums. Some from the new album, but also taking it back a bit too. So back to the Little Britain album.
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: Yeah, because this year Virgin re-released ‘Second Light’ in a new format, so a new mastered version with a live album. So some of the live shows we’ve been doing this year, we’ve been featuring a bit of Second Light. So we’ll be playing some from that tonight, and material from our last six albums.
Miss Foxy: I have to say I’ve got a favourite. It has to be ‘So you wanna be gangster?’
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: Oh great! So did you discover the dubstep mix of it or just the original?
Miss Foxy: I like the original. But I think the Trolley Snatcha remix of it also favourite. I thought that was amazing.
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: It was amazing. It’s one of the best remixes we’ve ever had. And out of all the dubstep tunes that are around, that’s still a great, great dubstep tune.
Miss Foxy: Definitely, every time I play everyone loves it.
Miss Foxy: Is there anyone currently that you would like to collaborate with?
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: Probably, I mean saying that on this new album I don’t know if we should be mentioning it yet but we collaborated with Mick Jones from The Clash. He’s very influential, on our live stuff. He’s such an inspiring guy; we managed to get him on one of these new tracks. So you’ve got an exclusive there! It’s great working with him. Who else? I dunno…Prince? I love to do David Bowie.
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: It’s about time he came out with something else!
Miss Foxy: Yeah David Bowie would be amazing, he’s been a bit in the shadows recently, I haven’t heard much from him!
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: But he does that, he does something and then he goes away for a while, and then he comes back again. To keep things fresh.
Miss Foxy: So just to wrap things up, so obviously I’m really looking forward to your new album, and hoping to get down to some of your upcoming shows. Is there anything you could say for anyone that wants to get into the current music scene, is there any advice you could give them on what they should be actively doing?
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: Try and write your own stuff. Try and be original.
Dreadzone [Leo Williams]: Try it as a hobby and enjoy it first.
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: There are a lot of people climbing in all at the same time. You’ve got to think about it long term. I mean yeah you come in and make a great tune in your bedroom, and it can blow up. But you’ve got to think about what you’re going to be doing in 10 years’ time, or in 20 years’ time. We’ve been doing this for 30 years; and we’re still making a living out of music. So it’s about longevity. So yeah write your own stuff, be original, and don’t do cocaine! [laughter].
Miss Foxy: Amazing, well I’m really excited for your set later. I shall be in the front row!
Dreadzone [Greg Roberts]: We’ll wave to you!
Miss Foxy: Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk, it’s been a pleasure meeting you and I wish you all the best for your new album!