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Getting Down With Symbiz Sound

The Berlin dubstep duo had a blast at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2012 in Pune and they told us all about it.

29 Jan, 2013

Siddhant Mehta

Contributing Writer

Symbiz Sound is made up of two brothers, Buddy and Chris, who came to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2012 in Pune and brought the Pepsi Dub Station to its knees (read about their amazing performance here). They are perhaps one of the most animated live dubstep acts to come to India and their status as rising stars in European dubstep seems justified. We spoke to Buddy from Symbiz Sound who told us more about their trip to India.

NH7: So why did you decide to come play your music in India? Did it all take place when you met the Reggae Rajahs on their Europe tour?
Buddy: We have always been interested in traveling with our music. If you get the chance to see different places around the world, meet new people and play concerts for them, this is probably one of the greatest gifts one can get as a musician. The invitation to India came through a line of incredible incidents. When we went to Madrid in the beginning of 2012, a band from Venezuela invited us to take part in a conference and play some shows in Caracas. This event, the Un-Convention, was organized by and with people from the UK, who later introduced us to the people from Only Much Louder, with whom they had done a similar event in India before. Then we met the Reggae Rajahs (at the Uprising Music Festival) in Bratislava, Slovakia. They were actually playing the same stage as Mungo’s Hi Fi and things started to get fixed. As you can see, sometimes it is unbelievable how things happen and of course, we are more than happy to take chances like these as they come along. It’s all about making connections, being open-minded and therefore going anywhere you can with your music.

Symbiz Sound gave a shout out to Reggae Rajahs, the Bacardi NH7 Weekender and DJ MoCity. Check it out below.

The two of you have always been musicians, but what’s the reason behind choosing dancehall/dubstep as your genres of choice?
We used to play music since we were little children. Starting with violin and piano (as probably most German-Korean kids do) and later creating other projects. We never really worked together, though we had somewhat different interests over the years. Chris used to be into hip-hop but he also liked producing dancehall and genres related to it. Also, he spent a great amount of time on graffiti and graphic design. I was playing bass guitar while taking up vocalist duties in numerous projects, ranging from punk ska to jazzy things (Salsa was also involved). One day (believe it or not, but we first talked about the idea, sitting on a tree in a bird sanctuary in Rajasthan — maybe in 2005) we decided to join forces — and the style that influenced and interested us both was dancehall. Then dubstep came across our way, which, back then, felt like a genre which offered infinite freedom for weird ideas. So in 2009 we began creating our own tunes, working on a live concept and so on. The choice for the genres came pretty naturally when we just threw in what was on our minds and what caught our attention at that time. It is important to us that we do not stop to grow and stay with one fixed style. So we constantly try to widen our horizons, incorporating new influences and so on. The basis will always be reggae-infected, bass-heavy music, though, since this is the kind we both love and want to go forward with.

You’ve got a really high-energy live act, where both of you interact a lot with the crowd. Was this a conscious effort to become good live musicians or did it just come naturally to you?
At first, the way we started to play was not a conscious decision. I have been the frontman of different bands for years and therefore learned to interact with the audience for a long time. Also, this is simply the most fun and satisfying experience when you are on stage. Later, we started to put some thoughts into how we would like to present our music. Being an electronic act, we of course had to deal with the specific weaknesses of computer-based music in a live performance. When you play the guitar, everybody can follow what you are doing. People easily understand your actions and see your artistic intentions. With a laptop and controllers, this is a little different. The sound is not directly linked to movements of the performer. Therefore, a lot more is needed let the audience understand what you do. This is one of the reasons we use a very big controller for example. It changes the way it feels when we play it, but just as important is the fact that people can see what we are doing — or at least that we are doing something that is connected to the audible results. It is important to us to bring the perception of body and human-made actions back to the digital music we are playing. For this reason we also started using real instruments like guitars on stage. It is fun to do, but also brings along an aspect that can be easily seen as ‘live’. And of course, last but not least, the energy that we can transfer through the use of a lot of announcements, asking for participation and by collaborating with singers (like the great Zhi MC) is crucial to our concept of a good concert.

You brought this highly engaging stage act to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune. How did the performance go for you? Did the Pune crowd surprise you in any way?
We had a wonderful time at the NH7 Weekender. The Dub Station was a beautiful stage with an excellent soundsystem. Thanks to everyone who worked on making it the great experience it was. At first we were a little upset that our slot was shifted and we ended up playing at the same time as Buraka Som Sistema, who we personally really wanted to see. Also, we were kind of worried that no one would show up to our concert because of theirs. But then we ended up playing for a big and very enthusiastic crowd that was open-minded, interested in our stuff and eager to participate — and that is the best you can wish for. In general, the festival had a really nice vibe and especially the Dub Station was a great place to be. Great fellow artists and a wonderful crew! Chapeau!

You haven’t spent too much time in India but in the time you did spend here, you shot your own video. What would you shoot the next time you come to India and where would you play?
We believe that documenting our travels is a very important tool to communicate what we do. A lot of communication with interested people is online nowadays and therefore somehow detached and indirect. So every time we go some place we take a camera to let people take part in what is happening. One thing we could not shoot this time was a collaboration with local musicians. We always love to collaborate with people we meet on the way. So a great thing to shoot and to show would be a (recording) session with some musicians from India. Next time this would be a something we would hope for. And we are strongly hoping and working on a ‘next time’.

About playing… we would love to see more different places and play other shows. If the people in other places have the same kind of enthusiasm as at the NH7 Weekender, anywhere would be great. We will do our best to come back to India. For sure!

Check out Symbiz Sound’s ‘Symbiz In India’ video below.

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