After their debut album ”African Step”, promising Reggae and Dub artists Toroki & Isayah present their brand new album ”Symbol of 1000 Thoughts” together with their studio family! It was produced over the last two years – Toroki took his time to make progress instead of recreating something that he has already done – be it musical or sound – and mixing-wise. The album is versatily packed with 18 tunes, of which only two are dub versions. The sound of fat basslines, energetic drums and atmospheric melodies invite to a unique journey: From saturated and rough Roots Reggae over modern HipHop influences to really heavy and deep electronic Steppers Dub.
First things first, tell us your introduction to sound system culture?
I discovered Reggae music when I was around 13 or 14 years old. I was listening to a lot of Reggae that has been released during that time and somehow also came across a few releases from the dub and sound system scene. If I remember right, the first few releases I came across were from artists like Afrikan Simba, Solo Banton, Dubkasm and also the King Shiloh label through YouTube. I’ve instantly felt that somewhat different vibe that came with the music, yet wasn’t able to explain what made it so different. But I spent months and months researching “that kind of Reggae” and was introduced to the world of King Tubby, Lee Perry, Scientist and finally of modern dub music, of UK Bass, of sound systems. From then sound system became more and more present over the following years through the local roots & dub scene, but also through UK Bass music in general. I visited the first sessions the moment it was possible for me, when I was around 17/18 years old… Sound systems like ini Dubwise, Dandelion and Elemental Wave (back then it was called Flowin’ Vibration). I remember that proud moment when I was asked for my ID at the entrance to a dance on my 18th birthday – the first time that I was legally allowed in there (laughs).
Your music addresses the heaviness of Steppas, and the spiritual side of dub. Are there any other influences or styles you aim to incorporate into your production?
Yes, definitely. Especially since I released the first album together with Isayah, which was really heavily focussed on steppers dub, now there are much more influences from all kinds of music. I’m still loving the heavy, militant and deep steppers but I am also digging a lot of old Jamaican music and productions. I’m listening to A LOT of Hip Hop in all styles, from old to new, from every country and in every language and I love the progressive and experimental attitude. I also love to listen to UK Bass music in general, contemporary Jazz, old school Cumbia, also techno… if I’d start to make a list I’m sure I would forget something! I think that whatever music a producer or musician listens to influences his / her own music in one way or the other. Let it be the music itself, the mixes or just the vibe in general. So incorporations of other influences into my production sometimes will be conscious, sometimes subconscious, but always there. Also concerning the vibe, I'm sure that there are a lot of influences.
You can check out the full interview with Toroki in our next issue...
”Symbol of 1000 Thoughts” is about reinvention, gaining perspective and making progress towards a positive society. It’s no surprise that Isayah of course did a lot of vocals on the project, but all the artists that Toroki works together with regularly – the studio family – are part of the album: PiyaZawa on flute, Dantey and Ical Ises on vocals. The energetic vocalists Awa Fall, Fitta Warri and Wortfetzen are featured as special guests. Last but not least it also includes instrumental tunes to enjoy some deep dub diving. Toroki, Isayah and all participating artists proof impressively what they are capable of.
Bandcamp - released April 22, 2022