US-based dancehall DJ Taranchyla. Image Credit: Dubnetikz

It’s safe to say Dubai’s busiest DJ, Dany Neville, has many alter egos. Besides being a presenter on hit Radio 1 show, The Edge (Radio 1 is owned by GN Media, which publishes Gulf News), he’s an award-winning producer with the Underground Procedures collective, a hip hop lover and a passionate reggae music fan. Which makes his latest incarnation, as one-half of Dubnetikz — a musical project that fuses reggae with electronic music — all the more interesting. Riding with US-based dancehall DJ Taranchyla, aka Madd Spider, the pair have only one wish: to rule the world with their groundbreaking sound. With their debut single, Murdera, recently premiering on MTV Arabia, Soundbites spoke with Neville to talk music, names, sound and how to stir people’s soul.

So what really is Dubnetikz all about?

It started off as my alter ego, created to follow the passion for reggae music without interfering with the ‘Dany Neville’ brand. I initially thought it would be a walk in the park, but the more I started moulding the production sound of what was to become Dubnetikz, the harder it got to find the artist. I went through at least four to five different artists in a span of eight months. No one got it. I was dubbed the crazy guy that makes noise in the studio, I couldn’t explain the sound I was looking for to anyone let alone the artist I would be recording at the time, I just expected them to get what I was thinking… It never happened.

But once Taranchyla and I teamed up, we both got it from the start… without even asking each other. When in studio sessions we would finish each others productions like we had worked together for 20 years, it was a breath of fresh air.

This was not a gimmick, nor a million dollar investment in a no-talented singer that dresses crazy, this was music from the heart and soul of two huge supporters of reggae music. Dubnetikz is about no rules, no boundaries, music that makes you feel.

Who came up with that name? And why?

We were having a conversation one day on the way to Radio 1 studios for a live show, the entire car ride there I wouldn’t stop asking Taranchyla questions about the roots of reggae, I was like a 14-year-old annoying kid brother. Somewhere in the conversation, he mentioned the word “dub” and the relation it had with the start and rise of reggae music. I related that to me being part of the start and rise of reggae music in Dubai, hence Dub-ai. That, and Taranchyla being of Jamaican descendent… it fitted perfectly as a double meaning. We then added “netikz” out of genetics… as in dub will forever be in our system. We decided to change the spelling around only because we had another two minutes to waste before arriving to the studio.

How did the pair of you get together?

In July last year, I was on my annual US/Canada tour and I and a friend named Peewee were driving from NYC to Miami listening to the latest reggae mix (jamrock 4.0) I was about to release after finishing the tour. Taranchyla’s brand new song came on and I turned around to tell Peewee what a huge fan I was of him and how I would like to work with him one day.

Then, without replying Peewee dials a number and the next thing I know, we’ve redirected and were driving to Tanrachyla’s home studio in Orlando. We spent 13 hours straight in that studio recording not one but seven tracks.

Do you think reggae music gets much respect in the UAE, as much as, say, hip hop and dance music?

I have to start off by saying that no genre in the UAE has ever gotten the full respect it deserves. It is usually a fad. The UAE, being as young as it is, still has a long way to go. That being said, I truly believe it will happen, I am forever grateful for being part of the few that started the music scene as we know it today. If anything, I feel like reggae has more attention as it has not been watered down as much as hip hop and dance music. I say that, praying it never gets to that point.

Now that you’ve made the video and it’s out, what next?

We are willing to take our time with Dubnetikz, we are humbled that MTV chose to support us, without a label backing. That to us gives us hope towards the survival of the independent artist. Our plan is to make music from the heart, when we feel like it, we want to make music for the chosen few, we want our supporters to be an extension of our personalities, we envisage a movement rather than a fan base.

The way we hope to accomplish this is create a network of like-minded musicians and supporters around us, with the intent to spread the movement from within. We are already in talks with major online TV stations to document our introduction and growth throughout our career as Dubnetikz.

Where do you want to take Dubnetikz?

Straight to the soul.

*Dany Neville presents The Edge on Radio 1 every Saturday from 4 to 7. For more on Dubnetikz, go to dubnetikz.com. You can watch the music video for Murdera here.